Be under no illusions by her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder.
Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss.
DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.
When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before she is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?
Buy your copy here: AMAZON UK
My Q&A with Jane Isaac
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey.
Hi! My name is Jane Isaac and I live in Northamptonshire, UK with my husband, daughter and dog, Bollo. I write both the DCI Helen Lavery and the DI Will Jackman series. My books have been described as detective fiction with a psychological edge and my latest novel, The Lies Within, was released on 2nd May 2017.
Like many writers, I’ve had rather a rollercoaster ride to publication. When I finished my first book I was still studying creative writing with the Writers Bureau. My tutor read the sample chapters and recommended that I send it to a small publisher called Crème De La Crime who accepted submissions from unpublished writers. They responded within a week to say that they couldn’t accept new submissions, having just been taken over by a large publisher, but they enjoyed the piece and suggested I send it to a couple of agents who were interested in new crime writers. I really didn’t expect to hear anything, you get so many rejections in this industry, so I was stunned when they both wanted to sign it.
To cut a long story short, after a lovely day at their Kensington offices, I signed with one of the agents and they submitted the novel to the big publishing houses. The result was disappointing. We had lovely feedback, they all seemed to like the work, but nobody offered to sign the novel. My agent suggested I submit to the independent publishers and I signed with US based Rainstorm Press within a month.
Rainstorm Press were only able to distribute books online in the UK, so when I finished my second book, The Truth Will Out, I decided to throw myself back into the slush pile and try for a British publisher. In 2013 I received an offer from London-based Legend Press and they have gone on to publish all my subsequent novels.
Describe yourself using three words?
Amiable. Effervescent. Curious.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
Some people have a fixed idea of their calling from a young age. I never did. The turning point for me came eighteen years ago when my husband and I took a year out to travel the world and a friend gave me a journal to keep as a present. This journal was to become my most treasured travel companion (apart from my husband of course). The photos we took drew on memories but, even years later, when reading the diary I could smell spices in Kuala Lumpur, hear the street music of Bangkok and feel the thick heat that pervades the wonderfully clean Singapore.
Realising the power of words, my love affair with writing began. I enrolled on a creative writing course and started writing articles for newspapers and magazines. It was during this time that I started writing fiction and embarked on my first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, and I’ve never looked back.
What time of day do you like to write?
I’m currently going through a period of transition, having given up my part time day job recently to write full time, so it’s difficult to say at the moment. I guess my brain probably works best late at night or in the early hours of the morning, when the house is quiet, but this isn’t always convenient when you have to get up to do the school run first thing:-).
What is your favourite book and why?
That’s such a hard question! I’ve enjoyed working with the characters in all of my books, but if pushed, I guess my debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, would be my favourite. I wrote it in my own time, without the pressure of deadlines, and it was a completely self-indulgent process, just to see if I could manage to piece together a whole novel. It took me eighteen months to achieve and I still remember frisson of excitement when I first held the finished version in my hand.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I’m hopeless at choosing titles. With my fourth book, I didn’t even have a working title until the very last page, when my husband and I brainstormed some ideas in a panic!
My latest novel was slightly easier, it’s all about the secrets and lies that bind people together, so The Lies Within seemed a good fit.
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Not really. For DI Will Jackman, the lead in my current series, I pulled on my favourite male fictional characters and analysed their behaviour; writing down the elements I liked and that fitted with what I was trying to achieve, disregarding the ones that didn’t. I also considered the male influences in my own life: my father, my brother, my husband, my friends, and spoke to a lot of serving police officers and detectives to see what their working/home life was like. So, I guess he is made up of elements of lots of different people.
What’s your favourite word?
Serendipity. We all deserve the chance to be happy.
If you were a colour what would it be?
Cornflower blue. It reminds of balmy sunny days, family picnics and long walks.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
When I started out I didn’t plan anything and wrote chapter by chapter, researching along the way. My latest release, The Lies Within, was my fifth book and written to a deadline, so I needed to be more organised with my writing time. I wrote a four/five page outline in advance to give me a sense of direction, although inevitably some things did change along the way, and the book took a little under a year to complete.
Who is your favourite Author?
Ten years ago I would have answered this question with established favourites like Jeffery Deaver or Peter James. However being a part of the publishing world has exposed me to so many new talents and I tend to read a lot of different authors these days.
I’ve recently read a debut called Rubicon by Ian Patrick which is due for publication shortly. It was excellent and deserves to be hugely successful.
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
Tony Soprano and four of the many characters he killed off as mob boss in the series, The Sopranos. It would be interesting to see how that evening played out!
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just started The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid. It’s our village book club choice for this month.
Where in the world is your happy place?
Wherever my family are, particularly if they are staying in the heart of the Dordogne, in an ancient gite, surrounded by fields of sunflowers!
If you had one superpower what would it be?
To not have to sleep. There’s so many things to see and do in life and never enough time to fit them all in. Without sleep I’d gain at least 7-8 hours a day.
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
I’m not sure this counts, as she’s not a villain, but I’ve always been troubled the ending of Rosamund Lupton’s novel, Sister. It’s a beautifully written book about the compelling bond between sisters, and I’d love to give Beatrice a happy ending.
Are you working on a new project?
I’ve been researching something new for a while now, reading around the subject area and visiting potential sites. It would mark a change from my series novels, and it’s only a bunch of notes at the moment, but I’m really excited about the prospect of putting it together and watching it evolve.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
Yes. I’ll be launching The Lies Within at the wonderful Oundle Festival of Literature on the evening of the 5th of May. I’m also delighted to be appearing at the Felixstowe Book Festival alongside Michael J Malone and Ruth Dugdall on the 2nd of July on the ‘Panel of Lies’, and will be participating in a ‘read dating’ event at Deeping Literary Festival on the 29th of April which should be interesting!
Thanks so much for inviting me to your lovely blog. I really enjoyed answering your questions!
Twitter – @JaneIsaacAuthor
Facebook Author Page – Jane Isaac Author
Website – www.janeisaac.co.uk
Thank you, so much Jane Isaac for being on my blog today and to Lucy at Legend Press for the opportunity to be on the tour.