Interviewing Author – Jane Risdon
We’d like to introduce you to Jane Risdon, one of our latest clients who recently released an anthology of shorts called Undercover: Crime Shorts. This book already has five 5 star reviews with readers enjoying the twists and turns within the stories.
You may have already heard of Jane Risdon. Jane is one of our Ghostly Writers and has a story in each of our Ghostly Writes Anthologies. Introduction over here is the lovely, creative murder mystery author, JANE RISDON.
What & Who Inspires you to write?
Nobody inspires me. I am self-motivated and have always wanted to write. I may get ideas from overheard conversations, situations, and experiences I’ve had or come across in my ‘other life.’ Working in music, television and the movies is great fodder for a writer. Anyone who has spent time in Hollywood knows what I mean.
How did you get into writing? What was/is your journey like?
I have always written, even as a child, and I’d always promised myself that when my life on the road managing recording artists, songwriters, musicians, and record producers – with my musician husband – either got quieter or I decided I’d had enough, I’d spend my time writing the crime novels I’ve wanted to write since reading Agatha Christie as a youngster.
Who would you like to thank for supporting and assisting you to where you are today…?
Firstly my husband who has always supported me in whatever I’ve done, and secondly best-selling, award-winning author and life-long friend, Christina Jones. We got to know each other in the late 1960s when she was a rock journalist and fan-club secretary to my husband’s band. She’d always wanted to write with me and has encouraged me for years. We eventually wrote Only One Woman (Accent Press Ltd) together….published May 2018.
Thirdly, Margot Kinberg, author of the Joel Williams series of crime novels and Associate Professor, who kindly allowed me to contribute two short stories to one of her anthologies having read some of my other efforts before. She has always been the first to encourage me and introduce me to her writing/reading friends.
You are a Guest Blogger and wish to let people know something new about the writing world what would you write about?
I’ve written more guest blogs than I can shake a stick at. I always decide what I think the blog wants to say to its readers and what they expect from me and take it from there. I could write from a character’s perspective, or give in-depth detail about my writing process, or a particular book or story I’m working on or have just published. I do this regularly and enjoy it a lot. I always try to make it unusual – provide unknown facts perhaps, and to inform and entertain as well. I often write about my previous career in music and before that when I worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall and had quite a few adventures during the Cold War.
Tell us three things about your life that you love.
I love that I am still married to the same person I met aged 16 – 51 years ago – and with whom I have a son and now 3 gorgeous grandchildren.
I love that we have shared a fabulous career in the international music business with so many adventures and unreal memories and experiences.
Mostly I love not having to deal with hormonal-enraged female artists and testosterone-fuelled musicians any longer who came so close to being annihilated it is unreal.
If you could work anywhere in the world to write where would it be and why?
I’ve lived and worked all over the world including America, Singapore, and Taiwan to name a few places, and I guess being back in England is the bee’s knees for writing. For adventure and excitement – I’d go back to Hollywood and Los Angeles. That place is totally out there and unreal.
Choose one of the next three as a pet. Which one would it be and why? SNAKE, SPIDER or LIZARD
I cannot stand any of these so I’d not have any. Whilst I like animals, fish and birds (in general) I cannot stand anything near me which creeps, crawls, slithers or flies. We once managed a rock guitarist who kept a tarantula in his room – he lived with us for a year – and the sound of it eating crickets which he had sent through the post weekly, nearly finished me off. My sister-in-law kept a boa-constrictor in her sitting room and the sight of that eating its micro-waved rats and mice used to drive me demented. No pets whatever they are thank you very much.
Your muses are singing and dancing, totally annoying you. What music are they listening to? Do you like it or does it make you want to run screaming?
I keep hearing tell of muses. I’ve never had one, not got a clue what one is, and I am not sure I’d stand one. As for music – dear god! I’m married to a professional musician, lived all my life working with musicians, living with musicians, sharing hotel rooms, tour buses and whatever as well as eating, sleeping, and dreaming music 24/7 for the last 51 years – I enjoy silence – it is precious. Besides, listening to music for pleasure is something I’ve not done in yonks. Put music on and I’ll analyse it in detail: the notes, the tempo, the production, the performance and so on and so forth. Listening to music was my life. Now I just want peace and quiet. Unless my husband is playing his guitar – I can cope with him.
How did you stumble into Indie Publishing? What made you choose this way?
I am actually signed to a traditional publisher – Accent Press Ltd – for all my writing: novels and novellas etc., – but I am free to go elsewhere or self-publish if I want to publish collections of short stories or one-off short stories not covered by my contract.
My co-written novel with Christina Jones, Only One Woman, is my most recent publication with Accent.
I have contributed to 15 anthologies, online newsletters and magazines – before and during my publishing contract. Mostly Flash Fiction and short stories – not covered by my contract.
Recently, with Plaisted Publishing House, I have put out my first collection of crime short stories – Undercover: Crime Shorts, which I’d discussed with my publisher prior to going the self-published route. They cannot publish collections by a solo author – only anthologies with several authors – so I thought, blow it, I’ll do it myself.
When I was involved with music I used to write articles for music magazines, and if I had to I’d create press releases and bio’s for artists if I wasn’t impressed with their record label’s marketing department’s efforts.
Tell us about your book cover designer. Who are they? Where did you find them?
The designer for the cover of Only One Woman was in-house at Accent Press. They sent us several ideas which were what the publisher wanted basically and in the end, after a few alterations, we went with the cover you see today. So far we have 53 5* reviews on Amazon alone and on GoodReads and other book review places we have more than I know, so I guess the cover is successful. Most readers love it.
The design for Undercover: Crime Stories, was chosen by me from one of the online design sites you can find. I gave it to Claire and Mara at Plaisted Publishing House and they did the rest with consultations with me.
Marketing is the bane of our writing careers. How do you go about it? What’s your secret?
I do marketing every day – and of course, my publisher does as well. Whether it is for Only One Woman or Undercover: Crime Shorts I do the same. I spend a couple of hours every morning hitting the Facebook Groups, doing blogs, articles and if involved, blog tours. I am constantly looking for new ways to make something sound/look fresh. It is never-ending.
My work in music has helped me understand marketing – how to hone it down and change it for whichever outlet or entity I am aiming at. The secret if there is one, is keep at it all the time, putting your name and book out there and eventually via osmosis you’ll begin to make an impression and when someone is wondering what to read, give as a gift or whatever, the chances are your name/book will pop into their head.
CHALLENGE TIME – Write a short poem or story of no more than 500 words.
The Letter – Jane Risdon – under 500 words.
Haunted by the neat sloping writing on the blue Basildon Bond paper which lay accusingly on her writing desk the old woman sat locked inside her thoughts. She couldn’t bear to pick the letter up to read it again, but there was no need really. The contents were not unexpected after-all. She’d been waiting nearly forty years for something like this to happen. And now it had.
Every knock at the door, every strange hand’s address on an envelope had filled her with such fear the like of which she could never share. She had never told. The only reason she had an answering machine on her phone was so that she could screen her calls. Just in case. Now, there on the desk along with all her bills and other correspondence, the letter lay, the words terrorising her silently across the darkening room.
She didn’t ask herself how or why. She knew the answers and had known this moment would come eventually, either in the form of a visit, a phone call or a letter. Forty birthdays had come and gone and with each passing one she had agitated in case this time, it would be the one; the day when she would have to face her past.
Long ago she had put away the photo, the little sepia image now faded with age and fingering. There was nothing she could have done even if she had wanted to, and she wasn’t even sure any longer if she had ever wanted to do anything. At first, it was not a matter of choice but necessity, but there had come a time, many years later when she supposed she could have, possibly should have, tried.
Soon it would be over. Of course, she could ignore the letter but that might force a visit, in person, without warning. She could pretend it had never arrived and feign ignorance if anyone queried its receipt. Her stricken mind tried to battle with her emotions. Part of her needed this to happen, craved it and dreaded it, fought against it and longed for it.
Her tired faded eyes moved across the room to stare at the blue ghost beckoning her. A date and a time had been suggested and if she didn’t respond the writer would understand, after all, it must be an awful shock after so many years but hoped that she would consent to a meeting, without strings of course.
Without strings, the old woman mused. There were always strings, and there would always be strings. She sighed heavily, tears brimming as she stood and made her way over to the letter. She picked it up, reached for the telephone and dialled.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I spend time listening to my husband playing his guitar – songwriting or messing around – and we both love long walks in the countryside or in gardens or around old villages, churches, and cathedrals etc. I am a photo addict and love to take photos of the places we visit – we belong to the National Trust and have done ever since we were young and managed to get a few hours off (on tour in the UK) when we’d wander off to look around a stately home or gardens. Overseas we loved exploring places where we were not in danger of meeting tourists. If I get time I usually write a blog post with information and photos taken on one of our ‘jollies.’