Posted by Charlotte Kirton on 26th January 2016
Hello Jane! Welcome to the Finch Blog. Please can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello, and thanks for inviting me.
To start at the beginning, and where I’m from—Ireland originally, but I was brought up in Yorkshire in the bit known as Brontë Country. I went to uni in Manchester and London, then moved to Paris with my first job (selling wine), got married and started a family, though not in that order. We spent a time in Picardy before moving south to Bordeaux (see my photo), which is where I live at the moment with husband and five children.
Pets—we have a Spanish greyhound called Finbar and a variable number of cats. All wandered in off the street, except Finbar who ran into an animal shelter in Spain.
Music—I’m an unconditional David Bowie fan. Mozart’s not bad either.
Hobbies—apart from writing and reading, I like looking at nature. It’s less tiring than gardening or travelling and you don’t need to book in advance or buy special gear to do it.
Ambitions—write books that people will love reading as much as I love writing them, adopt a friend for Finbar, organize a big family get together on Inishowen, discover the site of Atlantis, finally get this house tidy.
Give us an insight into what to expect from your new release, Abomination.
Remember William Golding’s Lord of the Flies? A bunch of little boys dumped in the wilds with no adults to tell them what to do, making up their own rules and the punishments for breaking them? Well, imagine the same scenario with big boys. Scary, isn’t it? So, expect a fair bit of foul language, violence and nastiness.
Carla and Tully are dragged out of their cosy world and cosy relationship when the apocalypse begins and they fall into a wormhole that takes them five years into the future, a hellish world of gang violence. They live each day not knowing who will still be around tomorrow, or even if there will be a tomorrow. Because, awful as life is in the crumbling shopping mall, in the ever-worsening glacial conditions, with the Flay tribe, ratmen and mutant dogs, there’s worse to come. (Check out my apocolaptic image for a sneak peek!)
What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?
Definitely creating the title. The characters named themselves. I didn’t. In fact, I wonder exactly what input I had at all. The cover design, well, we just bandied about a few ideas, and Emmy, Finch’s talented cover artist, created a beauty without any pain on my side at all. The title though was hard. The original series title suited the first volume when there was only a first volume, but it didn’t suit the subsequent volumes. We kept Abomination for volume one because it is pretty abominable, but I wanted a title for the series that described Carla and Tully’s journey into the unknown. The Pathfinders sums it up neatly.
Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
Write. Write about everything, all the time. Write stories and poems, magazine articles, letters. If you know a foreign language, translate. Just keep writing until it’s second nature. Then take the story idea you really love, rally your characters, and write your first sentence. Keep on writing until you’ve told the story. Then go back and fill in all the plot holes. Give it to a few trusties to read and listen to what they tell you about it. Don’t ask your mum to read it, or someone who is likely to ask you to return the favour, because they won’t necessarily be honest. Ask your best friend, the one who doesn’t just tell you those jeans make your bum look big, she tells you your bum is too big. And listen.
If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
Tough question. The past scares me rigid. I love the Vikings and the Iron Age Celts, but Imagine getting a toothache? The future? Is there going to be one? Can I have that in writing please? If somebody left a time machine powered up and ready to go, curiosity would probably get the better of me and I’d take it back to Bronze Age Ireland, to the time of the Milesian invasion, to find out whether they really did come from Spain, and whether the Tuatha De Danann really were immortal and went to live in the Isles of Bliss, and could I visit too, please? Just as long as I can come back again before I need a dentist!
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I’ve thought and thought about this one, and quite honestly, I haven’t got a clue. I see the drawbacks to superpowers, like supervillains trying to murder me, not finding any phone boxes to get changed in, or being kidnapped by the CIA and forced to use my superpower against enemies of the state. I’d rather just have a talent to do magic with words instead if that’s okay.
If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go?
The best place for that would be a padded cell, but I imagine you were thinking of somewhere more appealing. A really good place would be a small apartment in the palace at Versailles with all the gilt and mirrors and fancy mouldings, where I could play at being Marie Antoinette, have a whole army of manservants bring me plates of those fantastic deserts and pop them in my mouth while I lounge on a chaise longue. I’d spend hours in steaming hot baths full of gorgeous perfumes and sleep in a sumptuous bed with satin sheets. I wouldn’t get much writing done, but it would be tremendous fun, and give me so much material.
What do you have planned for the future with Finch Books?
There are the next two volumes of The Pathfinders for a start. Book two is in the pipeline and raring to go, another journey of a slightly different kind for Carla and Tully with very high stakes. Book three is written and just waiting for me to pour a bit of cold water on some of the steamy scenes with Carla and Nathaniel, the hot antihero. The story takes them even further away from the world we know, and deeper into an acid trip, no, I mean one of those worlds Hamlet was talking about when he said ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
After that, we’ll have to see. Whatever comes next it will be fantastical.