Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Jill Marsh to Chat About Books 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My name is Jill and I write under the pen name JJ Marsh. I live in Switzerland with my husband and three dogs. My Beatrice Stubbs books are European crime dramas with more brains than blood. I’m a founder member of author collective Triskele Books, Co-Editor and Creative Director of The Woolf, and reviewer for Bookmuse. Also qualified fire-eater.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Overheard conversations, dreams about Starsky & Hutch, news articles, a ginger-haired bloke in the Post Office, intriguing locations, Dusty Springfield and the urge to write crime with more roles for women than dead prostitute.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Adrian (wine merchant, gay chorister and amateur detective) owes much of his personality and skills to three special individuals from the London years.
How do you pick your characters names?
Great question! My books are set in various European cities, so I often trawl that country’s politicians, footballers, actors and musicians until I find something that fits the personality. Arch villain Arturo Aguirre came from Werner Herzog’s eponymous film featuring Klaus Kinski.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Research, plot on a massive grid, write 2K words a day, edit seven times, send to Triskele Books (our five-person author collective), rewrite and send to the proof reader. Usually takes me a year.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Perennials like Kate Atkinson and Louis de Bernières etc, but current discoveries would be Jane Davis, John Ironmonger and Louise O’Neill. Reading good writing makes me raise my game.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Dylan Thomas. I’d ask him if he fancied a pint.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Obsessively. I got kicked out of the school library because I overstayed my welcome.
When did you start to write?
To make a living out of it? 2004. That said, I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was three, my mother found me in the field outside our house entertaining the cows with fairytales.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Torch Song Trilogy’s Fugue in a Nursery. Please, not Alan!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
My next one and the one after that.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Till the Cows Go Home
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Flann O’Brien. I’d take him to the pub to meet Dylan and we’d all have a pint of plain.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
It’s true that I can eat fire but I’m a woeful juggler.
What are you working on right now?
Honey Trap, the eighth in The Beatrice Stubbs Series. It’s about culinary espionage in Naples – the research is a joy.
Tell us about your last release?
That was An Empty Vessel, a detour from my crime series into literary/historical fiction. A woman is on death row for murder in the 1950s. Everyone has an opinion, except her.
Do you have a new release due?
Honey Trap will be out end of June, if I ever stop researching Italian food and wine.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Stare at screen, worry, wish I’d rewritten it one more time, refresh screen, worry, and eventually collapse onto the sofa with Prosecco and pugs.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
or on Twitter: @JJMarsh1, but to be honest, I mostly rant about politics.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I’m a polyglot. I can say ‘A white wine spritzer with soda and no lemon’ in five languages.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Jill 🙂
Today’s the day Nancy Maidstone is going to hang.
In her time, she’s been a wartime evacuee, land-girl, slaughterhouse worker, supermarket assistant, Master Butcher and defendant accused of first degree murder. Now she’s a prisoner condemned to death. A first time for everything.
The case has made all the front pages. Speculation dominates every conversation from bar to barbershop to bakery. Why did she do it? How did she do it? Did she actually do it at all? Her physical appearance and demeanour in court has sparked the British public’s imagination, so everyone has an opinion on Nancy Maidstone.
The story of a life and a death, of a post-war world which never had it so good, of a society intent on a bright, shiny future, and of a woman with blood on her hands.
This is the story of Nancy Maidstone.
“From its chilling opening as a death sentence is passed, this book had me gripped. The 1950s setting, the entirely believable characters and the tight plot all held me as, fully engrossed, for the first time I went in the wrong direction on the Tube. Thoroughly recommended”.
– Dr Alison Baverstock, Associate Professor of Publishing, Kingston University, London
happy reading 🙂