Today – on her birthday! – I’m welcoming Jane Isaac to the website since she’s also celebrating the release of latest novel, Beneath the Ashes, which is so high on my TBR list it’s just about touching the ceiling. With a glass of champers in one hand, and a high five woohoo from the other, let’s see what one of the loveliest women writers I know thinks about things…
Was there a defining moment when you realised you wanted write?
Hi Louise! Thanks for inviting me to your lovely blog.
Strangely, yes, there was a defining moment. Well, more a year actually. Before my daughter was born, my husband and I took a year out to travel the world and we were given a diary to keep. I didn’t think we’d manage to keep it going, I tried as a teenager and never got past a couple of weeks, but since we were seeing and experiencing so many interesting things, we both made an entry every day and eventually came back with a collection of diaries.
I really enjoyed recording our experiences, and reading them back years later brought back some wonderful memories that I could never have kept in photos. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write at that time, I just felt the urge to continue and explore the opportunities. Eventually I took a creative writing course which introduced me to writing fiction. The rest, as they say, is history.
Head or heart when it comes to writing?
The ideas come from the head, but the writing definitely comes from the heart. I’m such a drama queen though, my first drafts are packed with ‘gasps’ and people overreacting to certain situations. The finished product has to be well honed before it’s published:-)
What draws you to the darkness of crime writing, apart from being a Scorpio? (We’re renowned for wanting to explore the depravities of life!)
Haha, I didn’t know that about Scorpios!
I just like the idea of putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and watching how they react. Apart from the odd parking ticket or speeding fine, I suspect most of us have never had a brush with law enforcement. It interests me to watch how people react when you take them out of the realms of reality. That’s why I like to weave a victim, or somebody else involved with the case, in with the detective’s point of view, so that I can explore both angles.
Which crime writers do you admire, and why?
I grew up with Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, so they hold a very special place in my heart. More recently, I think Peter James pretty much cracks it for police procedurals. My favourite crime thriller is The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.
Is it just as exciting each time a new novel of yours is released, as happened for you last week?
Absolutely! It’s a whirlwind of emotions each time.
Is there a genre you’d love to try?
Hmm. I’ve been asked this several times and always struggle to find an answer. I think it’s because I do love working in the twists and turns of a good mystery. Perhaps historical fiction? Something written in the Victorian era, although I can’t guarantee there won’t be a dead body or two in there!
Happy endings or sad endings – and why?
I like a mixture of both in my reading. Fiction should emulate life, which is never one way or the other.
Thank you so much Jane! Hope you have a wonderful birthday (you don’t look a day over 23 and 3 quarters). You can order Beneath the Ashes HERE