Interview with Jennifer Oberth

Published 2014-12-26.
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.

As of 12/26/14, I'm about to publish 'Ella & Jasper Shorts #1'. It's a compilation of three short (very short) stories starring Ella and Jasper. This is a freebie, to allow readers to get a taste of Ella and my writing style. The stories included are 'Ernest Effort', 'Missing Monkey' and 'Close Quarters'. Check them out!
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.

12/26/14 Now I've got a cat coaster, TV remote, a notepad, a pen, one of those wrist things by the mouse and a gray and white kitty who keeps nudging my mouse hand.
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), P.G. Wodehouse (I adore 'Jeeves and Wooster') 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?
As of 06/17/14 Smashwords, mostly.

Update (12/26/14) Now I find new books via a Goodreads thread of freebie ebooks. I've found some great books through that!
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.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

Christmas Caper
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 42,960. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
Ella’s pirate father-in-law is hosting the biggest Christmas bash Port Bass has ever seen. But when a guest is murdered, her husband is three sheets to the wind, and her boss is enamored with his new romance, it’s left up to Ella to solve the murder—quietly. Can she enjoy the holidays while working—without pay? This is the seventh story in the Ella Westin Mysteries and is 42,118 words.
Bury the Boss
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 49,920. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Ella Westin is back at work. Unfortunately, her new boss is convinced someone is trying to kill him. Ella thinks he’s accident-prone. He orders her to find out who’s attacking him—but won’t let her leave his side. Now Ella is the boss’s babysitter. Is it too late to declare a sick day? This is the sixth story in the Ella Westin Mysteries and is 49,254 words.
Queen's Quest
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 31,870. Language: English. Published: August 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Ella Westin is tasked with investigating a haunted house – though she doesn’t believe in such things. A clue leads her straight into the heart of a plot to rob the Port Bass Museum. Can she catch the thieves or will she become one of them? This is the fifth story in the Ella Westin Mysteries and is 30,644 words.
Unpacking the Undertaker
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 40,950. Language: English. Published: December 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Ella is back from her honeymoon and is moving into her new home. She unpacked a particularly heavy crate and got a nasty shock. All she wanted to do was put her books on the bookshelf. Is it too late to close the crate and send it back? This is the fourth story in the in the Ella Westin Mysteries.
Ella & Jasper Shorts
Price: Free! Words: 9,650. Language: English. Published: December 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(5.00 from 1 review)
When Ella marries Joe Westin, she inherits a father-in-law who gets her into more trouble than the bad guys. As a former thief turned government agent, Ella thinks she’s up for any assignment that comes her way, but Jasper Westin just might be more than she can handle. Set in the 1820s, these three quick reads offer a fun glimpse into Ella’s family life. Ernest Effort Missing Monkey Close Quarters
Masked Rider: Origins
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 132,680. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
(3.00 from 1 review)
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
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 27,190. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
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
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,370. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
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)
Series: Case Files of the Hudson Agency, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,440. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
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
Series: The Ella Westin Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,270. Language: English. Published: August 27, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.83 from 6 reviews)
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.
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