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Interview with Jane Issac

Author PicI’m over the moon to welcome my good friend, Jane Isaac to the blog today. Jane and I met through Legend Press and so I was keen to start reading her books. I started with The Truth Will Out because that’s the first book I saw on Amazon and the cover drew me in. Once I started I couldn’t put it down. I read the way you might travel a fast paced river – dragged in and swept along and deposited, safe but very shaken, at the end.

I absolutely need to read DCI Helen Lavery book now but I’ll have to be quick because Jane’s new book, Beneath the Ashes, will be out in November 2016.

Can you tell us anything about Beneath the Ashes, before publication in November? And are you working on anything at the moment or having a well earned rest?

Hi Lyn. Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog. Beneath the Ashes is the second in the DI Will Jackman series based in Stratford upon Avon and is an old fashioned whodunit where Jackman’s detective skills are tested to the limit. Let me share the blurb with you:

‘The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.’

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house had been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

I’m currently working on the third DI Will Jackman mystery, The Lies Within, due for publication in 2017, although it’s proving a tricky customer at the moment as I’m at the difficult half way point!

Wow – sounds intriguing! I’m just in awe of how you manage to work so productively. I’m a terribly slow writer. What tips can you give people like me to become more efficient with time?

Oh dear, I wish I could be more help there. I don’t follow a regular writing routine, I tend to fit it around my day job and my family and squeeze it in where I can. I do try to do something writing related each day – whether it be research, giving thought to a plot point, jotting down some notes, or even coming up with a character name, just to keep my hand in so that the book is never far from my mind.

I think I do that most of the time but not consistently so I’ll take those tips on board, thanks. Before we go further, can you say a little bit about yourself? I confess I need to know if you have a background in police work?

I live in rural Northamptonshire with my husband, daughter and dog, Bollo. It was a creative writing course that sparked my interest in writing fiction around nine years ago. No, I don’t have a police background, but I’ve always had a deep fascination with the work of detectives and I do have some very good sources to help with my research!

Do you identify with DCI Helen Lavery at all or does she do things that you’d never do?

I do identify with Helen in the fact that she is a working woman, juggling the responsibilities of a demanding job with raising teenage children. However, we are very different characters. Helen loves to pound the streets in her resolve to find the bad guys, I simply sit at my PC and write about them.

I’d be terrified, especially when it’s dark! Another two technical questions that will help other writers – especially me. How do you weave all the different levels of plot together? Do you have a method for keeping everything organised?

I write a detailed outline, usually 4-5 pages, before I start. Things do change as the story unfolds, but I change my outline too so that when I finish my first draft and do my initial read through, I can check back and ensure that everything weaves together.

 I really need to do this effectively and consistently for my next novel. Thanks for that. How did you know you wanted to write crime novels? Do you indulge in any other forms of writing?

My love of mysteries dates back to reading Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven by torchlight under the bedclothes in my early years, then later sitting around the TV with my family watching Poirot. I’ve always loved the twists and turns of mysteries and the thrill of the chase; I guess it was the obvious genre for me.

I loved Enid Blyton too but I only read the Famous Five.  An agent once told me my novel was ‘too brutal’, I’ve always wanted to ask a crime writer about this. Are there any topics you wouldn’t consider?

That’s a good one. I think I’d struggle with paedophilia. Lots of other writers have tackled this subject well, I know, but I do feel compelled to read a lot of true crime around the theme I choose and I’d really struggle with that issue.

What are you reading at the moment? Any favourite crime novelists?

I’m currently beta reading a debut novel for a friend which is a procedural with a difference and very gripping! I have to say I’m drawn to new writers – there’s something special about debuts, I love reading them and following the writer as their career grows.

That’s really heartening for us debut novelists and those looking to publish their first book. What advice would you give fledgling crime 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, or 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.

Fantastic advice. I had a lot of rejections before I won the Luke Bitmead Prize so I know first hand, you have to be relentless. Thanks so much Jane for inspiring new writers. I am really looking forward to your publication day. And as ever, what a gorgeous cover with a hint of something sinister.

Book cover








Before it’s too late is available at Amazon where you can also see the full range of Jane’s novels. You can contact Jane in lots of ways:

Twitter: @JaneIsaacAuthor

Facebook: Jane Isaac Author


Jane Isaac
August 6th, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Thanks so much for the interview, Lyn. I really enjoyed answering your questions 🙂

Lyn G Farrell
August 6th, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Fantastic to chat to you too. A wealth of experience and knowledge for us newbies and just a thoroughly nice woman!


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