Jayne E. Self's Murder in Hum Harbour

My guest today is Jayne Self. In her own words, Jayne is “a middle-aged blonde, a pastor’s wife, mom and grandma. I’ve worked as a telephone operator, chambermaid, grocery store clerk and nurse, but my involvements in church music and writing are what I love most. I’m a small town girl who’s lived coast to coast in Canada. Trips to Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana and Disney World, have spiced up my humble life, but I am always glad to get home.I am also a member of The Word Guild, a Canadian Association of Writers and Editors who are Christian, and Crime Writers of Canada.”

Welcome, Jayne! It’s always a pleasure to chat with another author, and a traveler! Tell us about your latest release.

Jayne – It’s Murder In Hum Harbour: A Seaglass Mystery.

Gailynn MacDonald is what most people would consider an underachiever. She’s content living in the same Nova Scotian fishing village she grew up in, and has no desire to leave—even for a holiday. As part-time jewelry crafter, and part-time medical receptionist, she thinks she knows everything about everyone in Hum Harbour. That’s until she finds her employer, Doc Campbell, dead aboard his beached yacht, and her sister-in-law becomes the prime suspect. Gailynn vows to catch Doc’s killer.

After five years in Somalia, Geoff Grant, Doc’s handsome replacement, moves back to Hum Harbour looking for peace and healing. What he finds instead is quirky, over-excitable Gailynn.

Disaster, humor and romance ensue as he tries to calm the discord, and mitigate the conflicts her well-intentioned sleuthing unleashes. And in the process he helps Gailynn discover that catching a killer is a lot like crafting her seaglass jewelry… it’s all in the details.

Anne - What do you enjoy most about writing?

Jayne - I love the creative process. I love closing the door and losing myself in my characters. I love spinning stories and surprisingly, I enjoy writing confrontations. Maybe it’s because I am so not confrontational, but I find writing arguments totally fun!

Anne - What part do you loathe?

Jayne - Honestly, I haven’t found an aspect of writing I loathe. But approaching folks to promote the finished product makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Anne – I’m okay with the approaching people, part of my background in sales, I suppose, but it’s the time it all takes afterward that wears me down! What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing?

Jayne - When I look back over the five books I’ve written, I see a recurring theme: belonging. I’m adopted, and I always thought I was very well adjusted. No deep seeded issues coloring my world view. Surprise! The flip side, though, is that I get to explore those issues from the safety of my computer. I watch my characters grapple with their need to belong, and I learn from them. It feels a bit like cheating, but I’m okay with that.

Anne - How many rejections have you received?

Jayne - I had planned to paper my bathroom with them, but editors started corresponding via email. It seemed a supreme waste of paper to print off all those no thank yous. My most memorable rejection was probably my first personal one. The editor was so nice, and positive about my manuscript, I thought he couldn’t possible mean me. Of course, my book still “didn’t fit their publishing needs” at that time, but he assured me it would find a home some day. I’m still looking.

Anne - Any advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Jayne - Persist. Don’t assume that if your first piece doesn’t sell, it’s curtains for you. No matter who you are, or how great your idea, chances are your writing can be stronger. So make it stronger! Use all the resources at your disposal. Accept criticism. Write. Rewrite. Send it out again. Write something new. Just don’t give up.

Anne - Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud of? 

Jayne - My family. I know that’s not an accomplishment, but God has blessed me with such wonderful husband and sons, daughter-in-law and grandson, that I am simply thrilled to be connected with them. Wealth and fame might be good, too. But my family is more than enough.

Anne – Your 5 favs: author, actor, movie, song and quote, please!

Jayne - Author: Dorothy Dunnett, Actor: Russell Crowe, Movie: Doctor Zhivago, Song: Here With Me by Mercy Me, Quote: 1. “He’s going over the waterfall!” Random mall customer referring to my toddler in the food court fountain. (Should I mention my hubby was watching the kids while I picked up the food?), Quote: 2. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matt 28:20. Which it might have been, had my husband not jumped into the water, and fished our son out.

Anne – LOL. What a lovely story! Too funny. Okay, back to the task at hand. :) Would you share an excerpt from Murder In Hum Harbour with us?

Jayne – Certainly!

I learned something new about myself the day I found Doc Campbell. Dead bodies freak me out.
A cold fog shrouded the world that morning and after the weekend storm, the silent waves nuzzling the shore seemed insanely gentle. I kept my head down, studying the wet gravel as I walked. Anywhere, at any moment, a brilliant sliver of sea glass might catch my eye. Sea glass is a treasure to be gathered, hoarded and sparingly used in the jewelry I create.  I spotted a slice of violet and crouched low, unable to believe my good fortune. Violet sea glass is among the rarest of jewels.
Beyond Hum Harbour’s breakwater a foghorn sounded, its eerie echo raising the fine hairs on the back of my neck. A breeze whispered among the invisible evergreens on the hillside above me, and I looked up in time to see the fog shift ever so slightly.
I’d reached the end of the beach where ancient granite rocks guard the harbor mouth. They rise like a giant whale’s back above the low tidal waters. Impaled on their slick black surface I saw the ghostly silhouette of a large boat. Stuffing the bit of violet glass into my gathering bag, I crept close enough to make out the shredded bits of sail clinging to its mast.
“Hello? Anybody there?”
The whole spooky scene seemed more fitting of a movie than my daily stroll along the beach, and my heart beat faster. Nothing seems alive on a foggy day. I usually find the sensation comforting, even cozy. But this morning it unnerved me.
“If you’re there, please say something. I’m coming up to see if I can help.” It might sound crazy warning a derelict cabin cruiser boat I was approaching but I didn’t want any nasty surprises.
And surprised I was, because when I got close enough and read the name painted on the boat’s hull, I knew whose boat this was.
“Doc? Are you in there?”
Doc Campbell is, or was, Hum Harbour’s only doctor for the past thirty-some years. He’d just retired. In fact, his bon voyage party was Friday night, and he’d set sail for the Caribbean at the crack of dawn the next morning. So what was his boat, the Medical Convention, doing here, on the rocks, on Monday?
Slipping, sliding, I scrambled up the rocks until I was above her and could see into the boat.
“Doc? Can you hear me?”
I tried to make sense of what lay before me. Wedged firmly on the rock, the Medical Convention listed badly to port. Several inches of water pooled in her lowest point, otherwise the deck looked neat as a pin. Crates were safely battened down, the tiny lifeboat securely fastened along the stern. The only sign of trouble, apart from the boat’s obvious position on dry land, was the oddly-shaped lump propping the cabin cruiser’s door open.
Once again an errant breeze lifted the torn fabric. I leaned closer. Doc Campbell lay face down in the pooled water, his pewter hair plastered against his skull, his broad shoulders motionless.
Heart in my throat, I ran.

Anne – Love that excerpt, Jayne! Thanks so much for chatting with us today. It’s been a pleasure and Murder in Hum Harbour is definitely going on my TBR list!

Happy reading, folks! As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated. Btw, if you become a blog follower, well, hey, I will be eternally grateful!

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