Tickets to meet J.A. Jance sold out even faster than the best-selling author’s books.
Jance joined 240 members of the community at the Palm Ridge Recreation Center in Sun City West Saturday morning for breakfast as part of the book tour for her newest crime novel “Fatal Error.”
The event, hosted by R.H. Johnson Library, offered attendees breakfast catered by Dillon’s Restaurant and the chance to hear Jance talk about her characters and discuss her writing process.
“We’re just excited to have her here,” said library director Vince Micallef. “People have been reading her books for many years.”
Jance has a lot of fans in Sun City West, Micallef said, and her books are popular check-out items at the library.
“I’m happy to be here,” Jance said. “I’m astonished that this event sold out in one day.”
Jance opened her speech to the audience with the story of her rescued dog Bella, who was at the event with her.
While Jance was promoting her new book, she also asked audience members if they had read her book of poetry, “After the Fire,” her first published work. The book is a collection of poems written during her crumbling marriage to a alcoholic husband and represents the beginning of her writing career.
Many of Jance’s 42 books are set in Arizona, and she often gets questions from fans about specific locations mentioned, but the author likes to blend fact and fiction in her novels, so places like the popular Sugarloaf Café mentioned in some of the books don’t actually exist.
Jance spoke of her inspirations for characters and plotlines, explaining that one character is based on her mother, and another storyline came when her favorite newscaster was booted off the air. The crimes depicted, however, are not real.
“I do try to stay away from using real cases,” Jance said.
Excited fans asked Jance to autograph books and related stories of their own about the books or previous meetings with her.
Micallef said the breakfast fees mostly paid for meals and the use of the room, while Jance donated her time to be there. Any additional funding for the event was secured from the Sundome Performing Arts Association, but that money will probably be used for another event now, she said.
Ten percent of the proceeds of Jance’s books sold Saturday will go to the Friends of the R.H. Johnson Library.