Interview with J. L. Brown

Published 2016-08-19.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy for me is to create something out of nothing. The characters in my Jade Harrington series have lives of their own; I could not now "uncreate" them. When a reader comes up to me and says, "I'm wondering what Jade's doing now?" or "What is Whitney doing now?" or "I hate Cole so much, I want to punch him in the face!" it infuses me with satisfaction. And makes me happy.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything. I write because I must--like breathing or eating--but I love receiving feedback from my readers. To entertain them or move them or compel someone to learn more about an issue that s/he read about in one of my books, makes all the ups and downs about the writing process worthwhile.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing.
Who are your favorite authors?
Wow. There are so many. Some of them, not in any particular order, are: F. Scott Fitzgerald, E.M. Forster, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Leo Tolstoy, Ken Follett, Harlan Coben, Pat Conroy, Herman Wouk, Ann Patchett, and Patricia Cornwell.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm an Army brat, so I grew up everywhere and nowhere. I spent most of my childhood in Fairfax, Virginia. This location influenced my writing in many ways. Jade Harrington lives in Northern Virginia. If you grew up there or are from the area, parts of my books should be familiar to you. When you grow up near the most powerful city in the world, geopolitics are local politics. So, it's no surprise that I've always loved political thrillers and spy novels, and why I enjoy writing about the government and politics.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was in high school, and I wrote a story about a boy who played basketball. If I recall, it didn't have much of a plot. I thought I came to writing late in life, but that story proves I had it in me all along.
What is your writing process?
As an accountant by trade, I'm a natural outliner. I start with one sentence of what the book is about, and then turn that sentence into a paragraph. The paragraph becomes four pages. From there, I create 100 short scenes in an Excel spreadsheet. I also draft pretty detailed character sketches for my main characters. Once my destination and guardrails are in place, I'm ready to write.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading. I almost always have a book in my hand.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read different genres: thrillers, mystery / suspense, literature, current events, politics, biographies, historical fiction, and science fiction. I love to try new authors.
Describe your desk
Ouch. I write at a cherry executive desk. I like my desk to be organized--everything in its place--but the longer I'm in the writing process (working on a draft), the more it looks like a paper-folder bomb went off on its surface. During breaks between drafts, I organize my desk again. And the cycle continues.
What are you working on next?
I am working on the second book in the Jade Harrington series. Jade, Whitney, and Cole are back from Don't Speak for more thrills. And a few surprises.
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Books by This Author

Rule of Law: A Jade Harrington Novel
Series: Jade Harrington, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,670. Language: English. Published: August 19, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » African American fiction » Mystery & detective
FBI Special Agent Jade Harrington holds the line in a case that hits too close to home, personally and professionally. Vengeance. Betrayal. Justice. Duty. The thrills of Don't Speak continue with Rule of Law.
The Divide: A Jade Harrington Novel
Series: Jade Harrington, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 81,550. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » African American fiction » Mystery & detective
Divided we fall . . . Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Jade Harrington and her team have their hands full with a new case. Someone is murdering people who appear to have little in common—aside from the fact that they’re prominent one-percenters.
The Jade Harrington Series: Books 1-3 (With Bonus Short Story: Few Are Chosen)
Series: Jade Harrington. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 251,290. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » African American fiction » Mystery & detective
Meet Jade Harrington. The first three thrillers in the Jade Harrington series: Don’t Speak, Rule of Law, and The Divide.
Few Are Chosen, A Jade Harrington Short Story
Series: Jade Harrington, Book 0. Price: Free! Words: 4,400. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Get to Know Jade Harrington You know what they say about “curiosity”… Before she grew up to become a badass FBI agent, Jade Harrington was a curious and precocious child. One day a mysterious stranger visited her family and changed her life forever. Few Are Chosen is a short story prequel to the Jade Harrington Series.
Don't Speak: A Jade Harrington Novel
Series: Jade Harrington, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 79,640. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » African American fiction » Mystery & detective
The nursery rhyme was wrong. Words can hurt you. Ambitious, twenty-something FBI Special Agent Jade Harrington cuts her vacation short to investigate the murder of a conservative radio personality only to discover that he may be the victim of a serial killer.