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Author Interview: Jeanette Taylor-Ford

Today, I am very pleased to welcome to my blog fellow mystery writer Jeanette Taylor-Ford, who is one of the few authors I know in real life (as opposed to via social media), so this is extra fun for me.

A couple of years ago, Jeanette decided to set up a group for local authors to meet and share about their work - not only with each other, but with readers who are interested in learning about writers in the Long Eaton and surrounding area and, through a mutual friend, invited me to go along.

It's a really fun group, and we meet on the first Tuesday of each month (with a summer break and skipping January, because everyone is usually still recovering from Christmas/New Year and don't fancy turning out in the cold anyway) to hear a talk by a local author, or someone connected to publishing in some way like editors and cover designers.

We meet in Long Eaton, on the Notts/Derbys border, and if you're in the area and would like more details, please feel free to drop me a line at saffron.amatti[at]gmail[dot]com :)

Anyway, now I've plugged our group, I'm going to hand over to Jeanette and invite her to tell you a bit more about herself and her books :)


Hi, Jeanette! Thank you so much for joining me today. Obviously I know you, but for me readers, please introduce yourself, and tell us a little about your books.

Hello. I’m Jeanette Taylor Ford and I write mystery stories. Some are ghostly tales (not horror) and others are crime. I’ve currently published 13 books for adults and 3 for children


Mystery, ghosts, and crime? Sounds right up my street! And you've written so many books! What insired you to start writing?

I worked as a teaching assistant and found that, although the children I worked with had problems coming up with ideas, I found myself coming home with my head full of the ideas I would have written had I been a pupil! I connected with someone on Facebook whose sisters I’d been to school with and we discovered we both liked writing, so together we joined a poetry group, then a fast fiction group and finally, I decided to try to write a full-length book. I thought I’d only write one, but then the ideas started coming thick and fast.


So I see! You have 16 published books so far (congratulations, that's an amazing achievement!), but which of those is your favourite, and why?

That’s a hard question to answer really, because I like all my books! I have three favourites:

1. ‘Bell of Warning’, because it’s set in my childhood home of Cromer and it’s mysterious and haunting,

2. ‘Yr Aberth (The Sacrifice)’, which is book three of my fantasy trilogy. It has one of my favourite characters in it – Tom, an American Indian, who is a somewhat mysterious character. I love that book for quite a few reasons, some of which I’d find hard to explain, but I loved writing it and love the things my characters can do, as well as the ‘magical’ healing bestowed upon ‘Philip’, at my beloved Welsh castle.

3. ‘By the Gate’, book two of my River View Mysteries because it’s the first real ‘crime’ story and my two detectives, Cooke and Grant come into their own as leading characters. ‘Aunt Bea’s Legacy’, which is Book one, was never really meant to be a crime novel, more a mystery, and DI Cooke and DS Grant are really only minor characters in that book.


I love that your favourites are all so different! Speaking of different, you write in several genres. Where do you get your ideas?

Most of my earlier books were inspired by old buildings which have fascinated me, but once I inadvertently embarked upon writing a series involving crime, I’m not awfully sure where the ideas come from!


It's always fun when an idea appears out of nowhere! In fact, there's a lot of fun things about writing - but what’s your favourite?

When the ideas flow and I can clock up several thousand words in a sitting.


Oh, that's such a great feeling! And naturally, now I'm going to ask... What’s your least favourite thing about writing?

When I hit a wall and can’t seem to find a way over it.


Oh yeah, it's so frustrating. Now, I happen to know that you’re an indie author. Why did you choose that route?

As I was already retired, I didn’t want another career, as such. Also, knowing how long it can take to get a publisher interested and then for them to actually produce a book, I decided I might not have enough time to wait for all that! I also knew of authors who were leaving their publishers because they weren’t happy with their service.


The endless waiting and hoping is what turned me off the idea of trying to get a publishing deal, too. Being an indie author is hard work, but how can readers and friends support indie authors?

Posting reviews on Amazon and Goodreads is very important, and sharing with their friends if they’d enjoyed a book. My problem is, I will give a book to someone and then find it has been passed around several people to read, which is good in one way but not in another, because I’ve not gained in any way from it because none of those people will have Amazon accounts to put a review on; in fact, reviewing a book is something they’ve never done! As a reader, I’ll always recommend books I’ve enjoyed to others, and post about them on my fb page.


Yeah, it's always bittersweet to learn someone has leant your book to a friend, isn't it? I can't believe a prolific writer such as yourself is out of ideas just yet, so please tell me, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently preparing my latest novel for publication in June. It is the first in a brand-new crime series, set in Derby/Nottingham.


That sounds very exciting! It's always fun to read books set in places you know personally. As someone with quite a bit of writing experience, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Hone your craft and make sure it’s as good as you can make it. If you can’t afford an editor, at least get people you trust to beta-read and proof read because we don’t always notice the mistakes we make because we ‘see’ what we expect to see when we’re checking things over. I call it being ‘computer blind’. If you’re going to self-publish, you need to make sure you’re putting out a good product, because there is still a great deal of suspicion and snobbery about self-published works.


That's all great advice! You mentioned earlier that you've been inspired by buildings you've seen, but what other real-life references have made it into your books?

A few real people have had minor roles in my River View Mystery series, with their permission, and some of the paranormal experiences that my mum and I have had have cropped up in some of my earlier books.

My first book, The Sixpenny Tiger, is full of ‘real’ happenings (not paranormal) but again, they’ve been personal or happened to people I’ve known.

I suppose the closest I’ve come to referencing real events, are the sinking of the village of Shipden through coastal erosion and the great flood which ran down that coast in 1953. Those are in my book, Bell of Warning.


That's really interesting! You're mentioned several of your titles already, but which of your books would you recommend people start with?

Hard to say, because it depends what they like!

If they like crime, then the River View Series, beginning with Aunt Bea’s Legacy.

If they like something a bit mysterious, then Rosa, Bell of Warning or even The Ghosts of Roseby Hall.

For ‘human interest’, there’s Sixpenny Tiger.

And for Fantasy, The Castell Glas trilogy.

I’ve found that, once a reader discovers they like how I write, they’ll read everything I’ve written, including my three books for children!


Brilliant, I'm sure there'll be plenty of people wanting to check them out, as well as find out more about your catalogue as a whole. So, where can people find you online?

I’m also on Twitter (but not much) and Instagram.


That's great, thank you :) We're nearly at the end of the interview now, but before I let you go, do you have any last thoughts you'd like to share with readers of my blog?

I think it’s essential to grow a thick skin because there will always be someone who will not like your work and you may well get a low-star review or comments in a review that may upset you. Some reviewers seem to think it’s their right to demoralise authors!

By the same token, always be open to accept advise from others who are trying to help you. I’ve had quite a lot of help from people I don’t know personally but they’ve helped me to grow as a writer and gained me friends. This has a snowball effect because as you help each other, their friends will get to hear about you and your audience will grow, and visa versa. It can be a rewarding experience.


That's so true! Thank you so much to Jeanette for sharing her insights into the writing process, and thank you, dear reader, for reading :)

See you next time!


Saff xx

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