Interview with Jane Isaac, Crime/Psychological Thriller Author

Today I’m joined by Jane Isaac, who lives with her detective husband and daughter in rural Northamptonshire, where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her dogs.

Her debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013’. The follow up, The Truth Will Out, was selected as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by

Jane’s ninth book, A Deathly Silence, is scheduled for release on 15th October 2019.

Tell us something about your books.

I’m a hybrid author of detective fiction/psychological thriller crossovers. My books follow an investigation by a lead detective interspersed with the point of view of the victim, or someone close to them, so that we can see the case unfold from both sides. 

I’ve written several crime series and my latest features Family Liaison Officer, DC Beth Chamberlain. 

What inspires you to write? Who are your favorite writers?

I’ve loved the twists and turns of a really good mystery since I devoured Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series as a child. In adulthood, my inspiration for writing detective novels has come from Peter James and Jeffery Deaver – I’m so impressed by the way they spin a good yarn!

I also enjoy psychological thrillers like Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson and Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, which is why I like to explore both the detective element and the psychological effects of crime on families and individuals in my books.

How do you start writing? Do you have a process or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

When I began, I didn’t plan at all. Now I’m starting book 10, I tend to work with a 3-4 page outline so that I know which direction the story is heading, but not always how I’m going to get there!

How has your writing process changed since you started writing?

I used to balance my writing with a part time job and tended to treat my books as a hobby. For the past three years I have written full time which means I feel the need to treat it more seriously and work on my books every day, whether it be writing a new scene, researching or visiting a new location.

How long does it normally take you to write, and what proportion of the time is spent doing what?

My aim when I started writing full time was to produce two books a year, but it still takes me about 8 months from outline creation to a completed first draft. 

Only around half of my time is spent actually working on a new project. The rest is taken up with social media, answering emails, reading and listening to podcasts – I feel it’s important to keep up to date with what’s happening in my genre of thrillers, and there is always something new to learn in the craft of writing.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

The editing. I love it when I have the first draft of a story down, a rough diamond that I can polish and work into shape. 

Do you involve other people in your writing, as collaborators or editors? How do you make this work?

Absolutely. When my first draft is the best I can produce, it is read by at least one beta reader, who is also a detective, to check my procedural detail and ensure I haven’t left any threads hanging. I work on any issues they raise before the books go to my editor for structural and then copy edits. I feel the more feedback I can get pre-publication, the stronger and richer the novel will be. 

Do you have any writing tips you’d like to share with readers?

Read voraciously in and around the genre you intend to work with and try to write something every day, no matter how short. When your script is complete, send it to people who you trust to give you honest and constructive feedback, then rework until it is the best you can achieve before you submit to an agent/editor.

Thanks to Jane for stopping by the blog. You can find out more about Jane’s writing on her website.

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