This Writer's Journey

This Writer's Journey
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014


It’s a great pleasure to re-introduce author Jane Isaac (May 2012). Jane’s new crime novel The Truth Will Out has just been published and is already garnishing rave reviews. Jane was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about her new book. Here they are:

1) Jane, your new novel “The Truth Will Out” has just been published.  Please tell us a little about your book.
            I am fascinated by what happens when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people. Most of us live our lives in a bubble and never cross paths with law enforcement. I like to explore what happens when we are taken out of our comfort zone. In The Truth Will Out we follow a murder investigation through the eyes of Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery and the rest of the story through by another person affected the by the case: Eva Carradine.
Let me share my blurb with you:
"Everything's going to be okay."
"What if it's not?"
Suddenly, she turned. For a split second she halted, her head inclined.
"Naomi, what is it?"
She whisked back to face Eva.
"There's somebody in the house..."
            Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder inquiry begins.
            Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present.
            Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. As the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?

2) Sounds very exciting, Jane. What do you want the reader to remember most about your book?
            I think it would be the character of Helen Lavery. It’s important to me that the characters appear real; they could just as easily be you or I, so that we feel their journey.
For Helen, I interviewed police officers across the ranks in the local force to create a character that is not only interesting, but also realistic in modern day policing. She is a mum, battling to single-handedly raise her teenage sons while holding down one of the most important jobs in the police force and genuinely a good person, walking that extra mile to fight for justice in the face of difficult circumstances. I have great admiration for her.

 3) Why did you decide to write this book?
            As soon as I finished my first book, An Unfamiliar Murder, I realized that there was a lot more that I wanted to do with the character of Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery. The Truth Will Out is the second book in the series, although it can be read as a standalone novel in its own right, and sees the detective face her toughest case yet. There’s plenty to keep her busy as she clashes with superiors in pursuance of the truth, and she has a love interest too.

4) Can you tell the readers about your writing schedule. For example: How long did it take you to write the book? How many hours a day did you spend on writing? Editing?
            I have a day job and a family to fit my writing around, which means I lack the luxury of a regular writing routine. I tend to squeeze my writing into every spare moment and can often be found sitting beside the pool with my laptop while my daughter is in swim class, wandering over the fields with my dog churning over plot lines, or jotting down notes in the supermarket queue. It usually takes me around eighteen months to research, write and edit a book.

5) Who do you feel is your best audience?
            That’s a tough one. I’ve had messages and tweets from both men and women from ages sixteen to eighty I would guess! I think it would appeal to anyone who likes a British crime police procedural dosed with a large spoonful of psychological tension.

6) What's next on your writing agenda? Working on another book?
            I’ve just finished the first draft of my third novel, a new detective mystery set in Stratford upon Avon. It’s out for first opinion at the moment, so I’m keen to see how it’s received!

 Thank you, Jane. It’s been enlightening. Much success with your new novel.

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Gerard. It’s been fun answering your questions.

Jane Isaac was runner up, ‘Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2013. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduced Midlands based Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the 'eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.' Her second book, The Truth Will Out, was released by Legend Press on 1st April 2014 and nominated as a ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by
Jane  lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


“Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it’s a letdown, they won’t buy any more. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.” __Mickey Spillane

“The first page sells that book.” Mickey Spillane understood the concept that the job of the opening lines of a book, a short story, or an essay is to grab the reader’s attention so that they have no choice but to continue reading. Spillane sold over 225 million copies of his books.

I’m a FFLR - a first few lines reader. I sail through bookstores reading the first few lines from an assortment of books—classics, not so classic, and bestsellers alike. The first few lines (or paragraphs) should attract the reader’s attention, set the stage for the rest of the story, and should be an indication as to the theme and genre of the story.
The first few lines are also a way in which the author introduces himself. It’s his/her way of saying “hello.”  Sometimes an author will start his story slowly, bowing courteously like a Japanese host. Some authors go a step further using the hot, wet, clammy dead-fish-in-your-hand handshake. (Yuck.) Then there are those that use the hardy handclasp, which indicates a warm, neighborly and inviting hello. Finally, some authors use the screaming, slap-on-your-back, two-fisted, hand-over-hand handshake that literally pulls the reader into the story, like it or not.
Personally, I like to wake the reader with a hold-on-to-your-hat first few lines, grabbing the reader and never letting go. Here are the opening lines from my mystery/thriller novel The Deal Master:

Before she could react, he attacker her. He flung her backwards onto the floor and lunged at her, pressing the cold steel blade of a pearl-handled straight razor menacingly against the side of her neck. His face, only inches from hers, began to sweat. “Don’t move,” he said through clenched teeth.

And here are the first few lines from my theatrical comedy, Discipline:

HAROLD:  I find that no two nipples are alike - even on the same person.
LILLY: It’s not polite to compare them.
HAROLD: I wouldn’t know why.
LILLY: I wouldn’t think you would, so I’ll tell you.

Notice how in both examples the atmosphere of the story is clearly laid out. There is no question as the genre of either story.

So, go back and change those expository boring first few lines you used to begin your story. Grab the reader’s attention. Shake him/her about. Keep your reader reading. Make your first impression impressionable. You may not get a second chance.

Monday, April 7, 2014


April 7th. Today we celebrate the birthdate of author Donald Barthelme (1931-1989).

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Barthelme was a postmodernist short story writer with a sharp wit.

"There's nothing more rewarding than a fresh set of problems." Donald Barthelme from The Guardian Book Blog.

To learn more about this terrific writer visit Wikipedia and The Guardian Book Blog:

Friday, April 4, 2014


April 4th. Today we celebrate the birthdate of playwright, editor and screenwriter Robert E. Sherwood (1896 - 1955).

Sherwood received numerous literary awards throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1936, '39, '41, and '49, and the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history in 1949.

Sherwood had a fascinating career screenwriting such hits as The Bishop's Wife, Rebecca, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Lincoln in Illinois to name a few.

"To be able to write a play a man must be sensitive, imaginative, naive, gullible, passionate; he must be something of an imbecile, something of a poet, something of a liar, something of a damn fool." Robert E. Sherwood from

To learn more about this artist check out his page on IMDB:

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


April 3rd. Today we celebrate the birthdate of American author Washington Irving (1783 - 1859).

Daguerreotype of Washington Irving
(modern copy by Mathew Brady,
original by John Plumbe)
"Great minds have purposes; others have wishes." Washington Irving from
Learn more about this artist on Wikipedia:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


April 2nd. Today we celebrate the birthdate of author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

Photograph taken by Thora Hallager, 1869

The son of a poor shoemaker, Hans Christian Andersen is one of the world's greatest storytellers. Although he wrote novels, poems and plays, he is and always will be most fondly remembered for his fairytales.
"Now when her sisters thus rose arm in arm through the sea, the little sister would remain below alone looking up after them, and she felt as if she must cry; but mermaids have no tears and so suffer all the more." From "The Little Mermaid."
Learn more about this artist on Wikipedia:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


"A Tattoo," one of the short stories from my collection A Sharp Bend in the Road, has been published by Burningword Literary Journal. Here's the link. I hope you enjoy it!