Writer Wednesday – Jane Bennett Munro

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Jane Bennett Munro

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I’m a pathologist. Not a medical examiner. Just a general hospital based pathologist in a rural hospital. I was solo for 24 years. Now I have three partners. I’m 67 years old and semi-retired. I’ve done a number of coroner’s cases, have given depositions and testified before a grand jury, but I’ve been lucky enough to stay out of court. I served 8 years on the Idaho State Board of Medicine and was chairman for two years.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
My books feature a female pathologist in a rural hospital, sort of like me, only smarter and more kick-ass. My first book, Murder Under the Microscope, won an IPPY award. My second book, Too Much Blood, came out last summer. My third book, Grievous Bodily Harm, is inpublication and should come out this summer.

…and what you’re working on right now.
My fourth book, Death by Autopsy.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
Nancy Drew. Crawling underneath the Christmas tree to see if anybody had given me one for Christmas. My Friend Flicka. Black Beauty. Going to the bookmobile with my best friend to check out the Black Stallion books. Recently I bought those to give my best friend’s sister so she’d have them for her grandchildren; but I had to reread them all before I let her have them.

What are your three favorite books?
I can’t possibly answer that. There are just too many. I can’t just pick three favorites, but if I did, I bet they’d all be by Lisa Scottoline.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
One or two. I’m reading Karen McInerney’s Murder Most Maine on my Nook right now.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I
travel to a different world.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
I do that all the time. It’s like visiting old friends.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Depends on who recommends it. Some people’s taste is way too different from mine and I know I won’t like anything they recommend.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
I do that all the time.

What do you look for in a good book? A meaty plot. Believable and likable characters. The next book in a series that I like. The newest book by a favorite author. I hate buying a book and finding out that it’s a bunch of short stories, or number three in a trilogy. I want to find a synopsis of the book on the back cover so I know what I’m getting into. And I hate books written in present tense.

Why do you write?
I always thought it would be a good thing to do after I retired. When I was in medical school and internship and residency, every time somebody was nasty to me I would threaten to put them in my book. And now, I’m doing that.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I’m a pathologist, so I guess I’d still be one if I didn’t write. I love gardening, so maybe I could have a second career as a landscape architect, or something like that.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My work as a pathologist.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They love it. They think it’s cool. They brag on me.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
That they’re arrogant and can’t take criticism? Maybe some are. That’s to cover up their basic insecurity. I may be insecure, but I’m not arrogant. My favorite writer, Lisa Scottoline, isn’t either.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Breaking into the field and getting recognized. There are so many writers out there, especially in my genre, and getting accepted by a publisher is almost impossible. And now, with indie publishing growing like it is, more books are getting published than ever, so getting noticed in such a big crowd is ever so much worse now.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
One I can think of is putting too much backstory at the beginning of the book. It stops the action cold. I did that in my first book, and my editor jumped right on it. Another is putting in too much thinking by my protagonist. My books are in the first person, so it’s tempting to put in a bunch of reflections about happened in her past or what she feels about things. That slows the action down too.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
Turning my books into movies. Heck, why not dream big?

How do you deal with your fan base?
Well, right now my fan base is mostly people around here, that I work with, go to church with, sing in the chorale with, do business with. I’m not well enough known to have anything to deal with yet.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.

%d bloggers like this: