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Words with a Wordsmith: Jolie Tunnell

By Rebecca D’Harlingue
April 22, 2022

Jolie Tunnell writes “Mystery, history, and a pinch of poppycock!”

What was the inspiration for your series?

I’ve always been the keeper of the family tree and have a closet full of boxes to prove it. There were certain family stories that I felt compelled to write early on for my own pleasure, one of which included a small pioneering community secluded on a mountain prior to World War I. Their story evolved into Loveda Brown’s. Idyllwild, a place I am very familiar with, was a natural fit for my fictional world. The beautiful setting is as much an inspiration for the series as the stories are.

What’s the difference (at least for you!) between being a writer and an author? How do you shift gears between the two?

One is playtime and the other is work. Writers get to daydream and play games. Authors have to edit and publish and market! Both spend a lot of time researching but one is for inspiration and the other is for education. You do have to wear both hats, and I occasionally find myself trying to wear them at the same time. Generally, I tell myself that if I get my work done in the morning, I can go out and play.

Do you use food as comfort or fuel while you write?

 Food? What’s food? If my son didn’t cook for me once in a while, I’d starve to death at my desk. I drink hot black tea by the gallon and snack on gummy bears. You’d think I’d have wasted away to nothing by now but I’ve got a serious case of writer’s bum. Life’s not fair.

What is the first book that made you cry?

 I hate crying. I truly do. I spent my childhood avoiding anything like Where the Red Fern Grows. The Hunchback of Notre Dame and then Phantom of the Opera came along and forever cured me of reading tragic French romances! There should be warning stickers on books like these. If the protagonist doesn’t win, I’m not going for the ride.

If you could write any other genre, what would it be?

 As much as I love historical mysteries, I know there are RomComs waiting for me around the corner. I have more than one draft in the religious historical fiction genre demanding my attention. I used to blog a lot of humor about my kids and writing an Erma Bombeck-style book or two would be fun. If I can bring one more smile into the world through words, sign me up.

Jolie Tunnell brings the past to life in a historical mystery series with a voice all her own. Author, freelance writer, blogger, and professional mom, she lives in Southern California with her hubby, five kids, and a pear-shaped cat. Minus the murders, Idyllwild has been her summer retreat for years.

Cozy up with a cuppa and enjoy her mountaintop mysteries with a feisty small town community, hidden villains, and the unsinkable Loveda Brown. She offers readers a historical whodunnit with the flavor of turn-of-the-century Wild West.

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Rebecca D’Harlingue
Written by Rebecca D’Harlingue

Award-winning author Rebecca D’Harlingue writes about seventeenth-century women forging a different path. Her debut novel, The Lines Between Us, won an Independent Press Award and a CIBA Chaucer Award. Her second novel, The Map Colorist, won a Literary Titan Award and a Firebird Book Award.

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