Author, Jo Allen joins us today.

Welcome to my blog, Jo and before I ask you a few questions, can you tell me a small bit about yourself please? 

I was born in Wolverhampton and am a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University. After a career in economic consultancy I took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 I took the plunge and began writing the genre I most like to read – crime. Now living in Edinburgh, I spend as much time as possible in the English Lakes. In common with all my favourite characters, I love football (for my sins, I’m a season ticket holder with Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats. 

Did you recently have a book published that we can congratulate you on?  Funny you should ask that, Mary! I have a new book to share … it’s a detective novel (with an added touch of romance) and it’s the second in my series set in Cumbria. The series focuses on DCI Jude Satterthwaite, who’s a love-him-or-hate-him character locally. His devotion to his job has already cost him the love of his life and caused series problems in his relationship with his younger brother. Please say you’d like the blurb. You would? Fabulous… 😉 

Blurb for Death at Eden’s End.

When one-hundred-year-old Violet Ross is found dead at Eden’s End, a luxury care home hidden in a secluded nook of the Lake District’s Eden Valley it’s not unexpected. Except for the instantly recognisable look in her lifeless eyes… that of pure terror. DCI Jude Satterthwaite heads up the investigation, but as the deaths start to mount up it’s clear that he, and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran need to uncover a long-buried secret before the killer strikes again… 

Please tell us about your journey to publication.  It’s been long! I have been writing for a very long time and, although I haven’t kept a record of the setbacks along the way (I think it would have broken me) I got my first request for a full manuscript from an agent over twenty years ago. My first short story was published in The People’s Friend in 2008 and it was in 2014 that my first novel, Thank You For the Music, was published by Tirgearr publishing. There were five more contemporary romances with Tirgearr, then three self-published romantic suspense novels, and in late 2018 I signed for three detective novels with Aria Fiction. The first, Death by Dark Waters, came out in May. The second is out today.

Where did the idea for your book come from?  I can’t remember! I do know that my detective novels all begin with the crime, but I couldn’t tell you at what point the idea came to me for this one, though I can probably pinpoint most of the others. At some point I must just have wondered why someone would kill a 100-year old woman who would soon be about to die, but that’s about all I can tell you.

Who has inspired you as an author?  With my romance hat on I’ve always loved Mary Stewart, whose heroines were always feisty and who has the trick of gripping her reader from beginning to end. In terms of crime, I turn to the traditional whodunnits from the Golden Age of detective fiction between the wars. I particularly love Dorothy Sayers, who managed to combine an intellectual puzzle with completely believable characters. They had lives outside their work and who had the same feelings and insecurities as the rest of us.

This is really important to me, probably because I started off as a romance writer. Much as I enjoy Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle, I never quite engaged with them in the same way as I do with Sayers, because their detectives don’t seem to have lives of their own.

Romance in detective fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but I’ve always wanted to write about real people. That goes beyond the criminals and their victims: my detectives have lives, too. And they do fall in and out of love and have problems of their own. So why not tell the reader about it?

What do you do in your free time?  I can potter for Britain! I love going cycling, as long as the weather isn’t too miserable, and I love reading. We’ve just moved to a house with a largish garden and I’m looking forward to spending some time growing my own veg in the summer. But all the time I’m doing these things I’m still thinking about the next book(s). So in that sense I’m never off duty, I’ll never retire…and I never have any free time.

What’s next for you?  I’m a bit wary of saying what’s next, because I don’t want to tempt fate. I have a contract for three books in the current series and I would like to do more. I also have a couple of women’s fiction novels on a dusty shelf, so one day I plan to rework them. Oh, and I have some ideas for psychological thrillers, too…

How much of this I actually get round to doing is open to question, of course, but there will certainly be something more to come.

Please share with us links to where you can be found online.

Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Jo’s website

And you can download Death at Eden’s End here

I want to thank you, Jo for taking time out to chat with us today and continued success in your writing career.

Mary x

Thank you, Jo for joining me and sharing your good news about your recent launch. I wish you continued success with your writing career.

Mary x

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