AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – Jill Amadio
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About the Books
Guest Post by the Author
I have been writing since kindergarten. I was fascinated with The Wind in the Willows and Doctor Doolittle, and created my own cast of characters. I won all the English literature prizes at school and college but my burning ambition was to be a newspaper reporter for the rest of my life.
I write in a variety of genres: cozy with my Tosca Trevant mystery series; biography and memoir with my book on 1920s Hollywood celebrity Rudy Vallee and 13 other people; and two business books. My ghostwriting career began when I was writing a magazine column. A gentleman called my editor seeking a ghostwriter. I’d never heard of the term, but plunged in. I enjoyed it immensely. As a result of the book’s success and a little PR on my part, I ended up ghosting 14 other biographies. I authored a biography when a publisher approached me to write about a World War II fighter ace. It was a bestseller, happily, and still selling after 15 years.
I also ghostwrote a crime novel for a client whose sole motivation was to have his name on a book. It was such fun to write. I’ve always enjoyed mysteries and had a terrific time with this book. I studied my favorite mystery writers and afterwards decided to write my own, creating a series character, Tosca Trevant.
Part of my amateur sleuth’s background is similar to my own. From Cornwall, Tosca came to America and experienced, surprisingly, slight culture shock, and came to love the country. Me too! Breaking into the field of mystery writing was difficult. I was rejected by several agents so I decided to try small presses. These can be approached directly. The first one rejected my query. The second one on the list was called Mainly Murder Press. I instantly fell in love with the name. How perfect! I checked their web site. In huge bold letters it declared, NO SUBMISSIONS UNTIL LATE SPRING! Well, what to do? I was so fired up I submitted immediately, even though it was only January. My query included the plaintive: “I live in Southern California and although the calendar says January, it is already late spring here. My daffodils are blooming!” I received a reply within two hours, and within a week I had a three-book deal.
I’d like readers to take from my work an appreciation of learning about other countries, cultures, and peoples – one of my characters is a Thai dancer from Bangkok – as well as about music, ancient musical instruments, and about my beloved Cornwall. In her quest to solve crimes my books have Tosca exploring gemstone mining, geology, the deserts, and include a few mild Cornish cusswords that Tosca emits when on the trail of the murderer. She’s a younger Miss Marple but far more apt to charge in heedlessly. She’s also funny, has interesting insights into life in America – too few teashops – and bemoans the lack of rain in Southern California.
The rewards of writing, for me, include the pure satisfaction of creating a solid piece of work, a book I can hold in my hand, from sheer imagination. I enjoy readers telling me how they like my settings, characters, and puzzle plots. As for the memoirs, it is great to help a client realize their dream of having their life story told as their legacy to pass down to grandchildren.
My challenge when starting a new book in a series is to figure out whom I’d like to poison or strangle. Who’s my killer? Which poison? Strangle with what? The possibilities are endless. It’s a great deal of fun to sort it all out with research, although the elements of the story can change from day to day. Finding time is also a challenge. I write a monthly column for a UK mystery magazine, am invited to contribute to writer friends’ guest blogs, keep up with social media, attend conferences, give talks, and still ghostwrite memoirs. I am also writing a video script about trees and their beauty, and I do book signings at bookstores.
Anyone entering the mystery field needs to attend writer conferences to meet agents, publishers, writers and readers. For several years I’ve attended Left Coast Crime, Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, California Crime Writers Conference, and others. Hang out with writers of your genre. I belong to national mystery organizations such as Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the UK Crime Writers Association, and The Authors Guild. I suggest new writers read, read, read the genres they wish to enter, study how the story is put together, take creative writing classes and workshops, and immerse oneself in how-to-write books. My “bible how-to” reference book is titled STEIN ON WRITING, by Sol Stein. I also read the classic detective authors from the Golden Era of Murder. I read most of my writer friends’ new books, as well as new authors. Favorites include Michael Connolly, T. Jefferson Parker, Sheila Lowe, the UK’s Patricia Cornwall, and Agatha Christie. Also, Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, P.D.James, Pamela Samuels Young, Hannah Dennison, and a host of others. Luckily, I read fast!
I am fortunate to have spent my childhood in Cornwall, then as a reporter in London UK and in Madrid, Spain for seven years. I spent five years working in Bangkok, Thailand, and one year in Bogota, Colombia. I also perform voice-over for radio commercials, and narrate audiobooks, two of which are on amazon.com
My books, DIGGING TOO DEEP. A Tosca Trevant Mystery, DIGGING UP THE DEAD. A Tosca Trevant Mystery, FARANG (Bangkok), and GUNTHER RALL: LUFTWAFFE ACE AND NATO GENERAL (WWII) are on amazon.com, or are available through my web site, www.jillamadiomysteries.com. My ghostwriting site is www.ghostwitingpro.com. I also have a voice-over site with audio examples of my work at www.britvoicejill.com I can be contacted through all of these sites. Just click the Contact button.
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About the Author
Jill Amadio was a reporter in England, Spain, and Thailand, and an investigative journalist in the U.S. She has published fiction and non–fiction, and ghostwrote a true crime and novel. She is the author of the best-selling biography, “Gunther Rall: Luftwaffe Ace and NATO General.” Her debut crime novel, “Digging Too Deep: A Tosca Trevant Mystery”, was the first in a series and introduced a Cornish amateur sleuth from St. Ives, Cornwall, Jill’s childhood home. She now lives in California where Tosca brews tongue-curling mead.