Interview: Jan Christensen

Please welcome Jan Christensen, author of Buried Under Clutter and other novels.

BURIED UNDER CLUTTER FRONT 200x300What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Write 1,000 words, take a walk, edit a different project for an hour, eat a great dinner with my husband and other family and friends when they’re available, and read.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
Green is my favorite color, I love Ma Griffe perfume, and everyone says they like my lasagna.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Jane Goodall for living the life she wants to live, Jonathan Kellerman for becoming a psychologist, then a popular author, and Alan Lakein, author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, along with several other time management gurus, for helping me do what his title suggests.

Do you listen to music when you write?
No, I need total quiet.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Well, hoarders are interesting to me, and thinking of the possibilities of one being murdered and having to go through all her stuff, hoping to find some clues—it felt as if I could get about 80,000 words out of that. <grin> Therefore, Buried Under Clutter was published just last week.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
My first published novel’s main theme was female friendship (Sara’s Search), and most of the rest have that theme, as well, either as the major one, or as a secondary one.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
My main character, Tina Shaw, is a 29-year old woman who gave up her psychological practice and decided to become a personal organizer. She’s sensitive to others, spunky, curious, persistent, and has issues when people are controlling. She has a good sense of humor which shines through particularly when she’s with her Uncle Bob or boyfriend Hank. She’s the way she is, I believe, because of strong family ties and friendships, a supportive, although rather controlling mother and a droll uncle, and because she realizes she lives in a wonderful beach town (Newport, RI) that is full of history and fascinating places.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Mary Tyler Moore (nice and funny), Alice in Wonderland (curious), and a young Dr. Joyce Brothers (uses her psychological training in everyday life).

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Janet Evanovich, Anne Tyler, Nora Roberts (but she’d have to come as J. D. Robb), Donald Westlake, Jonathan Kellerman, and Dennis Lehane.

What’s next for you?
I’m writing the third in the Tina Tales series, and editing the second in the Paula Mitchell, PI series, which I hope will be out in the fall. My plan is a book in each series every year, and other work as I have time and energy—short stories, non-fiction projects, etc.

Thanks for having me here! I enjoyed answering the questions.


Jan Christensen grew up in New Jersey and now resides in the Texas Coastal Bend. Published novels are: Sara’s Search, Revelations, Organized to Death, Perfect Victim, Blackout, and most recently, Buried Under Clutter. She’s had over sixty short stories appear in various places over the last dozen years, two of which were nominated for a Derringer Award and one chosen for an anthology of Western Noir edited by Dave Zeltserman and Ed Gorman.

Amazon author page:






20 thoughts on “Interview: Jan Christensen”

  1. Oh, this is definitely for me! I’m a hoarder too (at least that’s what my family tells me!) I look forward to checking out your books!


  2. I enjoyed reading your interview, Jan. Like you, I need quiet when I write. Congrats on the new novel. It sounds like another winner! I’ve enjoyed reading your previous novels very much.


  3. I enjoyed the interview, Jan. It’s so nice to learn more about you. I wonder if I could sneak into that dinner party. I continue to re-read Donald Westlake whenever I need to smile.


  4. That’s a swell mix of questions and makes for a good set. All good food for thought, Ms. Christensen. The creative process, in all its magical and practical aspects is fascinating stuff.


  5. Jan, thanks for reminding me I was once a Kellerman fan. Now I have to reread him after I order Buried Under Clutter, a description of my life according to my husband. I find great value in my piles of notes but I edit much more than I write. I will take up your 1000 word goal and do better.


  6. Jacqueline, thanks for saying you like my previous books. As you know, I’ve enjoyed yours, as well. I didn’t know you also needed quiet time. I find it fascinating how each writer works. Thanks for commenting.


  7. Hi, Anita. Of course you can come to the dinner party. Everyone who has read the interview has a special invite. I think I wouldn’t say a word–just sit and listen to all those wonderful writers.


  8. Georgia, I have to admit I’m behind in reading all the Kellerman books. I used to read each new one as it came out, but I’ve been distracted by my own writing and discovering new writers. Good luck with your goal of 1,000 words a day. I admit, I don’t always make it–yesterday it was only 500. But 500 is better than nothing, right? Maybe you’ve read the book “Bird by Bird.” I always think, “Word by Word.”


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