I am delighted that JANE ISAAC is joining me on my blog today. Jane's latest book - Before It's Too Late - was published by Legend Press on 1 June 2015.
So Jane, what inspired you to write a book in the first place?
Fifteen years ago, my husband and I took a year out to travel the world and a friend gave us a diary to keep. I didn’t think we’d keep it up, but we both wrote in it every day and returned home at the end of the trip with a collection of diaries. Years later, the photos brought back memories, but it was the diary that recreated the true sense of the places we visited. That’s when my love affair with writing began.
Where do your ideas come from?
I think it’s a mixture of an over active imagination and nosiness! I’ve always been a great people-watcher and I like to imagine putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, taking them out of their comfort zone and watching how they react.
With The Truth Will Out, the idea for the opening stemmed from a Skype conversation with my best friend. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if two people were chatting over Skype and one watched the other be attacked through the screen. And then what if they had a secret that meant the friend couldn’t contact the police. The story unfolded from there…
For Before It’s Too Late, it was the idea of what would happen if someone was kidnapped and kept hostage in a disused pit in the Warwickshire countryside. What would they go through, how would they feel, as the police work around the clock to try to find them and track down their abductor?
Have your personal experiences influenced your writing? And if so, how?
I think authors always leave a little of themselves in a book. Most of my books seem to feature dogs or cats in some capacity - DI Jackman in Before It’s Too Late has a Labrador, similar to my own.
Books are a great medium to indulge interests too. I have a passion for travel, both in the UK and abroad, and the kidnap victim in the latest book is a Chinese student in Stratford upon Avon, which necessitated a lot of research on Chinese culture in order to get inside her head, and plenty of field trips and weekends away to explore Stratford.
Describe your writing style in 10 words or less?
A reviewer once described it as, ‘Writing so good, I didn’t notice it.’ That’s the best compliment I could ever have had.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
With a day job and a family, I can often be found penning ideas in very unusual places, like around the pool when my daughter has a swim class and jotting down notes in the supermarket queue.
Do you plot out the whole book before you start or just start writing and see where it leads you
With my first book, An Unfamiliar Murder, I didn’t do any plotting beforehand and just sat and wrote whenever I had a spare moment. But when I came to write my second I felt I needed more structure and direction. Now I draft short outlines of the story before I begin, although often characters do unexpected things, or plot twists and turns jump in and surprise me along the way.
What do you consider to be the hardest part of your writing?
Actually getting down to it! There are so many distractions with family, work, and the very addictive Facebook and Twitter which is made for born procrastinators like me who like to chat!
Do you read? If so, who are your favourite authors?
Of course. Books are never far from my mind, whether reading or writing. I love Peter James’ Roy Grace series and I also enjoyed the psychological thrillers of Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson and Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes.
What's the most interesting place you have visited when researching one of your books? And what's the strangest?
The most interesting were probably a mix of the Scottish Highlands for The Truth Will Out, and Stratford-upon-Avon for Before It’s Too Late. I loved learning about the history and culture of both places, and exploring the countryside in and around them.
The strangest experience was trudging over the fields of Northamptonshire with the family one Saturday afternoon, my daughter and dog running off ahead, while my husband and I searched for potential deposition sites for a body for An Unfamiliar Murder!
If you were writing a book about your life, what would be the title?
Ha! I thought it only fair to ask my husband to name this one and he came up with, ‘Are We Nearly There Yet!’ Apparently, I’m the most impatient person he knows. I only manage to write a novel because I do it in short snippets or scenes, one at a time.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read voraciously in and around the genre you intend to work with and try to write something every day, no matter how short. When your script is complete, send it to people who you trust to give you honest and constructive feedback, then rework until it is the best you can do before you submit.
It can be difficult to find a home for a novel and publishers reject submissions for many reasons which are not necessarily anything to do with your writing: It may not fit with a publisher’s list, they may have something similar, they may not be looking for submissions in your genre at this time. So, if you receive a rejection, don’t give up; take heed of any advice, rework your script if necessary, and submit elsewhere.
And lastly, why should people read Before It's Too Late?
I’m rubbish at this sort of thing, so I’ll share some of a couple of early reviewers’ comments with you. Sorry for the cop out.
‘Jane Isaac has excelled herself, producing a dark and fascinating contemporary crime read. The parts featuring Min put this in a league of its own…Very moving indeed.’ Northerncrime
‘Really excellent crime thriller again from Jane Isaac, this time bringing us a new main protagonist (Will Jackman whom I adored) and with a heart and soul for the story provided by a victim of kidnap - Min Li, whose musings whilst trapped in a dark pit, not knowing if rescue is coming, gives a beautifully crafted edge to the whole thing that will keep you on the edge of your seat.’ Lizlovesbooks
About Jane Isaac
Jane Isaac is author of three psychological thrillers and lives in rural Northants, UK with her husband and daughter where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her 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!
Before it's too Late
Published by Legend Press (1 June 2015)
I concentrated hard, desperately listening for something familiar, the sound of life. I heard nothing. Just my own breaths and the wind, whistling through branches above… The thought made me shiver. I am buried alive.
Following an argument with her British boyfriend, Chinese student Min Li is abducted whilst walking the dark streets of picturesque Stratford-upon-Avon alone. Trapped in a dark pit, Min is at the mercy of her captor. Detective Inspector Will Jackman is tasked with solving the case and in his search for answers discovers that the truth is buried deeper than he ever expected. But, as another student vanishes and Min grows ever weaker, time is running out.
Can Jackman track down the kidnapper, before it's too late?
Click here to find it on Amazon UK.