I have had the distinct pleasure of conversing with British author Jane Isaac via Twitter and Facebook. She has a wonderful sense of humor and writes about murder. We authors take the time to showcase each other so that readers can gain a sense of who we are and what leads us to write. It is my hope that you give this author’s stories a try, as we write for people to enjoy, or be grossed out by our stories. So without further adieu, here is more about Jane. I also have complete editorial and dictatorial control so you might see my comments in (Blah)
Jane Isaac studied creative writing with the London School of Journalism. Her non-fiction articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. Several of her short stories have appeared in crime anthologies. She blogs about her writing experience, ‘Diary of a Newbie Novelist’ at http://www.newbiewriters.com/
Jane lives in rural Northants, UK with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo. When she is not writing she loves to travel, is an avid reader, Mum, dog lover and enjoys spending time with her family. She believes life should be an adventure!
Jane loves to hear from readers and writers. Visit her website at www.janeisaac.co.uk where you can read an excerpt of the novel, peruse her blog, ‘Caffeine’s Not a Crime’, and email her through the contacts page.
Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder enquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim…
Leading her first murder enquiry, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?
Without giving too much away, tell us about your latest book?
Although a murder mystery, An Unfamiliar Murder is essentially the story of two women: Anna comes home from work to find the dead body of a stranger in her flat, becomes main suspect in a murder enquiry and, just as she believes she has convinced police of her innocence, new evidence comes to light that links her directly to the victim – evidence that changes her life irrevocably.
DCI Helen Lavery manages her first murder enquiry whilst juggling the responsibilities of single parenting teenage sons. She is trying to make her mark amongst the senior echelons in the police force; an organization dominated by strong personalities, and faces many obstacles along the way. The case initially seems straightforward but, as people close to Anna start to disappear, it increasingly becomes complex, plunging her into a race against time – can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?
Where do your ideas for murder stories come from?
I’ve always been a victim of an overactive imagination, a curious nature, and a great people watcher. I’m fascinated by how people react when they are taken out of the realms of normality. I try to get close to my characters to make them real (they could just as easily be you or I), so that we feel their journey. Usually I begin with the idea of putting an ordinary person, in an extraordinary situation. We watch the effects through their eyes, and the police investigation through the eyes of DCI Lavery.
What fascinates you about murder stories?
I think that people enjoy reading crime fiction because it is safe. Most of our lives are never touched by law enforcement. The challenge is to create a fictional world, make the characters real and appealing so that readers relate and resonate with them, and then inject enough suspense so that the pages practically turn themselves.
Crime fiction readers are clever people. They love to curl up in their chair and enjoy a scary story from the comfort of their home, knowing that the story is the product of the author’s mind.
How far has your research gone into a murder?
Research forms the basis of good crime fiction and, I have to admit, I enjoy studying British police procedure and tactics almost as much as I enjoy the writing process. I have met up with murder detectives and interviewed police officers across the ranks – all very interesting. *Nods head slowly* In order to create my killer for An Unfamiliar Murder, I read a plethora of real crime which is far more frightening and gave me nightmares for weeks. One night I awoke and had to put outside my bedroom it was so disturbing! (Bit of a softie really.) For the sequel, my current work in progress, I’ve studied personality disorders and enlisted the assistance of a psychologist to ensure my antagonist is real and believable.
Are any of your characters based on people you would like to kill?
Nah. I’m a complete pacifist. (Good answer)
Which is your favourite chapter/scene, and why?
Oooh, good question. It would have to be the scene that features on the cover. It’s difficult to elaborate without giving too much away, but Anna is called to meet a very undesirable character. It took quite a while, and a lot of research into serial killers and psychopathic behaviour, to construct. Even then, I re-worked it several times to achieve the right level of suspense without the use of graphic violence. Goose bumps still spiral into my back when I read it.
How do you plan to promote your novel?
I’m still learning on that one. I’ve promoted through the normal social media channels and enjoyed the book signings I’ve done in my local community. I’ve also been fortunate to have done a couple of podcast interviews and a radio interview. I’m always open to new methods of promotion, so if you have any ideas, do holler. (Have you ever heard an American Holler? It’s frightening.)
What can readers expect from you next, and when can they expect it?
I have a short story going into an anthology of murder mysteries entitled ‘Crime After Crime’, due for release in November. Also, I’m currently working on the sequel to An Unfamiliar Murder entitled ‘White Lies, Black Truths’, which I hope to finish by the end of the year.
What is your writing routine and how do you balance your writing with your other commitments?
I don’t have a set routine. My biggest challenge is finding the time to write. Like many writers, with a day job, a family and a very naughty dog, I squeeze my writing into every spare moment I get. I can often be found jotting notes in the supermarket queue, or penning words beside the pool whilst my daughter is in swim class.
Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Occasionally. Music helps a great deal and, if I’m really struggling, I quit and read someone else’s work which usually ends up inspiring me. Otherwise, I work on a new blog post or a short story. Apart from my personal blog ‘Caffeine’s Not a Crime’, I also write ‘Diary of a Newbie Novelist’ at http://www.newbiewriters.com. (By the way, decaf coffee is a crime, punishable with familiar homicide.)
What’s been the most memorable event in your life to date, and why?
There’s been so many. The most amusing was when my husband proposed to me on a mountain in the Lake District region of northern UK. We had just reached the top and I was drinking up the view when I turned to find him down on one knee. Almost fell over him, LOL. (That’s what one gets when they drink too much view.)
Where would you choose as an ideal holiday destination, and why?
Visiting the orang-utans in Borneo because I haven’t done that yet and I’m dying for a hug.
What secret will your readers will be surprised to know about you?
I’m a true cockney, born within the sounds of the bow bells, although you wouldn’t guess that if you met me. (Oh wow! cockney like Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady??? I must visit just to hear it. PS – I had to look up both cockney and Bow Bells)
First and last line of a novel you would love to write?
‘As David stood, he felt the walls close in around him.’
‘And that’s why a gentleman should never wear tartan.’ (Ah, very clever)
Now that you know what “Hamming it up” means are you a Ham?
Only after copious glasses of vodka! (We all love pickled hams)
Quick Fire Questions:
5 star hotel or pup-up camper? Camper – I’m an adventure girl.
Espresso, or Grande Mocha Java Chiller Killer? LOL! OK, number two because it sounds interesting. (We Americans love to make all our coffees sound grandiose, so the person behind them thinks its really trendy.)
Kniggit or Ham? A closet ham.
Lead singer or groupie? Drummer;)
AC/DC or Queen? Queen. (She wants it all, she wants it all, she wants it all… and she wants it now!)
Favourite real person living? Noel Fielding, star of the British comedy series, ’The Mighty Boosh’. His off the wall sense of humour makes me scream with laughter. And my ‘ham’ of a dog, Bollo, is named after a character in this series. (The Mighty Boosh sounds like a commode flushing. So that means I must check it out.)
Favourite dead fictional character? Dracula
Michelin star or Goodyear All Weather Radial? LOL! I’m not sure what Raymond Blanc would make to chewing on rubber. (In America Michelin is a tire company, so I thought it was just one of their brands.)
Theatre or cinema? Theatre
Sports car or smart car? Sports – but something quirky like a VW soft top.
Jungle or Desert? All –I want to go everywhere. (She wants to go everywhere, she wants to go everywhere, she wants to go everywhere … and she wants to do it now! Sorry I digress.)
Monty Python or Benny Hill? Monty Python (You have excellent taste)
Jane has been a great sport in all our conversations. She has taught me about her part of the world and our slight differences. You should follow Jane, without a doubt, give her stories a thorough read and then converse with her via social media. Thank you Jane for participating in my blog interview. I hope it brings you many readers and success.
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