Author Promotion, Crime Thriller, Murder, Mystery, Writing

Author interview: Jane Risdon’s Life of Crime

Today I’m hosting fellow author Jane Risdon who has dropped in to chat about her work.  I pitched a series of questions to her and these are Jane’s responses…

Jane with Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts

Hi Jo, thanks for asking me back on to your fab blog. I really enjoy visiting and discovering what you will ask me next.  A challenge is always such fun. I do hope your readers enjoy my latest offering.

What attracts me to writing crime?

Well, for starters it is not the blood and guts or the horror of crime, whether it is a murder, fraud, or some other law breaking. I’ve had to think hard about this question but I think it is the puzzle at the heart of most crimes: who did it, how, why, and sometimes even when and where? They’re all questions I like to be asked as a reader, and which I endeavour to ask and eventually answer in my own writing.

I don’t write police procedures and I don’t get into the psychological why and wherefores with my characters. I lay a series of clues and red-herrings often, as the crime unfolds, and I try to keep the reader guessing, engaged and trying to solve it themselves right until the end.

I also read a lot of espionage thrillers for the very same reasons I love reading crime stories.

When I read crime stories or I watch crime series on television I like to be entertained and challenged. I want to ask myself the same questions I want my readers to ask of my writing. I want to be led through a series of questions and situations which make me think, make me try to get inside the head of the criminal and the crime-fighter, but I do not want is spelled out for me and I don’t want to be lectured to or have a just ending where everyone lives happily ever after, the criminal behind bars and all is well with the world – unless it suits the story.

I cannot abide the PC content of some books and TV series. Life is horrid at times and I don’t want it wrapped up nicely with everyone being placated and for it all to end tidily and with explanations as to what drove the Fred Wests or Myra Hindleys of this world to do what they did. There is evil in people. At the end of the day knowing why isn’t really going to change a thing – in my humble opinion.

Prevention is another matter, but sadly we cannot monitor every psychopath in case they commit a murder or another type of crime, just in case they offend. We cannot know in advance who will become a murderer or criminal from the time of their birth. There may be clues, but as I said we can hardly go around locking people up in-case they offend at some point in the future because they might or might not have a wonky gene, or their parents beat them, or were divorced or whatever. This begs the question nature or nurture, and we cannot categorically answer that one as far as I am aware.

I write about the crime, the commission of it and the detection (sometimes), and the final consequences. But, I don’t feel the need for the criminal to be caught and punished for the crime, or for the reader to have things tied things up nicely at the end of a story. When I read I like to think, do my own investigation as I read and come to my own conclusions. This is what attracts me to crime. I also love General Knowledge quizzes and wonder if that is another manifestation of this quirk of mine!

I love a challenge and to pit my wits. I’d like my readers to enjoy this too. I absolutely love trying to devise the crime, the clues, and the twists and turns in my stories, leading my readers one way and then another. It gives me brain-ache when plotting, but so much fun and satisfaction too.

Have I attended any professional courses to help with my writing?

My answer in short is yes. But you know I can’t leave it there.

Anyone writing about crime cannot fail to realise at some point that their knowledge of crime detection and investigation is somewhat limited and unless you’ve had a career in Criminal Justice or Forensic Science information is possibly based upon what you’ve have already read – other crime writers – or from what you’ve have seen on TV in series such as CSI – which, by the way, is nothing like the reality of Crime Scene Investigation. So much so, that juries have been thought to be suffering from the ‘CSI effect,’ when considering evidence in real life cases and that they believe what they’ve seen in such series to be accurate and truthful and this is thought to be impacting the workings of the Criminal Justice System.

I realised several years ago that my knowledge was possibly inaccurate or outdated and based on fictional series and books I’d read. I also realised from reading authors such as Kathy Reichs – a real life Forensic Anthropologist – I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself writing about things of which I knew little. Also, with constant strides in technology it was obvious to me that what was fact and the ‘norm,’ many years ago, was now out-dated because of the latest technology and thinking about detection and the latest forensic advances. I don’t write what I call ‘blood and guts’ descriptions or ‘police procedurals,’ but for my own satisfaction I wanted to know, to be as accurate as I can be. Knowing what, why, and how, helps my writing, especially plotting; what is and isn’t possible, believable and so on.

In 2015 I decided I needed to update my knowledge. I didn’t have time to become a full-time student, although I’d have loved to have studied Forensic Science and Criminal Justice in more depth had I been years younger and not had a career in the international music business, but sometimes we discover these interests many years too late. After doing a lot of research I discovered I could study these topics in my own time and with universities who offered courses to people like me. Not only did top universities welcome older students but I also got the benefit of the tutorship of lecturers at the top of their profession and acknowledged experts in their field.

I enrolled with several universities to study Forensic Science, Criminal Justice and Archaeology designed for those who required basic and thorough knowledge without taking exams. Having said that I was tested weekly and graded and these grades could be used towards any full university courses taken in the future. I studied for almost three years at my own pace during which time I had access to the tutors for advice and help at any time, should I require it.

The courses I have taken – chosen for my particular interests – are:

Introduction to Forensic Science (the background to the science and methods/technology available).

Forensic Science and Human Identification (this meant identifying the dead from nothing more than a collection of bones in a shallow grave) taking things through to a conviction for murder having investigated the body, the cause of death, ethnicity, sex, age and so on of a real life victim. It covered so many areas of forensics including cut and saw marks etc., gunshot and ballistic identification, blood splatter, DNA, fingerprints and so on. Not for the squeamish as there were dead bodies and body parts involved as well as a post mortem video and photos.

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice (how forensics is used in crime detection and conviction). We investigated real cases as well as miscarriages of justice, including famous cases such as Jill Dando’s murder.

Forensic Psychology and Witness Investigations (how to interrogate witnesses under PACE regulations, take statements and evidence from witnesses, and how to investigate their statements and evidence: what is allowed during interviews and how time can alter eye-witness testimony).

Forensic Science: Facial Reconstruction – Finding Mr X (real life identification of a victim) building a face from a skull.

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice – From Crime to Punishment (another real life investigation)

Archaeology: From Dig to Lab and Beyond (Vale of Pewsey Dig).

Many hours of study and lots of tests later I received an average of 98% overall in my marks. Considering I haven’t really studied since leaving school in the 1960s I still pinch myself in disbelief. The cases we studied were real and some well-known. I loved it.

I’m so glad I studied all this because when I wrote the stories for Undercover: Crime Shorts (Plaisted Publishing), I was so pleased to be able to use various everyday devices to kill my victims – in believable, quite mundane ways – and to work out how to enable the perpetrators to be far away from the scenes of the sudden deaths without coming under suspicion.

Who is my favourite crime writer and why?

Oh cripes, I wish I could answer this one with just one name. I don’t think I have one in particular, I like so many for such different reasons.

I mentioned Kathy Reichs. I love her books because she is a professional, a Forensic Anthropologist who knows her stuff and she is still working in that field. She can also tell a great tale and often her stories are based on her cases – heavily disguised I am sure – and she is not gory in her detail as some writers are and I don’t like that. I try not to have blood and guts all over my writing, I like to leave it to the reader to fill in the gaps. She does this brilliantly, for me.

I love the English writers such as Peter May, Peter James and Peter Robinson (what is with all these Peters?) and recent favourites and Facebook friends are Roger A Price, R C Bridgestock, and David Videcette.

I love these writers because they have a series of characters who appear in their books and I like getting to know them, they feel like old friends, and so when I read their stories I know their backgrounds, their likes, and idiosyncrasies. It is like getting back into a favourite item of clothing when I open their books.

Of course, I love Agatha Christie and she is the reason I adore crime stories. I began reading her as a youngster aged about 10, I think.

I could list dozens more including Michael Connolly and David Baldacci, and of course don’t get me started on espionage thriller writers, we’d be here all day, but let me mention Stella Rimington, who was the first female director of MI5 and a fab writer.

Who is my favourite crime solver?

Ye Gods! I’m not sure I have one. I love Poirot and Miss Marple. They are amazing characters and I wish I’d written them. But seriously there are so many I just adore.

I am going to be cheeky and say my own (not yet published) Ms Birdsong is my favourite. She is not a detective but a former MI5 Intelligence Officer who is forced into ‘voluntary’ retirement when a joint operation with MI6 goes belly up. Her colleague in MI6 is also her lover which does not help matters when he is sent to Moscow to continue their mission. Bored out of her skull in the village she has moved to in an attempt to put the past behind her, she is over-joyed when she gets the chance to investigate the disappearance of a local mother when the woman’s teenage son asks for her help.

Lavinia Birdsong has the skills of a detective and more. She is a black belt in several Martial arts, can speak six languages and is an expert in surveillance, and is highly intelligent. She is soon hot on the trail of the missing woman and as a result finds herself up to her neck in Russian Mafia people traffickers, Ukrainian drug and gun smugglers, and murder. Just what she needs to ingratiate her way back into the Security Services, she hopes. She is sure they’d quickly realise what they are missing without her back in the fold. Oh! But then her old flame turns up right when she is getting interested in the local DCI, and life gets even more complicated for her and her ambitions.

I love Ms B. because she is feisty yet kind hearted, quirky and modern with a love of men, good wine and hard rock music. She loves nice things, expensive things, and she is a good looking woman who knows it and isn’t scared to use her looks if she needs to. She has a naughty sense humour and fun, and she would give you the Manolo Blahniks off her feet if – with a huge wince of pain – you were in dire need. But never cross her; never cause her inner warrior to come to the surface. She kicks ass with the best of the men, and then some.

So she is by far my favourite detective/investigator – sorry! I have written three novels featuring her and book one is ready to go. I cannot wait to unleash her.

What sort of preparations do I need to make before beginning to write?

I usually make a huge mug of tea and I stare at the computer screen for a while and then off I go. I don’t mind if there is someone with me, if the radio, TV  is on, or if there’s music playing in the background – often it is my husband on his guitar which I love to hear. I can shut them all out. I often – more than often, actually – don’t have a clue what I’m going to write, even what the topic is going to be. Something will set me off, such as a name, a recalled experience, or even a News item and after a few minutes I start to write without any idea what is going to come out until it is in front on me on the screen. I’m what is known as a pantser.

If I’m feeling particularly naughty I might indulge in a bag of liquorice to help me in my quest for a story. I am refuelled throughout by giant mugs of tea and endless trips to the smallest room, as you can imagine.

If I decided in a change of writing direction, where would it take me?

I guess I’d already taken a small change in direction when I co-wrote Only One Woman (Headline Accent) with Christina Jones. She is a romance author so it came easily for her, yet I had not even read a romance when I started writing the novel. I thought it would be a crime story with a love interest which I could gloss over quickly but it soon became clear there wasn’t room for a crime and it was becoming a love story. I was shocked to be writing about love, I admit it, but it seemed to come quite naturally. Whether I’d want to carry on writing romance (Women’s Fiction) I’m not sure. I’m writing the sequel to Only One Woman (untitled as yet) taking the story from 1969 to the present day, but that may well be the extent of Women’s Fiction for me.

I’ve turned my hand to ghost stories for several Ghostly Writes anthologies (Plaisted Publishing), and adventure/crime – featuring 17th century pirates and 21st century smugglers – I think the genre is called Time-shift, because the story goes back and forth in time. You can find it in an anthology I’m included in called Shiver (Headline Accent) and there’s another ghost/crime story in Wishing on a Star (Headline Accent). Also, I’ve written a couple of novels which are in the genre of what I call, observational humour. They are still lurking on my computer hard-drive – waiting. But a complete change from crime and thrillers – I don’t think so. I love writing it so much – pitting my wits against myself and hoping my readers will rise to the challenge and pit theirs’ against mine! But who knows? I never thought I’d write anything but crime and I have.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is published by Plaisted Publishing House and is available in paperback from Waterstones branches (order it) and in paperback and eBook on Amazon and various digital platforms.

ISBN: 978 0 359 39783 9    ASIN: BO7RFRVL4P

https://books2read.com/b/4jD0wo

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/under-cover-crime-shorts-jane-risdon/1130007355

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RFRVL4P

http://www.lulu.com/…/under…/paperback/product-24082039.html

 

 

 

 

Only One Woman is published by Headline Accent and available on Amazon

 
KINDLE EDITION:
PAPERBACK EDITION:
 

 

 

JANE’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Risdon/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

Website: https://janerisdon.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janerisdonwriter/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jane-risdon-07261320

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/janerisdon

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/janerisdon2/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jane-risdon

 

 

 

Many thanks Jane for coming along and giving such a fab interview…

Author Promotion, Crime Thriller, Dean Matheson, Murder, Psychological Thriller, Publication Day, Ruby Fiction, Writing

It’s publication day for Where the Snow Bleeds by Wendy Dranfield

where the snow bleeds cover

“You want to know what I’ve learnt after living in Lone Creek all my life? I know the snow bleeds here …”

Former police officer Dean Matheson has been playing it safe since the case that cost him almost everything. But working as a PI doesn’t quite cut it, that is until a British woman walks into his office with a job that Dean can’t resist.
The woman’s daughter, Hannah Walker, and her friend Jodie have gone missing whilst working at a ski resort in Colorado. It’s clear there’s something sinister about the girls’ disappearance, but then why are the local police department being so unhelpful?
So begins Dean’s journey to Lone Creek on the trail of the missing girls – and he’ll soon find out that in Lone Creek, everyone has something to hide …

Book trailer: https://youtu.be/Wq_3DounAQM

Amazon (universal link): http://viewbook.at/WhereTheSnowBleeds

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/where-the-snow-bleeds

Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/where-the-snow-bleeds/id1466771293

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Wendy_Dranfield_Where_the_Snow_Bleeds?id=WGSbDwAAQBAJ

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/where-the-snow-bleeds-wendy-dranfield/1131939239?ean=2940161429013

ABOUT WENDY

Wendy Dranfield Profile Pic 2018Wendy is a former Coroner’s Assistant turned crime writer who lives in the UK with her husband.

Who Cares If They Die and Where the Snow Bleeds are the first two books in the Dean Matheson series, with more on the way. As well as her crime thriller series, Wendy has written a YA crime novel – The Girl Who Died – and she has several short stories published in UK and US anthologies. She has also been shortlisted and longlisted for various competitions, including the Mslexia Novel Competition.

 

For behind the scenes gossip and updates on her books (or photos of her cats), follow her on social media!

My website: https://wendydranfield.co.uk/

Twitter: @WendyDranfield

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyDranfield1/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7g8miK6akDG2pFqgGeLFAw?view_as=subscriber

 

RUBY LOGO

 

Crime Thriller, Life Playlists, Publication Day, Writing

Life Playlists is back and today my guest author Wendy Dranfield is choosing her five all time favourites…

I’m Wendy Dranfield, British writer of crime fiction, avid reader, Twitter addict and owner of 3 rescue cats. When Jo asked me to join Life Tracks I thought it would be easy to come up with 5 songs. How wrong I was! It actually made me realise how many songs have been the soundtrack to my life and it’s hard to leave out so many and choose just 5. I enjoy a wide range of music but I’ve realised through doing this that the best music of my life was definitely from the nineties/early noughties. I guess that’s because I was young! Well, and because we had the best music in the nineties…
I think these 5 are my stand-out tracks:

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
It would be tempting to pick all Nirvana songs for this exercise, and this one is an obvious choice, but I’ve chosen Smells Like Teen Spirit because it introduced me to Nirvana when I was a teenager and I’ve loved them ever since. Thanks to them, grunge music became an important part of my life and Kurt Cobain really was the voice of our generation. Of course, this made it so much harder when he took his own life and that affected me deeply. My initial enthusiasm when listening to their tracks now turns to sadness at what we lost. Nirvana are the band my husband and I share a special fondness for and what we originally bonded over.

Bryan Adams – Everything I Do (1991)
I know, I know! Everyone was sick of this song in the nineties but I absolutely loved it! It’s VERY different to the grunge I was just starting to get into, but it was the soundtrack to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This was the first film I ever saw at the cinema, even though I was mid-teens (we were poor and couldn’t afford luxuries like cinema tickets, so I saved up as soon as I got a paper round). It was a great experience and I’ve loved going to the cinema ever since. This is still one of my guilty pleasure films that I’ll watch if it comes on TV as it reminds me of a summer spent being young and (almost) carefree, growing up in Hampshire. I started listening to Bryan Adams a lot after this and the first album I ever bought was his So Far, So Good, on CD. It was £1 in a car boot sale with a broken case and a scratch down the middle. Man alive, I wore that album out!

The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright (1998)
The Offspring are my second favourite band after Nirvana and the band my husband and I listen to on every single road trip – such great car music. It’s probably the only band I don’t get sick of listening to (Nirvana can be a little depressing after a while!). When this song came out, I was working full-time at a large college but I also worked nights at Rock City in Nottingham. I heard a lot of great music working there and this song came on all the time. I used to get home from my night shift at 4am and then get up for my day job at 6am. I didn’t sleep much during that time but my life had an awesome soundtrack!

System of a Down – Chop Suey (2001)
Although this song was released in 2001, I wasn’t introduced to System of a Down until 2003. That was when I moved myself and my younger brother to Cornwall. My brother introduced me to System and Rage Against the Machine and we spent a lot of time working hard, partying hard and living a surfer’s lifestyle opposite the beach. This was also the time I met my husband, who happened to own all the same System/Rage albums as my brother, and he was impressed at my musical knowledge (thanks bro!). That summer my now-husband introduced me to Richard cheese who does ‘lounge’ versions of classics such as Chop Suey. If you’ve never listened to Richard Cheese, give him a try. He’s a musical genius!

Feeder – Just A Day (2001)
I saw Feeder live at Glastonbury 1998 and loved them. Just A Day came out in 2001 and has one of the best music videos ever because it contains the fans – if you’ve never watched it, give it a try. It’ll make you laugh! Listening to this song makes me smile because it reminds me of the friends I had at the time and the grunge nightclub (Harvey’s) we used to go to after work. They were the days I could drink on a week night and still function at work the next day…

This was so much fun. Thanks Jo!

ABOUT WENDY

Wendy is a former Coroner’s Assistant turned crime writer who lives in the UK with her husband. She’s been writing ever since she was a child, but only found the confidence to submit her work to publishers when she was in her thirties.

Who Cares If They Die and Where the Snow Bleeds are the first two books in the Dean Matheson series, with more on the way. As well as her crime thriller series, Wendy has written a YA crime novel – The Girl Who Died – and she has several short stories published in UK and US anthologies. She has also been shortlisted and longlisted for various competitions, including the Mslexia Novel Competition.

For behind the scenes gossip and updates on her books (or photos of her cats), follow her on social media!
Website: https://wendydranfield.co.uk/
Twitter: @WendyDranfield
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyDranfield1/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7g8miK6akDG2pFqgGeLFAw

Her second crime novel is being released on 30th July 2019 by Ruby Fiction. It’s the sequel to Who Cares If They Die, which was released last autumn. She has also just finished writing the third in the series! They follow Dean Matheson (and his wannabe police dog, Rocky) on his journey to becoming a homicide detective.

 

Where the Snow Bleeds

“You want to know what I’ve learnt after living in Lone Creek all my life? I know the snow bleeds here …”

Former police officer Dean Matheson has been playing it safe since the case that cost him almost everything. But working as a PI doesn’t quite cut it, that is until a British woman walks into his office with a job that Dean can’t resist.

The woman’s daughter, Hannah Walker, and her friend Jodie have gone missing whilst working at a ski resort in Colorado. It’s clear there’s something sinister about the girls’ disappearance, but then why are the local police department being so unhelpful?

So begins Dean’s journey to Lone Creek on the trail of the missing girls – and he’ll soon find out that in Lone Creek, everyone has something to hide …