Friday, August 17, 2012

Author Joanna Campbell Slan Debuts New Series

With the release of DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL this month, author Joanna Campbell Slan debuts a new series. I’m delighted to welcome Joanna here today to talk about her new series, The Jane Eyre Chronicles.

First, here a brief description of her current release:
DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL begins where the iconic classic left off: Jane has married her beloved master, Edward Rochester, and they have a son. When word arrives that Rochester’s ward Adèle is in danger, Jane races to London to check on the girl’s safety at the boarding school where she is enrolled. Upon arrival, Jane is mistaken for an errant German teacher. This case of mistaken identity proves useful when Jane learns that one of Adèle’s schoolmates has died under mysterious circumstances. Jane decides to go undercover to protect the other children. Thus begins Jane Eyre’s “career” as an amateur sleuth. 
Rarely has an existing literary figure been so ideally suited for the role of a snoop. By her own admission, Jane is plain and insignificant, so she blends in well and she does not call attention to herself. Jane is also a keen observer, a skill she’s honed through her work as a sketch artist. Most importantly, Jane has an innate, unquenchable thirst for justice, and this drives her to be daring and curious even in situations where she might face personal risk.

Now Joanna has graciously answered some questions for me.

Mason - What led you to begin a new series and why not use a pseudonym as many authors do when writing something different?
Death of a Schoolgirl 
Joanna - If you aren’t growing, you’re getting stale. I’m always up for a new challenge, and as a reader, I never wanted Jane Eyre to end. So, returning to a book that I loved and that shaped my life was a natural development. As for the pseudonym, I’m known for writing about spunky women who are underdogs. I’ve been a book author since 1998, as well as a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, so I am confident my long-time readers will want to see my newest offering. 
Mason - What is the most difficult aspect of beginning a new series? 
Joanna - You have to build a world, a universe for your characters to inhabit. Getting those details right takes time and a great deal of thought. Oh, and having a fantastic editor is very helpful.
Mason - What do you think is the appeal of all things Jane Eyre? 
Joanna - Most of us know what it feels like to be insignificant. Many of us were/are/or consider ourselves plain. A great number of us have felt unloved and unwanted. That Jane survives all of this and goes on to triumph is a victory we can savor.

Mason - Was research a difficult or easy task for this book? 
Joanna - I love doing research. History was my best subject in school. The trick is not to let yourself use research as an excuse to quit writing. I find it best to research a book at four different stages: 1.) Before I start 2.) As I write 3.) When I’m done and 4.) In the editing process.  

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Joanna - I plan to die with my fingers on a keyboard, tapping out a new story. I’ve turned in DEATH OF A DOWAGER, the second book in The Jane Eyre Chronicles, and I have a lot of ideas for other series. That said, my readers can always expect that I’ll give every book my very best. All I ever wanted was to write books. I know how lucky I am to be an author!

Joanna, thanks so much for answering my questions. I think we, the readers, are the lucky ones that you are an author and provide us with use intriguing books.

Here’s a bit of background on Joanna. She is the author of 11 non-fiction books, as well as the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series, which began with PAPER, SCISSORS, DEATH, an Agatha Award finalist. RT Book Reviews has called Joanna a “rising star” in the mystery genre. 

The Slans lived briefly in Sunningdale, Berkshire, UK, less than a mile from Agatha Christie’s house. She and her husband David live on Jupiter Island, FL, with their two dogs, Victoria and Rafferty, a three-legged rescue pup. 

For more on Joanna and her writing, visit her online at You can also find her on Facebook at:

Are you a Jane Eyre fan? Doesn’t that book cover just draw you in? Do you think authors should use a different pen name when they write a different series? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Friday and remember sharing books is a good thing.  


  1. Joanna, thanks again for guest blogging. Your new series has an interesting and fun take on Jane Eyre. Wishing you much success.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Joanna.

    Joanna - I have to admit I'm a fan of historical mysteries. So I think it's interesting that you chose an historical fictional character. And I like doing research too when I write - I always learn. I wish you much success!

  3. I love historical mysteries and I love Jane Eyre and so this might be a perfect story for me. Thanks for the interview and I do love the cover.

  4. Sounds like an excellent series. Glad the author thought of it!

  5. Jane Eyre was a favorite of mine and a kid. It takes some creativity to take an established fictional icon and put her/him into a new setting.

    Congratulations on your creativity and new series!

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  6. Mason, thanks for having me. It's much appreciated!

  7. Margot, isn't it amazing what you learn? I didn't know that Waverly, by Sir Walter Scott, was first published anonymously. Who would guess? But I picked up a book on another subject, and that factoid was there, so I went back and changed it in my manuscript. All this goes to prove, the more you learn the more you realize you don't know squat!

  8. Harvee, I'm fortunate that no author thought of this before, because Jane makes an excellent sleuth, IMHO.

  9. Sis, in some ways, it's a daring move because you realize you're tampering with an icon. But...I loved Jane Eyre and never wanted it to end, so why not?

  10. Clarissa, isn't the cover divine? I've seen an early version of the cover for "Death of a Dowager." The London Opera House is front and center. So I guess I'll have to keep thinking up atmospheric locations, won't I? (Fortunately, that's not hard when your book is set in the UK.)

  11. Nice getting to know more about you, Joanna. I love research, too.

    Hi, Mason!

  12. I loved The Jane Eyre Chronicles, your latest book. What a wonderful reintroduction into the past. I am amazed that you have already started on Death of a Dowager. I cannot wait to see it in print.

    Keep up your fantastic work.



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