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Jane Corry

Jane CorryJane Corry was a magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. She had never been inside a jail before and this often hair-raising experience helped inspire her Sunday Times bestselling psychological thrillers, ‘Blood Sisters’ and ‘My Husband’s Wife’. ‘The Dead Ex’ is her latest book.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    My name is Jane Corry and I write psychological suspenses. They are about families whose lives suddenly change without warning. I am published by Penguin. My previous two books ‘My Husband’s Wife’ and ‘Blood Sisters’ got into the top 10 of the ‘Sunday Times’ bestseller list. I’ve always written for as long as I can remember. I began with poetry and little stories from about the age of three or four. After university, I became a magazine journalist for many years and then, after my first marriage ended, I took a job as a writer in a high security male prison. This made my writing darker! I then got married again which made me very aware of how family relationships can change. I wrote ‘My Husband’s Wife’ on the strength of this. A friend of a friend put me in touch with an agent who then sold it to Penguin.
  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘The Dead Ex’
    Vicki is an aromatherapist with a troubled past. One wet windy night, the police come knocking at her door. They ask when she last saw her missing husband. Vicki tells them it was five years ago. When they leave she picks up her mobile and calls him. Scarlet’s mother is a drug addict. Scarlet is taken into care at the age of eight. Each of my main characters tells her story until we get to the point where the two of them meet.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I’d ask other writer friends like BA Paris, Kate Furnivall and Teresa Driscoll. I’d also invite Martina Cole because I interviewed her once and thought she had some great tales about the underworld. If it was possible, I’d also like to invite the ghosts of writers have passed away such as Helen Dunmore and Mary Wesley.
  4. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “The mole had been working very hard all morning, spring cleaning his little home.”This is the opening line from ‘Wind In The Willows’. It was the first book which my father read to me. Now he is 94 and I read poetry to him.
  5. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I’d have stopped being a magazine journalist in my thirties and begun writing novels earlier. It requires a leap of faith to give up a steady job and do something that’s quite uncertain. Bit it was worth it!
  6. Who’s your favourite villain?
    My cousin Rachel in Daphne du Maurier’s novel with the same name. Some might say she’s not a villain at all but I’m not so sure….
    The Dead Ex
  7. What made you decide to become a thriller writer?
    It was partly my time in prison (see answer to question one) and also because I love creating twists and turns. I’m one of those annoying people who likes to guess what’s going to happen at the beginning of a book or drama.
  8. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    The complete editions of ‘Trollope’. ‘The Bible’. ‘Palgrave’s Golden Greasury’.
  9. From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
    ‘Gone With The Wind’. My second husband recently took me on a road trip to the southern states of America. We were lucky enough to visit Margaret Mitchell’s house. It was a dream come true for me. I’ve always admired her.
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Viewpoint. Readers need to be inside the character’s head in order to believe the story.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My dog. He sits on the sofa behind me and tells me when it’s time to get up and have a walking break along the beach! We have to wrap up warm as it’s really cold at the moment!
  12. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I’m currently writing next year’s book for Penguin. I can’t say anything about it right now but I live it in my head every day while writing. Actually, I will give you a clue! I became a granny two years ago and it’s changed my life.

Follow Jane Corry on Twitter Jane Corry for updates or check out her websitel at Jane Corry

Rachel Hore Writers Tip

“RachelAuthor of the ‘Last Letter Home’, Rachel Hore shares her writing tips with budding writers.

Not their first line! A good first line is often written last. Erasing cliché from your prose is important. Try to say things in a fresh way. Read other writers’ work and observe how they do things. Acquire a book such as ‘Self-editing for Fiction Writers’ by Renni Brown and Dave King, which will help you improve your style.

Rachel Hore

“RachelRachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she teaches publishing and creative writing at UEA. She is married to writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons. ‘Last Letter Home’ is her latest book.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I write time-slip novels with a mystery at their heart and ‘Last Letter Home’ is my ninth. They are all standalone so can be read in any order. ‘A Place of Secrets’ had an eighteenth century historical aspect and ‘The Glass Painter’s Daughter’, a Victorian one, but otherwise I’ve concentrated on the twentieth century, especially wartime. I was originally an editor in a publishing house (HarperCollins), but when we relocated to Norfolk in 2001 I began to write and quickly became immersed. The first novel, ‘The Dream House’, was published in 2006. I’ve been published all the way through by Simon & Schuster, UK, and they’ve been great, so I’ve never even thought about changing publisher.
  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘Last Letter Home’
    It begins in the present day, when Briony Wood, a young historian, goes on holiday with friends to Italy and is given a cache of old letters. When she tries to find what happened to the woman who wrote them, Sarah Bailey, she is drawn back into the Second World War past. We learn that Sarah lived in India, but returned to England with her mother and sister in 1938 and took a house in Norfolk. It’s there that she meets a German refugee named Paul and helps him when things turn out badly for him. The novel is about true love in the face of suffering and separation, but it’s also about the importance of family and of trying to do the right thing at a time when the world and its values has been turned upsidedown.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Oh, that’s a good question! I would worry that an author whose work I had enjoyed might not necessarily be a comfortable fit, so I’m going to cheat a little and name some writers whose work I love, but whom I’ve also met or heard speak. Hilary Mantel (‘Wolf Hall’) would be great – she is amusing and honest and offers insight. Jojo Moyes would be wonderful. Yvvette Edwards, whose novel (‘The Mother’) is brilliant, but who’s good company, too. Liz Fenwick (‘The Returning Tide’), Natalie Meg Evans (‘The Dress Thief’), Sarah Hall (‘Madame Zero’), who’s incredibly interesting about the short story form – I love reading and writing short stories.
  4. Last Letter Home

  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”. This is from Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture the Castle’. It makes you feel that Cassandra Mortmain, who lives a bohemian life in a crumbling castle, is a girl you want to know.
  6. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Not their first line! A good first line is often written last. Erasing cliché from your prose is important. Try to say things in a fresh way. Read other writers’ work and observe how they do things. Acquire a book such as ‘Self-editing for Fiction Writers’ by Renni Brown and Dave King, which will help you improve your style.
  7. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website.
    I’m very pleased to be teaching on a Creative Writing holiday in the Gers area of South-West France in July. It’s called ‘A Chapter Away’ and takes place in a beautiful old house with great food. I visited as a guest speaker last summer and have been invited back as a tutor for the week.

Follow Rachel Hore on Twitter Rachel Hore for updates or check out her website at Rachel Hore

Trisha Ashley

“TrishaTrisha Ashley’s ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, and ‘Every Woman for Herself’ was nominated by readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.’The House Of Hopes And Dreams’ is her latest book.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    From being a little girl I knew I wanted to be a writer and painter and by my late teens had moved on from poetry, little plays and short stories to writing novels…very bad novels.

    Since I thought that all you needed to do to be a novelist was live your life, read a lot and keep writing (true), I went off to Art College to study fine art – but quickly transferred to the architectural glass department instead. Like Angel, the heroine of ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’, painting with light added another dimension.

    I kept writing and sending off my novels over the next few years, settling down to write dark domestic satire. After many rejections (some of them including very helpful and encouraging advice), and various ups and downs, I was introduced to my agent, Judith Murdoch, who persuaded me to run a strand of romantic comedy through my novels – which I did. The first to be published was ‘Good Husband Material’ and I haven’t looked back since.

  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’
    Carey and Angel have been best friends since childhood, so when Carey inherits a run-down Arts and Crafts house and Angel loses her long term partner and her happy, productive life in his stained glass studio, it seems meant to be that she and Carey should move into Mossby together and turn the old house into a home.

    Of course, the house does have a tragic past and more than one mystery to solve…

  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I can’t imagine starting a book club, where you all decide on one book to read and discuss – these days, if the writing hasn’t grabbed me by chapter three then, to quote Douglas Adams, it’s ‘Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.’ Life’s to short to waste trudging through stuff you find dreary, pretentious, bleakly sordid, or just plain boring, even if it’s been hyped to the skies, garlanded with bay leaves and won some prestigious literary award.

    I do like a really challenging read from time to time – but it needs to be good writing and well worth the journey.

  4. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Pressing the ‘send’ button and seeing it vanish into the ether, while the ideas for the next novel sneak in by the back door and stand shuffling their feet, like guests who’ve arrived way too early for the party.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “All this happened, more or less…”. ‘From Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut.
  6. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Probably the indomitable Victorian archaeologist Amelia Peabody, heroine of Elizabeth Peter’s novels set in Egypt.
  7. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I don’t think so: it was a long, tough journey, but being forged in the fire makes you stronger. And everything, good or bad, that has happened in my life has been composted down and used to grow something else, so nothing has been wasted.
  8. The House Of Hopes And Dreams

  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘The Hawk in the Rain’ by Ted Hughes, ‘Naked Once More’ by Elizabeth Peters… and maybe ‘Smoke Signalling for Dummies’.
  10. From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
    More of a gloriously cheesy Bollywood reinterpretation than an adaptation, I adore ‘Bride and Prejudice’, it always lifts my spirits.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Read very widely, but especially current bestsellers in the genre you’re writing for. Ask yourself what their novels are giving the reader that yours doesn’t.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A good cup of coffee.
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I am at work on a new novel…but I never like to talk about the next book until I’ve written at least the first draft, because otherwise the magic just flies right out of it.
    Follow Trisha Ashley on Twitter Trisha Ashley for updates.

    You can buy the The House of Hopes and Dreams from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Sam Carrington Writers Tip

Sam Carrington By James HuntleyAuthor of ‘Bad Sister’, Sam Carrington shares her writers tips for aspiring authors.

I think that’s going to be personal and specific to each individual writer. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. For example, one thing I need to develop is my description – I often leave out details in favour of faster pace, however for my reader to build up a picture and visualise the place and characters, this needs to be weaved in. I do have several ‘how to’ books on writing and there are plenty of writing courses to help develop your skills. Ultimately, I feel the more you write, the better you’ll become and if you take on board feedback and constructive criticism, then the process might be quicker!