Hi Gillian! Welcome to the Sapere Books blog!
The first two books you have published with us have similar themes of children going missing and families struggling to find them. What initially drew you to those sorts of stories?
I set out to write a compelling story (and what is more compelling than the abduction of a child?) that could be seen from several different perspectives. Those of us who are parents can imagine the horror of a missing child, and I was able to draw on my experience of a time when my own two-year-old daughter went missing from our garden. She was only out of my sight for a few moments and fortunately was found within forty minutes, but the gamut of emotions my husband and I experienced was terrifying. The fear, guilt and despair almost crippled us. I was able to project some of these emotions onto the parents in Abduction and Snatched, who had to wait more than an hour to find out what had happened to their missing children.
We will soon be publishing a third thriller by you – THE ACCIDENT. Can you give us a little teaser of what it’s about?
This is a book I consider to be my ‘ripples in a pond’ novel. It begins, as the title suggests, with an accident and follows the consequences for those involved. As the story unfolds, jealousy comes into play with a shocking outcome; a life changing injury is faced, and the very best possible outcome is derived from the very worst scenario. If that isn’t enough, there’s a smattering of romance too!
Have you always wanted to be a writer? What first got you into writing?
It wasn’t until my early fifties that I began writing seriously, although I’ve dabbled in children’s stories and short stories for most of my adult life. Initially, writing was for me a therapeutic experience, as I kept a journal while recovering from a rather difficult period in my life. The first book I ever wrote was a small self-help book, my only foray into nonfiction so far.
What part of the writing process do you find the most challenging?
Probably the ending, as I sometimes get too bogged down in tying up all the loose ends until I’m satisfied that the story is properly wrapped up. Perhaps this is because when I read a book, I find an incomplete ending so frustrating!
Where and how do you write? Do you have set hours or do you write when you feel motivated? And do you have a favourite writing spot?
Being easily distracted, I’m fortunate to have a designated study to lock myself away to write. I try to write most days but often find my mind most active late at night when all these fictional characters keep me awake with their conversations, and I need to write, or at least make notes. As a work in progress develops, the time I spend on it increases as my enthusiasm grows.
Do you like to read the same types of books you write? Or something completely different? Can you tell us some of your favourite books?
I read quite widely, from thrillers to sagas. I love all of Kate Morton’s books as well as Victoria Hislop’s, particularly The Island. Some of my all-time favourite books are Jane Austen’s novels and the works of the Brontë sisters; I love the sense of atmosphere that leaps off every page, and Austen’s wit is amazing and so timeless!
What three tips would you give to aspiring writers?
You can’t do enough editing and polishing. The temptation when you write those satisfying words ‘the end’ is to get your book out into the world. Don’t – leave it for a couple of weeks and go back to read it again with fresh eyes; you’ll be surprised. Also, write what you know, and enjoy the journey.
Tell us something surprising about yourself!
I used to walk my rather large pet goat, Hobnob, around the streets on a lead. We were discovered and interviewed for BBC TV, but I had to do most of the talking.
Gillian Jackson is the author of psychological and domestic thrillers.