I have the pleasure of joining in with J. A. Baker’s Undercurrent blog tour today! 🙂
Q&A with J. A. Baker…..
(Answers received on 13/03/17)
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Absolutely! I live in the north east of England with my husband and have four grown up children and one grandchild.
I have always had a passion for reading and language. As a child my parents used to take me and my brother and sister to the library on a weekend and I loved it there. I did a creative writing course when my children were much younger and managed to get a few articles published in various magazines but never attempted a novel due to time constraints. Instead I did a diploma with The Open University which eventually led onto an MA in Education & Applied Linguistics.
Four years ago we moved house next to a river which inspired me to write my debut novel, Undercurrent. I love reading all genres of books but my favourites are psychological thrillers and I thought I would have a go at writing one myself using the river as a theme. I was fascinated by the fact that during the day, the water can look so serene and calming but once the sun sets, it takes on a sinister air – black and eerie with no light pollution. Not a place you would want to be at night.
Undercurrent is about Phoebe and Martyn who move to a large house next to a river hoping to lead a quiet existence. Events from Phoebe’s childhood begin to surface when she meets a neighbour who resembles her sister. Despite trying to lead a normal life, things start to spiral out of control leaving Phoebe struggling to cope. Bit by bit her life slowly begins to unravel with devastating consequences.
I was delighted to have my book accepted by Bloodhound Publishers in December and can now officially call myself an author!
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
As you know Undercurrent was inspired by the view from my back garden but the idea for my next book which I’m currently working on, came from my father’s hard work whilst researching our family tree. He discovered that our ancestors were coastguards posted to the north east coast from Ireland c.1830. We visited the coastguard cottages which are still standing on a cliff overlooking The North Sea and I found the whole thing fascinating, so much so that it seemed like the perfect location for my next book. I am a lover of scene setting and think that a good storm and rough seas are the perfect backdrop for a good thriller!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Not really as they would probably recognise themselves and never forgive me! I do love to people watch and am more inclined to use characteristics from strangers. I sometimes have actors in mind when I’m describing a character and will often think about what they would say or how they would react in certain situations.
How do you pick your characters names?
I always try to steer clear of using family and friends’ names. Sometimes I browse the internet as you can often find some really unusual ones that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of. Other times, the name just comes to me, especially if I have a clear idea of what the character looks like and what their qualities are. In my current book, the names of the two main characters came to me straightaway and I’ve never had any inkling to change them.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Ooh that’s an easy one to answer! I write on an evening and at the weekend as I work full time during the day in a primary school. I write as much as I can during the school holidays as well. I’d love to say I carry a notebook with me and have time to sit on park benches jotting down my ideas but unfortunately that’s not the case. What I have discovered is that the best ideas always seem to come at night when I’m trying to sleep so I do have a notebook in the kitchen to write down anything that I can remember. I do this while I’m eating breakfast at 6am!
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Yikes! So many to choose from. It goes without saying that I think all the Bloodhound Books authors are awesome and I just wish I had enough time to read all their books. Bloodhound authors aside, my top 5 favourite authors are probably Sabine Durrant, Alex Marwood, Saskia Sarginson, Penny Hancock and JoJo Moyes because I cried while reading her books which is not like me at all!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
It would probably be Stephen King to ask him how he first started writing horror and where all his ideas came from.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Definitely. When other kids were playing out I was inside with my nose stuck in a book. Some of my earliest memories are of visiting the library. My friend and I still laugh at the fact that aged 8 or 9 years of age, we considered a trip to the library to be a perfect day out.
When did you start to write?
I always loved writing stories as a child but as I got older I stopped as life simply got in the way. I stared writing again in earnest a few years ago. I wrote a short novel before Undercurrent but it wasn’t anything worthy of publication.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Such tricky questions! I read Tideline by Penny Hancock and the ending to that book had such a huge impact on me as it was left up to the reader to decide whether or not the victim actually lived or died at the end. I was desperate for him to live!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Tideline by Penny Hancock. Then I would find out if he lived or not.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I would take Jack Torrance from The Shining out for coffee. We would go to a small, friendly cafe away from any mountains and I would persuade him to turn down the job in that big, remote hotel…
What are you working on right now?
My second novel set up in the coast guards cottage next to The North Sea. No title as yet but I’m working on it!
Do you have a new release due?
Undercurrent is due out on 28th March and I’m hoping to complete my second novel by the summer.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
This is my first book so it will be an exciting day for me. However, I will actually be at work in a classroom with 36 children but will have my phone handy to keep checking on messages and notifications.
When I get home, I might just manage a cheeky glass of wine with my husband to celebrate.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The can follow me on Twitter @thewriterjude or on Facebook if they search for J A Baker Author
I also have a brand spanking new website which I’m really excited about! Look me up on www.jabakerauthor.com There is a contact page where readers can email me with questions or just generally keep in touch. I look forward to hearing from all you amazing readers out there!
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I hope to write many more novels in the near future so watch out for them being released. I’m in this writing game for the long haul….
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Judith 🙂
Publisher: Bloodhound Books (28th March 2017)
An unmissable new psychological thriller
Phoebe and her disabled husband, Martyn, move into a new house in a village on the edge of County Durham. They plan to lead a quiet existence, a set up that suits them both.
Then Anna, who lives over the road and is bored of spending her days alone, seeks friendship with Phoebe and events take a dark turn.
Phoebe has secrets and is haunted by her past and Anna’s arrival in her life may prove to be the catalyst for her undoing.
What is Phoebe hiding and why are she and her husband so reclusive?
When Anna gets caught in a storm and is rescued by Phoebe the truth becomes apparent and Anna is thrown into danger.
Is there a difference between madness and evil?