Former English professor turned blogger, Jade Blackwell, is enjoying her predictable routine when trouble comes knocking in the form of an old friend and colleague. Unbeknownst to Jade, Gwendolyn Hexby is no longer the successful academic she once knew and trusted—she is now following a new calling as a psychic medium, a contentious career that flies in the face of the logic and deductive reasoning Jade values.
At first, Jade welcomes the visit, but things soon turn bizarre as Gwendolyn brings only disorder danger and disruption. When a murder is prophesied, and a beloved pillar of the Aspen Falls’ community winds up dead, Gwendolyn becomes Sheriff Ross Lawson’s prime suspect.
To get Gwendolyn out of hot water, and more importantly, out of her house, Jade attempts to prove her friend’s innocence. Jade believes she’s finally discovered the truth, but is soon brought back to reality when she learns all is not as it seems in the realm of the metaphysical. Not even murder.
Return to the Jade Blackwell Cozy Mystery Series in Murder Over Medium, as Jade jumps into the fray of a territory not governed by logic or reason—in either this world or the next.
Gilian, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Jade Blackwell is a former English professor who got out of academia while she was still (mostly) sane. She’s now an online entrepreneur—a blogger and ghostwriter. She uses her natural inquisitiveness, analytical skills, and finely-tuned B.S. meter (from years of teaching college students) to solve murderers in the village of Aspen Falls, Wyoming. Born and raised in Aspen Falls, she married her high school sweetheart, Christian. They are happily married and have a daughter, Penelope (Ellie) who is away at college. She’s a sassy homebody who lives in her head.
She loves murder mysteries, especially Agatha Christie. Hercules Poirot is her mentor, and she describes herself as a much younger, better-looking Miss. Marple. She loves her cats, Tommy and Tuppence, but hates cleaning up hairballs.
How alike are you and Jade?
As with many first-time authors, Jade is much like me in the first book Blogging is Murder. But as I continue to get to know her and as I develop as a writer, she is becoming her own distinct personality. So, while we do have a great deal in common, such as our former profession and a dislike for cooking, she is her own woman.
How would you feel about Jade if you met her in real life?
We’d have a blast hanging out together! We could talk literary theory, slow cooker recipes, and of course, murder.
Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
My protagonist does for sure. Jade is currently considering a new business challenge as she’s grown bored with blogging and ghostwriting. Now, she just needs to decide what challenge to take on, which she will do in the next book.
As an example, in the latest book, Murder Over Medium, we see Jade struggling to come to terms with the many changes in her friend and former colleague, Gwendolyn Hexby. Jade still finds solace in logic and data, but Gwendolyn has moved from the world of academia to superstition as a psychic medium. Very slowly throughout the book, we watch Jade soften to the belief in a mystical energy source to some extent. At the end of each book, she’s learned a valuable lesson that she takes with her into her next adventure.
Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
I haven’t killed off a particular person, but many years ago, when I was a potter, I realized what a great murder weapon a clay cutting tool would make. It’s perfect for garroting someone. It even has handles on the ends so you can pull it tight without cutting yourself—much better than piano wire. I must admit it was jolly great fun to put that idea to good use in Book 2, A Time to Kiln.
How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
I spent a lot of time determining the setting. The village of Aspen Falls, Wyoming is fictitious, but its situation in a real location. Since Jade was a college professor just a few years ago, the location needed to be near a university. Not too many in Wyoming, so that really narrowed the field. It needed to be near a mountain range too because I wanted that kind of feel to the setting. So, it ended up being around an hour from Laramie, WY.
Many people have asked me why Wyoming of all places. All I can say is that I tried to move Aspen Falls to Colorado at one point, but Jade wouldn’t have it. I thought since Colorado is so much more populated, it would be easier to write about. Nope. I’d try to write, but Jade wouldn’t show up. I only got a serious case of writer’s block. But as soon as I gave up and went back to Wyoming, all was well again.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
This is the hardest question you’ve asked. I’m not familiar with American actors since I only stream British TV. And a few of these choices would take a miracle to accomplish, but here goes:
An older Honeysuckle Weeks as Jade Blackwell
Michelle Dockery as Gabrielle Langdon and Joanne Froggatt as Deputy Crystal Metcalf
A living Geraldine McEwan as Phyllis Buckley
A younger Michael Kitchen as Christian Blackwell
Emma Watson as Penelope (Ellie) Blackwell
What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard?
Worst advice: Don’t bother. You can’t make a living as a writer.
Best advice: If you’ve got stories in you, write. Just start and learn as you go. Be the best you can be, and keep getting better as you learn the craft. The rest will take care of itself if you write great stories.
About the Author
Gilian Baker is a former English professor who has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and cozy mystery author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.
Gilian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder.
Webpage – http://gilianbaker.com/blogging-murder-first-chapter/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GilianBakerAuthor/
Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/gilian-baker
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252646.Gilian_Baker