Women and Adversity:
Sue Ann Jaffarian, Novelist
Mystery Series/Short Stories
Sue Ann Jaffarian is a cheerful, upbeat person, who wove her on-the-job experience as a paralegal with the mysteries she writes, which are also woven with lots of humor. Odelia Grey, a plus-sized sleuth, is the main character in the first series Jaffarian wrote, and when asked if she is Odelia Grey, Jaffarian said her stock answer is that Odelia dresses better and swears less.
When Jaffarian retired, she chose to travel the country in a van she named Novella. She continues to write fiction, accepts speaking engagement, and does in-house pet sitting.
JAM: What was the biggest obstacle you faced when you decided to write a book in 1995?
SAJ: The biggest obstacle was staying committed to my goal. It’s so easy to doubt yourself and give up. It’s also easy to let other things get in the way. In order to reach any goal, you need to have a laser-like commitment to it.
JAM: How long did it take you to get your first agent?
SAJ: I got my first agent very quickly after finishing my first book. I started querying agents and landed one in New York surprisingly fast, which is very unusual.
JAM: Why specifically did you feel you needed a different agent?
SAJ: My first agent handled my first two manuscripts but never got them sold. We came close, but nothing came of it. When I wrote Too Big to Miss, she hated the book, but I believed in it and we parted ways. I went on to self-publish it, and the second in the series. But I knew if I wanted a serious career at that point, I needed to get it traditionally published. I queried a few agents and my current agent recognized its potential immediately. The book that my first agent hated went on to launch my career.
JAM: Did new or unique obstacles occur as you wrote each of your series?
SAJ: The biggest obstacle to any writer writing multiple series is time management. You have to juggle books, deadlines, and different lists of characters. You also have to make sure the characters in the books don’t sound too much like each other, or that the plots are not similar. Sometimes I would come up with a plot and think it doesn’t fit that series, but does another.
JAM: What obstacle/s do you face now as a writer?
SAJ: Time is always an obstacle. Even though I am now retired from my day job, I still have to stay committed to my craft and self-imposed deadlines. I continue to juggle numerous projects and struggle to keep my butt in the chair to make sure I get them done. In addition, I am mostly self-published or independently published now. It’s a new world out there for independent authors, unlike when I did it before. But now I also have to carve out time for marketing and publishing as well as writing.
JAM: Name one biographical fact you want people to know?
SAJ: I now live full-time on the road in an RV. I am a nomadic writer. I travel around, seeing this beautiful country, while still staying committed to my writing career.
My advice to new or budding writers: Remember that real wrie4rs write. They don’t sit around and talk about doing it “one day.” Writing is active, not passive. Set your goal and put one foot in front of the other until you get here. IT’s the only way to make anything happen. And believe in yourself, even when others do not.
September 24 – Barbara Kyle – Actress turned Author