Welcome, Jane Risdon
How would you describe your writing style in only three words?
Jane: Fast-paced, twisty, realistic.
Jane: This is a hard one. Most of my characters are criminals and I am not gay, so having a relationship with the divine Ms B (Birdsong) is a no-go area. Having given it a lot of thought, I think I might well go for Ms Birdsong Investigates and her ex-lover and ex-MI6 partner, Michael Dante. He and she have had a long relationship which was rocky to begin when he was first seconded to MI5 for a series of operations, however, it quickly developed into a passionate and mutually respectful partnership, which ended violently when Ms B was ‘voluntarily’ retired from The Service when an operation they were involved in, went belly-up. She ended up in rural Ampney Parva with time on her hands. He was sent to Moscow.
Michael is confident, ruthless, and devious. He is drop dead gorgeous, but knows it, with a wicked glint in his eye. He loved to tease her, they rowed passionately and often, but he always knew if it came down to it, she’d have his back and he would (and almost has, many times) die for her. In-spite of his seeming arrogance, he is really down to earth and fun, but deadly serious about his work. I like him a lot and I guess if I had to tangle with one of my characters, it would be him; though DCI Luke Wareham would be an understudy.
If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?
Jane: Difficult one. I’m not sure if I’d last five minutes in one of my crime/thrillers, unless I had the training and skills Lavinia Birdsong has. I’ve spent my life in music in a mainly male world, and I can get into a young male musician’s head so well having babysat so many of them, for decades, so I’d have to exist as a central character in one of my music related stories, such as Only One Woman – co-written with Christina Jones and scheduled for publication January 2016. I might like to be Scott, the lead guitarist in Narnia’s Children, as he manages to have two young women madly in love with him, whilst playing the field with all the ‘groupies,’ he can handle, and enjoying all the benefits at the expense of the two love-struck women closest to him. That might be fun – I’d get the slim hips and turquoise eyes! For once this is not a crime/thriller so I would get out alive unlike some of the women in my books, who don’t. A week on tour with Scott, possibly in Switzerland, hob-nobbing with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, or in other exotic places in the late 1960s, with all that he experienced back then, might be fun to try. What could be more exciting than the Swinging Sixties and all that conjures up!
Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?
Jane: Oh God! Where to start. I hope I can have a huge dinner party (I always love them the most), in a very old castle with enormous grounds. It would be a summer evening and the garden and banqueting rooms would flow into each other. The grounds would be lit by lighting designers, and fountains would gently tinkle as a background to the conversations. We’d have piped music by various guests playing not too loudly so people can’t hear. Some guests might even get up and perform when the Port and Cheese is served later on. It would be a buffet, so my guests could move around freely, chatting, eating, drinking and sitting in the gardens, or in the deep sofas and armchairs dotted around the rooms. Chill out zones would be set aside for the older guests or those wanting a breather. No smoking would be the rule.
I’d serve Crystal champagne and other fine wines. There’d be Oysters, with an ice sculpture centre-piece on the main table, with every shell fish imaginable, lobster and caviar. A selection of meats and sausages, cheeses from all over the world, a variety of vegetarian and vegan foods, as well as lots of salads; hot and cold, and huge variety of fresh bread and rolls. Wild boar would be roasting with jacket potatoes, outside on the terrace. Deserts would be plentiful including fresh fruit and sorbet; ice creams from Italy. Desert wines would be offered. Guests would be served by waiting staff, though they could help themselves from a bar with every alcoholic or other beverage they could wish for. My kind of entertaining.
Let’s see, guests: I’d have to have Professor Brian Cox, Stephen Hawkin, Patrick Moore, Carl Sagan, Einstein – I love their intellect and knowledge and I can drive them mental with all my questions. Leonard Da Vinci too – what a brain and talent. I’d love Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen with former MI5 Chief, Dame Stella Rimmington, to be there, as well as Peter James, Peter Robinson, Michael Connolly, Jeffrey Deaver, John Le Carre and Frederick Forsythe. Oh and I can’t forget Doris Day, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone. Also Elvis Presley, Katherine Hepburn, Margaret Rutherford, Howard Keel and David Niven. There’d be Alan J Lerner, Rogers, Hart, and Hammerstein, Irvin Berlin and both Gershwins. The Bee Gees, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, and The Beatles, but John would have to keep a low profile. Aretha Franklin, Whitney, and Maria Carey too. I would love to chat with Prince Charles so he would be there too. Dress would be for cocktails.
If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?
Jane: Well I write mainly crime but I have also wandered into ghost stories and what I call, observational humour. Only One Woman is leaning towards romance and I never thought I’d write a romance. I am not a romantic person. I enjoy observing the world and writing humour, and I think I’d love to write more; so I shall say humour.
What do you dislike the most about being an author?
Jane: I love writing provided technology works. But really I just want to think my stories and they appear. I hate the physical writing by hand/typing. I dislike editing and although having my work edited is fraught with stress for me, I’d glad of an editor. I just wish I didn’t have to do any of it. I hate checking everything endlessly after I’ve written anything – I should be used to going over and over things because in the recording studio that is just what you do…forever and ever and….! I guess record companies and publishers etc. have all left their scars…and I was the manager, not the artist!
Favourite word? Jane: Discombobulated.
Jane Risdon was in the chair, contributing author to several short story compilations. Published by Accent Press.