Interviewing Author Janet Pywell
Q1. Tell us about yourself. What are your favorite books to read?
A. I've been reading for as long as I remember. As a child, we were frequently taken to the local library and I discovered the amazing world of imagination.
I loved AA Milne and one of the first books I remember my mother reading to me when I was about 7 years old was "I am David” by Anne Holm: a harrowing account of a young boy escaping a concentration camp.
I read avidly as a teenager and in my adult years, I have been attracted to crime thrillers and suspense novels.
I’ve always kept an open mind with my reading and I’ll read books in just about every genre. Now I look for something different, like Sweet Pea by C.J.Skuse and books by foreign authors such as Isabelle Allende, Paulo Coelho or Carlos Ruiz Safron.
Q2. Where did the inspiration to write come from?
A. I’ve always wanted to write but felt that I lacked the necessary skills.
I’ve always had millions of ideas and I've dreamed up scenes and scenarios all my life. I lived in Spain for twenty years and in Northern Ireland for ten years. My background is travel and tourism and I’m lucky to have traveled to so many places. I use my experiences of living and traveling as locations in my novels. I find I can write more easily having visited all the countries in my books and I’m able to make the reader feel new experiences.
There never used to be many writing courses but with the onset of the Internet and the opportunities of independent publishing - the whole publishing industry has changed drastically. Many new opportunities now exist for authors and books are more accessible in different formats to encourage new audiences such as ebooks and audiobooks.
When I studied for my MA in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast (2013), part of my dissertation was the opening of my first book Golden Icon. It was a massive challenge to finish the book and afterward, I felt a great sense of achievement. This is now the prequel to my Culture Crime Series. It’s free to download on Amazon.
Q3. How did you come up with the titles of your books?
A. it's never easy choosing the right title - there’s a thin line between something too obscure or too obvious. I usually include a clue in my title to the artwork involved in the novel; like a golden icon, or an illuminated manuscript in Book of Hours and a Vermeer painting in Masterpiece. In my new book published in April 2019 called Faking Game - it’s about a stolen sculpture. There’s a continuing theme of artwork in all my books. I think the working title of my next book will be: Truthful Lies.
Q4. Anything you're currently working in 2019?
A. I am working on a comedy script for TV, I’m also rewriting scenes for a film that I started last year. It’s a rom-com and I’ve never done anything like it before. Many readers have suggested I write more humor and I thought I’d give it a go. I also love rom-com films and it’s something different for me and I enjoy a challenge. I’m also starting book 5 in the Culture Crime Series (Truthful Lies) about a family riddled by greed, corruption, jealousy and sibling rivalry.
Q5. How long have you been writing?
A. I’ve been writing professionally for three and a half years. Before that, I wrote lots but never had the confidence to show it to anyone. I kept diaries and wrote poetry and short stories. I’ve kept them all and perhaps one day I may edit them but I’m happy to move on and write new things. I believe you have to keep writing to improve your style and also times have changed. It’s important to keep up with what’s happening in the world and especially modern technology. For example, in my last books, I’m using drones and I think readers appreciate learning new things. I’m very interested in artificial intelligence and I think that will fit into my Culture Crime Series further down the line.
Q6. What advice would you like to give to other authors?
A. Write! As the saying goes, you can never edit a blank page. Sometimes you need to write pages and pages to find the paragraph that’s the real nugget, the diamond in the rough. It’s about practicing your craft and being professional. After all, you’re asking readers to give up a lot of time and investment in your book so it’s imperative that you offer them good quality content. Readers want to be entertained and they want to feel satisfied/happy/ excited - it’s all about emotion and how you make your readers feel. Once you’ve written the book makes sure you get it edited, get professional feedback and decide if you want to send it off to be published traditionally or you want to go down the self-publishing route as I have done.
Q7. Where can we connect with you online?
A. I have a website: www.janetpywell.com and if readers/authors want to know more about my writing I have a blog about how I write and research my novels: https://janetpywellauthor.wordpress.com/. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If readers would like to subscribe to my mailing list they can get book 1 - Masterpiece, in the Culture Crime Series free. They can subscribe here: https://www.subscribepage.com/janetpywell - The prequel Golden Icon is free to download on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes& Noble.
Q8. Do you plan on writing any more books in the future?
My protagonist Mikky dos Santos is rebellious, determined and yet vulnerable. She’s complicated and incredibly talented. She’s an artist, forger, and photographer. I find her fascinating and I guess I want to write more to see how her life unfolds. She’s full of surprises and seems to make her own decisions as the books are written. There’s a core team of people who appear in the books with her - they are important but not always prolific. I feel there’s a lot more I could explore in Mikky and there are also some characters that could provide an off-shoot for a new series.
I think I’d also like to write stand-alone novels - perhaps comedy or romance — just for a change.
Q9. How many books have you written?
A. To date, I have written 8 books. There are four books plus the prequel (Golden Icon) in my Culture Crime Series. I have also written two books of short stories Red Shoes and Other Short Stories and Bedtime Reads - both are an eclectic mix of tales based on true events and others are quite funny or unusual. I’ve also written an unusual love story Ellie Bravo set in Belfast where I lived for a number of years. I have also edited books of short stories and poetry for schools and a charity written by children in the UK.
Q10. Did you go to college with the intent to be a writer?
A. I ran my own marketing company and I also studied with the Open University to finish my BA so that I could study for an MA in Creative Writing. I was very fortunate to get into and study at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast (2013). It was an amazing experience as a mature student to work with like-minded readers and authors and to swap material and learn how to critique in a professional manner. It also gave me an insight into teaching and as a result, I now lecture at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) on the BA Creative Writing course which I find incredibly rewarding.