Friday, February 7, 2014

Interview With Author Jasmine Smith

I am so happy to have with me today author Jasmine Schwartz. I have read a few of her short stories which were good and we have also written back and forth a few times and she is very nice. Jasmine Schwartz writes a detective series about Melissa Morris, a thirty-something New Yorker whose search for herself is constantly interrupted by the discovery of dead bodies. Jasmine became a writer when she got too old to do her real job. She lives in Manhattan with her future ex-husband. She has been 35.

1. Your biography states that you became a writer when you got too old to do your job at the time. Do you mind me asking what you did? And then what inspired you to start writing?

That's actually a joke I made up for my pen name and personae "Jasmine Schwartz". I've always been a writer and many of my friends are writers. We're passionate about it even though it's tough to make a living and can involve a lot of rejection. So I thought it would be funny to create this person who decides to be a writer because she "got too old" to do another job. I'm guessing there's no one out there like that, but I could be wrong.

2. I have read three short stories by you. "Jewish Christmas", "How Would You Fight A Lion?" and "Before the Crash". I liked them but felt like I was missing something. Then you explained that you write about Melissa, the central character in your mysteries in these short stories
in between the mystery novels. How did you come up with this idea?

I read a lot of thrillers with these superhuman characters who get out of impossible situations. I wanted to create an "unlikely" detective who might have a tougher time - almost like a modern Miss Marple. Only instead of a clever, elderly woman in an English village, Melissa Morris is a neurotic New Yorker who's "searching for herself" after her career implodes.

3. Tell me about how the character of Melissa formed for you. Because the whole of what you have done is dedicated to this one character.

She has some of me in her, though we're definitely different. She's pretty superficial, but getting fired from her career in fashion sparks some change in her. Part of the series is about her emotional and spiritual development.

4. Because I have not read your novels yet, is Melissa the main focus or are there other reoccurring characters?

She's the main focus but there are also recurring characters, like her sister Isabel. Some of her sorority sisters also show up in different stories.

5. You describe you influences as The Dalai Lama and David Sedaris. By the way I am a huge David Sedaris fan and have most of his books. I love the he is one of your influences. Tell me how they influenced your work?

I love David Sedaris because he manages to be funny yet elicits an emotional response. I've tried to do that in Farbissen and Fakakt. I also love that in his writing, there's always emotional honesty and insight, even if he buries it beneath his self-parody.

6. Since crime is involved, and I have not read the novel, did you have to do any research for any of your books?

Sure. I researched human trafficking for the first and happily returned to Rome for the second.

7. Do you carry a notepad or something similar around with you for your story ideas or can you remember them?

Yes, but if I forget, there's a voice recorder on my cellphone. I also have dozens of pieces of papers on my desk with random notes and ideas.

8. Where is your favorite place to write for example at a desk, on your patio, some hidden place no one knows about?

I used to love writing in cafes - I liked the energy around me, but now I'm much more focused at my desk, at home. I think it's because now I have kids and the home is my world now.

9. Must have food/beverage when writing?

No. That's what breaks are for! After writing for a few hours, I take a break with an espresso.

Great interview. I love that you really got me on that job that you were to old to do. I could not in a million years imagine what that was. And I love that you have created a character like a modern day Miss Marple. I cannot wait to read my copy of Farbissen and Fakakt. Thank you so much for stopping by today it was great to have you.

You can find Jasmine Schwartz in the following places:

Goodreads: Click here.

Website: Click here.

Jasmine's Blog: Click here.

Facebook: Click here.

Twitter: Click here.

Fakakt: Melissa Morris and the Meaning of Sex

Farbissen: Melissa Morris and the Meaning of Money