1: Thank you so much for being here, Jane Richardson.
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?
-I couldn’t tell you exactly when; I suppose I’ve always written in some shape or form since childhood. I know there was a long hiatus during my teenage years – probably because I was far too busy pursuing various other teenage pursuits, ahem! – and then in my twenties I spent a lot of time writing video scripts and learning materials for a management training organization, so my writing went in another direction entirely. Work rather took over for a number of years, so it wasn’t until after I’d stopped working and had both my children that I turned to writing again.
2: What inspired you to write?
-I suppose like many writers, it’s just the feeling you have with a story forming in your head that won’t let you go until you begin to write it down. From then on, it’s the way the story forms and shapes itself from there that keeps me at it. I don’t know where those stories come from – it can be a chance overheard remark that sets an idea off, or being curious about what the story might have been if something I’ve read about turned out very differently. Personal experience plays a large part, too – the way a character feels or the choices they make will often be based on something that happened to me or someone close to me in the past.
3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
-I bet most writers will say that the best thing is when you’re really ‘in the zone’ – the story is coming together perfectly and the characters are somehow writing their story for you, right down to the words they want you to use. That’s the best feeling ever! What I like least are those times when I’m so busy with so many other things but the story is still tapping away inside my head, and all I can do is grab moments here and there to make notes – then when I do sit down to write, nothing comes out! That’s such a pain! All you can do is just work through it, I suppose.
4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
-Well, I’m a bit obsessed with food! I love to cook, and if I’m not cooking food, I’m reading about it and planning dishes. I had my Christmas menu all planned out in September...! Maybe I should add that I did it with my family’s help, the children in particular – they love to learn about food and to try new things. They like to contribute their own ideas for special dinners, and as they grow up, they’re learning to cook things themselves. We always try to keep Sundays free as a family day, perhaps walk the dog together in the morning on the beach or one of the beautiful country parks here where I live on the Sussex coast, then a huge home-cooked lunch followed by maybe some games or a movie later. If we have friends over too, then that’s so much the better. That’s what really relaxes me and keeps me grounded.
5: Which authors do you like to read?
-My favourites change all the time, but I’m a big fan of crime writer Michael Connelly. I love his direct, to-the-point style, and he never wastes a single word. Another big favourite with me right now is the UK writer Maggie O’Farrell. She writes so beautifully, the sort of thing when you read it, you recognize the feelings or the emotions instantly. She touches something very raw in people. I’m re-reading her novel ‘The Distance Between Us’ right now, and I defy anyone to get through the final chapter without weeping, first tears of frustration and then ultimately, joy. She’s amazing. I’m also very fond of another UK writer, Nicci Gerrard, for similar reasons. I love books written by women that other women can really relate to.
6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
-Ok, I’m just getting over the flu, so hugs and hot drinks are much appreciated!
7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.
-At the moment I have just one release with MuseItUp Publications, which is a short contemporary story called Edinburgh Fog. It’s about Greg Morton, who’s achieved his dream of running the best bar-bistro in the city – a place called Tellers’ - but at a massive cost to his private life. When the woman he’s never forgotten, Julia Brady, walks into Tellers’ out of the blue, all the feelings Greg had suppressed for so long come flooding back – but it seems like someone else is interested in Julia, and Greg will have to work fast if he’s to stand any chance of getting her back.
The story is available from MuseItUp here
I’m re-doing my website right now, but in the meantime people can catch up with me at my blog, Home IS Where The Heart Is http://janerichardsonhome.blogspot.com/ or find me on Twitter, where I’m @Gimmeahugyou.
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
-Just write. Don’t be afraid of the first draft, but just write, even if what you’re writing isn’t good – first drafts aren’t meant to be good. Once you’ve got the first draft done, then you can REALLY begin writing after that!
9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
-No. There might be a touch of a real person or a few people in the very early thought process, but truthfully, once they begin to be set down on the page they become their own person entirely. Half the fun in writing is in inventing new people, I think.
11: What are you currently working on?
-A novel set in two time-frames, present day and in WWII. I’m hoping I can make it work! In addition, MuseItUp will be re-publishing a previously published book of mine next year, a contemporary novel called A Different Kind of Honesty, which I’m thrilled to bits about.
12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
-How about I make you a promise? I’d love to have a perfect writing hideaway, something like one of those classic Airstream caravans that’s mine all mine, with a writing table, a comfy daybed, a cooker and all the mod cons, but I think the most I’ll ever manage will be a shed of sorts od the end of the garden – but I promise that when I have it, you can all come by for tea and cakes!
Don’t forget to add an excerpt. You can add an unedited excerpt but make sure to say it’s unedited.
This is an excerpt from Edinburgh Fog:
‘After they’d cleared out, Tellers’ was at last blessed with a couple of hours’ peace. The staff
heaved a collective sigh and set to preparing the place for the Friday evening crowd. Nothing
eventful happened except Chrissie tripping over Ben as he knelt behind the bar to re-stack the
mixers shelf and tipping half a bottle of vermouth and a bowl of stuffed olives down the back of
his neck. Ben took it in good part, commenting that while he smelled like a martini, he was only
stirred and not at all shaken. Leaving them to clean up as he sliced lemons and limes for the bar,
Greg mused on whether the olive incident counted as Thing Number Three, and was on the point
of convincing himself that definitely, absolutely nothing else could possibly go wrong for the
rest of the day, when she walked in.
Greg froze, hypnotized by the reflection shimmering in the long mirror behind the bar. It
disappeared briefly, moving out of his line of vision and he stepped sideways, following the
mirror along the wall, seeking her out if only to convince himself that it couldn’t possibly be her
—that Julia hadn’t just walked back into his life four years after he’d walked out of hers.’