Julia interviews Jeri Westerson

Jeri Westerson is author of Veil Of Lies first in the Crispin Guest series from St. Martin’s. Visit the author's web site.

Tell me a bit about yourself, your writing, and the scoop on your sensational debut novel. Yep, it’s an elevator talk!

I’m an L.A. native and haven’t managed to live outside of southern California. Don’t want to, really. I started out as a would-be actress, became a graphic artist, and then turned my attention to writing historical fictiongetting nowhere fast. Switched to historical mystery and everything changed! November sees the debut of the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series starting with VEIL OF LIES. Ex-knight turned criminal investigator Crispin Guest finds that a routine case of adultery turns to murder involving a tight-lipped Arab, an Italian syndicate, and a mysterious cloth with the face of Christ.

Where can readers see you this year? Will you be attending Team Jordan’s October soiree, oops, I mean Bouchercon in Baltimore?

I will indeed be at Bouchercon in Baltimorewithout a book yet again! It isn’t officially released until October 28, but as per usual, I will have nifty bookplates to sign for anyone interested. Think of them as collector’s items! I will also be doing a drop in to some of the bookstores in Maryland, DC, and Virginia the week following but you’d have to be fast to catch me. There will also be a California tour (where I will slow down and finally have the book), from San Diego to San Francisco the first week of December. Stay tuned! (Keep abreast of things by reading my blog “Getting Medieval”.

How would you define the kind of fiction you write, and what in your life influenced you to write it?

I write medieval mystery with a decidedly hard-boiled twist. I came by the medieval part honestly, having grown up in a household where both parents were rabid Anglophiles with a deep interest in all things medieval. You couldn’t swing a cat around our house without hitting a history book or a piece of historical fiction. And I suppose I came by the hard-boiled/noir part honestly as well, having grown up on the mean streets of L.A. (South Central, a stone’s throw from Watts) in the sixties. The dark moodiness of noir, the hard-boiled detective where he seems unaffected by the action around him, was an idea that drew me to writing mysteries. Throw in a little Errol Flynn action (both the adventure aspect as well as action with the ladies); shake it all up, and out pops “Medieval Noir”, my own personal subgenre. It’s more Sam Spade than Brother Cadfael, but one hopes Crispin Guest might prove just as popular as Hammett’s man.

Tell us about some writers, or books, you’d like to introduce folks to...

Simon Levack writes an Aztec mystery series set in 16th century Mexico, beginning with Demon of the Air. Very different and in a time period not well known to readers. He does a marvelous job of marrying mystery with an exotic setting and era. And for a bit of non-fiction I’ve been reading Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Her subject may be heavy but her writing style is light and funny. You will learn things you never imagined and probably didn’t want to know.

Jeri Westerson

Share

“I write medieval mystery with a decidedly hard-boiled twist. I came by the medieval part honestly, having grown up in a household where both parents were rabid Anglophiles with a deep interest in all things medieval. You couldn’t swing a cat around our house without hitting a history book or a piece of historical fiction.”