– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Wolf Tones’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator.
My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.
Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence.
The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.
I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese.
You escaped the past. Here comes the present.
Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter.
His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects.
All because of her.
Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it.
Neither will she.
She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?
While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself.
Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?
Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past.
A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thank you for inviting me!
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Jill and I write as JJ Marsh. I’ve published twelve books in the Beatrice Stubbs series, three standalone novels and am embarking on a new series of international thrillers. Writing has always been a part of my life, as has reading. I’ve been a teacher, and actor and a theatre director – all those involve storytelling. Becoming an author was a natural progression.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm is a book I read as a child and still love as an adult. From Enid Blyton through Stephen King and Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières and Milan Kundera, I learned something from all of them about the way to use words.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
J.M. Coetzee. He tackles the most heart-rending topics with a clear eye. I’ve attended one of his readings and he’s searingly intelligent. If I ever met the man, I’d probably be too intimidated to utter a squeak.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and I could have a fun afternoon in a London tea-room, as long as they serve prosecco.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing process is pretty dull. Mindmap themes, outline the plot, fill the storyboard, get the words on the page, then edit, edit, edit. But my non-writing habits are those of a magpie. I’m always aware of conversations, signposts, unusual names and unexpected images, specific tastes or atmospheres, peculiar encounters and odd experiences. My notebooks are crammed with random observations and saved for the day they come in useful. I’m a kleptomaniac in the Supermarket of Ideas.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
See above. Concepts for a novel tend to ferment a while until I can see a way of telling the story. It can be a moral dilemma, a life-changing event or a social or political point that interests me. The starting point must come from a character. As for people in my life, I have stolen names and appearances on occasion, but never from anyone genuinely close.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Plotter who lets the pants take over when the time is right. I was almost at the end of White Heron when my subconscious poked me in the ribs and pointed out how I could use one character as a ‘didn’t see that coming’ moment.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a critique group, online or in person. Learn how to think critically, to give and receive feedback, to constantly remember the author’s intention and help them reach their goal. After years of doing this, good habits become second nature and first drafts need fewer edits. Read books on craft and test out those theories with a short story or perfectly honed flash fiction. Pay attention to what’s happening in the publishing world and read as widely and deeply as you can. There is no one way to be a writer so make sure you’re aware of the options.
What are your futureplans as an author?
My current focus is on getting Wolf Tones in front of the right audience which will absorb most of August and September. Then in October, the second in my Run and Hide series comes out. Black River is a thriller set in the Amazon rainforest. I have sketched outlines for six books in that series so will get to work on No.3. Towards the end of the year, I’m bringing out a novella as a Christmas special for fans of Beatrice Stubbs.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is when my main character, Rolf, has just arrived at his new apartment in Salzburg.
Three streets away, he found a Thai restaurant offering takeaway packages. He ordered in passable German and asked if there was shop nearby where he could buy wine. The young girl behind the counter was helpful and patient and assured him he could get to the mini-market and back in the ten minutes it would take the kitchen to cook their order.
Half an hour or so after he’d left, he unlocked the front door and ran upstairs, carrying a brown paper bag filled with containers of Thai curry and rice. In his right hand, he held a bottle of champagne. The apartment was empty so he went onto the balcony to see if she was there.
Down in the garden, Leonor was sitting at a wrought-iron table, laughing with a young man. Rolf didn’t even know how to get into the garden.
“Food is ready!” he shouted, brandishing the bag.
She looked up and her face broke into a beautiful smile. “Bring it down here with plates and glasses. I want you to meet our neighbour.”
The guy lifted his face and gave a salute. “Hi! My name is Anton, I live downstairs. I don’t want to intrude on your first night. Just wanted to say hello.”
“Give me a minute.” Rolf collected two plates, two sets of cutlery and two glasses. The gesture was pointed. Tonight they did not want company. But when he got downstairs and found the door to the garden, he saw Leonor and Anton were already drinking cocktails from martini glasses.
“Hi,” said Anton, saluting again.
“Meet Rolf, the one I’ve been telling you about.”
“Hello, Anton,” said Rolf, forcing a smile.
Leonor took the bag and inhaled. “Mmm, I love Thai food. Would you like to join us? I’m sure we can stretch this for three.”
Anton held up both palms. “Thank you, but no. I’ve already eaten and I really don’t like spicy food. I have a typical Austrian palate, I’m afraid. I’ll leave you in peace to enjoy your meal. Just so you know, there’s a house cat called Blue. He’s currently favouring my place, but changes his mind about where he sleeps quite frequently.”
Leonor waggled a glass at Rolf. “Are you ever going to open that bottle? That’s fine with us, we love animals. Thanks for the martini. Cocktails before champagne, I could get used to Salzburg.” She laughed up at him with the sparkle in her eye she always used when she wanted to charm someone.
Anton laughed with her, evidently spellbound. “Great to meet you and I’m so pleased to have friendly neighbours again. The last woman was a miserable old bag. Hey, do you two fancy going out for a drink next week? I could show you some local bars and warn you which ones to avoid.”
Leonor tilted her face to Rolf, her mouth an O of delight. She was handing him the mic and he couldn’t see a way out.
“That’s kind of you. It would be useful to learn a bit more about the area.” He twisted the bottle and the cork popped out. He poured the overflow straight into a wine glass, aware of Leonor’s giddy laughter.
Anton took his cocktail glasses, wished them a good evening and went inside his own apartment. There was no sign of any cat.
They emptied the cartons onto their plates, drank champagne and toasted their new start. As the twilight deepened and lights came on in the apartments on the other side of the hedge, their building remained in darkness. Presumably Anton had gone out for the evening. Why not? Young, not bad looking and obviously familiar with the local nightlife. What reason would he have to stay home? Rolf relaxed a little and let go of the feeling they were being watched.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, JJ Marsh.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!