Hi I’m Jan. I live in a village of about 15,000 souls named after Katherine Phillips, a fifteen century poet called “The Matchless Orinda.” In her day, she was considered the ideal woman writer: virtuous, proper, and chaste. She was also thought be a “sappho.” (gay)
For as a watch by art is wound
To motion, such was mine;
But never had Orinda found
A soul till she found thine;
– Matchless Orinda
From the window where I write I can watch the fog roll in from the San Francisco Bay – a beautiful sight. Pretty Kitty watches me as I write. Pretty is a stray we adopted. We were sure it was a girl but alas, the vet disagreed. Pretty is a boy. Still we can’t break ourselves of the habit of calling him “pretty,” could you?
Under the pseudonym JT Twissel I’ve published two books which are only alike in that the narrator is a young woman and she takes lots of road trips. The first book (Flipka) was set in Nevada in the late 1970s. I was raised in Reno which I always thought I could put behind me, but…you know how these things go. Nevada just keeps popping up in my writing, as a setting, a dreaded past, or even as a character. The lecherous Uncle Nevada, creeping in to dreams, like a house you can’t quite leave behind. (Do you ever wake up in the dark certain you are in a house you moved out of long ago? I do – all the time!) I won’t bore you with the synopsis, suffice it to say – it’s wacky, zany and frightening. The frightening part is that the despicable girls reformatory where the mystery takes place actually exists.
The second book (The Graduation Present) is based loosely on my travels through Europe. It’s a coming of age adventure with a slight twist of romance – actually it has a lot of twists, period. I am currently working on a third, more contemporary piece based on a long and bizarre struggle I had with the IRS. But working on a piece so full of black humor wears me down, sends me to places I don’t want to go and so I find myself instead blogging my fool head off about European adventures gone astray.
***(Editor’s note: Follow Jan on Twitter @JTTwissel and subscribe to her blog. Jan’s sense of humor shines through, but she also features behind-the-curtain interviews of other authors. ***