Because I’m sure you all commit my posts to heart, I’m sure you’ll remember that last week I reviewed the debut suspense novel, A Time To Run, by Queensland police officer JM Peace. Obviously because she’s still out there catching baddies in her day job, we can’t show you her face, but I can share with you this probing interview to which she succumbed. (And yes, she waived her right to have an attorney present!) 😉
Q Have you always been interested in writing? When / why did you get started?
A. I’ve enjoyed reading and writing since an early age. I remember writing and illustrating a couple of children’s books for school projects in Grade 7. One was called “Buzzby and the Yamaha Roarers”. I was never a princess or fairy type of girl. The other story (I can’t remember the name) was actually quite good and I think it won some sort of prize. Round about then I decided I’d like to be an author. It’s been a stack of years and I’ve taken some major detours but I finally got there.
Q What draws you to writing novels? Is it the writing itself or more about having a story to tell?
A. A little of both. Some stories (both long and short) demand to be told. Some just need to be written down and can then be filed away. But I also love the creative part of the writing process. I am a ‘pantser’ and often the characters will start to make demands and take over the storyline from me. At times like these, my fingers just can’t type fast enough, and watching the story unfold almost as if it is separate from me is an absolute joy.
Q You’re still a serving police officer; do you find inspiration in your day job, or draw on real events for your novels?
A. Most definitely. Although everything I write is fictitious, I draw on real events – jobs I have been involved with, criminals I have arrested, and situations I have found myself in. This undoubtedly gives my writing the authentic voice that helped me secure a publishing contract.
Q What do your fellow officers think / say about your side gig?
A. Not much. Because no one really knows. The point of the fake name is to try and keep it all secret. There’s been a couple of articles in local media here that revealed me as a local officer. It was interesting listening to colleagues speculate as to who it might be.
Q What’s surprised you about this whole experience? What have you enjoyed / what has been challenging?
A. I’m really enjoying receiving positive comments about the story from complete strangers. I still find it odd having people other than my mother say nice things about it – but odd in the loveliest possible way.
I am in a perpetual state of anxiety about so many different facets of this whole adventure, but the publicity just twists my stomach in knots. I’ve been most nervous about dealing with local media because I feel like that’s where I have the most to lose, potentially revealing myself to people I know.
Q Will we be seeing Sammi or Janine again?
A. I’ll say you’ll definitely see Sammi. The sequel exists and follows Sammi as she returns to work at Angel’s Crossing. This manuscript is already under contract with Pan Macmillan so it should see the light of day next year some time. Janine – well, I like Janine. She is based on some colleagues I have a lot of respect for. It would be nice to see what she’s up to after A Time To Run but I can’t confirm anything at this stage…
I mentioned in my review that ‘Jay’ was living proof of the age-old ‘write what you know’ adage. If you had to ‘write what you know’ what would your novel be about?
Linking up with Essentially Jess today for IBOT.