20 Question For…. J M Hewitt


Today I have 20 Questions for the lovely Ms Hewitt, which includes at least one bookish question and the rest as usual. Thanks so much to her for agreeing to be a victim. LOVE doing these and we’ve got a fair few to come yet (poor authors)

Tell us about Exclusion Zone in a way that makes us want to read it (not me I already did although I’ve lolly lagged terribly on writing the review. David Young will feel your pain)

Well, Exclusion Zone is a crime fiction book with a difference. The whole premise started from a question I asked myself: ‘what if terrible crimes were happening in a place where no law enforcement would go?’ And Exclusion Zone was born from that. Imagine though, the abandoned and off limits locations where people do live, though they are not supposed to. As a resident who do you call in those circumstances? Well, in my case – Private Detective Alex Harvey, and his reluctant side-kick Elian Gould!

What would be your preferred method of despatch should you be planning to murder someone (in other words how bloodthirsty are you)?

Right now I’m looking into poisons, in fact, next to me are articles from newspapers with headlines such as ‘Wife jailed for Poisoning husband’s Christmas Day Lambrini’ and ‘A brief history of women putting poison in their lovers’ food’. Hopefully my partner doesn’t come in here and look around my desk too much…

I also love how they get rid of bodies on Breaking Bad, you know with the hydrofluoric acid. Except one time they use a plastic bath tub instead of enamel and it all comes through the floor!

And who would you call to help deal with the body?

My mother! She’s not at all squeamish and I know I could trust her!

Cup of tea – Dunky biscuit or no dunky biscuit?

Wow, I’ve never dunked a biscuit in my life. It would seem like a terrible waste of tea if it were to break up and be a big soggy mess at the bottom of the mug.

What made you want to write about a nuclear fallout zone?

The idea of a place that is so geographically close to us, but can never be lived in again – ever! That’s so interesting. And the more research I done, the more intrigued I became. Conspiracy theories, government cover ups, wildlife and nature reclaiming the land… how could I not want to write about it?

Chips – Fried or oven?

Fried – from the chip shop, which is conveniently situated at the end of my road and which I frequent every single Wednesday!

Which famous person would you most like to meet and why?

You know, if you’d have asked me a year ago I’d have said Jackie Collins, but she passed away exactly one year ago the date I am writing this. So now, I’d probably say Stephen King or Jeffrey Archer – I bet they’ve got some stories to tell!

How many glasses of wine do you reckon we’ve consumed between us at various events? However much it was I don’t think it was enough…

This question made me laugh a lot, because we’ve been at a few events together and not once have I ever drunk wine! I’ve probably had about one G&T at each bash with you, so I think that answers the question how many glasses of wine have YOU had!

HA too many obviously…

On a desert island with only crime writers for company which 3 would you choose?

This is difficult, I’m going to say Jane Isaac because we get on so well and she is so damn lovely. I can’t imagine having a cross word with her, ever! Alex Marwood, I could listen to her talk for hours and she’s rather fabulous and finally, Marnie Riches because she makes me laugh my pants off, she’s hilarious!

Sandy beaches or Rocky Mountains?

Oh sandy beaches every time!

What was the last thing you did that you wish you hadn’t done?

Oh man, I interviewed for a cleaner recently and the one I hired was so lovely as we said goodbye she stuck her hand out to shake and I hugged her. So embarrassing, not to mention when I pulled her in for a hug I accidentally stood on her toe too. Oh dear, it was like that bit in Friends where Rachael accidentally kisses her boss who is interviewing her…

In Exclusion Zone you use differing timelines. How does that stay straight in your head? Are you a post it note person?

Post-Its, notebooks, envelopes, the note function on my iPhone! Everything is needed and sits in big piles on the desk until the end of the project!

When you are reading a novel what would make you put it down? In other words which writing tropes annoy the flaming hell out of you?

I don’t like it when the point of view is portrayed incorrectly – an easy mistake to make I know, but also a rookie one! I did stop reading just a couple of chapters into one which had this error a lot! Other than that, there’s not much I won’t read!

Film you’ve watched the most times and why?

It would be a tie between The Godfather, The Deer Hunter and Deliverance. All 1970’s greats and I will watch them every single time they’re on the T.V. Oh, and Terminator, both one and two. I’ve seen them hundreds of times. Oh, and Die Hard!

Christmas person or bar humbug?

I love Christmas, the wintry weather, the fire on, the food, the presents! Bring it on!

Do you believe in Fairies? (I wanted a Unicorn but nobody would buy me one)

Fairies… no, but I recall my mum telling me they lived at the bottom of the garden when I was a little girl and I’d spend hours looking for them!

Worst habit.

I asked my partner what my worst habit was and he said ‘swearing’! Apparently I swear too much, who’d have fucking known hey?

Fancy planning a heist with me so we can retire to some Island somewhere?

Yes! Name the time.

One thing in the world you’d change if you could..

Aside from getting rid of the obvious, wars, climate change, racial and cultural ignorance etc, I’d like less people on the planet and for our pets to live the length of an average human life!

How much do you hate me right now?

Liz, I could never hate you. I think you’re Goddamn fabulous!

Aw. The feeling is entirely mutual!

About the book:


On 26th April 1986, reactor four exploded at the factory in Pripyat, Chernobyl.

At the same time teenager Afia Bello vanished from her home without a trace.

The damage from the nuclear fallout is examined over the following weeks, months and years by Afia’s younger sister Sissy, as she unwittingly uncovers clues relating to her sister’s disappearance, and the secret life that Afia kept hidden from her family.

In the summer of 2015 Private Detective Alex Harvey is hired to investigate the disappearances that have been occurring within the exclusion zone.

He can think of only one person to bring along with him to help; Ukrainian national Elian Gould.

Elian – who was adopted at birth – has her own reasons for accepting the job; namely to search for her own family history which has always been a mystery to her.

But the remaining citizens of Chernobyl are hiding their own secrets and with a darker force at work, the missing person’s case suddenly turns into something much more serious…

Follow J M Hewitt on TWITTER

To purchase Exclusion Zone clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!


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