Jeri Westerson on Being a Productive Writer: “Get It All Out”
On the New Season of Authors in the Tent
Authors in the Tent is a professionally filmed series of interviews with established and emerging authors conducted in a tent Ona Russell purchased during the pandemic. Inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron and the 1001 Arabian Nights, the tent—elemental, ancient, and ubiquitous—serves as a magical backdrop for literary conversation.
On the fifth episode of the new fourth season, Ona Russell talks with Jeri Westerson, author of many books, including Veil of Lies, and most recently Courting Dragons.
This series is in support of the charities Tents-4-Homeless, PATH, Alpha Project, and VVSD.
Ona Russell holds a PhD in literature from UC San Diego where she also taught for many years. She is author of three award-winning historical mysteries and the recently released Son of Nothingness: A Novel of Appearances.
Los Angeles native Jeri Westerson was born the same day the first nuclear bomb was tested…though not the same year, so she isn’t responsible. She muddled around in life, first thinking to become an actress, woke up during a real world audition and said, “Nope, Nerp. Not doing THIS the rest of my life,” and instead, embarked on a successful career as a graphic designer. But instead of staying there, she made a lateral move to being a writer and found herself the author of fifteen Crispin Guest Medieval Noir novels, a series nominated for 13 national awards from the Agatha to the Shamus. However, she is still the Susan Lucci of mystery awards, awaiting her turn.
Her first in the series, Veil of Lies was named Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society Review, her third The Demon’s Parchment, and her fifteenth The Deadliest Sin both received coveted starred reviews by Library Journal, and her sixth, Shadow of the Alchemist, was named Best of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. Also in 2013, her fifth novel Blood Lance was named one of the Ten Hot Crime Novels for Colder Days by Kirkus Reviews.
And then she decided to try her hand at an old favorite genre of hers, fantasy. Romantic Times Magazine gave BOOKE OF THE HIDDEN, Jeri’s first urban fantasy series released in 2017, Five Stars and called it “…A flawless tale of adventure, mystery and saucy romance. The page reverberates with passion, and absolutely no wrong can come from vivid characters and a hero to die for.” It finaled for the Seal of Excellence from RT Reviews. It may or may not be noteworthy that Romantic Times Reviews went out of business right after giving her that sterling review. She takes no blame for that either. The series is complete with four novels.
Her gaslamp-steampunk fantasy trilogy, the Enchanter Chronicles is also complete at three novels with such titles as Library of the Damned…which still cracks her up. Jeri is easily amused. Her other paranormal series, Moonriser: A Werewolf Mystery, is a spin-off from the Booke of the Hidden series, funny as heck and sexy.
Jeri also wrote her humorous Skyler Foxe LGBTQ Mysteries (adult content) under the pen name Haley Walsh. The series is complete with seven novels and three novellas.
She has also written short stories for several mystery anthologies, including the newly released South Central Noir edited by Gary Phillips for the Akashic Noir series, with my story “The Last Time I Died” right in there.
She is also embarking on THREE new historical mystery series. The first (to be published in January 2023) is her King’s Fool Mysteries Courting Dragons, with Will Somers, Henry VIII’s real court jester, as the reluctant sleuth, and the second, her Irregular Detective Mysteries, where one of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars is all grown-up and opens his own consulting detective agency…with mixed results. That one is called The Isolated Seance, releasing June 2023. Oswald the Thief, her Medieval Caper series–a sort of Ocean’s 11 for the Middle Ages–was published earlier in 2022 and, due to popular demand, the sequel, Oswald the Gambler, will release late 2023 or early 2024.
And get this: Jeri was featured on two local NPR shows, ‘My Awesome Empire” and “KVCR-Arts”. She has served two terms as president of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, as vice president for the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and twice president of the Orange County Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Boy, does she sound important! She’s also a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Historical Novel Society, if you’re counting. Jeri has guest-lectured on medieval history at local colleges and museums, and lives a simple life in southern California with her home-brewing husband, a complacent desert tortoise, and a polite gray kitty. If you don’t believe all that, see more at her Wikipedia page and on Jeri’s hilarious YouTube Channel. She forgot to mention she’s very modest.