So never was I more pleased to hear that Jane Isaac will be giving us another novel in the Helen Lavery series and that it was to be published by the terrific Legend Press, one of my favourite publishers – they know a good book when they see one! So in preparation for that I thought I’d take a look back at “An Unfamiliar Murder”, Jane’s first novel, and so I caught up with her and asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say….
Helen Lavery is a very realistic character, was she based in part on anyone you know?
Thank you, I’m so glad you felt that! It’s important to me that the characters appear real, they could just as easily be you or I, so that we feel their journey.
For Helen, I interviewed police officers across the ranks in the local force to create a character that is not only interesting, but also realistic in modern day policing. She is genuinely a good person, walking that extra mile to fight for justice in the face of difficult circumstances, and I have great admiration for her.
Her personal side is made up of fragments of people I know, acquaintances, and a lady I passed by in a Café in London. It’s incredible how a chance meeting can have such an impact!
Anna is intriguing and her story is compelling. Did you always know everything about her or did she evolve with the writing?
The story really started with Anna and I pretty much knew what I was going to put her through before I wrote the novel. What did surprise me was how she faced certain situations and dealt with some of the revelations the investigation dredged up. She is a strong independent woman, full of integrity, who’s never quite felt that she has ever fitted in.
Do you have a favourite “peripheral” character from the novel?
Without hesitation, it would have to be Anna’s boyfriend, Ross! I fell in love with Ross the more I wrote him. He’s so fun loving, sporty and adventurous, yet uncomplicated. Perfect boyfriend material. He certainly doesn’t deserve what the plotline puts him through.
Although Anna’s story is told, her relationship with Helen was in its infancy..do you think we’ll see her again?
Ha! Now wouldn’t that be something? I love Anna and I found it very difficult to leave her behind after An Unfamiliar Murder finished. It would be lovely to work with her again. Let me have a little think…
Whats next for Helen?
DCI Helen Lavery is back in the sequel, A Truth Will Out, scheduled for release by Legend Press on 1st April 2014. Helen really comes to the fore in this novel; we see her with a love interest, and she faces her toughest challenge yet! Here’s a blurb taster, just for you Liz:
“Everything’s going to be okay.”
“What if it’s not?”
Suddenly, she turned. For a split second she halted, her head inclined.
“Naomi, what is it?”
She whisked back to face Eva. “There’s somebody in the house… ”
Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins.
Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present.
Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?
3 people living or dead you would love to go out for a drink with?
Francesco da Mosto. I found ‘Francesco’s Italy’ fascinating, he balances my other passion of travel with a wonderful sense of fun and adventure. I bet he has some very interesting tales to tell!
Noel Fielding. I loved the Mighty Boosh, and I find Noel’s wacky sense of observational humour in stand up comedy hilarious.
Terry Winter. Co-writer of the award winning The Sopranos and creator of Boardwalk Empire, I’m in awe of the way he weaves so many layers into his characters and plotlines so that you never quite know what direction he’s going to take next. It makes for very compelling viewing!
Favourite comfort read/author?
I know it’s a cliché, but I just love Harry Potter. J K Rowling’s world of Hogwarts is truly enchanting and I devoured all the books as soon as they came out, then re-visited them all again with my daughter. My copies are all crumpled and dog-eared now as they have been read so many times.
I also read her crime thriller this summer and really enjoyed that too.
Coffee or Tea? Cake?
Tea mostly, can’t get out of bed without one. I’m also quite partial to the odd chocolate éclair;)
Thanks for interviewing me on your lovely blog, Liz! Loved your questions.
And thank you Jane!
So, you know how sometimes when you start a book, you get that little frisson of excitement because you are fairly sure you are about to add another set of novels to that already large grouping that you call “must read whenever there is a new one”? I had that feeling here, probably about a quarter of the way through the book. Anna returns home from work one day to discover her flat broken into and a dead body occupying it. Which as you can imagine, is a bit of a shock. Suspected by the Police, and discovering that her life wasnt quite what she thought it was, Anna’s world is turned upside down. Enter DCI Helen Lavery (who I assume we are going to meet again – if not I may have to write a strongly worded letter!)leading her first Murder enquiry whilst juggling family life and responsibilities. Here’s what I loved on a personal level. I could relate very strongly to both the female leads here – Firstly, Helen Lavery is a woman after my own heart when it comes to dealing with stroppy teenagers and juggling the needs of the rest of the family whilst still holding down a high powered job. No she’s not perfect, who amongst us is? But she is realistically imperfect in the way of the real world rather than the fictional world. Then there is Anna. For reasons I can’t mention due to my determination never to include spoilers, I really was right there with her – some of what she goes through I have been through myself (no, not finding bodies in my living room I promise, or any sort of violence!)and her reactions are very realistic – or at least I imagine they are as they mirror my own in a lot of ways. From a readers point of view – you get a great mystery, almost Christie-esque (although I’m sure the author won’t mind me saying she’s not quite Christie!) in its presentation and resolution and some terrific supporting characters to back up the wonderful leading ladies. I kind of hope we meet Anna again as well – the relationship that develops between them is in its infancy here, but is fascinating none the less and I would like to see it explored further. All in all a darn good yarn – and I am looking forward with great anticipation to the next novel from this writer.
Find out more about Jane here : http://www.janeisaac.co.uk/about.html
Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/JaneIsaacAuthor
Find out more about Legend Press here: http://www.legendpress.co.uk/
Purchase Information Clickety Click http://www.amazon.co.uk/An-Unfamiliar-Murder-ebook/dp/B006YK6U18/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1379665076&sr=1-1
Happy Reading Folks!