Monday, July 29, 2019

Personal Loss and a New Series: Guest post by NANCY LYNN JARVIS

Personal loss Ends the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series but gives Birth to Private Investigator Pat and a lot more cozy fun.

When I started writing the first of seven books in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series, everyone was someone I knew and all locations were real, too. As I wrote, characters quickly got renamed and became my creatures. They were free to do what I wanted them to do; free to sometimes become murderers.

I was an active real estate agent when I began the series, so telling stories about my profession was easy and the books had an authentic ring. But time passed and I let my license lapse. Technology had so greatly modified the day to day workings of the business that my stories were in danger of becoming dated and stale, and after a decade, I was having less fun with Regan.

But the end of my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series came about because of the death of my husband. Regan was happily married to Tom Kiley, her business partner. I was happily married to Craig, my computer savvy /beta reader/cover implementer. Craig wasn’t Tom, but in my mind, Tom’s blue eyes were exactly the same color as my husband’s eyes were. I saw them as I wrote Tom.

I did do one more book, The Two Faced Triplex, after Craig died, but it was painful to write. And when it was time to do the cover, always our favorite shared activity, the man I hired to help me made me cry. It was time to retire Regan and Tom and start a new series.

I have a good friend who is an unlicensed private investigator. She never wants to become licensed because she doesn’t care to spend three years as an apprentice working for a licensed private investigator, but mostly, she often works outside the box and doesn’t want to be limited by the codes that go along with a license.

Her name is Pat and she’s a mesmerizing story teller. I’ve used things she’s told me about her work for several books, especially The Two Faced Triplex and I have enough story plots from her adventures to do several books. I suggested we should collaborate: she could supply details and authenticity about how she works, and I would make up stuff for the sake of the story. The concept of PIP (private investigator Pat) Inc. was born with The Glass House, the first book in a planned series.

I’ve taken liberties with her character just like I always have before, but an awful lot of who Pat Pirard is comes directly from my friend. The real Pat loves bright clothing, jewelry, sunburst yellow Mercedes convertibles and .357 magnums; so does Private Investigator Pat. The real Pat was a law librarian who retired. PI Pat was a law librarian who was downsized. Both are fearless, intuitive, quite clever, and see connections others might overlook.

Pat’s best friend, Syda Gonzales, is a not-very-accomplished artist who thinks she may have found her true artistic medium in writing. She suggests she might become Watson to Pat’s Sherlock Holmes and write stories about their adventures. Any similarities to me are, of course, purely fictional.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis finally acknowledged she was having too much fun writing to ever sell another house, so she let her license lapse in May of 2013, after her twenty-fifth anniversary in real estate. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC. Real estate details and ideas come from Nancy's own experiences. Be sure and read her essay above about her new series!


Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Thanks for having me on your blog, Janet. I'm always pleased when I get to share my books with your readers.

Anonymous said...

A sad and fun essay. I'm going to look for these books (old series and new).