Many years ago, my husband and I took a year out to travel the world. A friend gave me a diary to complete and I filled it in every day with tales of our experiences. Reading them back on our return, I realised that photos recorded our experiences, but those words brought the memories flooding back.
I decided to take a creative writing course and was instantly hooked. The first chapter of An Unfamiliar Murder was written as part of the course and my tutor enjoyed it so much she asked to have a look at some more. This spurred me on, and gave me the confidence to complete the novel and submit it to agents and publishers.
The book was initially picked up by a London agent, but they failed to find a home for it among the big six. When the rights reverted back to me, I gained much interest from the smaller independent houses and very soon signed a contract with US based Rainstorm Press. Rainstorm have been very supportive and worked closely with me on cover art, edits and advice, to nurture my novel to publication.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
I’ve always been a victim of an overactive imagination, a curious nature, and a great people watcher. I’m fascinated by how people react when they are taken out of the realms of normality. I love the idea of putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations and watching the story unfold as I write.
I also enjoy watching characters come alive on the page. They become very real to me and I often miss them when they’re gone – well the nice ones anyway!
Which part do you hate most?
I seem to relish setting myself endless puzzles amidst the twists and turns of a mystery novel that can take days and sometimes weeks to resolve, and result in many sleepless nights!
I’m captivated by how people live their lives. What sparks one to be a serial killer, another to be a banker? An avid reader of crime fiction for many years, I wanted to explore those themes in this genre.
In An Unfamiliar Murder (out now), Anna, a secondary school teacher, comes home from work to find the dead body of a stranger in her flat and spends the night in a police cell as prime suspect in a murder enquiry. How does she fight for her innocence?
In The Truth Will Out (sequel scheduled for release April 2014) a woman watches her best friend being attacked online via webcam, but has a secret that prevents her from facing the police and sends her on the run. How would you or I deal with that?
Questions like these become my motivation to write the story.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
I was bowled over by Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Sunscreen’, released in 1999. The lyrics impart plenty of good advice, the basic premise of which is to indulge friends and family and make the most of every moment.
Which famous unsolved murder would you like to investigate and why?
Every unsolved murder is a tragedy for the friends and family of the victim and I have the utmost respect for detectives who work their fingers to the bone in pursuit of the truth. I’ve read a lot of true crime for research and it’s very different to fiction – it always gives me nightmares.
If I had to pick one case, and it’s very hard to do so, it would be that of 25 year-old London estate agent, Suzy Lamplugh, who was reported missing in July 1986 after arranging a house viewing with a man named “Mr Kipper” in Fulham, London.
Although her body has never been located, she was officially declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1994. Detectives speculated the involvement of convicted rapist and killer, John Cannan, but have been unable to find the necessary evidence to prove this.
Suzy’s parents, Paul and Diana Lamplugh, have dedicated their lives to the ‘Suzy Lamplugh Trust’ which promotes personal safety for women. It would be heartening for them to receive some resolution.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Sherlock Holmes. In Holmes, Conan Doyle created an intriguing character with an eclectic mix of logical reasoning and the master of disguises, underpinned by a sound knowledge of forensics. I find him quite fascinating.
We would eat beef carpaccio and French fruit tartlets because they are my favourite!
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I find the detective investigation side of Jeffery Deaver and Peter James, alongside the psychological elements of Mo Hayder and more recently Elizabeth Haynes, quite riveting. I try to combine both these elements in my books to achieve a page turning thriller with an original twist. In essence, I write books that I would like to read myself.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a new psychological thriller/police procedural crossover set in Stratford Upon Avon with a fresh set of characters and a strong Eastern element. Very exciting!
Where can fans find you online?
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Nicky. It’s been wonderful. I love to connect with other readers and writers. Here’s the links to get in touch:
Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ The sequel, ‘The Truth Will Out’ will be released on 1st April 2014.
Jane was runner up, ‘Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2013’. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies including Rainstorm Press’, Whacked, in 2012, and Bridge House Publishing’s, Crime After Crime, in 2012, and Rainstorm Press’ Through the Eyes of a Storm in 2013.
More information can be found at http://www.janeisaac.co.uk .