Sue Ann Jaffarian lets nothing stand in her way

DOWNEY - In an interview she gave in January, 58-year old Massachusetts-born Whittier-grown Sue Ann Jaffarian was quoted as saying: "I've always wanted to write. It was my life's dream, but I didn't really make a commitment to it until I was around 42-43 years old. Once I made the commitment, I set realistic goals and tackled it like I would any project."Since that day of commitment, Jaffarian, who works fulltime (she wouldn't have it any other way: she says she also unequivocally enjoys her work) as a paralegal at Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, Inc. in Los Angeles, has authored three mystery series (Odelia Grey, Ghost of Granny Apples, and Madison Rose) totaling 10 mysteries. (As of the beginning of last year, she was under contract to write 18 mystery novels, most of which have been completed). Meanwhile she writes general fiction and short stories, even as she's sought after as a motivational and humorous speaker. She has also been known to perform professionally as a stand-up comic. She belongs to two "very supportive" writers' associations: Sisters In Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. She does her writing, she says, an hour before going to work in the morning and another hour or so after work ("and whenever I can squeeze it in"). She also maintains a blog, where she ruminates on things great and small. Some excerpts from her May 26 entry: "There's a lot going on in the world right now. People in the south are having their lives torn asunder by monstrous weather. Others are being flooded out of their homes. People are dying and have lost loved ones. …I have friends in some of these areas and feel powerless to help them, except to keep them in my thoughts and stay in touch, letting them know they are loved…In other parts of the world, rebellions and uprisings rule the day….[There's] so much pain in the world…" Because of all this, she says she's determined more than ever to "write things that will make people happy and smile. I just didn't want to be a published author, I wanted to bring a bit of fun and joy to readers' lives. Doing this [in turn] brings me happiness and joy." There are plenty of opportunities to do just that. There's a review of her very first prize-winning published book, "Too Big to Miss," which attests to the crackling humor found in her other creations. Jaffarian makes fun of herself in the book. Here is how she describes her alter ego: "Forty-seven year old Odelia Grey [a 'plus size sleuth] knows that size does matter. She is five foot one, never married and weighs two hundred thirty pounds. She makes no excuses for her weight, and she knows she's not likely to change. She has heard all the fat jokes and been snickered at but Odelia is also smart, funny, determined and a hard-working paralegal." It is an accurate portrait of Jaffarian. Her advice to budding (and other serious) writers: Write, write, write (but remember, you have to read, read, read, too. You have to learn a lot so you can give a lot). Make a schedule and stick to it. Don't lose sight of your dreams and goals, because only you can make them happen. Don't listen to naysayers. And-don't let anyone, I mean anyone, (rain) on your parade! In the matter of choosing an agent, she says, "Don't take crap from anybody. Choose someone who'd like to help you with your book, and not just make money off of you." Earlier this month, Jaffarian held court before an appreciative Friends of the Downey City Library group at their annual author luncheon and book signing event. She was indeed funny, self-deprecatory, and seemed down-to-earth. She also said, "I don't subscribe to the notion that reading is dying. Books may go out of style, but reading? No, it's even stronger today." She was full of optimism and hope for the future.

********** Published: June 23, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 10