Monday 26 March 2018

Meet author and poet Jane Jago, co-creator of the Dai and Julia Mysteries

After something of a hiatus, the Altered Instinct Q&As return with the splendid Jane Jago putting her best foot forward to tell us about her work. Jane is a poet, author, enthusiastic reader and reviewer and... well, we'll just let her tell us more, shall we? Here's Jane. Oh, and I've just been reading her story about space detective Sam Nero in the depths of The Last City as part of an anthology titled such, all part of a collaborative world collection. It was a highlight, and a full review will follow this week. 

Hi there, and welcome to Altered Instinct, Jane!

Tell us a little about your most recent book – what is it called, and what is it about? Give us your elevator pitch to make us fall in love with it!

I’m going to go for the work in progress. It’s called ‘Who Pulled Her Out?’ - although I can’t tell you why (spoiler alert). And it’s an everyday story of white supremacists, identity theft, and the abuse of  privilege.

When Ben and Joss Beckett find out their twin daughters are being bullied at school it’s not something they are prepared to sit back and watch - especially when they find out the bully is the girls’ teacher. Exposing the woman’s secret agenda pulls them into a mire of claim and counter-claim and lays them open to attack from a group of people who have no morals and no compunction.

What inspired the story?

I’m never sure what my inspiration for any book is. Maybe I  react to how I perceive the world around me, or maybe I just like to tell a rattling good tale.

The Last City features Jane's story Sam Nero PI - check out my full review coming later this week.  

What are your favourite genres to read – and what is it about those genres that draws you in? 

Oh crikey. That’s like asking me to choose my favourite booze. Impossible. I like anything well written and not too predictable. I don’t read a lot of romance, and I’m not a fan of what people refer to as hard sci-fi. Otherwise you name it and I’m probably reading it. I particularly admire well crafted fantasy, where the world the author creates sustains itself and remains believable throughout. Even comic fantasy needs a credible world or it falls on its bottom.

I think I'm the same in that regard! I love those worlds where you want to keep exploring beyond the boundaries of the story. What were some of your favourite books to read as a child? Which were the first books you remember falling in love with?

I’m not precisely a young person, so my childhood favourites are less glamorous than those of the younger generations. I read Kipling, Enid Blyton, Frances Hodgson Burnet, Captain WE Johns (Biggles), Captain Marryat (The Children of the New Forest), and later the children’s stories of Elizabeth Goudge and Joan Aiken. The first book I ever fell deeply in love with was The Secret Garden, and I can still read it with enormous pleasure. The next piece of writing to fire my imagination was The Song of Songs, also called the Song of Solomon, found in The Old Testament. I think it was the first piece of lyric prose I ever read and it painted such vivid pictures in my mind.

And finally, on the topic of childhood reading, my most cherished memory is of being read to by my parents. It’s something I will never cease to hold dear no matter how long is my life.

Jane's puppy Barney, clearly patiently waiting for her to finish writing and start playing...

Who are your favourite authors to read? And whose writing do you feel has inspired your own work most?

Now I’m all grown up my favourite authors are as varied as my taste in books. Guy Gavriel Kay, Sir Terry Pratchett, Georgette Heyer, JD Robb. Of indies, I will read anything E.M Swift-Hook writes, and I’m also a fan of Chrys Cymry’s Penny White books.

Are there any particular themes you address in your story? What issues do you explore, overtly or otherwise?

This book does have a stab at some themes I seem to return to in various forms. Prejudice and dislike, balanced by friendship and love. I am also drawn to writing about ordinary people who are dragged into extraordinary situations and what mechanisms they find to cope with those  challenges.

What’s next for you as a writer? What’s cooking in your literary kitchen?

Next up from my literary oven will be book six of the Dai and Julia Mysteries series of novellas. Written in collaboration with my dear friend E. M. Swift-Hook. I can tell you nothing about that. On pain of death.

I'll just go get some info from E.M. about that then! What’s the most fun piece of technology/magic that you’ve included in your novel that you wish you had in real life?

The most satisfying piece of magic in my books to date has been demon hunting, requiring both magic and berserker strength and fury. You have to literally wrestle demons into submission. It’s an awful lot of fun to write.

Here's hoping there's not so many demons to wrestle in real life! You get stuck on an island and had only one book packed in your travel bag before the ship went down – what book do you hope you have in there?

The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. My second favourite of his works, but the longest... being a trilogy available in one volume.

Where can readers follow you to find out more about your work?

At the links below! 

A traditional question here at Altered Instinct – what are you reading at present, and what is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

I’m reading Necrotic City by Leland Lydecker and Secrets in Death by JD Robb. And I’m pleading the fifth on the rest of the question. I have enough enemies already...

Ha, well I'll let you duck that one just this time! Just this time! Thank you very much for joining us, Jane, it's been a pleasure! 

You can find out more about Jane's super secret Dai and Julia collaboration at the following link - but don't stop there, do go explore her other work too:

1 comment:

  1. Jane, I love the Dai and Julia books. Haven't read any of your others yet, but I'm planning to. Your writing is great.