Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nancy Lynn Jarvis Talks About her AARP Gang

Welcome to Mysterious Writers, Nancy. Tell us how  your senior  gang came about.
Mags and the AARP Gang Wasn’t My Idea.

I was finishing up the The Widow’s Walk League, the fourth book in my cozy-style real estate mysteries series, when an impatient female voice began speaking in my head. No, I’m not schizophrenic those of you who write understand what I mean. “I want you to tell my story,” she said.

I dismissed her voice and continued working on the climactic scene where my heroine, Regan McHenry, and the villain struggle with a syringe filled with a lethal dose of… “That can wait. I’m 83, who knows how much time I have left,” my mental intruder insisted. “It won’t take long: I’ll talk, you write down what I say.”

“You mean write in first person? I’ve never done that before, my mysteries are third person omniscient.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake! Just write the first chapter and see how it goes. I’m not going to leave you alone until you do.”

She started dictating. “My name is Margaret Broadly Benson, née Spencer, but you can call me Mags. I should tell you I’ve been married three times, not twice…” She went on, telling me how her friend Harvey convinced her to help him rob the local bank it was that or find another place to live ― they needed money because their low income senior park was facing foreclosure. She was a reluctant participant initially, but when Harvey died unexpectedly days before the robbery was scheduled, she had to take over and run the operation. She told me how the robbery was supposed to work and, in spite of things going terribly wrong, how her band of renegade octogenarians pulled it off. I laughed a lot as Mags spoke; I don’t know if that’s what she intended.

There were a series of reveals in her story. I felt comfortable with them because I use the same technique in mystery writing. And there were plot twists, too, and an elaborate sting that Mags set up to catch the robbers who stole the heist money she and her AARP gang risked so much to steal.

Like all good cozies, Mags’ story had a tidy ending. She pulled everything together and explained, and then just for fun, she threw in a final twist that I didn’t see coming. Mags hasn’t spoken to me since and I’m back to legitimate mystery writing, but I’m glad she got in my head for a time.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis, a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years, gave up her license on May 5th. She now tells people she’s a writer, which is much more fun than being retired. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC.

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. “Mags and the AARP Gang” represents a new direction in her writing adventure. After four Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries, Nancy put her characters, Regan, Tom, and Dave, on hiatus so she could let Mags and her gang, characters who had been forming in her mind for the past year, tell you their story.

You can learn more about Nancy at her website:, her facebook book page and Amazon author page

I hate to moderate comments but Mysterious Writers continues to be spammed by a less than gentlemanly visitor in France. Please don't let that stop you from leaving comments for Nancy Jarvis. Thank you!


Jean Henry Mead said...

Welcome to Mysterious Writers, Nancy. It's good to have you visit us this week.

Anonymous said...

A very good article

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Jean, thanks for having me on your blog...sorry I missed opening day.

Dear anonymous, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It was good to get back to conversing with Mags, even briefly, because I enjoyed her company so much.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I look forward to reading about Mags and her AARP gang, Nancy. I also write about seniors and love reading about them.

Anonymous said...

I love your AARP gang, Nancy, and the book cover is great. Do you plan to write any more Mags books?

Mary Arnet