An Unfamiliar Murder is Jane’s latest book (actually a rerelease of her debut). Anna Cottrell arrives home at her flat from work, expecting just to have a quick change of clothes before going to her parent’s 30th wedding anniversary celebrations. Instead she finds a dead body in her lounge and is then arrested and questioned for murder. This books is pacy, twisty, everything you want a crime book to be. DCI Helen Lavery is so relatable I was gripped from beginning to end.
Not only does Jane churn out good quality books at an alarming rate she also has a family, a job and a rather bonkers labrador. So how does she fit it all in? Let’s find out.
I still feel the bounce in my stomach when I receive an email offering me a contract for a new book. I still pinch myself to believe that it is all true. I’d dreamed of the day I would get published, the day I would see my book on the shelf in Waterstones, receive feedback, reviews, do book signings…
Book promotion is an ongoing basis and something I’ve had to fit into my already hectic daily schedule. Once I’ve bundled my daughter off to school in the mornings I spend half an hour on the computer dealing with emails, answering messages, tweets etc. Then it’s off to the day job for me. (Like many writers I squeeze my writing into my marginal time.) I usually return around three and run around the field with my incredibly naughty, but wonderfully lovable Labrador, Bollo. Then, back onto the PC to catch up again with social media, whilst welcoming my daughter in from school and cooking the dinner, occasionally to disastrous results (luckily my guys are very easy going)!
The evening time is when I start to think about the real love of my life: my fiction. A few evenings a week, around 8pm, I sit at the PC for an hour or two, gather my thoughts, and spend some time either researching, editing, or writing a new stretch. I don’t give myself a daily word count – if I manage 1000 words it’s a bonus – but prefer to write in scenes. Depending on their complexity I can research for hours, days, sometimes weeks before I am ready to get the words on the page.
For me, one of the most interesting elements of novel writing is research and it’s incredible what direction that can take. Some days I’m meeting interesting people like a former homicide detective to discuss police procedure, others I’m listening to some rare music or sitting outside a café filtering my thoughts and people watching. For my second novel, The Truth Will Out, I spent hours watching episodes of Top Gear and listening to rap music on YouTube, all in pursuit of my goal.
It may seem that I don’t have much time to write, but my characters are never far from my mind and often in the supermarket queue, or by the pool during my daughter’s swim class, I’m jotting down notes that will later form some prose in my next novel.
One of the wonderful things about becoming an author and sharing your work are the lovely people that you meet and messages you receive from readers. They still both surprise and thrill me, and I’m so touched that people take the time to get in touch.
The day my books landed in my local bookshop was a very exciting moment for me. Seeing one of my books sit on the shelf above one of my favourite crime authors, Peter James, is still an exhilarating moment, every time I visit the store.
Thanks so much for sharing, Jane.