Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Interview With Jan Toom

Today I’m interviewing award-winning author, Jan Toom.  Jan divides her time between San Diego, CA and La Conner, WA. 

Jan took first place for best children's story in the 1987 San Diego Annual Writers Showcase.  Way to go, Jan!

Tell us about your latest book, Jan? 
Jan:  The name of the book is Dead Ringer.  It’s a time travel/mainstream book.

Can you tell me a little about it?
Jan:  Sure.  When Paula Martin, an advertising executive in San Diego, California, discovers a 100 year old photograph of a girl who looks just like her, she is intrigued.  The photo was taken in 1907 in Oro Belle, a gold mining camp in Arizona.  Paula decides it would be interesting to travel to the mining camp, now a ghost town, never dreaming the adventure that awaits her.  Catherine Hollingsworth, the girl in the photo, is the daughter of the mine superintendent in Oro Belle.  Due to some unexpected circumstances, Catherine changes places in time with Paula and finds herself in 2007 San Diego while Paula gets accustomed to life in 1907 Ora Belle.

Because the young women look exactly alike, no one suspects that anything is different.  Now each of them has to lead the other’s life until they can figure a way to change back to their own time period, assuming they still want to.  

Why did you write the book?
 Jan: I was inspired by a box of old photographs of an Arizona mining camp in 1907.

How long did it take you to write it?
Jan:  It had been in my head since 1989.  I just kept playing around with different ideas and never got serious about it.  Finally, I wrote a 15 page publication about the mining camp, using the photos, called “The Quest for Oro Belle.”   That inspired me to write the novel.  I’m not sure how long it actually took.  But without the help of the Alpine Writers Guild I might still be procrastinating.

What is your favorite line in the book?
Jan:  “Paula awoke with the feeling she was being watched.”  I always thought it would make a great first line in a book.  It’s the first line in one of my chapters when Paula first arrives in1907.

Is it published?  If so, where and by whom?
Jan:  Yes, I self published it online in 2011 through

Where can people buy your book?
Jan:  Currently only through me.  Email me at

What’s next for you?
Jan:  I have several things in the works.  But I just got an idea for a
children’s book, so I may put the others on hold and write that first.   

Thank you, Jan.  I read the book and it kept me intrigued from beginning to end!

Travel Tip:  When you travel, take a journal.  You never know when you might want to jot something down so you don't forget the event, the sight, the memory.

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