Hi Jane and welcome. Can I start, as always,by asking you a little about yourself?
Hi Jo, thanks so much for having me back again. It is such fun to take part in Tuesday Talk Interviews with you.
My background, as many of your long-term readers will know – having read my previous interviews with you I am sure – is in the international music business where my husband and I (sounds like Her Majesty, oops) managed singers, songwriters, musicians of all genres, record producers and, at one time, an actor from the Aussie series Home and Away. We also placed music and songs in to movies and television series around the world.
After years of babysitting testosterone fuelled rock musicians and hormone crazed female singers we decided to call it a day and get a life of our own. My husband is a musician and wanted to do more song-writing and other related activities which – curiously – ended up with him appearing in movies and television series in India (he is not Indian) when Bollywood came calling and he couldn’t resist. The results are…interesting! He ended up working with super-star Indian actors and actresses and was often stopped in the street by fans wanting to ‘touch’ someone who knew Shahrukh Khan for example.
When did you decide to become a writer and how did you begin that journey?
I’ve always wanted to write crime/thrillers but working 24/7 promoting and guiding the careers of others was not conducive to writing and promoting oneself and so my ambitions have taken a backseat for most of my life, until 2011, when I found I had time to myself, a keyboard, and a good supply of tea and liquorice.
For two years I wrote and wrote and wrote. I have dozens of short stories and novels all waiting to see the light of day. At the time I had no idea what to do with them all. Publication was a vague thought in the depths of my brain, but all those years of pent up longing burst out and I wrote myself silly. Most of the stories were crime/thrillers and a few were what you might call humorous. One novel went on to become Only One Woman, published May 2018 with Accent Press.
When it comes to getting away are you a beach or city girl?
Cripes, beach or city? Can I say neither? I’m a country girl. Although we’ve always been near the sea in most cities where we have lived – Singapore, Los Angeles, Taiwan – but we both love the countryside. It would have to be country every time, although my husband might waiver.
How did the collaboration with Christina Jones to write Only One Woman come about?
My collaboration with Christina Jones on Only One Woman is a story in itself.
She was fan-club secretary for my husband’s band back in the late 1960s and I got to know her through her dealings with him – still my boyfriend then – and the band. She came on the scene a while after I’d been going out with him and as she was a rock/pop journalist and short story writer, the band’s manager thought she would be ideal for the role. She loved the band and agreed. We discovered we had a love of music, fashion, and most of all writing and we’ve always wanted to write together. She wrote romance and I wanted to be a crime writer so we thought it would never happen.
I mentioned 2011 and having time to write. One such novel was Only One Woman, named for the Bee Gees penned hit song for singer Graham Bonnet and his cousin, Trevor Gordon (The Marbles) in 1968. I’d written the complete novel by the summer of 2012 in diary format, from the point of view of 16 year old Renza, and sent it to Christina for her opinion. To my delight she loved it and wanted to co-author with me. So the book remained with her whilst she wrote her parts – Stella and her family etc., and fitted them in. Once she’d written her parts she sent it to our publisher Accent Press, in 2014, who we shared by then; some of my short stories having been published by them in 2014. We didn’t know that we shared the same publisher until then.
We were set for publication later in 2014 but due to numerous changes of editors at the publishers and the request for more chapters, we didn’t publish until November 2017. Initially the word count was 130,000 words and by the time we’d added in more diary entries it came out at about 160,000 words – almost 500 pages. A very quick read we are told. Don’t be put off! The paperback for bookstores (Waterstones) was published May 2018.
By this time I’d managed to get Graham Bonnet to write our foreword and agree to be used for any publicity we thought would help us and of course, him. He has been a star and so has his bass-player and girlfriend, Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Graham is a superstar singer having performed not just Only One Woman with The Marbles, but he’s sung with iconic bands such as Rainbow, Alcatraz, Blackmore etc., and now his own band The Graham Bonnet Band.
What are you currently working on?
My crime/thriller Ms Birdsong Investigates series has been on the shelf waiting for the publication of Only One Woman and I have been working on updating it. It has been in with Accent for a long time and is in need of an overhaul. I have three books already written so I have a lot of work ahead of me.
Ms Birdsong is a 40 something former MI5 officer ‘voluntarily retired’ following a messed up operation with MI6 involving her lover and MI6 officer, Michael Dante. He kept his job and was shoved off to Moscow.
Lavinia Birdsong moves to rural Oxfordshire, The Vale of the White Horse, in the hope that she will somehow be reinstated eventually and when a young woman goes missing she sees her chance to get involved and perhaps regain her credibility with the Security Services. Soon she is up to her neck in Russian Mafia people trafficking, Ukrainian gun and drug smugglers and murder.
I have a short story ‘The Gift,’ in the Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018, Plaisted Publishing House – this is my 5th contribution to the series since 2016 – and writing ghost stories was a challenge for me, just as writing Women’s Fiction (Only One Woman) was. The Gift is a tale of spooky crime.
My collection of short crime stories, Undercover, published by Plaisted Publishing House, is due out in a few weeks’ time and is my first real publication in my own right. I am excited and terrified. It features new short stories and a couple which my readers tell me are their favourites. I have another compilation being collated and due for publication later this year or early 2019. Undercover will be in paperback and e-book.
Believe it or not I am also beginning a sequel to Only One Woman – untitled as yet – taking Renza, Stella, Scott and Narnia’s Children into the 1970s and beyond. Many readers have asked for a sequel so I thought the story should continue. The fate of those caught in the love triangle between Renza, Scott and Stella will be played out in the same musical way Only One Woman is, I am sure. It needs lots of research so I may be some time.
What would your advice be to new writers?
I am not good at giving advice. I guess I would tell anyone new to writing to just do it. Write what you know and if you don’t know it, research it. I’ve undertaken 7 Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Courses in order to increase my knowledge when writing crime/thrillers as I knew I could not rely on TV series such as CSI, or what I watched or read in other crime stories for accuracy.
And finally, you’re planning a year out, getting away from everyone on a desert island – what ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why? And if you could choose one person to spend the time there with you, who would it be?
A year on a desert island? Cripes, my idea of a nightmare. I would take my husband as we never run out of things to natter about and he’d love it there. He’d need his guitar and access to some sort of music player, his computer and mobile, and he’d have to have a mirror – he’s a musician after-all. I would need to be under some sort of covering – tent/hut – as I am very fair and cannot stay in the sun long. I would need my computer to write, my books to read – Kindle is all right – and he would need a supply of Earl Grey tea and I’d need my Yorkshire Gold tea and a supply of liquorice. I think we’d both need lots of wine and Scotch. I would have to have my mascara, eyeliner, lipstick and moisturiser, hair-drier, and sunglasses – I wear them all year long; the sun would give me migraine so I’ll need pain-killers too. But seriously, can’t I be sent somewhere in the countryside instead? He’d love it near the sea. I wouldn’t. It is great to visit and enjoy the scenery for a short time, but it really is not for me. Help!!
To learn more about Jane and her books with buy links drop over to her Amazon Author page:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2/
Only One Woman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/
Only One Woman amazon: UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP/
Paperback ISBN: 9781783757312
Simon & Schuster: ISBN: 9781682994252
Undercover – Crime shorts by Jane Risdon
For the first time a collection of crime shorts from Jane Risdon featuring a couple of readers’ favourites – The Honey Trap and Murder by Christmas – alongside newer stories including The Watchers and Sweet Sable. These stories are female driven but men will love them too. Twists, turns, and unexpected endings will grab anyone loving a good edge of your seat yarn.
Our readers said:
Undercover – crime shorts; is a wonderfully satisfying anthology of six short stories which transcend above the crime fiction genre providing a ripping yarn irrespective of the reader’s crime fiction preference. Jane Risdon has cleverly stitched together a mix of tales to suit all fans of the genre. Roger A Price – Crime/Thriller Author
Plaisted Publishing House November 2018
Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018.
The Gift by Jane Risdon
Where crime crosses the divide between the living and the dead
The room stank of bleach but that couldn’t be helped, he’d opened the windows and was sure that the odour would soon evaporate. The air fresheners would help too. Nothing was left that he could see but he knew that modern forensics would be able to find blood splatter if they sprayed Luminol where they suspected the murder took place. He’d read some time ago that rubbing surfaces with Horseradish sauce would give a false reading – he carried it with him these days – and he’d done that for added insurance. The murderer didn’t plan on hanging around. If they found anything, which he thought highly unlikely, he’d be long gone. He’d planned on relocating overseas with a new identity and had ensured there wouldn’t be a trail to follow. He hadn’t been successful for as long as he had been withougood reason.
Plaisted Publishing House 31st October 2018
Only One Woman by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon
Our readers said:
Wonderful characters. Wonderful story. Magical time.
Christina Jones and Jane Risdon are two of the best, most recognized writers emerging now from the UK. Individually, each is a gifted writer and storyteller with a real talent for creating fascinating storylines, compelling characters and damn good, REAL-sounding dialog. But, put Christina and Jane together working on the same title, and you uncork magic.
1968. The Fool was perched on the hill. Mick & the boys were trying to generate a little sympathy for old Nick. And the rest of the world was caught up in the explosion of music, fashions and leading-edge creativity bursting out of London and San Francisco.
In the midst of it all, Christina and Jane weave an irresistible tale of two English teenage girls – one living the dark side of the Cinderella story and the other, a girl facing life-altering medical choices, who decides to follow her dream of becoming a music industry journalist. Both characters meet and befriend the guys in a struggling rock group, on the cusp of jumping from playing pub dates to filling arenas. And, they both fall in love with the same band member, the lead guitarist.
The entire book is told through the girls’ diary entries, which I thought was genius. I love it when an author takes me right inside the head of their main character, to see what they’re thinking and why. And, in the case of Only One Woman, I got to see and enjoy it TWICE.
During the time period this book was taking place, I was around 19 and living about 10 miles South of San Francisco. I was pretty active in the city’s music and creative scene, so a lot of the local musicians were friends (a few still are, 50 years later). And, I knew a couple of musicians who lived through some of the events in Only One Woman.
Look, I’m not going to offer any spoilers here, but if you either remember the times or are a fan of them, Christina and Jane will take you on a completely enjoyable romp down the rabbit hole. Only One Woman will not disappoint.
Foreword from Graham Bonnet:
When Jane asked me if I’d like to write a foreword for Only One Woman I was thrilled and excited to be invited to share some of my memories of the 1960s and how the song, Only One Woman, came into being.
When I moved to London in 1968 with my cousin Trevor Gordon and our band, we never expected what was going to happen to us. We played a club in London called the Revolution Club and it just happened that the Bee Gees ex-manager was in the audience. He knew my cousin from when Trevor lived in Australia and actually played and recorded with the Bee Gees; this was back in the early 60s. He gave Trevor Barry Gibbs’ telephone number.
We eventually went over to Barry Gibbs’ house and sat around playing acoustic guitars and singing Stevie Wonder songs and Beatle songs. It just so happened that Robert Stigwood – the Bee Gees’ manager – was at Barry’s house at the same time and wanted Barry to take my cousin and me into the studio to record a song that he asked Barry to write for us.
Before we knew it we were in the studio that same week with Barry, Maurice and Robin, with only a vague idea of a tune that Barry had written for us to record.
So we sang and recorded a ‘la la la la’ melody to begin, with Barry playing acoustic guitar. Trevor changed the melody a little and took a straightforward kind of 3/4 country tune to an R&B soulful melody. Eventually Barry wrote the words and came up with the song “Only One Woman.”
When “Only One Woman” became a number three hit in 1968, in the UK, everything changed for Trevor and me. Suddenly we were recognised on the streets and it was strange.
I will be forever grateful to the Gibb Brothers for giving me and Trevor a career. Since those days my whole life has just been music thanks to my cousin and his encouragement, and also to the Gibb brothers for giving me such faith in my own talent. The rest is music history.
For me Jane and Christina’s book – “Only One Woman” – reflects very honestly those times and the feel of those times. I can picture myself back in London when reading some of the pages. The 1960s, for me, was probably the most wonderful time in the music business with such bands as The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, and The Bee Gees and more: the list is endless.
This book will take you back to that time; read on readers.
Studio City, Los Angeles, California