Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Big Questions With Peggy A. Edelheit

1. Who is Samantha Jamison and why are terrible things always happening in her life?

Samantha Jamison, my protagonist, is an Author whose husband, Stephen, was suddenly killed in a questionable death. After receiving unsatisfactory answers from the authorities, Sam goes back to the town of Highlands, North Carolina, where her husband had some history to find out what happened. Once there, Sam befriends several characters that not only end up in the follow-up books, but also are a major influence in future scenarios of trouble for Sam in the Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. 

Initially, Vol. 1, The Puzzle, was to meant be a stand-alone mystery, but in the end, I felt Sam’s story wasn’t finished and should keep going. So Samantha continues as a reluctant sleuth, who still keeps solving and writing about more of her very own thriller/whodunits.

2. Where does your inspiration come from for your writing?

My settings play a major role in where and how the mystery is going to be constructed, who will be in it and how it will play out:
Vol. 1- The Puzzle - Highlands, North Carolina (Smokey Mountains)

Vol. 2- Without Any Warning - Ocean City, New Jersey (The Jersey shore)

Vol. 3- 86 Avenue du Goulet – Les Issambres, France (The French Riviera)

Vol. 4- A Lethal Time - Sanbornton, New Hampshire (The Lakes Region)

Vol. 5- Mouth Of The Rat – Boca Raton, Florida

Vol. 5.5 – The Riviera Is Burning – The French Riviera, France (Same setting as Vol.3)

My characters also play a major role. As each book unfolds, the characters then develop further with their interplay among themselves. Those characters have become such an integral part of the books that their personas tell me what they are going to say and how they are going to react in certain situations. I just let my fingers roll with their dialogue to see where they will take me next. 

3. Are there any characters in your books that reflect your own personality?

I think that there is a little Sam in myself. (Peggy, who abruptly laughs, is not revealing how much) I also think that Martha, a character in her seventies in the series, is a great counterpoint to Sam: an older influence for Sam as an example of what the aging process might be like. Martha pushes and challenges Sam to get out of her comfort zone.

4. What appeals to you most about the Mystery genre?
As a reader, I have read all types of genres over the years, but was always fascinated by mysteries. They make you think and are similar to a puzzle in that you must check all the pieces to make sure they fit to complete the whole picture. If constructed properly, in the end, everything falls neatly into place. I love guessing endings. I think that is why I constantly toss in red herrings to throw my readers off to see if they are really paying attention, and then give them always one, but sometimes throw in two surprise endings. 

5. Has your writing process changed in anyway since you began your series?

Not much. I pretty much have kept to what has worked for me in the past. First I let my setting play into possible scenarios, then I add the characters one by one: some new, some old. I don’t like to throw a lot of characters at the reader too quickly unless it can’t be avoided in certain situations. I always bring the reader up to date from previous books and their history without giving anything away in case they haven’t read that book yet. Each one of my books are standalones, but the books are so much more enjoyable for the reader to start at the beginning to see how Sam and her friends came about and how Sam has changed with each successive book. I also like to throw in a touch of humor.

I like to toss out situations and dialogue to see what sticks and what doesn’t. I have been known to delete whole chapters because it doesn’t feel right or sound right. In this digital age is easy to hit the delete button and start over. Just don’t hit it by mistake.

6. Can you tell us about your newest novel, Volume 5.5, The Riviera Is Burning?

I’m sure you’ve noticed it is Volume 5.5. That was done on purpose because it is a brief break in my mystery series for a personal and true memoir. The Riviera Is Burning is a story of what my family and I went through in fleeing the famous French Riviera fires back in summer of 2003. We had an old 1950’s villa overlooking the Mediterranean. 
7. What made you go in another direction for this book?

It was a harrowing experience and one I will never forget. From that single occurrence, I now have a tremendous respect for, and a fear of, fire. It was a story that I thought needed telling and one I wanted to share with my readers.
8. How has your life changed since you decided to publish your books?

It has changed in so many wonderful ways. To begin with, I am doing what I have always wanted to do. I have met the most amazing authors and readers during this process. I love everyone’s feedback on my books. I love it when they tell me they have a hard time putting the book down. That means I’m doing a good job in holding their interest. I love it when they’re thrown by my endings.
9. What is the best way you have found to reach an audience for your novels?

I have a website where I post blogs and take questions and describe my books.
It is:   I am on Twitter: @samanthajamison

And my books are sold on Amazon where I also have an author page.

I feel that if I have any more social media than this, then I don’t have time to do the one thing I love more than anything else, and that’s writing.

10. Any tips for authors who are interested in writing a Mystery novel?

Become very familiar with the genre. Read and learn from the styles of other authors, but most importantly create your own. Make your own footprint. Have confidence and don’t ever stop believing in yourself. Network with others authors of all genres. It is a wonderful community of talented people you can learn from. They can give you valuable advice and guide you in the process. Only you can make it happen.

Find out more about Peggy and her addictive Samantha Jamison novels!


Twitter: @samanthajamison 


  1. I love this author and her series of mysteries with Samantha Jamieson as a "relunctant sleuth". They are always a fun read and hold your interest. It was nice to have an insight as to the inner workings of the author's mind and to see how she comes up with her fantastic characters and stories. J. Trudel

  2. Cool!!! Fabulous idea for your next adventure!!! Thank you for sharing the interview! It's nice to get to know a little more about such a wonderful person and fine author.