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My Top Five Leading Ladies By Jaime Raven

The RebelToday on the book tour for Jaime Raven’s new book called ‘The Rebel’, Jaime talks about his top five leading ladies.

There are five very special women in my life – but they only exist on paper.

They’re the leading ladies in the four books I’ve written for Avon/Harper Collins, the latest of which, The Rebel, is published this month.

These women mean a lot to me because I created them and then spent months getting to know them. I decided what they looked like, how they behaved, what they said, and whether they were single or in a relationship. And I’m really pleased with the way they turned out.

They have their faults, of course, but then nobody’s perfect – not even those people who are figments of our imaginations.

My leading ladies all have distinctive personalities and characteristics. Four of them are ‘goodies’ and one of them is very, very bad. Her name is Rosa Lopez and she features in ‘The Rebel’. But more on her later.

First let me introduce you to the leading ladies in order of appearance and tell you a bit about them.

‘The Madam’ was my first book for Avon and the main protagonist is a prostitute named Lizzie Wells who is jailed for a crime she didn’t commit. Tragically her son died while she was in prison so on her release she seeks revenge against the people who framed her. Here’s what I like about Lizzie. She’s tough, tenacious and down-to-earth. I also think that as a character she’s original, engaging and plausible.

Beth is a crime reporter and single mother who risks her life by going up against one of London’s most ruthless gangsters. This particular character is very close to my heart because I loosely based her on myself. Before becoming a full time writer I was a journalist and spent much of my career reporting crime stories across London for national newspapers. Fortunately I didn’t get into as much trouble as Beth does.

Sarah is a detective inspector with the Met police. She’s divorced and has a 15-month-old daughter named Molly. But Molly is abducted and the kidnapper sends Sarah sick text messages and video clips that pile on the agony. What I admire about Sarah is the way she overcomes her fear and panic to go in search of Molly by herself. A true heroine.

Laura Jefferson is another Met detective and she’s married to a teacher. She’s one of two leading ladies in ‘The Rebel’. The other is 28-year-old Rosa Lopez, a contract killer from Mexico who flies into London to murder police officers on behalf of a notorious criminal.

The two come up against each other in a momentous battle between good and evil. At the same time they each have to deal with their own personal demons.

I like to think I’ve created two memorable characters in Laura and Rosa. Laura is smart, pragmatic and honourable. Rosa, on the other hand, is brutal, wicked and sly. But she also becomes vulnerable when she suddenly finds herself on an emotional roller coaster.

There was a time when women in crime fiction novels seemed to feature only as victims or damsels-in-distress. But not anymore.

They’re now among the best fictional crime-fighters and most outrageous villains. And I firmly believe that’s exactly how it should be.

You can buy The Rebel from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Jaime Raven Writers Tips

The MotherJaime Raven, author of ‘The Mother’ shares her writers tips for aspiring authors.

I always advise budding writers to read as many books as they can in their chosen genres. And while reading make notes. Study the different styles of writers, especially structure and descriptive prose. And they should keep telling themselves that they will eventually write much better books than any of those they’ve read.

Jaime Raven

The MotherJaime is a former newspaper and television journalist who lives in Southampton, the city where ‘The Madam’ is set. ‘The Mother’ 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’m married with three children and live in Southampton, UK. I used to be a journalist and worked in newspapers and television for a number of years. I was always very keen to cover crime stories and I draw on that experience now when writing my books. ‘The Mother’ is the third Jaime Raven novel for Avon/Harper Collins. The others are ‘The Madam’ and ‘The Alibi’. All three feature a strong female protagonist and a collection of ruthless villains.

    I got into writing thanks to my mother who was a big Agatha Christie fan and she encouraged me to read from an early age. I then started writing short stories for magazines before completing my first novel at fifteen. But it wasn’t anywhere near good enough to submit to a publisher.

  2. What is your new book ‘The Mother’ about?
    ‘The Mother’ is about single mum Sarah Mason whose little girl is abducted. The kidnapper claims he’s done it in order to punish Sarah, who also happens to be a detective with the Metropolitan Police. Her suffering is made worse when she’s sent upsetting video clips of her baby. We follow the hunt for the child and focus on how the nightmare impacts on Sarah and her estranged husband.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    It would have to be Martina Cole, Jessie Keane, Kimberley Chambers and Roberta Kray. My books are in the same genre as those authors – gritty urban crime novels. I’m also an avid reader of all their books. They’re wonderful authors who know how to tell a good story.
  4. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Without doubt it’s Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. He is such a complex and compelling character. He’s also totally original – the ex-military cop turned drifter who gets into lots of dangerous scrapes in his relentless pursuit of justice. He’s likeable as well as enigmatic. It doesn’t surprise me that the books are international best sellers and have been turned into movies.
  5. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    ‘The Girl on the Train’. I read it because of all the reviews and hype but I struggled to get to the end. I didn’t like any of the characters and at times I found it quite confusing. I also didn’t think there was much of a story to it and it was a huge disappointment. The film was not much better.
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    When I finish the first draft and write THE END. It’s always such a relief. But I also experience a strong sense of accomplishment because it usually takes six or seven months to get to that point. During that time I find I can’t concentrate on anything else and it has a big impact on family life.
  7. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    This is an easy one. It’s the first line of ‘Peter Pan’ by JM Barrie, which begins: All children, except one, grow up.

    This is such a dramatic and memorable sentence. And although it’s years since I read the book I’ve never forgotten it.

  8. What do you think makes a good book?
    It’s very simple as far as I’m concerned. A good book needs a story that has pace and characters that you either love or hate. It shouldn’t be over-complicated or over-written. And the ending must be satisfying.

    Structure is also important and I’m not keen on books that keep going back and forth in time because I find them confusing and distracting.

  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Well if they’re books I’ve already read then I would take the following because I’d be more than happy to read them again.
    ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo. This is one of my all-time favourites. Such a great book with a marvellous cast of crooked characters.
    ‘Red Dragon’ by Thomas Harris. To me this is one of the best and scariest thrillers ever written. It blew me away and introduced me to a character named Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic serial killer. Wow! Since I’ve not read it for years I’m sure I’d enjoy it again.
    ‘I Am Pilgrim’ by Terry Hayes. An epic novel that was a huge success around the world and deservedly so. It’s very long so would keep me busy for days on a desert island.
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I always advise budding writers to read as many books as they can in their chosen genres. And while reading make notes. Study the different styles of writers, especially structure and descriptive prose. And they should keep telling themselves that they will eventually write much better books than any of those they’ve read.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A cup of hot coffee. Despite what many of my friends think writing is hard, tiring work and I need coffee to keep me going.
  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’ve just finished the first draft of a new book for Avon/Harper Collins. The working title is ’The Threat’ and is due to be published early next year. That’s assuming, of course, that Avon are happy with it. I don’t want to give anything away but I can say that it’s the longest book I’ve written and has already been described by one of the few people who’ve read it as my most ambitious yet.

Check out her Jaime Raven’s website at Jaime Raven for updates

You can buy The Mother from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.