Suzanne Jenkins is the author of the Pam of Babylon Series. The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a new series about a Greek homicide detective who grew up above the family grocery store in Greektown, Detroit. Jenkins has fond memories of growing up in a Greek American household in the suburbs of Detroit. She currently lives in the west Michigan lakeshore area with her husband, two dogs and two sheep.
Visit her website at www.suzannejenkins.net.
Visit her blog at www.2sheepinthecity.com.
Suzanne: The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a story about Greek/Americans as part of American society. Jill Zannos, the protagonist, doesn’t fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighborhoods in the city. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition she inherited from her mystic grandmother. It acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, while she investigates the most despicable murder of her career.
Where did you get the idea from to write this book?
Suzanne:The idea to write The Greeks of Beaubien Street evolved as I daydreamed about my childhood growing up in Dearborn. My father took us to Greektown to shop; we didn’t go there to eat in the restaurants. We bought the foods we couldn’t get anywhere else; wonderful Greek bread, tangy Kalamata olives, cheese, taramasalta, halva, and of course, filo dough based pastries like baklava. I loved the Eastern Market, too. Writing a book about my childhood sounded too boring. I am intrigued with women who become police officers, so the next logical step was to have a fantasy about one and write it down. Writing the crime scenes came from some perverse place I don’t want to investigate too deeply. I’m sixty-two years old so it’s too late to find out what’s going on now.
Did you find it easier or harder to write this book than your other books?
Suzanne: This book was much harder to write, because I had to research so much about crime scenes and guns, Greek demographics, etc. It didn’t all come from my imagination like the Pam of Babylon books did.
If you had to describe your book in five separate adjectives, what would that be? (for example, thrilling, exciting,…)
Suzanne: From the reviews, I’m borrowing; disturbing, entertaining, effective, memorable, shocking.
Describe your main character. What makes him or her tick?
Suzanne: Jill has a lot of self-confidence. I think it comes from being held in highest esteem by her grandparents and father. She is smart and no nonsense. There are few gray areas in her thinking. She is a mystic, and is in touch with her spiritual self. She takes care of herself.
What’s the main goal of your main character?
Suzanne: She wants to be a good police officer, but she also wants to honor the traditions started by her grandparents. She respects her culture.
What obstacles are in his/her way of achieving that goal?
Suzanne: Contemporary mores give her pause. She will allow her boyfriend to spend the night, but he can’t move in with her, nor will she give him a key because she doesn’t want to offend her father. The boyfriend turns out to be a cad, so maybe it is a good thing. Also, because of her need to stay connected to the fabric of her culture, she won’t leave Greektown. In the sequel, this becomes a problem.
What’s your favorite part of the whole book?
Suzanne: I love, love, love the non-Greek aunts. The are completely fictional, but as I wrote about them, I remembered my mother and Aunt Marge and Aunt Sherry. I gave them personalities of some of the nurses I worked with years ago, memorable personalities, and that was so much fun!
Now that The Greeks of Beaubien Street is published, what’s your next project/
Suzanne:I’m working on the sequel, and have started two more fiction works; Alice’s Summertime Adventure, which sound bucolic but is my typical dark drama, and a sci/fi, just to try on for size. Also two non-fiction books, one about grief which is based on a survey I did through Survey Monkey, and one on marketing my books!
Any final words?
Suzanne:Thank you so much. I appreciate your support and the opportunity you give to authors to promote their work.