Get to know the author group of Triskele Books and enter to win a new book every day! We're already three days into an exciting week. Day 1 introduced Triskele Books and we got to know Gillian Hamer, who offered an eCopy of her book Complicit.
Triskele Books Day 3
Jane Dixon-Smith interviews JJMarsh.
JJ is offering an e-copy giveaway of Tread Softly:
by JJ Marsh
Published May 18, 2013
“You don’t attract trouble. You go looking for it.”
Disheartened by her recent performance, Beatrice Stubbs takes a sabbatical from the Metropolitan Police for a gourmet tour of Northern Spain. In Vitoria, she encounters a distant acquaintance. Beautiful, bloody-minded journalist Ana Herrero is onto a story.
Beatrice, scenting adventure, offers her expertise. The two women are sucked into a mystery of missing persons, violent threats, mutilated bodies and industrial-scale fraud. They are out of their depth. With no official authority and unsure who to trust, they find themselves up to their necks in corruption, blackmail and Rioja.
Beatrice calls for the cavalry. The boys are back, and this time, it’s a matter of taste. But when her instincts prove fallible, Beatrice discovers that justice is matter of interpretation.
Jane: You write fast-paced crime thrillers with a strong sense of location. Would you ever consider dipping into another genre, and if so which appeals to you most and why?
JJ: Yes, I would, I have and I fully intend to continue. I’ve written shorts, plays, chicklit, literary fiction and journalism. As a reader, I’m like a greedy guest at the breakfast buffet – I like to try everything. As a writer, I’m more disciplined. Consciously, I decide to work on an area of literary skill, such as voice, pace or descriptive prose. The genre tends to show itself according to which skill I’m trying to perfect. So I choose the genre that suits. Right now, I’m working on plot, structure and long-term character development. What better vehicle than a six-book crime series?
Jane: Do you have a favourite method of killing off victims, and do you find you’re constantly trying to avoid not using it?
JJ: Not at all. More unfavourite methods. But I am attracted to the sense of poetic justice. A character, especially a bad guy, usually suggests the best means of his/her own disposal. Playing with those options can make me laugh aloud with glee at an ‘appropriate’ death – something all crime writers understand as perfectly normal and healthy. I actively avoid tropes and clichés, so spend a lot of time finding a more creative, imaginative route through the story. My Philosophy professor used to say, “Go the bloody hard way”. So I did, and I still do.
Jane: When you read other crime fiction, what is it about the books you enjoy that you find most engaging?
JJ: Intelligence. I love books that make me think. In every genre. Crime writers such as Thomas Harris, Val McDermid, Donna Leon, Agatha Christie, Alexander McCall Smith, Kate Atkinson, Donna Tartt and Michael Dibdin all draw you into a world, a story, a culture and an adventure. You close the book feeling exhilarated and excited, but you know you’ll read it again. And next time, not just for the story.
Jane: You’ve been published for a year now with the Triskele Books collective. I get the impression you like maintaining control of your material. Turn the clock back 12 months, if you were offered a traditional deal equivalent to an average-good annual salary, would you still choose self-publishing, based on your experience to date, and why?
JJ: This is a highly personal perspective, but my answer would be a resounding yes. I’d go indie, especially with what I know now.
So many reasons:
• Creative control
• Learning a whole new set of skills
• Sense of collaboration and cooperation with other writers, artists, experts
• Vast personal gratification
I suppose the theoretical downside would be the effort, not to mention time, I’ve put into learning all these new skills. But I share my knowledge and experience and stupid mistakes with the next wave of indie authors, so it’s not really a waste at all.
Jane: Where do you see yourself being in another 12 months?
JJ: With at least one of the series in translation. I live in a country of three languages, so it would be a wonderful bonus to see my mother-in-law raise her eyebrows at something other than my housekeeping. And watching the film version of Behind Closed Doors, with Daniel Craig as the first murder victim. On a more realistic plane, I’d hope to launch Cold Pressed (Book 4), celebrate the achievements of the Triskele collective and look back at the previous two years as one terrific ride.
Jane: How important is networking with other authors and publishing professionals to you, and do you have any pointers for other authors?
JJ: Vital, crucial, essential and other synonyms of REALLY important. Authors and writers taught me all about craft and smarts; publishing professionals shared their particular angles; and booksellers told it like it is. Talk to people. All people – there is no Them and Us. You have to understand your marketplace before setting up your stall. Research, participate and watch the horizon like a surfer – there may well be a bigger breaker coming in. And never mix your turf’n’surf metaphors.
Jane: Which book from your shelf do you feel demonstrates a strong sense of time/place?
JJ: Place: The White Woman on a Green Bicycle, by Monique Roffey. I know no other location which assumes its rightful place in a list of characters than Trinidad in this book. And The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney. She evokes the white wastes of Canada, the nuances of blankness, the naive futility of human determination against an indifferent landscape. And she’s never even been there.
Time: The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck. Superb depiction of circumstances and their effects of human nature. Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. Another book which shows the reader how the line between pragmatic and outrageous depends on your time, place and point of view.
JJMarsh speaks to editor, Charles Blass on the Triskele Blog.
Tread Softly is available now.
As a child, Jill read so obsessively she got kicked out of the school library. But her passion for words continued. She graduated in English Literature and Theatre Studies from the University of Wales and set up a theatre company. Since then, as an actor, director, teacher, writer and journalist, she’s worked in fifteen countries. She learnt something from each one.
Now, with her husband and three dogs, Jill lives in Switzerland, a country with four languages and mountains of new words.
She works as a language trainer all over Europe, collaborates with Nuance Words and Triskele Books, and contributes regularly to Words with JAM magazine. But most of the time, she writes. And reads.
Behind Closed Doors is the first Beatrice Stubbs novel, a European crime series set in compelling locations all over the Continent.
Connect with JJMarsh on Goodreads.
For each day of the week, starting 26th May, a different Triskele Books author will be interviewed, and will offer a free e-copy of their book. And on Launch Day - June 1st - it's the Big Giveaway. All seven of the Triskele Books will be on offer for a signed paperback giveaway of whichever book(s) readers choose.
Today enter to win an eCopy of Tread Softly by JJ Marsh.
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