The Dancer's Ghost by Jayne-Marie Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this book a child is stolen, the dancer searchers, a woman dreams, and a flamboyant inspector solves all the mysteries to tie the loose ends together. I would recommend this book to everyone it is filled with romance, rhythm, mystery, action, the lost, the found, and the crazy. At first I was unsure of what was happening but as soon as this book took off I could hardly put it down. I am so glad I read it. I would even like to see more books staring the tall pencil chewing inspector and his pudgy partner.
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I would like to thank Jayne-Marie Barker for joining us today to talk about herself and her books.
1) What genre do you like to write?
Crime fiction. I like seemingly impossible mysteries.
2) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
I first started to enjoy creative writing as a child, aged about eight years old. Imagination prompted me to write. There were too many ideas and tales spinning around in my mind. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. I call it a novel but in reality it would be called a novella. At the time though, I didn't know this! I studied English Literature for A-Level and read Margaret Atwood. This was the turning point in my writing life; when I thought, I want to write, to create the imagines for other people just as she had for me. When I reached my early twenties I began to dedicate time to writing every week. Now, a decade later, I find myself with three published crime thrillers on the shelves.
3) What inspires you to write?
Other people, things I see, hear, random thoughts, almost everything. Most of all, I'd have to say other writers. In particular Jane Austen, Agatha Christie and Margaret Atwood. I am also inspired by tales told from an unusual angle or viewpoint. I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Time Traveller's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger and Zadie Smith's 'White Teeth'; both very well written and unique. The English language inspires me. Every day there are words or phrases that fit together in harmony, and make me smile.
4) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
About ten months, give or take a week or two.
5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process? Easiest?
The research is the easiest part. People tend to be very happy to assist with literary research. Plotting and planning I find very enjoyable. The middle section of the first draft is the most difficult. It is like finding your way through fog. By this time, I may have deviated from my plan very slightly (often for the better), and need to find my way back to the path! Things always come right by the end.
6) Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?
That's a tricky question but I have to say Cathy in 'Distant Shadows'.
7) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
Yes - Inspector Allen. I planned to have my main character solve the mystery, and didn't initially want to feature the police very much. This all changed once I added Inspector Allen. I knew I would have to have a police character to tie up the loose ends and bring justice forward, but I hadn't planned on him entering the books quite so much as he did. During book 1, 'Beneath The Daisies', he developed in my mind and by book 2, 'Distant Shadows', he was fully formed, persistently entering scenes I hadn't planned for him to be in! Strangely, I am not sure I would like some of his habits or characteristics in real life, but in my fictional world I can't help smiling about him.
8) What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?
Promotion is the most tricky for me, simply because I don't have the experties or natural abilities of others in this area. Technically, promotion isn't writing, and maybe that's why. The most exciting bit is writing the final chapter. There is a mixture of relief and excitement when the story is almost told.
9) When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?
Aside from writing, my other grand passion in life is dance. I have various amateur examination achivements in Ballroom, Latin, Argentine Tango, and Salsa. In former years I learnt Carnival Samba and performed in carnivals across the UK. As we speak, I am in training to take my first dance teachers qualification exam. Dance brings a lovely social side to life, by contrast to writing, which tends to be solitary.
10) What genre of books do you like to read?
Surprise, surprise - I like reading crime fiction. Anything with a mystery to solve wins my attention quickly. Tales with unsolved mysteries dating back in time are a particular favourite of mine. I also enjoy romantic fiction from time to time, and the classics. Shuffling the order of genres to read works well, and retains variety.
11) What author(s) do you enjoy reading? Why?
I like to read a wide variety of authors because variety is the spice of life. I can't really pick an absolute favourite, but the top few would include Elly Griffiths, Adele Parks, RD Wingfield, Linwood Barclay, Lynn Shepherd, Jane Austen, Alison Bruce, Agatha Christie, Margaret Atwood, Audrey Niffenegger... there are lots!!
Every year I read 'Pride and Prejudice' and enjoy it as much as the first time.
12)Tell us about your books. Where can people find them?
My website has lots of information: http://www.jaynemariebarker.com/
Facebook page http://t.co/V1pP6dqA
I'm also listed on Goodreads.com and LinkedIn.com
UK author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jayne-Marie-Barker/e/B007EDJ7SW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1373976999&sr=8-1
US author page http://www.amazon.com/Jayne-Marie-Barker/e/B007EDJ7SW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1373977066&sr=8-1
'The Dancer's Ghost' - back cover
Where we come from can change everything.
When a baby is snatched the famous parents keep the tragedy secret, but this doesn't prevent Joyce Capelli from searching, attracting trouble at every turn. An anonymous writer claims to know everything, but it will cost Joyce more than she realises. When a shot is fired all she finds is an open window, and a room of photographs.
In the modern day Rebecca Houseman finds herself widowed, suffering persistent dreams, and threatened. What she doesn't know is why. When the unconventional DCI Allen says her husband's apparent natural causes was in fact murder, she wonders what he was trying to tell her in his final breath.
A stranger is watching the Houseman family, an unsettling familiarity that could change everything. As the attempts grow increasingly deadly, the inspector strives to solve the case, but can he crack the mystery before the assassin finds Rebecca?
Meanwhile, in the 1960s, Joyce's delight at finding her baby is tragically short lived. What could ink Rebecca Houseman and the young dancer's missing baby all those years ago?
HS ISBN 9781849633291
I wrote 'The Dancer's Ghost' very quickly. It flowed naturally onto the page. The dance element was a delight for me to write, and something I had wanted to add into a novel for some years. It is a little sad but ends with new promise and hope. The story is about a lost child and the consequences that has on other people.
'Distant Shadows' - back cover
One shot in the dark and everything changes. When Richard Burkett shoots his victim in 1935, and gets away with it, he doesn't expect to be caught over seventy years later. The death of one man can affect so many lives...
Zoe Peterson is shocked to find two police detectives one being the captivating DC James Clark interviewing her grandparents about an unsolved murder.
Simultaneously Cathy and Stephen endure emotional turmoil in 1957. The revelation of her father's identity frightens Cathy.
Zoe is concerned about her father's health and her ex won't accept her ditching him; until James plants his size twelve's firmly into her life. Will finding the dying gunman and earning her grandparents' gratitude be enough for James to win Zoe's heart?
In 1957 someone is stalking Cathy, the shadows following her, the darkness choking her, until breaking point finds her in Stephen's arms and the awful secret is revealed. Wedded bliss could so easily be snatched away by terminal heartbreak.
A chance comment reminds James that the identity of the victim is more important than that of the murderer...
HS ISBN 9781849631761
When I was much younger I wrote a novel entitled 'The Letter', a purely romantic tale that featured Cathy and Stephen. This came to nothing with publishers at the time but in later years I had the idea of turning it into a thriller by incorporating a stalker. As time went by this idea developed and the title of 'Distant Shadows' sprang to mind. Finally, I sat down to re-work my original text and 'Distant Shadows' as we know it today is the result. It's a special story for me because in some ways, it was my first, although published second.
'Beneath The Daisies' - back cover
Sometimes love can be a shortcut to heaven - literally!
A gift from the dead? Sophie Harris thinks so until her appointed handyman - the delectable Andy - unearths skeletons in the garden of her inherited new home.
Could a secret murderer lurk in her family tree?
Simultaneously the buried victims live on in their own time - 1930's - as their story breaths through Elise's diary. The touching love story twists through intrigue and heartfelt sympathy; but can happiness ever be theirs?
Delving into family secrets, Sophie finds herself at the mercy of a poisonous pen, her life threatened - just how far will they go to keep the truth hidden...?
Police efforts do nothing to dent the poison pen's composure and a plot to murder Sophie begins to take shape. With the truth inches from revelation, Sophie is left clutching at the jaws of death; but will the police arrive in time?
HS ISBN 9871 84963 0733
The digging up of skeletons in the garden has been written by many people many times over but I was keen to have a go at it myself. Having always been fond of the inheritance link to the past, I opted to merge these two fields into one novel. I'm very keen on 'cold cases' and 'ancient unsolved mysteries', so 'Beneath The Daisies' ticked both boxes for me. It's the shortest of my three published novels, and the first to have made it past the slush pile, so I'm understandably pleased with it!
If there's anything else you'd like to know, or want jpegs of the book covers, just let me know.
Thank you again for taking the time to interview me and review my work.