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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Between the lines

    Touchstone

    Touchstone

    Join the Tucson Sisters in Crime this Saturday for lunch and conversation with The New York Times’ top-10 best-selling author Judith Ann Jance. A seasonal Tucson local, Jance will be at the Viscount Suite Hotel off of Broadway Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. discussing the intimate details of her life as a teacher, mother and ­— despite the odds — distinguished author.

    According to her website, the desire to be a writer came early to Jance.

    “As a second-grader,” Jance writes, “I was introduced to Frank Baum’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ series.”

    Shortly after finishing the first book in Baum’s series, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Jance said she knew her life had a purpose.

    “I read the first one … and knew, from that moment on that I wanted to be a writer,” Jance writes.

    However quickly inspiration came, the realization of Jance’s dream would take much longer.

    In her online bio, Jance explains how, when she was attending the UA from 1962 to 1964, the sexist and selfish attitudes of various men denied her access to both the school’s creative writing program and, a few years after graduation, publishing opportunities.

    “[The] professor who taught creative writing at the [UA] in those days thought girls ‘ought to be teachers or nurses’ rather than writers,” Jance explained.

    “After he refused me to the program, I did the next best thing: I married a man who was also in the program that was close to me.”

    What seemed like the best choice to Jance turned out to stop her from pursuing her career as a writer. She received notification in 1968 from a New York publishing house interested in bringing one of her children’s stories to print and chose to put her writing ambitions on hold in order to stay married, according to her website.

    “Despite the fact that he was allowed in the creative writing program,” Jance writes about her former husband, “he never had anything published prior to or after his death from chronic alcoholism at age forty-two. That didn’t keep him from telling me, however, that there would be only one writer in our family, and he was it.”

    Jance’s former husband would later serve as part of the inspiration for the character of J.P. Beaumont, the central character in her 21-book detective series, who takes his physical appearance from a Pima County homicide detective pursuing the Charles Schmid investigation in the ’70s. Jance published the first of these books, “Until Proven Guilty,” two years after her former husband’s death.

    The author’s original opponent, her would-be professor at the UA, also received his mention in Jance’s work via the character of the “evil creative writing professor in ‘Hour of the Hunter’ and ‘Kiss of the Bees.’ ”

    Jance published a number of other books as well, including 17 books in the “Joanna Brady” series, 10 books in the “Ali Reynolds” series and four separate thrillers that take from Jance’s time on the Tohono O’odham reservation.

    For more information, visit Tucson Sisters in Crime’s event page and join Jance in celebration of her accomplishments as a best-selling author at the Viscount Suite Hotel on Saturday.

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    Follow Ian Martella on Twitter.

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