The Next Big Thing – today it’s me!

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I am so excited.  Today I am THE NEXT BIG THING, nominated by Nicky Wells

Nicky is the author of The Rock Star Romance Trilogy and I am here to answer questions about my Work In Progress and my writing in general.  Thanks so much for nominating me Nicky.

Unlike Nicky I have not had a book published in my own right yet, but I have had short stories included in anthologies  published in aid of Charity, and I have written for Flash Fiction.  So I guess I am published.  My Next Big Thing will be to get my books published and that is what I am working hard towards.

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology featuring my story:  The Look.

So, as I am here to answer questions about all this, and you are here to read my answers, here goes:

When did you first realise you wanted to write?

I guess the first time I was conscious of wanting to be involved with words was when I was about 7 or 8.  I’d always loved reading and could read and write before I went to school, so I had a hunger for the written word even then.  I loved to make up stories and wrote on little pieces of paper – I still do sometimes – which I hid in my bedroom.  One story I wrote when I was about 15 was found by my mother and I had the devil’s own job convincing her that what she read was fiction and not a description of some sort of double life I was leading!

Telling Tales Anthology featuring two of my stories:  The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy

Telling Tales Anthology which features two of my stories: The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy. No longer in print

What do you read and do you have any favourite authors?

I am a book-worm and I have always been a book-worm.  Books hold a special magic for me; the smell, feel and look of them and of course the mysteries they contain have the ability to transport me to another place.  I love that other place.  The books I love to read are those which have the ability to enable me to lose track of time and place, so I would list Adventure, Crime , Mysteries and Thrillers (espionage, political and legal thrillers),  as my favourite books.  I also love the theatre and music – the creative arts – so anything about these interest me.

When I was little I would read Biggles and anything by Enid Blyton.  I loved Swallows and Amazons, and Kidnapped – actually all the books by Robert Louis Stevenson. I had an active imagination and ‘lived’ in my head even then, so books were my companions and friends.

As I got older I read Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Micky Spillane, Graham Winston and all the usual suspects; Sue Grafton, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell,  John Grisham, Robert Ludlum, Fredrick Forsythe.  I am very keen on Karin Slaughter at the moment as well as Jo Nesbo and Tess Gerritsen.  Peter James is a favourite and so is Peter Robinson….there are so many I cannot list them all here.

What sort of stories do you write?

You need to ask after seeing the list I’ve just rattled off?  Well, I write Crime and Mysteries and endeavour to create stories people will want to read.  I also write what I call character-driven ‘gentle humour’ stories.

If you have read any of my Short Stories and Flash Fiction pieces,  you will know that I like to write stories that have a twist in the tail a lot of the time.  I try to throw my reader off-balance and lull them into thinking the plot is going one way and then right at the last-minute, turn the whole thing on its head.

With my character-driven ‘gentle humour’ stories I like to bring the reader into the world of small communities, villages for example, where everyone knows each other and are comfortable with each other because they may well have been through school and their teenage years together, and then into old age.  I observe and listen a lot and a great deal of my material comes from waiting for buses – don’t laugh, but you can’t beat waiting in line for a bus and listening to all the locals having a good natter, to pick up on what humanity is about.  I am writing a series called ‘God’s Waiting Room’ which is so unreal when I read it back, but actually all the stories in it are based on real people and real events which, for me, makes them even funnier than I could possibly make up.  I hope to publish a few exerts soon.

Bus stops feature a lot in the series God's Waiting Room

Bus stops feature a lot in the series God’s Waiting Room

What are you working on at the moment?

Call me a sucker for punishment but I have several things on the go at the moment, in addition to various short stories I am writing for competitions and Flash Fiction pieces. You can find my Flash Fiction and some of my Short Stories at:

I have been working on a Crime novel, Ms Birdsong Investigates, for over a year now.  I intend this to be a series eventually, if it gets published and sells well. I live in hope.

Cob Web Cottage where Ms Birdsong lives in Ampney Parva

Cob Web Cottage where Ms Birdsong lives in Ampney Parva – her dream home.

My main character is Lavinia Birdsong who has moved to the (fictitious) village of Ampney Parva in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, having been ‘retired’ from MI5 after a disastrous mission which leaves her vulnerable and hiding from her enemies.  She soon fits into village life, though somewhat of a mystery to her neighbours, where she immerses herself in writing novels –  her material is often based on these neighbours.  Her old habits of surveillance being hard to leave behind she seems to know what is going on without actually appearing to be interested.

MI5 where Lavinia Birdsong was an Officer until her forced retirement to Ampney Parva

MI5 where Lavinia Birdsong worked until her forced retirement to Ampney Parva

When there are a couple of murders in the village, seemingly without motive, she cannot help herself – the old juices are stirred up again and she sets about trying to solve the crimes;  in doing so she bumps into someone she thought she would never see again.

View across The Vale of The White Horse

Views across the Vale of The White Horse from White Horse Hill

I have almost completed this and I’m tying up loose ends and then I shall set out to get it edited and ready for submission.  I will be publishing a few exerts soon.

You mentioned more than one book?

Yes, I am also co-writing another book with a very old and dear friend who asked me to write with her, which is a huge thrill for me because she is a traditionally published author with lots of successful books and awards, so I am deeply honoured to be writing with her.  Our book is a change of genre for us both, so for me it is a bit of a challenge.  I am sure it isn’t for her.  We hope to complete the book by the end of the year.  I want to thank her for her belief in me and OUR story; she knows who she is.

Is there anything else you are working on?

I have loads of material; books almost completed, short stories waiting to be collated and possibly published as e-books if I can ever get round to doing it.  Finding enough hours in a day to get it all done is my problem.  I need a 48 hour day.

Your background is in the International Music Industry, have you written about your experiences in that?

So far I have not written a novel about it, though sometimes in Flash Fiction and Short Stories I have strayed there, and I have skirted round it a bit when I’ve taken  part in the writing competitions my Writing Group hold now and again.  I have been asked to write my life story, but worry about writing about people who are alive and might decide to sue!!  The tales I could tell would make your hair curl!!  I think they may well out-live me, so if I am going to do it I need to be careful about what I write, or leave a manuscript for publication after my death!  We shall see.  I am tempted.

Back in the day - Recording Studio with SSL Desk

Back in the day – Recording Studio with SSL Desk – our second home.

You’re supposed to answer 10 questions but I think you have been pretty comprehensive with your answers so far and that we have covered just about everything.  Is there anything else you want to add?

I’d like to thank Nicky Wells for nominating me – I am so thrilled to be asked about my work and to have this opportunity to talk about it.  I hope that people will like what I write and once my novels are published they might consider reading them.  There are so many writers out there with more important things to say that if or when people read my work I am really very happy, and I don’t want to disappoint.  In the meantime I hope people will read my Short Stories and Flash Fiction pieces and visit my blog here and on Facebook and that they enjoy what they read.  I hope they will write and tell me as this helps me, as a writer, to develop and improve.

I would like to nominate my choices for THE NEXT BIG THING and I hope you will pop over to their blogs and websites and read all about them and their work on November 27th 2012 when they are The Next Big Thing.  Good luck ladies.

My nominations are:

Beth Elliott

Regency tales – Historical romance with a dash of adventure.

A bit of background to the Peninsular War? Or maybe a visit to a Turkish yali [seaside mansion] and a peep into a harem you can be sure Beth does not disappoint.

Writer of Regency tales with gorgeous locations and sexy men, she is a popular writer ans  she also writes about travel and contributed a fabulous story to Telling Tales by Writers for Welfare which was published in aid of The Norfolk Hospice earlier this year – as you know I had two short stories included in this anthology.  Beth’s story was so descriptive, you could almost taste the fruit she describes.

Beth’s next book has a working title of Scandalous Lady

Jo Skehan

Jo lives in Australia and is new to blogging so I hope you will visit her page and encourage and support her.  She is a fellow writer and we met as members of Writers for Welfare (she has two stories in our Anthology, Telling Tales), and is a founder member of  Writers on the Same Page. 

Jo is working on 4 novels and various other WIP at the moment and so we all look forward to seeing her published soon.

Kelly Jean Richardson

Her current work in progress is All the Men are Dying.  Which she is writing  for NaNoWriMo.  A group of women who know each other from a church are persuaded to start a women’s grief support group by the local priest.  But things are not what they seem  

She has published  short stories in Anthologies and is also a member of my Writer Group, Writers on the Same Page.  She lives in America and loves England so we have lots in common.  Kelly is knee-deep in various other writing projects too numerous to list.

Pam Griffiths

Award winning Poet and Author Pam has had several works published and her bio and some of them can be found at:

Beyond the Cat Flap (links above for USA and UK) is Pam’s latest book. Pam is also a member of Writers on the Same Page formerly Writers for Welfare and has two stories in our Telling Tales Anthology.

Anne Ireson

Anne has just self-published her first novel, The White Cuckoo, which is actually her fourth book. The first three are a trilogy of family sagas, which attracted the attention of a big publisher in 2008, but sadly they weren’t prepared to take a risk on a previously unpublished author. She is now working on the skeleton of my sixth novel for NaNoWriMo and has published in Telling Tales and is a member of Writers on the Same Page.

Anne comments:  I am so grateful to Jane Risdon for nominating me for The Next Big Thing. I  wish Jane and all my fellow nominees every success in the future.  Hear, Hear Anne.

Do stay a while longer and have a wander around my posts.  I have quite a few now and I’d love to know which ones you like the most and why.  They are not all about writing, I love photography so you will find a few of my efforts here as well.  Thanks so much for your visit, I really do appreciate each and every one. 

I especially want to thank Morgen Bailey for giving me the chance to showcase my work on her blog (Flash Fiction Friday with Pod-Casts, and Saturday Short Story).

I have a short story on her Saturday Short Story spot  on 24th November 2012.

It is dead boring but all photos and content (c) Jane Risdon 2012 All Rights Reserved except MI5 and Cob Web Cottage – Copyright owners unknown.

Categories: Blog


    • I am so glad to see you here and I appreciate your comments about The Next Big Thing…..I wish you all the best for 2013 and hope that you achieve all those goals you have set yourself.

      Chat again soon.

      Jane x


  1. Hi Jane, thanks for dropping by and viewing my Author spotlight. You are a busy lady by the look of this page.


    • Laurie, thanks so much for popping in and following me too…enjoyed your author spotlight no end and will be keeping an eye on you!! Take care and much success to you. Jane


  2. A REALLY LOVELY BLOG, Jane, Really enjoyed i learning more about you. Having a book published is one of the most glorious feelings in the world. I am having to slow down with my writing until the New Year now – the pressures of preparting for Christmas are at last catchng up with me. The next one is called SWITCHING OFF. Good luck with everything you do and I wish you a really HAPPY CHRISTMAS.


    • Phyllis, thanks so much for your kind words. Appreciate them and glad you enjoyed my efforts here. Did you ready my short story or Flash Fiction yet? Links on my posts. If you do, please let me know your thoughts. Glad the reviews are coming in so positively for your book and good luck with your new one. Happy Christmas and New Year to you too….catch up on Facebook soon I am sure. xx


    • Hi Marina, glad to find you here and thanks for visiting. I am writing hard and hope it will be completed early 2013 – Lavinia is busy solving crimes at the moment and is about to unmask the killer(s)….it is all very stressful for her and last I heard she was in bed with her laptop, writing up her notes and sipping a nice glass of wine.,,,she thinks better that way. I on the other hand, will be having a cup of tea soon. Do pop back for an update. Thanks., xx


  3. jane, been reading your blog and bits and pieces of your writing for some time now. i have no doubt that you are well on your way to a rewarding and productive writing career. with your focus, unique and often humorous voice you will have no problem finding eager readers. dying to read lavinia birdsongs debut, and in the not too distant future either. Congratulations!


    • Kelly, thanks so much for popping in and commenting especially when you are unwell and so busy. Really appreciated and I know that you will soon be having lots of success as well….make the most of my nomination, you deserve lots of success and I am sure it won’t be long. Do comment when you visit and tell me what you think of what you read, I need to know if it is all rubbish! Glad I make you laugh now and again, we both need to have a good belly laugh now and again. Good luck next week and thanks for your support, always appreciated. xx


  4. Great post Jane – nice to read about a new virtual friend and a great supporter. Nice to read about all your WIP too. Congratulations on being nominated for The Next Thing, I’m sure you will be. X


    • Penelope thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment, great to see you here. I hope that life is good for you and your books doing well. Do pop back and comment again as opinions are welcome….have a fun day. Appreciate your support no end. xx


  5. Better late than never, Jane. I’m sorry I couldn’t pop by in the daytime.

    What a fantastic interview and I am looking forward to reading more about Mrs Birdsong. I wish you all the best in your quest to publish your novel and also in your co-writing project. I’ve got a few days off so I’m looking forward to browsing the blogs featured on your page, as well as reading more of your blog. Congratulations on being nominated for The Next Big Thing. x


    • Thanks Anne I know time is tight for most people and appreciate you coming to look. I hope your links worked – some did not I am told. I hope you enjoy my blog and I am looking forward to us all getting some followers from all this…linking our blogs is a great way to find new readers. So good luck for next week and make sure the links to and from me work as I am worried some writer’s links did not. xx


  6. Great blog, Jane – I enjoyed reading it. I’ve read some of your short stories and a short piece from Ms Birdsong, of course, so I expect nothing but good stuff from you. Looking forward to God’s Waiting Room and Ms Birdsong Investigates. Have you considered self publishing if you don’t get a publishing offer quickly? It would be a shame to keep your work unpublished for a long time – and really unnecessary in this day and age.
    Still, you may easily be offered a brilliant deal straight away – I certainly hope so. All the very best – keep writing!


    • Gerry, thanks so much for visiting and following me…I hope you will keep an eye on me and tell my what you think as I value your opinion. I do hope to improve and I hope that sometime next year I shall get published somehow….I am thinking e-books but the whole thing terrifies me. I hope my co-write will find a publisher as my co-author has traditional publishing and she think her company should be interested….fingers crossed. I do have to submit 3 chapter of Ms Birdsong as soon as I get the nerve up (to an agent waiting for them), but I am still undecided about whether they are good enough yet)…so irons in the fire. Your kind words have encouraged me no end….thanks so much. Appreciated no end. xx


  7. Jane, loved reading The next Big thing, we sure do enjoy some of the same authors, love thrillers too but never tried to remotely write anything in that genre so hats off to you! I love the sound of your novel and series, Mrs Birdsong and God’s Waiting room, look forward to reading them one day very soon, love reading your blog, echoes lots of my own thoughts and experiences! Carry on Jane!!


    • Carol, what a giggle Carry on Jane – such an idea! Of course you haven’t read either yet but you did get a taste of Ms B in one of our comps recently and you liked it (if I said a vegetable name) and of course The Ghost in the Privy is based on GWR and so you do have a little hint to work with……just a taster. I am such a tease, stand aside Babs Windsor! xx


  8. “Conscious of wanting to be involved with words” is a wonderful phrase. I have hopes to see that novel (or series) of yours soon! But to me you are certainly a writer, in your shorts, your flash, and even your posts. Good luck with TNBT 🙂


    • Ah Jenny many thanks for coming here and having a nose around. Appreciated. I am glad you like what you have read and seen so far. Thanks for calling me a writer, that is a lovely thing to say and means a lot. Appreciate your time and I shall be catching up with you in early January by the sounds of it….before your big tour. Fab. Good luck to you too. xx


  9. It’s great to hear from Morgen, Cristian, Lorna and Georgina as well as the 22 others who have liked my blog this morning and other times. Thanks for your emails; really encouraging for me. Much appreciated. Do keep coming back and I shall try to keep coming up with something worth your visit. Jane xx


    • Georgina, how lovely to put a name to a Gravatar. I’ve seen you here before and wanted to say hi. Thanks for visiting so often and welcome. Thanks for your kind words and I do hope Ms Birdsong lives up to all your expectations…..I am trying hard. Jane xx


  10. Jane – Congratulations! Fantastic interview. Your work in progress looks really interesting; I’m eager to read it when it’s finished. The setting the character, it all looks terrific. And I must read some of your flash fiction too. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.


    • Margot, how lovely of you to stop by and leave a comment. I am happy you enjoyed my blog and shared The Next Big Thing with me today; thanks for popping over and do come again. I hope everyone here will take time to check your blog out as well because I really enjoyed it and will be coming back to visit you again soon. The Flash Fiction is fun but challenging. Please do Pop into Morgen Bailey’s blog – so much to see there, not just me! xx


    • Thanks so much Lorna and soon it will be your turn I am sure. I shall be popping into Shortbread soon to read your story there. Meantime get that blog sorted! Great you called in today, come back soon. J xx


  11. What a great post, Jane, you seem to be on a very exciting journey at the moment. I love Lavinia Birdsong already and I can’t wait to read the novel! And just as a side note, it’s a shame you weren’t here a couple of weeks ago, as you’d have been able to meet Jo Nesbo – he was here for a couple of weeks climbing x


    • He wasn’t! Damn and blast. He missed me too. I love his books. I am glad you enjoyed my blog and I do hope when Lavinia is ready to pop her head above the keyboard, you will meet her. She is having a glass of Cristel at the moment, whilst writing up her daily notes as she lies in bed listening to the Beatles on her iphone. What was Jo like? did you get to chat? Do tell all…..dying to know. xx


  12. Wow!! Jane this is a full-on blog! I am in awe! Thinking ahead to my blog for the Next Big Thing, I just hope I can measure up to half of yours at least!!
    Totally enjoyed it and am really looking forward to getting to read your book very soon! I know it will be excellent reading.
    Thanks for all the nice things you said about me in introduction for my ‘Big Event’ lol….feel like a young thing making her Debut at the Ball!!!!
    Also, thank you for giving me the push I needed to get my own blog underway…I had created one years ago, but had the thought nobody would be interested enough in what I wrote, so gave up. When my 4 stories were received so well by readers in the Writers4Welfare anthology, I felt a little more hopeful that perhaps people might be interested in my writing after all.
    Anyway, loved your blog and will come back to re-read it and digest it when I have more time as it’s truly enjoyable.
    Congratulations and all the very best of good luck and fortune in publishing your work in the very near future. Big hugs. Jo. xxx


    • Jo thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. It means so much. I am always keen to know if I am delusional carrying on and would be better off becoming a lumber-jack instead of banging away on the keyboard…..kind words help. Good luck with your new blog and your WIP (all of them) and it will all fall into place. I know this year has been horrid for you and I wish you a wonderful year ahead with much success. Thanks again J xx


  13. Thanks so much for your kind comment Nicky and for nominating me in the first place. When I am ready and the book is published (positive thinking here), I do hope you will enjoy it. Good luck with writing about Dan and Sophie today. xx


  14. Awesome post, Jane! I can’t wait to meet Ms Lavinia Birdsong, what a fabulous name and an intriguing concept for a thriller. Just my cup of tea, actually, when I’m not writing romance! Thank you for sharing so much insights into your writing and reading life. Our home libraries and childhood reading memories are more or less identical! 🙂 Have a great day and I hope you get lots of lovely feedback on your Next Big Thing. XX


    • I think I replied Nicky but if I did not apologies. Yes it has gone well and I am so thankful for you nominating me and giving me the chance to say hi to everyone like this. I hope you enjoyed my short story on Morgen’s blog and do let me know what you think….you sound as if the weekend away was fun and all the writers seemed to having a blast too. Thanks again and keep me up to date on the Dan and Sophie sage. xx


  15. Loved it! Fabulous answers Jane! Fascinating stuff. Made me exhausted just reading about your output, though! Mrs Birdsong sounds wonderful – and I can just see her fitting nicely into the Midsomer Murders slot on tv!!! Hope she’ll be finished and out there for us all to read really soon. As for GWR – this sounds fabulous too – there’s nothing funnier than listening-in on other people’s conversations, is there? Always grist for the writer’s mill??? Good luck with *all* your writing projects – and congrats on being The Next Big Thing! So proud of you, and so thrilled to be your life-long friend. You’re a star! Cxxxx


    • Ah thanks, as you know I have time!! GWR you have read most of it before if you recall….I know at the time it made you laugh out loud so I hope it does the same for everyone else one day. As for ‘other’ projects, just filling in stuff whilst I get inspiration for the end of OOW – thanks for all your support and help and encouragement; without you I would never have started writing again. So thrilled to be your life-long friend too…..good luck with Bollywood meets Berkshire next year! J xxxx


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