Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Jane Blythe

Today I interview my first author from Australia, Jane Blythe! She is the author of several crime / mystery novels, and started the first publishing company just for kids, Bear Spots Publications.

Welcome to the blog Jane, and thanks for sharing your writing process with us!

1.       When did you first start writing?
I first started writing as soon as I learned how! I used to write little picture books and make my younger brothers act them out with me! In the sixth grade I got my first laptop and my love of writing really took off from there, I probably wrote twenty books that year!

2.       What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
I write crime/mystery/suspense with a tiny tad or romance thrown in! I also write children’s picture books for preschoolers. I am mostly self-published, although my first book was a hybrid, as I am also hoping to start a publishing company for kids to publish their work.

3.       What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?
I have always loved books, as a child I would read so much that my mom would make me go outside and play rather than just sit around and read! From my love of reading came my love of writing. In the sixth grade we had an author for our teacher and that really inspired me to start writing in earnest, some of the critiques he gave me and things he taught me all that time ago are still with me today.

4.       What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I have OCD so I am extremely organized and detailed in my writing process! I usually have plenty of ideas jotted down in appropriately named files on my computer, so when I’m ready to develop a new story I start out by writing a summary of the book in less than one hundred words. I then move on and flesh out the idea in less than 250 words. By then I usually have a good handle on where I want to go with the book so I plot out in dot points each individual section of the book (usually between 50-60) which helps me with the spacing and timing of how the events play out. After that it is time to start writing! I typically write series so the characters don’t have to be developed (of course they develop throughout the course of the series) as I already have the background information done on them. If I'm starting a new series before I start with the story I do my character background information, including physical characteristics, personality traits, family members, and any events from their life that have shaped them.

5.       Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?
I have a whole store of ideas in my head, most of them are written down in varying degrees of detail on my computer, most of them came from years of reading and watching crime shows and soap operas on TV. I find that ideas will spark in my head whenever I'm reading or watching anything interesting!

6.       When in the day do you usually write? For how long?
I will usually write whenever I have spare time, for how long at a time depends on what I have on that day. If I'm working in a preschool or school for the majority of the day I will probably only do a little bit in the evening. However if I'm home I will typically write all day, fitting it in around whatever else I have to do that day!

7.       Describe your desk / writing corner / favorite writing spot.
While I can and do write anywhere, I typically sit on my couch with my laptop on my lap and my two Dalmatians one on either side of me like bookends!

8.       Do you listen to music while you write? What kind of music?
I actually don’t like music so I don’t listen to that while I write, however I do like background noise so I will usually have the TV on, usually playing a DVD, something I've seen before so I don’t have to pay too much attention to it and get distracted from my writing!

9.       Do you ever get writers' block? What are some ways you get around it?
Yes!! Most definitely!! Sometimes I’ll procrastinate for a while and several days or even a week or two can go by where I don’t write a single word. If that happens I usually sit down and make myself work through the problem section. I usually find that once I work through it I get back into the swing of things again.

10.     Do you now, or did you ever have any day jobs? Did they add to or detract from your writing?
I have been in the past and currently am a teacher. I used to teach full time but now I work as a substitute. I have also worked as a nanny. While this means less time for writing, the fact that I write children’s picture books and work with kids helps me come up with ideas, and it gives me access to my intended audience!

11.     How do you make the time to write?
I absolutely LOVE writing so making time for it is easy! Of course I have to fit it in around the rest of my life, work, family, friends, hobbies. If I could I would spend all day every day writing! Sometimes I’ll be at work and have to jot down something on my phone, usually I email it to myself so I don’t forget about it. 

12.     What project are you working on now?
At the moment I am working on book six in my Count to Ten series. I am almost finished it so soon I will begin the planning process for book seven, which at the moment is nothing more than a vague jotted down idea! I am also in discussions with a school to come and work with them to write book three in the Victoria Ivory Pearl series.

13.     What books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I love to read anything in the crime/mystery/suspense genre. Some of my favourite authors are Allison Brennan, Mary Burton, Kendra Elliot, Linda Fairstein, Brian Freeman, Melinda Leigh, Richard Montanari, Karen Robards and Karen Rose. At the moment I’m not reading anything, I'm waiting for Karen Robards’ and Mary Burton’s new books to come out in a couple of weeks. 


Jane Blythe lives in Melbourne, Australia. She loves to read and write crime/mystery novels. She is the author of the Detective Parker Bell series, and a brand new series Count to Ten. As a preschool teacher she also wanted to do a series of books for this age group but also wanted it to be unique, so she developed the Victoria Ivory Pearl series of books written with older kids. When she’s not writing she loves to bake, go to the beach, ski, horse ride, watch Disney movies, and is working towards her black belt in Taekwondo.


One (Count to Ten Book 1)

Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep.

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead.

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game.

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.  

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