From the Booking Desk:
Jessica has been a fan and supporter of BOLO Books for a number of years now. I think we first met at the Toronto Bouchercon, when I moderated a star-studded panel on LGBTQ+ crime fiction. I so appreciate her sharing, liking, and commenting on my social media content. Jessica is a staunch advocate for #ownvoices stories and can often be found on social media spreading the word on that cause. I was thrilled when Jessica agreed to join the ranks of the Composite Sketch profile subjects, because I knew that not only would *I* enjoy learning more about her, so would the rest of you out there in cyberland. Let’s take a look at her answers.
Name: Jessica Laine
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
My Peruvian grandmother, Mama Dina, is my greatest inspiration. She was a tiny woman who loomed large as the matriarch of her family. After her older brothers appropriated her inheritance, she left home and became an entrepreneur at the age of fifteen. Aside from creating a business, she raised eight children and worked as a curandera or healer. As a grandmother, Mama Dina was a kick, always game to try new things. One evening, we watched the movie, Escape From New York. Afterwards, she said, “Snake Plissken is a great American hero.” Damn straight.
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
I admire the “Two Harts” of Minnesota: authors Erin Hart and Ellen Hart. I met Erin Hart after I signed up for her online crime writing class. Erin’s class was a blessing: distracting me from my worries while I was on bedrest, teaching me the fundamentals of story, and reinforcing my love of crime fiction.
Likewise, I met MWA Grand Master, Ellen Hart, after I enrolled in one of her crime writing classes. She told me I was a good writer, but that my manuscript was not good. After digesting her feedback, I submitted a revised draft and Ellen said something like, “You listened. You might have what it takes to become a crime writer.”
I would not have won the Eleanor Taylor Bland award from Sisters in Crime without Erin and Ellen. I am proud to call these kind, talented women my mentors and friends. Everyone should read their books (the Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire, Jane Lawless, and Sophie Greenaway series) because they are excellent examples of how to write compelling crime fiction.
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
Kristen Lepionka’s P.I., Roxane Weary, is smart, funny, tough and messed up in a good way. I just know we’d be best friends in real life! As I write my novel about a Latina P.I., I consider the Roxane Weary series the gold standard in the private detective subgenre.
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
I have a life-long obsession with Madonna which began when I saw her rolling around on the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a skimpy wedding dress. She was the first performer I saw live in concert: my parents bought me tickets to her Virgin Tour. I admire her intelligence, creativity, and longevity in an industry where many artists have a short shelf life. Madonna is a force of nature and I love her to pieces.
My personal catch phrase is (or should be):
Someone once said this quote reminded them of me:
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Hi, Jessica! Great composite sketch and I can’t wait until I get to read your book!
Oh, thank you, Sherry!
Wonderful, and I have yet to meet Jessica. I look forward to it. Thanks for another great BOLO Composite, Kristopher
I love how many of the big names in our community take the time to mentor those just starting out. Thanks for highlighting the Harts.
I’d venture to say that anyone who can name check both Ellen Hart and Kristen Lepionka in the same CS article has to be someone whose work I need to check out.
Count me in as a huge fan of Ellen Hart’s Jane Lawless series.