Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Author Interview ~ Jane Issac
MYSTERY WRITERS UNITE is EXCITED to be supporting the work of Jane Isaac author of the newly released AN UNFAMILIAR MURDER (see below).
Jane Isaac lives in rural Northamptonshire, UK with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo.
Jane studied creative writing, and later specialist fiction with the London School of journalism. Her non-fiction articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers and online. An Unfamiliar Murder is her first novel.
MWU: Let me start by saying thank you for agreeing to let MYSTERY WRITERS UNITE interview you, it really is a pleasure to support all the hard work that authors do! Now for the fun stuff!! If one of your children was approached and asked what your biggest writing quirk is, what would they say?
Jane Isaac: I love to listen to music when I write. My tastes vary according to my mood and what I’m working on at any particular time, ranging from a blast of Muse, Guns n Roses or the Chilli Peppers, to the gentler Snow Patrol or Keane (at present).
The problem is I have a tendency to sing a tune I’ve listened to for the rest of the day, and it usually collapses into a hum of a favorite couple of lines, repeated incessantly. Sounds great in my head, but drives my ten year old mad!
MWU: Aside from the main character in AN UNFAMILIAR MURDER, who is your favorite character and why?
Jane Isaac: An Unfamiliar Murder is essentially the tale of two women. Anna is fighting to prove her innocence, whilst Helen is trying to prove herself in the senior echelons of the police force, whilst juggling the demands of parenting teenage sons. I have a very strong connection with both these women.
Aside from these, it would have to be Anna’s boyfriend, Ross. Ross teaches at the same school as Anna, but has aspirations of being the next Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He’s sporty, fun loving, caring and undemanding – perfect boyfriend material. I fell in love with him more and more as his character developed and he still holds a special place in my heart.
MWU: What is one of your favorite chapters or scenes in AN UNFAMILIAR MURDER and why is it your favorite?
Jane Isaac: 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 behavior, 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 back.
MWU: Now that you’ve completed this book, is there a character in it that you may want to go back to at another time and write about them again?
Jane Isaac: Yes and yes. In DCI Helen Lavery, I sought to avoid the divorced, alcohol obsessed detective, instead creating a career woman who juggles a lifestyle balance of a demanding job and single parenting two teenage sons. I wanted a character that readers could relate to, so that we feel her journey.
Less than a quarter of the way through the novel I realized that her character could develop in so many ways, beyond the boundaries of this story.
I’m currently working on a sequel in which she faces new challenges, and thoroughly enjoying stretching her character further.
MWU: Another question I ask every author I interview. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you cope with it?
Jane Isaac: Absolutely! 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. Apart from my personal blog ‘Caffeine’s Not a Crime’, I also write ‘Diary of a Newbie Novelist’ at www.newbiewriters.com and general posts for The Pajama Club.
MWU: What did you learn from writing AN UNFAMILIAR MURDER?
Jane Isaac: The benefit of a good editor! It’s tempting to wrap your arms around your favourite lines, but if they don’t drive the story forward let them go. A good editor improves your work and makes it better.
Also, actually writing the book is only one facet of the journey. If you want to get your work out there, you need to be prepared to invest your time in marketing and promoting.
MWU: If you had less than a minute to tell a perspective reader what they could expect from AN UNFAMILIAR MURDER (you are at a trade show and someone has stopped by your booth) what would you tell them? Go….
Jane Isaac: A dead body in your flat and a night in a cell. A police enquiry that uncovers secrets that link you to the victim and turn your life upside down. A killer lurking in the background.
Who are you and who is coming to get you?
Grip hold of your seats, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride.
Every family has secrets…
MWU: What can your readers expect next and when can they expect it?
Jane Isaac: I am currently working on the sequel to An Unfamiliar Murder entitled Murderous Consequences, which I hope to have finished by the summer.
MWU: Is there anything you would like to say to new writers, new readers or current fans of your work?
Jane Isaac: Writers: read as much as you can in your preferred genre. Write everyday – even if you’re just jotting down notes - and write something you would like to read yourself. I’m a sucker for a good page turner, so I sought to write a novel that I couldn’t put down.
New readers: If you like psychological crime thrillers, with strong female characters, that will worm their way under your skin until the very end – then this is the book for you.
Fans: I have two short stories entitled ‘Duplicity’ and ‘Perilous Truths’ out this summer in crime anthologies. Check out my website at www.janeisaac.co.uk for more information.
The synopsis for AN UNFAMILIAR MURDER:
What lurks beneath a normal, healthy skin?
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?