Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.
Janis Wilson is a former newspaper reporter and retired trial lawyer. After leaving her law practice, she began researching the world’s most compelling cold case, that of Jack the Ripper. He became the subject of her first novel, Goulston Street. Then, she taught a course on Jack at Temple University, where she attended law school. Her next Ripper venture was to co-create RipperCon, a conference for students of the crimes and investigation into the Ripper. She will be a panel moderator and principal speaker at this year’s RipperCon in Baltimore April 7-8. Wilson is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Maryland Writers Association. Wilson is the author of The Devil’s Triangle, printed in Death Knell V, available through Amazon. She lives, without incident, with her husband and two rescue cats in Baltimore.
Wolf: If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?
Janis: I’d really like to slice people up with my sharp wit until they suffered the death of 1,000 cuts.
Wolf: I think you’ve been a bit over-immersed in Jack the Ripper. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Janis: I let one escape a serial killer when I could just as easily have made her another victim. I also gave a poor woman an income for life.
Wolf: That was nice. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Janis: I sent an aristocratic woman to live in Whitechapel, the poorest section of the richest city in the 19th century. She really didn’t deserve it.
Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
Janis: Confirmed cat person, although I wish long and happy lives to all canines. I prefer cats because I am humble enough not to be upset by their superiority. However, I am jealous of their beauty and grace.
Wolf: There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?
Janis: Wet my pants.
Wolf: After you change, I have another question for you. The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?
Janis: Eat a whole pie.
Wolf: Pie is good. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Janis: Tough call. My protagonist is Lady Sarah Grey, who has a lot of courage and a big heart. On the other hand, Lady Millicent Maelson, Sarah’s best friend, is as smart as Sarah, far prettier, and kinder than Sarah. However, she is not so nice as to be cloying.
Wolf: What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)
Janis: Without question, it would be the Thames River. If flows in England, where my books are set and has inspired everyone from Charles Dickens to Jerome K. Jerome.
Wolf: That makes sense. What story are you working on now?
Janis: I’m writing another Lady Sarah Grey novel in which the 19th Century socialists are getting up to trouble and blowing things up, literally and figuratively.
Wolf: So, why aren’t literary agents beating a path to your door?
Janis: I live in a high-rise building.