Interview with Jennifer Oberth

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love making people laugh. It's a rare treat that I get to be in the same room as someone reading my book but when it happens and they laugh, that's my greatest joy. I write to entertain people, to let people forget their troubles for a while, to escape. When I succeed in that, that's the best thing I can think of for all the blood, sweat and tears that went into my stories.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean everything to me. I'm a fan first so I know what it's like to lose myself in a world somebody else created and to love the characters so much that I miss them when I get to the end. (This is one of the reasons I adore series.)

So to have fans of my own is a wonderful feeling. It's my little way of giving back to the world what I got from it. I hope I can entertain, make people laugh, even inspire someone with my stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest book I wrote is 'The Least Favorite Brother' but it's not ready for publication. (The next book I'll publish is 'The Masked Rider and the Hidden Hollow Hotel'.)

'The Least Favorite Brother'

"A former-secret-service-agent-turned-private-detective runs into a burning building and discovers two of her brothers unconscious. She only has time to save one and is so guilt-ridden when the brother she left to die survives in a coma, she is as stuck at his bedside as he is."

I wanted that impossible decision to drive the rest of the story and figure out how this woman will solve the mystery while refusing to leave her brother's side.
What are you working on next?
As of 06/17/14, I'm close to publishing the second 'Masked Rider' novel, 'The Masked Rider and the Hidden Hollow Hotel'. The Westins travel to a remote and deserted town and chaos ensues in typical fashion for the Westins.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Chicago. It influences my writing in that I'm prone to setting my stories in Illinois and/or large cities. I also believe it's given me a fantastic pool of people to draw from - Chicago is made up of eclectic people of all races, sizes, colors and, of course, there are more food choices than you could believe.

We also have the mid-Western work ethic which I didn't even know was a thing until I got a job in California and my boss raved about me for showing up on time and doing my job every day. Yeah...that's called working...and not something the least bit impressive...I suppose that's helped me be disciplined, focused and dedicated enough to write and publish.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I queried New York agents, I followed their guidelines to a 'T', I poured over mailings and e-mails and I set myself up for a long wait and playing the game that every writer has done for decades. I got a few rejections but more often, I heard nothing back. Then one day, I spent an hour or so preparing an e-mail to the exact specifications of an agent and hit send. Seconds later, I received a rejection. Nobody even bothered to read the e-mail - and I'd had it. I'd been reading about indie authors and I decided to spend my time and energy pursuing that line of publication and couldn't be happier.
Describe your desk
Right now (06/17/14) I've got my physical day planner under my monitor, two paperclips, five cat coasters, a TV remote, a stapler, two Nooks and a Tortie cat sitting on one of my pens and resting her head on one of the Nooks. I also have the notebook in which I wrote the sixth 'Masked Rider' novel ('Ricky Redd's Revenge'), ready for me to continue typing in the last fifty pages.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I don't really have an inspiration to get out of bed on a daily basis. I get out of bed because that's what you're supposed to do. I get out of bed because otherwise I'd be bored to tears laying there getting nothing done. :) (I am kind of Type A so...)

Having said that, there are mornings I feel excitement at the thought of what that day will bring - going to my nieces' house, a full day of writing, a relative coming to visit and so on. But generally, I get up just because.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mysteries. More specifically, cozy mysteries. I love getting lost in an author's world of fun and humor. I adore character-heavy books, too.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tamar Myers, Arthur Conan Doyle (not his novels), Joan Hess, E.J. Copperman, Jenn McKinley, Ella Barrick (the Ballroom Dance Mysteries), Joe Konrath (his awesome and highly entertaining blog) and last but not least, Ellie Oberth.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Nook Simple Touch. I got it because of the e-ink technology. They say it's as easy on the eyes as reading a physical paperback and I can now attest to that.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Smashwords, mostly.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I love Smashwords, both as a reader and as an author. I love their distribution network and sell more of my work on Barnes and Noble than any other store, including the Smashwords website. I could upload my books directly to Barnes and Noble (or any other outlet) but so far, I enjoy Smashwords' 'one-stop selling' and I let them handle the payments and the charts for me while I focus on the writing.
Published 2014-06-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Masked Rider: Origins
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 132,700. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Holly Westin is having a bad week. Cavalry soldiers storm into her village hunting a fugitive. A neighbor is killed, Holly's brother arrested and everyone wants to capture the mysterious Masked Rider. She’s determined to free her brother but can she do it with the captain courting her, the fugitive hiding on her land and her father drinking while the in-laws visit? 128,507 words.
Georgia Meets Virginia
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 27,190. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Freelance Chef Ginny Travis knocked on a door and minutes later, she's investigating a murder. It's enough to kill anyone's appetite... 1st in the Georgia H. Mysteries. 'Georgia Meets Virginia' is 25,664 words.
Toxic Train
By
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,370. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Ella takes the train home from her honeymoon. One of the passengers is killed, one is a murderer and one wants to lock Ella up for her own good. With Joe distracting her more than the killer, will Ella slip and let killer strike again? Will her confidence go off the rails or will she be able to protect the passengers and her husband? This is the third story in the Ella Westin Mysteries.
Mr. E In Cabin 187 (The Hudson Agency)
By
Series: Case Files of the Hudson Agency, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,440. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Case #2: From The Case Files of the Hudson Agency. A murder on a cruise sets Warren Eisenchezarrarus — better known as Mr. E. — on the hunt for a killer. The murder weapon can't exist, the detective's assistant is as green as a seasick turtle and worst of all, Mr. E. is supposed to be on vacation! How will he find the culprit with so few clues on a cruise ship full of suspects? 6,693 words
Honeymoon Homicide
By
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,290. Language: English. Published: August 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Ella is awakened in the middle of the night by her new husband. But it's not what you think – he wants her to solve a murder. At 4 a.m. Can she do it? Or will she add another homicide to her honeymoon? This is the second story in the Ella Westin Mysteries.
Married To Murder
By
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,550. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Ella doesn't recall adding 'solve a murder' to her bridal to-do list but when she stumbles over the body of her matron of honor, she has no choice; her groom is the only suspect. Throw in a deaf hairdresser, a ruined wedding cake and a not so retired pirate and Ella wants to throttle everyone in sight. Can she catch the killer before the wedding is called off? Or will she be Married To Murder?