I’m delighted to be joined by Wendy Jones today. I’ve met Wendy a few times at various book events and can tell you that having a coffee at a table of crime writers produces some memorable conversations! Wendy’s most recent novel is Killer’s Crew which is available in bookshops or you can order a copy online by clicking here.
Thanks for joining me Wendy. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I am Dundee born and almost bred. I left Dundee at the age of 18 to join the Royal navy as a student nurse. I left the Royal Navy and joined the Army as a nursing officer, and finished with the rank of major. It’s a rank I hold until this day. When I’m not writing, I love travelling and, of course, reading. I was an advanced reader and held a library card at the age of 3, quite some feat all those years ago. By the age of 10, I’d moved on to adult authors such as Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse.
What inspired you to start writing?
About six years ago I decided the rat race was no longer for me and moved back to Dundee with a notion to retire. I discovered two things. Retirement is boring when you are only 50 and a military pension doesn’t allow you to swan around the world. So, I started writing my first book. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tell me about your journey to publication
After I wrote Killer’s Countdown I asked several people to read it. They said they loved it but I had to do something with the ending. Based on that I edited the manuscript. I also went along to the Bloody Scotland Writers Day. I had good feedback about the opening chapter from Alex Gray, so that encouraged me. I made further changes based on her feedback. There were agents and publishers there who advised that independent publishing was a valid route. Therefore, I decided to independently publish my first book. There are now five books in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. These proved so popular that a publisher approached me and asked to pitch them an idea for a young adult mystery series. I signed a three-book contract and The Fergus and Flora Mysteries were born.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Killer’s crew starts with a man being hanged by the neck until dead. This is on ‘The Discovery’, the ship in which Capt Robert Falcon Scott sailed to the Antarctic. DI Shona McKenzie and her team find themselves chasing a serial killer whilst dealing with the eclectic characters of both a ship’s crew and a film crew.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
All the books start with the Word Killer’s and second word always begins with the letter C. The books in the series are
Killer’s Crew was the perfect choice as it reflected both the ship’s and film crews.
How do you celebrate publication day?
I always have a book launch in Waterstones in Dundee. They have been amazing and make a big thing of my launch and do a lot of advertising for it. It’s usually a bit of a party and over 100 people come. I give a talk and make sure I it is different every time. You never know what you might learn when you come along to my launches.
The launch of The Dagger’s Curse (Fergus and Flora book 1), was held at Waterstones on a Saturday afternoon. It was packed with a large gathering of children. A friend, who runs a theatrical armoury, brought the dagger. The real, live, sharpened dagger, with police permission. I read from my book and when I said the curse was released he opened the locked case he had with him. Inside was the dagger and my book on a purple cushion. Opening the case triggered the lights in the lid and purple light flew from the case. There were gasps from everyone. At the end the kids, and adults had photographs taken with the dagger. It was so much fun.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I have four works in progress
Killer’s Crypt – The sixth DI Shona McKenzie Mystery
The Haunted Broch – The second Fergus and Flora Mystery
The first book in a new series called Cass Claymore Investigates
Energise Your Writing – a motivational book for writers
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Donna Tart’s, The Goldfinch. I heard mixed reviews so wasn’t sure what I would think of it. Turns out it’s good. Brilliantly written and pulled me in. In crime books, Alex Gray’s, The Darkest Goodbye was brilliant. I am very much looking forward to reading her follow up to this, Still Dark. Okay, I had to go with three.
What are you reading just now?
It’s April 2017 and I’m reading A Death for a Cause, by friend and fabulous fellow author, Caroline Dunford. It’s a lot of fun and the characters are awesome. The main character, Euphemia Martins is a particular favourite.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
My kindle and a solar charger. What do you mean, one book? Okay, something big like War and Peace, or the Lord of the Rings in one book.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
One of mine of course, Killer’s Countdown.
DI Shona McKenzie – Sasha Alexander, the actress who plays Maura Isles in Rizzoli and Isles
DS Peter Johnson – Brian Cox the most famous Dundee actor
DC Roy McGregor – Sam Robertson from Coronation street, another great Dundee actor
DS Nina Chakrabati – Parminder Nagra from Bend it Like Beckham, Indian British and superb actress
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
In many and varied ways, I’m everywhere.
Website – wendyhjones.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wendyhjonesauthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/WendyHJones
Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/wjones64/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/wendyhjones/
Readers can also get a free book, DI Shona McKenzie’s Guide to Killing your Boss, by going to my website and filling in the details of where to send it.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Jane Rizzoli from Tess Gerritsen’s Books. She is kick ass smart and funny as get out. I’d like to be like that.