Kelly Oliver is the award-winning author of THE JESSICA JAMES COWGIRL PHILOSOPHER MYSTERIES, including WOLF (2016, IPPY AWARD, GOLD MEDAL, Best Mystery ebook & FORWARD AWARD FINALIST, Best Mystery), COYOTE (2016, READER'S CHOICE SILVER FALCHION AWARD), F.O.X. (2017, FINALIST KILLER NASHVILLE CLAYMORE AWARD; 2018 FINALIST SILVER FALCHION AWARD), AND JACKAL (2018).
Kelly was born on July 28, 1958 in Spokane Washington, went to University High School in Spokane Valley, graduated from Gonzaga University with honors in 1979 with a double major in philosophy and communications, and earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in philosophy in 1987. Kelly has held teaching positions at various Universities, including George Washington University, University of Texas at Austin, and Stony Brook University. Currently, Kelly is W. Alton Jones Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. Kelly's nonfiction work includes over 100 articles and over twenty books, including: Hunting Girls: Sexual Violence from The Hunger Games to Campus Rape (which won a CHOICE AWARD for Outstanding Title); Earth and World: Philosophy After the Apollo Missions; Technologies of Life and Death: From Cloning to Capital Punishment; Knock me up, Knock me down: Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Film; Animal Lessons: How They Teach us to be Human; Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex and the Media; The Colonization of Psychic Space: A Psychoanalytic Theory of Oppression; Noir Anxiety: Race, Sex, and Maternity in Film Noir; Witnessing: Beyond Recognition.
The Jessica James Mysteries is truly a work of brilliance. From start to finish it will captivate the mind and grip you from start to finish. It's one of those series that will take you to another place that you will not want to leave. Filled with detail, thrills and all out chills you will not stop at book 1. If you're looking for a suspense thriller to dig your teeth into this summer, then the Jessica James Mysteries are the books for you.
Get your series today: https://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Oliver/e/B001HN3HCM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
1. Authors have very intimate relationships with the characters they create. What about Jessica James intrigues you the most?
I like that Jessica isn't afraid to say what she thinks. She's a straight shooter, and not just with a shotgun. With more wit than grace she's always ready with just the right one-liner to throw some serious shade. When jerks are harassing her, it's very satisfying to see Jessica come back with just the right jab at just the right moment. I'm starting to wonder if she can stay out of trouble long enough to get her degree in philosophy.
2. You have created such a strong and smart protagonist, was she inspired by anyone in your life?
Actually, truth be told, she's inspired by my own experience in graduate school. She's my feminist revenge, and my send up of all of the jerks who tried to trip me up along the way. Writing a fictional world where the heroine comes out on top, whether in the back alleys of Chicago, or the dusty libraries of a fancy university, was a form of therapy that allowed me to imagine a better world where justice is served by a smart-mouthed philosophy graduate student.
Coming from the Rocky Mountains, and never having been in a big city before, Chicago was an eye-opening experience for me. I try to capture some of that newness in Jessica. Coming from a working-class background, I was a fish-out-of-water in grad school with mostly prep-school boys.
Jessica James, my protagonist, is a former Junior barrel racing champion, and she brings her cowgirl grit to face the obstacles thrown in her way by snobs, sexists, and sinister sorts she encounters in the wild and windy city.
3. A great story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates readers imagination, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. Your book includes all of them, what is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone.
I jokingly say, my job gets in the way of my work. So, I need to be able to set aside the pressures of my "day-job" as a philosophy professor at a high-powered research university, and immerse myself in Jessica's world. That means installing myself in my Stickley recliner with a steady flow of earthy green tea, accompanied by my furry muses, Mischief and Mayhem (which are also the names of my character Jessica's horses back home in Montana). Time is the key. I need lots of uninterrupted time to dwell with my characters and focus on creating their world.
4. Besides writing, what are some other activities or hobbies that inspire your creativity?
One of the many pleasures of my day-job as a professor is my work on film. I've written several books on Hollywood films, including Film Noir. And teach courses on Hitchcock. Watching film noir, suspense, and mystery films is inspiring and enlightening. I learn so much about how to move a plot forward and make it cinematic from watching movies.
I recently read a study that walking is great for creativity. It's true. I have some of my best ideas when I'm walking or swimming or x-country skiing. Of course, my very best ideas usually come in the middle of the night. Then I promise myself I will remember them in the morning, but rarely do. The unconscious mind is a powerful creative engine. You have to trust it's doing its work night and day.
5. If you could have anyone living or dead read your book, and give you some feedback who would it be and why?
My beloved mother-in-law, Rosario Ferré, is an important Puerto Rican novelist. Her novel House on the Lagoon was nominated for the National Book Award. She inspired me to write fiction. But she got sick and then passed away before I could show her my first novel. I would absolutely love to be able to talk about creative writing with her.
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