Today we welcome a Q&A from our first author, J M Rankin, author of the Dark Intentions trilogy, mum of one and confessed chocoholic!
Could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Hi, everyone, I’m Jacqui. I’m a mother, a reader and a writer. Cliched as it sounds, I began writing pretty much as soon as I could put pen to paper. I made up my own book about my pet budgie at the time (I think I was about seven), stuck it together and drew a cover. I think I still have it in the loft somewhere! I’ve always loved reading and was always drawn to the supernatural so it was no real surprise that was the genre I explored the most. I self-published my first book, Darkness Forbidden, in 2012 after my daughter was born, and it was re-released by Scorpius Books in 2020 mid-pandemic. The following two books in the trilogy are also under Scorpius’ Books’ wing now.
Where do you get your ideas from?
That’s always a tricky question as I’ve had ideas come to me all over the place and for so many different reasons. A lot of the time, ideas just spark due to something I’ve seen or heard, or something that’s happened to me personally, and then the deep delving begins by pulling a plot together around that simple spark. Life can give you plenty of inspiration sometimes, often when you least expect it. I once got a spark of an idea while standing in line at a perfume shop. The name and the font choice of a particular scent created the book title and a rough idea there and then!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
To be honest, yes. There’s not one particular character based on one particular person, but traits, mannerisms etc sometimes leak into the fictional characters I create, who then take on their own personalities and quirks dependent on the story. There’s some of me in there too, just the same, though I won’t say which bits!
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Every day is different when writing and I don’t really have a routine as life can get busy. I’ve gone through many different set ups over the years, but once I’ve got the idea, I’ll sit with a notepad and jot down a basic outline, characters etc. Ideas will normally get scribbled in as I go as things pop into my head or alternative situations for certain scenes. After this, I’ll type up the outline in a longer format, adding in certain conversations I might have thought of for key moments, and I’ll start to picture where chapters will start and end. Once that’s done, I just start writing the first draft, which is very, very messy! I’ll make notes as I go, not worry about spelling errors etc. I’ll literally write blah, blah if I get stuck on a certain scene and move forward so I’m not stuck staring at the blank page, trying to force something that won’t come at a given time. I used to do that, and would end up deleting it anyway!
Who are your favourite authors?
This list can change so it’s not set in stone, but over the years my favourites have been Anne Rice, James Herbert, Tolkien, CS Lewis, JK Rowling. I’ve also loved books by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Danielle Steel, Sophie Hannah and Stephen King.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Soooooo many!! Haha!! I think most people wish they’d written the Harry Potter series, don’t they? I loved The Other Half Lives by Sophie Hannah – it was so twisty and really had you scratching your head at times, and then how everything came together at the end was brilliant. A woman of Substance is also up there on my list. I must have re-read that book a hundred times!
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m drawing up the plan for a new novel which is a big twist on a famous fairy-tale. It’s taking shape slowly and involves a mirror… there’s an easy clue!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m in the process of setting up a new website which should be live soon, but all my latest news can be found on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JMRankinbooks or via Scorpius Books’ website.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I’d just like to thank all the readers and reviewers who have purchased my books over the last few years, left reviews and helped to spread the word about them. I really hope you enjoy what I write, and that you’ll continue to follow my writing journey.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Jacqui.