In crime on July 29, 2012 at 7:49 am

In person, Jill Yesko doesn’t look like she would hurt a fly. She’s short and thin, wears glasses, and dresses in jeans and clogs. When she’s not writing, she teaches yoga classes, eschews alcohol and meat, and rarely stays out past 9 pm. So you’ve got to wonder, from what deep, dark corner of her imagination did she dredge up Jane Ronson, the foul-mouthed, .357 magnum-packing, semi-alcoholic part-time geologist and ass-kicking private investigator who is the protagonist of her debut novel Murder in the Dog Park? Turns out that Jane was inspired by that other bad girl with great computer hacker skills, Lisbeth Salander, the terminally pissed-off protagonist of Stieg Larsson’s Scandinavian crime opus The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. “After reading Larsson’s trilogy, I was totally captivated by Lisbeth’s character,” says Jill.  “I thought: ‘what would Lisbeth be like in ten years?’ She’d have to grow up a bit—you can’t sustain that level of rage past your 20s—and she’d probably have to have some kind of real job, maybe even a steady boyfriend. So I transported a Lisbeth-like character to Baltimore, my adopted hometown, and turned her loose. The result is Jane Ronson.” While Jane and Lisbeth do share some key attributes—both are kickboxers, drink like fish, disdain authority and have exceptional analytic skills—there are some marked differences. “Unlike Lisbeth, Jane has just enough self-awareness to understand that she’s intentionally choosing to be difficult,” says Jill. “At the same time, she’s incredibly torn because a part of her wants to care; she just has no idea how to deal with her emotions. For Jane, feelings are as alien as moon rocks.” Jill understands that readers often think that writers embody their characters. “People ask me all the time, do you really go around beating people up?” continues Jill. “I guess it’s a form of compliment that people confuse you with your protagonist. But if people are going to confuse me with Jane, I’d rather they compliment me on my computer and math skills, something I absolutely do not share with Jane.” Readers of Murder in the Dog Park sometimes say that Jill “doesn’t write like a girl”—a comment that puzzles her. “I guess that means that I’m not afraid for my characters to act in nonstereotypical ways for their genders,” says Jill. “There are many female authors who don’t “write like a girl.’ Look at Suzanne Collins, who created the very nongirlie Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. In my mind, Katniss is the flip side of co-dependent Bella Swan of the Twilight series. I’d like to think that I write honestly about men and women. For instance, how many authors would include a detail like Jane getting her period while trying to seduce her love interest Don? That’s the kind of realism I strive for.” After solving the dog park murder, what’s next for Jane Ronson? “Jane is going to go through some life changes,” says Jill. “She’s turned 30, and her adolescence is ending. In the next book you’ll see Jane struggle with her deepening relationship with Don. Remember, love is an alien concept to Jane. Her mother will reveal a dark family secret that sets in motion the structure of the next book. I’d tell you more, but I’’m still figuring it out!” Author “Murder in the Dog Park. Bad Girl. Good Cop. Bad Dog” Visit Jill on her blog

Author “Murder in the Dog Park. Bad Girl. Good Cop. Bad Dog”

Visit Jill on her blog


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