Q&A with Jonathan Neville, author of The California Blues


Q: Most think of perfect weather and Hollywood when they think of California. Why the California blues?


Neville: I've lived in California and there are plenty of blues to go around. Plus, the title refers to some of the characters who are cops.


Q: Like James' sister, Sharon. She's grown up a lot from the previous novel, A Perfect Mother.


Neville: As have all the members of the family. It's a completely different world in California, yet they haven't escaped what happened back in Connecticut, either. It's still with them, years later.


Q: As well as some things that take place in their new home.


Neville: That's always the case, isn't it? We think we're escaping something and then something worse happens that wouldn't have happened had we not escaped from the first thing. We're not going to avoid troubles, are we?


Q: I can't imagine how a teenager could cope with what Jimmy has to in this book. Why are you so mean to him?


Neville: It's part of his life-forming experience. He'll need every ounce of character-building he can get.


Q: That's an interesting way to describe it. He's already been through two extremely horrible events and we're only in the second book.


Neville: That's why I've said there are seven major life events in his life, each covered by a separate book. But there are many more life-changing occurrences in his life, some described in the books and some in between.


Q: Are you going to write them?


Neville: Some of them, sure. Maybe they'll be Kindle shorts, like the way Lee Child has done with Jack Reacher. 


Q: I hesitate to ask, but is this one based on your personal experience?

Neville: Not exactly, but I've had personal experience with murder and attempted murder. My youngest brother was murdered and one of my clients tried to murder me. Nearly succeeded, actually.


Q: You better explain that one.


Neville: Knife in the back, through the spine. That's all I'll say now. Ask me again when book 3 comes out.


Q: Wow. Okay, it's a deal. Now, give us some advice for beginning authors.


Neville: Three words: Live and Write. You've got to live as much life as you can, given your circumstances, and you've got to practice describing it. You need both, and they're both essentially free. Except they require effort and that's not easy. Otherwise everyone would do it.