This month we have Nickie joining us to talk about her novel- Jill 🙂
Tell us a bit about your book?
My debut novel, Jill, is based on the infamous Jack the Ripper killings in Whitechapel, London, in 1888. The story opens to Mary as a young girl reminiscing about a rare family outing and follows her as she grows up in the notorious East end of London. Her diabolical nature is revealed as events around her turn deadly. Mary encounters hardships and tragedy as she establishes her place in the world which shapes her domineering personality. Family relations are strained by the constraints of society and the shame of a wayward child as Mary strives to stamp her remarkable and unforgettable legacy on the world. Inevitably, young gentleman are ensnared by the dangerous beauty and Mary forges a unique friendship that will descend into a secret web of blood and lies.
Mary loves as fiercely as she kills. Deep down all Mary craved was a family, a child to love, but that had been viciously stolen from her. The world had forsaken her so she would forsake the world and she would teach them not to squander what they had been given.
Will love conquer all and where will Mary’s fate lead her?
What would you say is the genre for your book?
The genre of this book is crime/horror.
Where did the inspiration come from?
I’ve been fascinated by the unsolved murders for a long time and read an article in a magazine with the usual proposed suspects. However, this article named a suspect that I had never heard of before, one Mary Pearcey nee Wheeler. The small 25-word snippet provided her name and picture and from there my novel was created.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title came from the old nursery rhyme Jack and Jill. With the name Jack being given to the murderer I choose Jill, the female equivalent. I know it’s slightly confusing with the book named Jill, but the main character is called Mary. The name Jill stuck, it just felt right. And it helped spawn the poem in the book:
Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a deserving victim
Jack blew down and broke their crown
and Jill stabbed them after.
Up Jack got and home they’d trot
as fast as they could scarper
He went to bed, alone she slept
with images of blood all over.
How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? How many drafts were there in total?
It took a year to write and edit Jill. In hindsight I should have spent more time on the editing process, but I did it alone and my inexperience shows in the first few chapters, which are probably a bit over written. But, I believe it gets better and I have learnt many lessons for my second novel. There was only really one draft that was reworked, the historic events were already set in stone so couldn’t be changed to suit the prose.
Are there any characters in the book based on people you know?
The timescale of the book, which ends in 1890, means that I did not know any individual. The characters are all based on real people.
How did you celebrate being published? Did you have a launch party?
I self-published so I didn’t really feel that I had anything to celebrate as I hadn’t made it the traditional way and found an agent that thought my book was worth reading. Can I say I’m a published author when I did it myself, I’m not sure? I feel far to insecure to hold a launch party, surely only my family and friends would come? I’m considering one for my second book……………..
Would you care to give us an extract?
Mother and father’s bedroom had bare floorboards and the pale walls were smudged with reminders of the previous occupants. It was just big enough to contain a double bed, which was pushed firmly against the wall and a wardrobe that had been crammed into the space between the bed and the adjacent wall. A small wooden chair that would have been fitting in museum, nestled behind the door. It was the throne to my mother’s prized possession, a tatty but loveable bear that her grandmother had given to her on her 5th birthday.
The only decoration in the room was a small mirror framed in wood and a truly awful portrait painting that looked like it had been done by a drunk donkey. On top of the wardrobe, pushed as far back as it would go was a box, I often wondered what was in that box and what secrets it held.
How do you beat writers block? Any tips?
I only have a limited set period each week to write (family and work commitments) so I’m usually very focused when I do and have been thinking about the chapter from the previous evening. When I do get writers block I tend to watch a bit of daytime TV to give my mind a chance to get itself together. If that doesn’t help, then I move onto a different part of the story and come back to the bit causing trouble! I’ve spoken to authors who go for a walk, walk the dog (I have cat!) or even read, whatever gets those creative juices flowing again.
Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?
Of course! Reading is one of my favourite hobbies, has been since I was a little girl and completed Book Track at my local library. I love art and like to work with my hands on a small scale, I’m rather good at portraits but, although I adore it, I’m not great at woodwork! I’m also a fan of logic puzzles.
When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?
I had to look up panster, how bad is that? So, I’m a bit of both, Jill had a rough plot and a later established timeline of events but getting her there I was a panster! Same with the current novel, I have a plan for each chapter but almost anything could happen to Jim along the way!! If an idea wants to head off on a tangent I let it go and see where we end up.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Do it, get out a pen and start writing. If you choose the route of agents/publishers don’t get disheartened over rejections, there is always self-publishing. Join social media groups, they are a source of support and a wealth of information from traditional and self-published authors. Believe in yourself, you are the master of your own destiny.
If your book became a film- who would you pick to play the main characters?
Christian Slater. In any role as long as he’s in it! For Mary I think Phoebe Waller-Bridge would suit the role with Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her friend Malt.
I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it?
Yes, I would. My second novel, is a dark comedy and it centres around Louise Wilson and her husband Jim. Louise loved her hubby but couldn’t help daydreaming about different ways to dump off her lazy spouse. From being eaten on a safari to fired out of a human cannon come and join me to find out the different ways that Jim dies, but who will survive the book? I am hoping for a summer 2018 release for Murderlicious.
Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet?
My book is available via Amazon as a paperback and a kindle edition. Here is my authors page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B076HQZ2DM
I’m active on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nljdesigns/ where you can find the links to my website and twitter.
Thank you Jenny x
Thankyou Nickie I love the poem!!!! My mum is fascinated with “The Ripper” and you have given it a twist 🙂 Look forward to your next book!
N.Joy is an author and artist living in the inspirational setting of North Devon. The debut novel, Jill, was released on Amazon in October 2017. N.Joy is passionate about literature and giving everybody the opportunity to read.
A cat-loving married mum of two she’s had a love of books from a young age and a passion for writing stories .N.Joy’s debut novel, Jill, though self-published, is the first step towards her life long ambition