Inside the Literary Mind of J. L. Greger

Ideas are everywhere. I still read scientific journals every week and find amazing sound bites on science to include in all /thrillers and mysteries.

J. L. Greger includes sound bites” of science and exotic locations in her Science Traveler Thriller & Mystery series. You will also meet the perfect gentleman, my dog⎼Bug. However, she says her heroine, scientist⎼Sara Almquist, is too feisty to always be a lady.

If you’re not in the mood for thriller, why not travel back to the 40s and 50s with THE GOOD OLD DAYS: A COLLECTION OF STORIES? These stories aren’t memoirs but are based on real, often not so fond, memories. The tales address major historical events and societal problems in the idiosyncratic way of memoirs. They are snapshots of events from one individual’s viewpoint, and the narrator for each story is different.

Although the quirks of characters in these tales are amusing, one aspect of several of these vignettes—child and spousal abuse in so-called “nice” homes—is not funny. Perhaps, these tales will cause you to redefine the good old days.

J. L. has won numerous awards for her books.  MURDER…A WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT won 2016 Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) contest & is a finalist NM/Arizona book awards. MALIGNANCY won 2015 PSWA contest.

Today, I am interviewing J. L. Greger. One reviewer wrote: While each tale in The Good Old Days is rich in nostalgia that gets those of us over fifty smiling, it also is an intimate, honest sharing that can in the next moment have you gasping or wiping bitter tears.

J. L. Greger and Bug

Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?

From J. L.: My latest book is The Good Old Days? A Collection of Stories. I decided to take a break from writing thrillers and mysteries after I read several nauseatingly glowing accounts of the “good old days.” My stories are snapshots of major historical events and societal problems during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. They are written in the idiosyncratic way of memoirs. Although the quirks of characters are amusing, one aspect of several of these vignettes—child abuse in so-called “nice” homes—is not funny. I hope these tales will encourage readers to view the past more realistically.

Question: Why and when did you decide to become a writer?

From J. L.: I was trained as a scientist, but quickly learned the importance of writing skills as an assistant professor. Now, I write fiction instead of facts. It’s more fun.


Question: What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?

From J. L.: I admit I read for the plot so I love storytellers, like JK Rowling and John Grisham, but the book that most influenced my writing is The Elements of Style. Strunk and White emphasized clear, crisp writing. I try to take their advice.


Question: Where do you find ideas for your books?

From J. L.: Ideas are everywhere. I still read scientific journals every week and find amazing sound bites on science to include in all /thrillers and mysteries. For example, I featured recent research on the effect of gut bacteria on weight loss in Murder…A Way to Lose Weight. I love to travel and have consulted on science and education in Lebanon and the Emirates. All sorts of tidbits from these experiences appeared in I Saw You in Beirut. I instilled cancer research and travel in Cuba into Malignancy and public health issues and travel in Bolivia into Ignore the Pain.


Question: Where do you find ideas for your characters?

From J. L.: My characters are all fictional, except for Bug—Sara Almquist’s Japanese Chin in my thrillers and mysteries. He’s exactly like my own dog, a smart pet therapy dog.

Before I began The Good Old Days: A Collection of Stories, I talked to dozens of people about their childhoods and teen years. Although my vignettes are fiction, their auras are infused into my characters.


Question: How would you describe your writing style?

From J.L.: I like action and active sentences. I like to be presented with facts and allowed to make up my own mind. Accordingly, I philosophize less and am more direct than many writers.


Question: What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?

From J. L.: The first chapter is the hardest. Picking a title is also a challenge.


Question: What are your current projects?

I’m working on the next novel in my Science Traveler Thriller and Mystery series. The book is still untitled but focuses on Southeast Asia, particularly Laos. Sara Almquist is helping a friend, Xave Zack, untangle his memories about the forgotten secret war in Laos and survive a hospital stay in the VA hospital in Albuquerque.

Look for updates at: This thriller should be available in spring 2017.

Here is a bit from one story in The Good Old Days? to tickle your curiosity.

I still want a hula hoop.” The chipmunks—Alvin, Simon, and Theodore—screeched slightly out of harmony on the Saturday morning cartoon show. There were lots of things I still wanted, too: the winter to end, Mom to get well, and anyone to talk to me.

When I was eight, neither of my parents spoke much to me. They avoided me, except at suppertime. Then Mom stared at the black cat clock, with its red eyes rolling back and forth and its tail swinging, while Dad and I silently ate supper. When I put down my fork, Mom sent me outside in warm weather and to my bedroom in winter. Dad seldom protested her decision. He only hung his head.

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