I have long enjoyed reading Jean Henry Mead’s blog posts and posts on a list-serv of which we’re both a part, so I was very happy when she agreed to contribute a Moment on what is perhaps the eve of yet another exciting time in her career.
I never thought about having “made it” in the publishing industry, but I’ve had some satisfying moments, such as when I realized that I’m currently published by five different publishers, including Oak Tree and Poisoned Pen Press.
I’ve been fortunate to sell every book I’ve written, save one that I wrote in fourth grade to entertain classmates. But I had a leg up by beginning my writing career as a news reporter. Since working in a noisy newsroom in San Diego, I think I could write in the middle of a traffic jam. My first few books were nonfiction because that’s what I wrote for years on a daily basis. But what I really wanted to write was fiction. I used a tall stack of research notes from a centennial history book I had written as the background for my first novel, Escape on the Wind, which later resold and was retitled Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel. It remains my best selling book, although I’ve since published five mystery novels, including an autobiographical book this month for children, Mystery of Spider Mountain.
It’s a thrill to receive fan mail from as far away as Portugal, Greece and Bangladesh, which reinforces the “small world” concept. The Internet has brought us all so much closer together and, although my books have only been published in English so far, it’s surprising how many readers in other countries speak our language.
After publishing 14 books with small and mid-sized publishers, I’m currently working on an historical novel that has the potential to be picked up by a major publisher. If that happens, I’ll know then that I have “made it.”
Jean Henry Mead writes mystery/suspense and western historical novels. She’s also an award-winning photojournalist published domestically as well as abroad. Among her writing industry jobs were editor of In Wyoming magazine as well as two small literary presses. She served as historian for Press Women, president of Wyoming Writers, national publicity director and secretary-treasurer for Western Writers of America, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, Wyoming Writers, and Author’s Guild. She also has two blog sites: Mysterious Writers and Writers of the West and blogs regularly at Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery.