I am very pleased to be back with Author Influences and welcome Joanne Griffiths as the first author of 2018 to take part.
Which authors / books did you like to read as a child?
One of my favourite books, when I was around 10 or 11 was Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmations. I loved this book and can remember reading it several times.
By the time I was a teenager, I had moved on to Agatha Christie and it was after this that I became hooked on crime fiction more than the happily ever after innocence of childhood stories!
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I don’t really have happy memories of school. I have always liked English and was in top set but my school years were difficult ones and I didn’t really apply myself as well as I might have done. That said, the one teacher who I can say helped me focus leading up to exams, was an English teacher and she encouraged me to do well in that subject.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love crime fiction and have been an avid reader of this genre for many years now so it’s not surprising really, that my own genre of writing is also crime fiction.
I do enjoy different genres and feel-good stories, a bit of romance, or a nice easy read can be found amongst my collection of books but I have to say that crime fiction outnumbers them.
I feel more comfortable writing a whodunnit and although I have tried my hand at romance, the temptation to throw a murder or two into the mix, was very tempting.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I would choose a happily ever after feel good story. Perhaps someone overcoming a difficult situation or succeeding in the face of adversity. Sometimes, I think we all need those feel-good moments and taking inspiration from a book of that nature can allow the reader to leave their own troubles behind, at least for a while.
Did any authors work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who and why?
Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder was the first of her books to capture my attention and I loved how an unassuming little old lady could actually go on to solve something so serious as murder. The way Christie took her readers on a journey to solving the crime stuck with me and a desire to become a crime writer stemmed from there.
There have been several writers since then; the late Colin Dexter, Lynda La Plante, Ian Rankin and John Grisham amongst others, who I would say encouraged me to put pen to paper.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
There are authors whose books I like to read but I don’t automatically go out and buy the new release as soon as it’s published. I am more likely to buy it if I have enjoyed a previous novel but I also like reading books from authors I have never heard of before but have been recommended or received a good review.
Which books have you read that have made you think ‘Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
There are several detective series that I have read and wished that I could have written it. Apart from Agatha Christie’s Marple or Poirot, there’s Ian Rankin’s Rebus or Ruth Rendell’s Wexford and Colin Dexter’s Morse.
I would love to write a detective series, developing his character (I would choose a male detective) throughout the books so that the reader can identify with him, live through his ups and downs as he solves each case. I think it takes a lot of skill to carry the same detective through several novels.
Have any of your plots / characters been influenced by real life events / people?
I do think that lots of real life situations can give you material for your writing. For example, something that someone said in conversation once, gave me a broad idea for my second novel. Developing the characters and story line all stemmed from that single remark.
As far as characters go, they are all fictitious but probably share certain mannerisms or characteristics with people I might have come across at some point. I wouldn’t say x character is y person but they certainly show some similarities.
Thank you for taking part, Joanne.
Joanne’s debut novel A Deadly Game is out now. Here’s what it’s about:
A chilling serial killer thriller
Kate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.
DS James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.
When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s radio station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.
After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the person responsible.
Who is killing these women and why?
Can Jim apprehend the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?
I had often dreamed about becoming a writer and started writing my first novel some 25 years ago. I never seemed to have the time to commit to it though as everyday life would get in the way.
It was only after a serious health issue in 2014, that I began to focus on what I wanted to achieve in life and the desire to become a writer featured highly again.
Dusting off my manuscript, I finally finished writing A Deadly Game (published by Bloodhound books on 20/06/2017) and I am now working on my second novel, An Easy Target.
If I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and always have a book on the go. I also enjoy watching many of the police / detective / thriller series on television, and often find myself trying to work out the plot before the programme’s conclusion.