1st published novel a new page in career of Bonner writer
Many residents may not know it, but Bonner Springs is home to a published novelist. And not the kind who has to pay to have her book printed at cost to the author by what is known in the industry as a vanity press.
Jeanne Glidewell’s first published book, “Leave No Stone Unturned,” came out in May from Five-Star Publishing.
The book is a mystery novel, of the subgenre called “cozy mysteries,” which Glidewell said feature amateur sleuths and are nongraphic and nonviolent, like Agatha Christie’s stories.
Glidewell’s novel tells the story of a Kansas widow and volunteer assistant librarian named Lexie Starr, who investigates the death of a previous wife and unborn child of her new son-in-law.
Starr is “a lot like me,” Glidewell said. “She’s got the same characteristics, loosely based on myself. It’s easier to write about someone you know.”
A 1976 graduate of DeSoto High School, she and her husband, Bob, a 1964 graduate of Tonganoxie High School, retired from running an RV campground in Cheyenne in 2006 when she learned she would need a pancreas transplant and there were no medical facilities that could handle such an operation there. Her health is good now, she said.
In fact, she’s started her third Lexie Starr book, having finished her second, “The Extinguished Guest,” which is being considered for publication.
Surprisingly, the mystery genre is not Glidewell’s favorite.
In fact, “I don’t even normally read mysteries,” she said. “I just kind of fell into it,” after her sister Sarah encouraged her to try her hand at a cozy mystery.
Besides the three books she’s completed — her first was a yet-to-be-published mainstream fiction novel — Glidewell has written several magazine articles and is a regular contributing writer for “County Magazine,” which is published in Leavenworth.
She’s not sure of the number of copies sold of “Leave No Stone Unturned,” but the publisher, which specializes in marketing to libraries, has sold it to some 1,250 libraries around the country, Glidewell said, and many of those purchased additional copies for their branch libraries.
Her sales have probably benefited from good reviews of the book, including from three top reviewers on Amazon.com.
“It’s a real advantage to get as many (good reviews) as possible, particularly when targeting libraries,” she said.
Including “The Extinguished Guest,” Glidewell plans at least four and as many as eight more in the Lexie Starr series.
“I can crank them out,” Glidewell said, with about a month of writing necessary for each. After that, she polishes with the proofreading help of an English-professor friend in California.
“She goes through and corrects my dangling participles,” Glidewell said.
Before “Leave No Stone Unturned,” Glidewell had written a novel called “Sole Survivor,” which took a lot longer to write, she said, because of the research required and the longer length of the book.
That novel could also prove harder to market. The plot involves reincarnation, which Glidewell said was “kind of a controversial subject and not every publisher or agent is going to jump on it.”
“Leave No Stone Unturned” didn’t get bought up immediately either. At first it was rejected by Five Star, but Glidewell revised it according to the editor’s suggestions and resubmitted her manuscript. Its acceptance surprised her agent, who told her, “they don’t usually do that,” she said.
It was in December 2006 Glidewell learned the publisher wanted to buy her book.
“I was real calm and collected on the phone with my agent,” Glidewell said. “Then when I got off the phone I jumped all around the room. The first thing I did was call my husband and said, ‘Guess what!’”