I am delighted to welcome Jackie Baldwin author of Dead Man’s Prayer (DI Frank Farrell, Book 1) to take part in my Q&A interview.
Good morning welcome to Chelle’s Book Reviews. Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
Hi there, I’m married with two grown up kids and live in Dumfries, SW Scotland. For twenty years I was a local solicitor specializing in criminal and family law. Then, to a few raised eyebrows, I retrained as a hypnotherapist and finished my crime novel. I’d been writing it so long, people used to enquire about it like it was a member of the family.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer but I lacked confidence. I was the first of my family to go to university and the emphasis was very much on doing something that would get you a regular job. When I was expecting my second child I was lucky enough to win a place on a course run by Border TV where one of the tutors was the amazing Peter Mullen. I was hooked from then on in. I started writing monologues and plays. Then, a number of years later, I decided it was time to take the plunge and start a novel.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
I’ve only had one book published so far and it’s a police procedural crime novel. I guess I wrote it for myself initially. I had no expectation of publication. I simply wrote the book I wanted to read. I suppose I write for people who are interested in character as well as plot. My book isn’t gory as I’m quite squeamish myself but I’ve been told it’s a tense read.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
My first novel took over ten years by the time I had rewritten it around 3 times. It also languished in a drawer untouched for some of those years. My second novel is nearing the end of the first draft which has taken ten months to date. I feel I write excruciatingly slowly at times. Some people can rattle out thousands of words in a day. A good day for me is 1000 words but if I’m not working, ignore the housework, and don’t procrastinate with snacks, I can reach 2000 words at a push. For my third book I intend to get the first draft down in 4 months. What is it they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions…?
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
Definitely, fictional. That said, there are some aspects of me that may have unwittingly appeared in Farrell and McLeod. Farrell can be slightly awkward in social situations, as can I. Mhairi’s sense of humour and tempestuous nature also owe more than a little to yours truly.
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
Only very indirectly. Someone I know suffered a complete psychotic break when I was younger and it affected me profoundly. In my novel I explore the ramifications of such an event through DI Farrell. I also felt it was important to show that people can recover from such a devastating illness and live life to the full again. Insanity is not always a one way trip.
What research do you do?
I talked to local police officers, mainly. Due to my former occupation, I was already comfortable with a lot of the procedures and knew my way round the police station, jails and whatnot. Then, the police system in Scotland changed drastically in 2104 and everything became centralized which is why, with much gnashing of teeth, I had to set my first novel in 2012.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one as I’ve never done it before. I can’t think who I would fit with on the crime front. Stuart McBride wrote a future crime novel called ‘halfhead’ so I think I would pick him because I have always loved science fiction and it seems like he has a sense of humour!
What’s your favorite book?
Perfect People by Peter James.
What’s your favorite food?
Victoria sponge cake, without a doubt.
What’s your favorite film?
You’re killing me here! I’ll go with Mama Mia. I need a box of mansize tissues every time.
What’s your favorite song?
Rocking All Over The World by Status Quo. I’ll be headbanging to that on my zimmer one day!
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I have a Facebook page at Jackie Baldwin Author. I’m on Twitter
@JackieMBaldwin1 Oh, and I have a website: www.jackiebaldwin.co.uk
Thank you so much for joining me today Jackie