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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#BookBlast Turnbull House by @JessFaraday

Jess Faraday is the author of the Ira Adler mysteries and the standalone steampunk thriller The Left Hand of Justice. She also moonlights as the mystery editor for Elm Books.

What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?

I’d put the heat level at 1 or 2. There is sex in my books, but most of the action takes place behind closed doors. Quite a bit is hinted at, foreshadowed, or thought about briefly in retrospect, but the most I’ll usually describe outright is a really hot kiss or some minor groping.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still at a desk. So now that I’m spending all day writing and editing, I do it standing at the kitchen counter. Or sometimes dancing there. And I break up the workday with running, walking the dog, and martial arts. I have a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and am on a competition poomsae team, so that keeps me pretty active. And on weekends, my favorite thing is to go hiking, biking, or just running around with the family. It might sound like there’s no time to write with all that, but in reality, the activity keeps my body healthy and my mind sharp, so that when I’m working, I’m working at peak efficiency.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?

They’re all terribly earnest. Even the villains. And the world often isn’t kind to earnest people. But they keep doing the best they can…kind of like all of us.

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?

I think I’m pretty good at humorous angst. Finding the absurdity in a bad situation—a bad situation of one’s own making. Because in my real life I’m awesome at making mistakes. And if you can’t laugh when the world is crashing down around your ears (and it’s your own fault), how else are you going to get through it?

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?

I’m pretty savvy. I do Facebook, Livejournal, GoodReads, and Twitter, and have my own site ( But social media can suck up all of your writing time if you let it, so I try to set limits.

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?

One of my characters, Bess Lazarus, is an American married to a Brit—like me. She’s also ready to kick butt and take names when it comes to protecting those in her sphere. Her husband, Tim Lazarus, tends to take on too much responsibility and tries too hard to please everyone, then gets really irritable about it. Like I do. The main character of my mystery series, Ira Adler, has, as a friend said, “honorable intentions with fallible instincts”—this is also me. And I have to cop to a certain cold-blooded logical streak, like my villain, Cain Goddard, who can’t quite seem to get his head around the idea that people don’t always make sense, and that emotions can’t be figured out absolutely like mathematical equations.

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?

I’d build a time machine and go everywhere!

Any fun facts about the research for your book?

Sugar refineries were dangerous and filthy!
Food safety regulations are a Very Good Thing.
Things Can Always Be Worse.
A little careless chemistry can cause a lot of destruction.
The Victorians might have been stuffy, but they also really knew how to enjoy themselves!

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!

Turnbull House is the second book of the Ira Adler mysteries. In this book, former criminal Ira Adler is now a solid citizen sitting on the board of a youth shelter. When the shelter’s landlord threatens to sell the building out from under them, Ira turns to the past—crime lord Cain Goddard—for a loan. But the loan comes with strings, and before he knows it, Ira is tangled up in them and tumbling back into the life of crime he worked so hard to escape.

It’s getting some great reviews, so I hope readers will give it a try! Turnbull House is available through Bold Strokes Books, and at all the usual outlets.

Jess will be awarding a two-book set (paperback) of Turnbull House and its predecessor, The Affair of the Porcelain Dog to a randomly drawn commenter between this tour and the NBtM Review Tour.


London 1891. Former criminal Ira Adler has built a respectable, if dull, life for himself as a confidential secretary. He even sits on the board of a youth shelter. When the shelter’s landlord threatens to sell the building out from under them, Ira turns to his ex-lover, crime lord Cain Goddard, for a loan. But the loan comes with strings, and before he knows it, Ira is tangled up in them and tumbling back into the life of crime he worked so hard to escape. Two old flames come back into Ira’s life, along with a new young man who reminds Ira of his former self. Will Ira hold fast to his principles, or will he succumb to the temptations of easy riches and lost pleasures?

November of 1891 was the autumn of my discontent. Melodramatic, yes. But if one is to understand the chain of foolish and self-destructive actions that I undertook over the course of that month, one must first understand the depths of that discontent, as well as its roots.

The past five years had taken me from furtive back-alley gropes in the shadows of Whitechapel to a life of luxurious indolence amid the lace curtains and aspidistras of York Street, then much of the way back down again. I’d spent a pleasant two years being spoilt by Cain Goddard, London’s best-educated and possibly best-dressed crime lord. But ultimately, even a gilded cage begins to press in on a person—especially when one’s nascent conscience decides, in spite of one’s fondest wishes, to expand. How fortunate I was that, in his generosity—and in an effort to add realism to his claim that I was his live-in confidential secretary—Goddard had also taught me a trade.

And that was where I found myself that November: in a flat on Aldersgate Street, which, though squalid, was mine—paid for by the sweat of my brow or, more precisely, by the ink on my fingers—with no obligation to any man. The single room was drafty in winter, sweltering in the summer, and the landlord thought indoor plumbing was an idea best left to the fevered imagination of that Gallic popinjay, Verne. Still, it was preferable to sleeping on my feet, leaning against a rope with twenty other men in some Dorset Street doss house. And I had no interest in living off the generosity of some rich man until he grew bored with me. Until my situation changed, my present lodgings were the only palatable option.

And until Wilde paid me the outrageous sum he owed, my situation would not be changing any time soon.