An absolute pleasure to meet this author, I crossed paths with Jane a while ago I’ll never forget her. Sometimes you just meet people and their personality and warmth shines through email, and every way, even if you have not met in person. As well as a great writer Jane is a beautiful person also, I wish her many many books sales!
Jane has co-authored a book with Christina Jones, I am keen to hear all about her experience of writing with another writer, something I’ve really enjoyed myself….
Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
Thanks so much for inviting me to be interviewed. I’m really excited to chat with you and your readers here.
I was born in England but have spent my life roaming and living all over the world, first as an Army brat and later with the Rock/Pop and R&B artists I managed with my musician husband.
Other than writing I enjoy walking and photography. I love the countryside and also old buildings, churches, great houses and their estates (gardens and forests) – visiting and photographing them is something I love to do. I often blog about my ‘jollies’ as I call them.
I love reading and I also do Family History Research which I have been working on for more years than I care to recall. A star-gazer, I love anything to do with astronomy and the Cosmos. Actually I love doing so many things far too numerous to list without you all dropping off your perches with boredom.
Kim: R’n B… Go Jane 🙂
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I have always written, especially as a child, but life has always got in the way. Initially my husband’s band took over our lives and raising a family and working full time left me with little time to myself. Later we (husband and I) went in to international artist management and we spent all our time working with the recording artists, singers, bands, record producers we managed and as we were on the road all over the world, or in a recording studio or preparing for concerts – whatever – every day, year in, year out, you can imagine time for oneself was non-existent. Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do but I had to wait until we took a step back and decided to enjoy our own lives for a change.
My inspiration comes from experiences and things I have seen and heard. I worked for government before going in to business with my husband and, believe me, there is so much I’ve been able to draw upon. Also the international music business is a fabulous place to garner material for writing.
Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
I have so many favourite authors, too many to list but including Kathy Reichs, Karen Slaughter, Peter James, Michael Connolly, Stella Rimington – they are all much loved writers.
Kathy Reichs inspired me and motivated me to educate myself in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. In 2015 and until earlier this year (2017) I have been studying these subjects with various established and respected tutors and universities, on-line, to enable my writing to be more accurate and based on known scientific facts.
Kim: I like all of those authors especially Kathy Reichs
What genre do you enjoy reading?
I am a crime/thriller and espionage geek. Anything which gets my little grey cells working hard.
Kim: *smiles* book soul mates.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’m not sure if it has altered my process of writing, but it has made me write to deadlines and to hone my sentences down to a minimum. I write flash fiction and write short stories too, so keeping things to a minimum when writing in these formats has helped me greatly. I have never written a romantic novel before – women’s fiction – and this has been a challenge as I have not allowed myself any dead bodies or criminals to roam across the pages. You have no idea how hard that was.
Kim: haha! Ya know, I learned the ‘hone’ lesson also as a co-author.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
I have written a (yet to be published) series called Ms Birdsong Investigates about a former MI5 Officer who retires far too soon, and is dying of boredom when a missing woman gets her juices flowing again, and she investigates her disappearance and ends up to her neck in Russian Mafia, people traffickers, and Ukrainian gun/drug runners and murder…well, in book one. Books two and three are almost finished. It has been fun so far, having familiar characters popping in and out has been challenging but comforting too. I love it.
Kim: I’d love a review copy when it’s ready sounds great.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
Believe it or not I have dabbled in other genres. I didn’t do it intentionally but when I’ve been asked to write for various anthologies – mostly for charity when crime stories were not always required, I have dabbled. I have written Ghost Stories, adventure and now, with my co-written novel – with Christina Jones – women’s fiction (romance). I prefer crime but I know I can turn my hand to other genres if I want.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Seeing my work in a real hold-in-my-hand paperback. I never thought I’d see the day. I was too chuffed for words.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
Oh yes, often and it comes very close at times. Usually it is because the internet is playing up or I am being interrupted a lot.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
I don’t plot. I think the process of writing up drafts and notes and doing all the stuff writers say they do, would do my head in. I’d lose interest I am sure. I am impatient to get the words down, the story written. I get an idea from a name, news item or a photo – even a remembered event – and off I go. I have no idea when I begin where the story is going to go, what is going to happen and sometimes exactly what it’s about. A bit like song-writing – the story writes itself and I just go with the flow.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
Don’t get me started with punctuation. I used to be so good at it. Now I am a nightmare. I have lost all confidence and knowledge. It comes from not having to write much ever since leaving school – I left my brain behind when I left.
Kim: It’s actually the one thing about writing that really fries my brain too!
Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists- but hey I’m over it now. Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.
Yes, it is have. I insist on typing ahve. No idea why.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
I hope to publish Ms Birdsong Investigates: Murder at Ampney Parva – part one of my series in 2018. It is in with my publisher, Accent Press, now. I have several books on the go and lots of short stories which are published from time to time.
So… where can we get your books?
Mainly via Amazon. I have an Author Page on Amazon and links to most of my books are there.
What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”
I will let you know when that happens. I am not sure to be honest since I have not harboured ideas of success other than just getting my work written and out there. Having helped others to achieve ‘success,’ achieving it for myself it not the motivation for my writing. I write for myself, my own enjoyment, and if anyone else enjoys my writing I am dead chuffed. I guess that is my idea of success.
Kim: well said.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research if I come unstuck with my own general knowledge and that is why I studied Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. I may Google a few things and sometimes use Wikipedia but mostly I don’t need to. For Only One Woman I used old tour schedules, posters, fan-letters, and diaries from when my husband’s band was touring and making records. Just to clarify the venues names on the circuit back in 1968/69, which groups were in the charts and when – that sort of thing. I don’t spend that long researching come to think of it.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I have only had one bad comment so far on my work and that was about a story I had in a charity anthology. I had no idea about any of the other stories, their content, or characters, having not read them until the book was published. My story was set in Hollywood in the music/movie world which I know well, and I was told off in no uncertain terms for calling my lead character Brad. Apparently one of the other stories had a Brad in it and not only that but the person reading it was sick of American men being called Brad….what can I say! I know a lot of Brads, Toms, Dicks and Harrys too….
What was your hardest scene to write?
Writing any sort of love scene – I don’t do sex in books as a rule. I know how to bump someone off but not how to write about sex. I don’t read romance or erotica and my memory is not that good these days…in Only One Woman I had to write an intimate scene between Scott and Renza and I can tell you it really stretched my imagination. I nearly fell off my perch when I realised I was writing them into bed. But it had to be done. I think I did the equivalent of back in the days of Hollywood movies when all sex scenes – in bed – had to be filmed with one actor having their foot on the floor to stop it being indecent. Like that. I find it difficult. I am a convent girl after-all!
Kim: OMG that sounded sooooooooo ‘British’ southern ‘ bump someone off’ love it… Lawrd, okay you may want to stay away from my steamy romances. My descriptions are vivid.
Do you Google yourself?
I have not, a family member did and then started to read stuff to me. I told them I couldn’t listen or read it and to stop.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Christina Jones with whom I have written Only One Woman is a life-long friend and she encouraged me. Margot Kinberg has been supportive too and both these ladies are fab writers in their own right and I have been so fortunate to have them support me. Help me be a better writer? I don’t think so, but they’ve just been there for me.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Only One Woman has taken 5 years to get to publication on 23rd November 2017. It was started in 2012, signed to a publisher in 2014 with several publication dates after that, but so many editors came and went, it was beginning to be frustrating.
Ms Birdsong took a year for book one and the other two are still works in progress. In between I have had 10 anthologies published with my work. I write fast when I have a deadline and can write a short story in a week or so.
What’s your favourite movie?
Some Like it Hot and also Calamity Jane.
What’s your favourite book and why?
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier. I love pirates and adventure although there is also romance.
What music do you like?
Everything other than Modern Jazz, Folk and heavy opera.
Where would you like to travel to and why?
I have lived abroad and travelled a great deal. I would love to go to Nepal, The Amazon, and Russia, and to see all of China – only seen some so far. Because I love beauty and from what I have seen these countries are incredibly beautiful. I love meeting other cultures and learning new things. I just like travel and want to see the whole world before I pop my clogs.
Tell us about how you develop your characters?
I try and give them all a back story even if my readers are not aware of it all. I try to slip snippets in now and again to give them a flavour of their personalities as in Ms B: she diets (tomorrow) and loves liquorice and men, scotch, and rock music. When I am writing a series I hope, over time in the future books, slowly things will be revealed.
Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?
I love Ms B because she is feisty, a martial arts expert with a soft centre. She is independent, intelligent and fun.
Do you need a lot of sexual experience to be a good erotica author?
I am the wrong person to ask. Ye gods, I have no idea.
If you could do it all again would you change anything?
Oh don’t get me started….
Thank you for a wonderful interview Jane! I wish you well with this book and many more. Connect with Jane here