In the Beginning…

A simple newspaper article of fewer than one-hundred words started my heart racing, fired my imagination, and steeled my determination that Detective John St. John’s story of capturing serial killers was the book I wanted to write. But why him and why me? What was there in that story about a homicide detective who’d just received a medal that I wouldn’t let go?

None of this scenario made sense. I had no previous experience in law enforcement and was never interested in writing crime stories. I had no publication history, no contacts or friends in police departments, not one contact with law enforcement other than the time my car was stolen. I was never interested in the FBI, CIA, Los Angeles Police Department, or Sheriff’s Department career. I never dreamed of law school so I could become a prosecuting attorney.

For Pete’s sake, I wanted to write a sportsbook for kids. Instead, I read an article about a detective who’d solved a major serial murder case, and in the craziest and most spontaneous moment of my life, I picked up the phone and called him.

It was the moment that changed my life and his.

How did that moment happen? Why did it happen? Why didn’t I put the article down and head to the tennis court where my doubles partner waited? And why, after his partner told me he was on vacation, didn’t I breathe a huge sigh of relief and put that insane notion out of my head? Why did the persona of Detective John “Jigsaw” St. John get so stuck in my brain that I didn’t think about anything else but calling him the next day?

I called him the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that – seven calls in total. He finally gave in saying he’d meet me if I promised never to call him again.

Going back to why that phone call changed my life. I knew a truth resided in a deep and honest part of me, that if I didn’t meet John St. John the life I desperately wanted, the writer I wanted to become and the journey I needed to be on wouldn’t happen unless I met him.

And I was right.

I rode shotgun with Badge Number One for thirteen years. He changed me, and I changed him. That’s what we both wanted.  

Preview the first two chapters of the manuscript

Blog

In the beginning…

In the beginning…

I’ve asked myself a thousand times how a simple newspaper article of fewer than one-hundred words had started my heart racing, fired my imagination, and steeled my determination locked and loaded. But why him and why me? What was there about that story about a...

Rocks and Sand

Rocks and Sand

August 31, 1984. I wrote about this trip to the Miller/Campbell crime scene in the first chapter of my book. But now that I have a blog, I decided to include a few photos so readers could get the look and feel of what it was like for me to be there. John let me go...

The Peanut Wars

The Peanut Wars

About halfway through my collaboration, lunchtime had become an uneasy truce. Most of my adult life, I never paid much attention to eating lunch at a certain time. If I was playing tennis or out with friends or working around the house, lunch happened when it...

Two Intruders, Four Victims, and A Brilliant Storyteller

Two Intruders, Four Victims, and A Brilliant Storyteller

I remember the chilly night in San Francisco, with the Bay Bridge off in the distance, when Truman Capote’s classic, In Cold Blood, lured me from a tiresome television program and into my reading chair wrapped in a blanket. I expected a fast-paced, true-crime thriller...

What are you doing here?

What are you doing here?

Summer, 1958. I was a thirteen-year-old geek with thick glasses, frizzy hair, a scruffy dog named Laddie, and two girlfriends who lived up the street. Our family lived in Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago. My father was a corporate attorney; my mother was a housewife and...

The Clutter House: Murder in the Heartland

The Clutter House: Murder in the Heartland

I can almost remember the scene – clear as Autumn in the Sierras, when in 1967 I purchased a book I'd been anxious to read in an airport bookstore, Truman Capote's, In Cold Blood. I was in the spacious Pacific Heights living room I shared with five fellow...

Get in Touch with Jane

Sign up to learn where Jane will be speaking, signing books, new blogs, and her upcoming newsletter. Most important, when her book is published.