Best Of Tucson®

The BOT Interview: J.A. Jance

J.A. Jance is a best-selling author and has written 38 novels—plus a book of poetry. Raised in Bisbee, Jance had a lifelong dream to become a writer. Before her start at the age of 39, she taught high school English, was an elementary school librarian and even sold life insurance. Jance wrote her first three novels between the hours of 4 and 7 a.m., before she got her kids ready for school. Jance lived for several years on the Tohono O'odham reservation, which later became a setting for several of her novels. She now splits her time between Tucson and Seattle.

Best thing to come home to here, besides your house and people you know?

Being able to see the wide-open spaces, the city and the mountains around it.

In your latest novel, Fire and Ice, detective J.P. Beaumont and Sheriff Joanna Brady work together on a pair of cases. Suppose they came to Tucson for Mexican food. The best Mexican restaurant for them to visit?

Las Cazuelitas.

Best park at which to take a laptop and write?

Randolph (aka Reid Park).

I see you are an animal lover and have two dogs. Best pet-supply store?

PetSmart on Grant Road.

Best Tucson spot to stash a body?

The Rillito River just before a monsoon.

You are a champion of many causes. Best spectacle for charity in Tucson? 

The Susan G. Komen (Race for the Cure).

Best place to go for coffee or breakfast, if you are up early one morning writing and want to take a break?

Chaffin's on Broadway Boulevard.

Best place to remain undercover, if one of your characters committed a crime and wanted to hide out?

The Arizona Inn.

Best public garden to get inspiration from nature?

Tohono Chul.

Best movie theater

to watch a mystery?

I always loved the Catalina. I'm sorry that one is gone.

Best thing to do or see here that would break writer's block?

Go to any golf course, and whack your way around it with a set of clubs.

Tucson has many festivals each year. The best one?

The night-blooming cereus party at Tohono Chul.

Suppose Joanna Brady wanted a delicious dessert. Best dessert and place to go?

Gingerbread with vanilla ice cream at Pastiche.

Best local activist/advocacy group?

Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Best reason to solve a mystery in Tucson as opposed to Seattle?

The sun during the day, and the stars and moon at night.