Good evening folks. How are we all? I’m delighted this evening to welcome crime writer Jackie Baldwin to my blog. Here, she discusses her writing process, her view on the crime and thriller market and her favourite music.
Over to you, Jackie.
1) As a child, did you have a favourite author and do you have a favourite author now?
It was definitely Enid Blyton. I wanted to live in her fictional worlds. There are so many authors that I love now that it is almost impossible to choose one so I will go with Jane Austen who has stood the test of time and also wrote my favourite book, ‘Pride and Prejudice.’
2) Did you enjoy English at school?
I loved it with a passion, particularly stories. They would tend to melodrama with lots of what my English teacher dubbed, ‘purple prose.’ I had to learn to rein it in and tone it down.
3) How did you find studying criminal law helped you to write your debut novel, Dead Man’s Prayer?
Although I studied criminal law as part of my law degree I think it was the actual practice of law that helped most. For example, I knew my way around the courts, prison and the police station.
4) What was it like for you, studying hypnotherapy and going back to university?
I’ve always been fascinated by hypnosis. I bought my first book on the subject aged 14 and I used that as a backdrop for a short film script in my thirties. I studied at postgraduate level and it was very different from what I remembered. To give you an idea, first time round, my honours essays were handwritten. If you needed to know something you found it in a book. There was no internet. This was a strange new world. It took me a whole day to register online. I had to wrap my head round The Harvard Referencing System. I never once managed to get into the University online library and had to rely on all the books I could rustle up from Amazon. It was tough but I am so fascinated by the human mind that it was worth it. I love what I do.
5) What is your writing process like – from idea generation to novel?
I usually brainstorm in a hardback A4 Notebook. I note down potential plots and subplots. As for the characters, they start off as shadows in my head and gradually gain substance. I write monologues for the main characters to find their voice. Then I write a two page storyline. After that I take a deep breath and write Chapter One.
6) What do you think of the crime and thriller market currently?
There are some great books out there but I am shocked at the sheer volume being produced. It is a very competitive and fast moving market. Before I was published I was completely unaware of the digital marketplace. If I fancied a new book I would wander into my local bookshop and browse their titles. I never try to surf the wave of ‘the next big thing.’ I just write the book I want to read.
7) How do you find you work best – music or silence?
I was an only child in a quiet house so I need silence to concentrate. Music would completely throw me.
8) What genre of music did you grow up listening to and has your taste changed?
I loved pop music. Every Sunday night I would do the ironing while listening to the top 40 on the radio. I particularly liked soft rock bands like Genesis, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Meat Loaf. The lyrics were so poetic and I did love to headbang! I still like rock but also opera and the kind of stuff my parents’ generation used to listen to like The Platters.
9) What was the last book you read and did you enjoy it?
It was The Teacher by Katerina Diamond. I enjoyed it so much it kept me up way past my bedtime.
10) I find writing is therapy for me, somewhere I escape to and where I feel I can lose myself in the written word, how do you feel when writing?
I would say that I am more likely to need therapy after writing. Hearing other writers talk about this makes me feel slightly envious. For some, it’s all rainbows and unicorns. For me, it’s something I’m driven to do like a compulsion. It is hard going and at times hugely frustrating. I am a slow writer which means I sit at my desk gnashing my teeth for hours at a time with very little to show for it. The best times are when you are doing something else or dropping off to sleep and a great idea hits you square between the eyes.
Thanks for your time, Jackie.