My guest today is Nancy Lynn Jarvis, author of a mystery series inspired by her career in real-estate.
Do you remember what happened to the real estate market in 2008? I’d been a Realtor for twenty years when the crash happened and I’d never seen anything like it before. I knew it was time to take a timeout and try something new; it was my chance to make my very own type of lemonade out of a lemon market.
Like anyone who has been a Realtor for more than two weeks, I had stories to tell. Those amassed tales became the backdrop for writing mysteries set in the real estate community using a protagonist named Regan McHenry who, in addition to finding her clients the perfect home, sometimes finds bodies in those homes.
The real client who dropped off the face of the earth in the middle of an escrow was the basis for The Death Contingency. Kids who couldn’t wait to start digging for a dog the seller said was buried in their new backyard was a natural start for Backyard Bones. One reader complained that the premise for Buying Murder, that human remains were discovered in a wall anomaly, was unbelievable didn’t realize that the idea came from the building inspector who joked that he found Jimmie Hoffa in a hollow where several walls converged. And the Widow’s Walk League in which newly created widows ask Regan to list their homes…well it’s just good word of mouth run amok.
Realtors walking in on naked people, falling into abandoned septic tanks, discovering a long lost urn containing a family relative, agreeing to meet a new client at an empty house and not having it turn out well are all real experiences that make good background details for real estate mysteries. And “feeling something” in an empty house where someone had been murdered got me started on The Murder House.
Clients and tenants like the woman who wore a tin foil hat so aliens hovering over her house couldn’t read her mind, and the inspectors and escrow officers I’ve worked with became book characters, and please don’t get me started on office mates and associates.
Being a Realtor has also inspired a new writing venture. With so much experience coordinating people and transactions, why not use that experience to get a group of a hundred-and- twenty-eight cozy mystery writers together and compile a cookbook of recipes from their books? Easy, right? Well maybe not, but Cozy Food is fabulous.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis thinks you should try something new every few years. Writing the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series is her newest adventure and she’s been having so much fun doing it that she’s finally acknowledged she’ll never sell another house. 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.
To keep her writing fresh after four mysteries, she took a time out to write Mags and the AARP Gang, a comedy about a group of renegade octogenarian bank robbers. But she missed her husband and wife team of Regan and Tom and their friend Dave, a former police officer who has been forced into a semi-retired position as Santa Cruz Police Ombudsman after losing an eye in a shoot-out, so much that she came back to mystery writing with The Murder House and is working on the sixth book in the series.
To find Nancy’s books: http://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Lynn-Jarvis/e/B002CWX7IQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1399987738&sr=1-2-ent
Nancy’s website: http://www.goodreadmysteries.com
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