SARA JAYNE TOWNSEND Talks about her book DEAD COOL
About DEAD COOL:
They were dying to be famous. And someone was prepared to kill for it…
Actress Shara Summers has settled in London and is “between jobs” when her Canadian ex-boyfriend David sails back into her life, begging to her to fill the backing singer vacancy in the up and coming band he’s about to go on a European tour with. Short on funds and auditions Shara reluctantly agrees, but tragedy strikes at the opening night party when the band’s charismatic front man Dallas Cleary Anderson falls to his death from a hotel window. It soon becomes clear that Dallas did not fall, but was pushed. His arrogant and confrontational manner means there are no shortage of people who wanted him out of the band permanently – but who would resort to murder?
DEAD COOL is the second novel in the series about her contemporary amateur sleuth, Canadian actress Shara Summers
DEAD COOL is available in all e-book formats from MuseItUp Publishing’s book store.
Currently DEAD COOL is available at a discounted sale price and can be found at the following e-book vendors:
Sara Jayne, what do you love about this book?
I really love writing about Shara. Through her I can vicariously explore the acting life. She’s also far more shamelessly nosy than me, and has no problem sneaking into places she shouldn’t and poking about. I’m not nearly brave enough to do things like that. In DEAD COOL Shara is hired as backing singer for an up and coming rock band, so writing this book also gave me the opportunity to explore a fantasy I’ve held since high school about being a rock star.
Introduce us to the character who gave you the most trouble.
DC Aaron Blake, who is the police officer investigating the murder. He rather fancies Shara, and I wanted to have some chemistry between them but I was worried that it was unprofessional for a police officer to flirt with someone who was at best a witness to a murder, and at worst a suspect.
My source for researching police procedure is a retired copper who served on the London Metropolitan murder squad, and he was hugely helpful. He also reassured me that police officers are human beings, and sometimes fancy people they shouldn’t. He helped me shape Aaron Blake into a realistic (if flawed) character.
Can you share one or two things you learned during the process of writing and publishing this book?
When I first started writing about Shara, she had a casual, conversational voice that included quite a lot of detail that ended up being cut out of the book – detail that I thought was essential to her as a character, but turned out not to be essential to moving the plot forward. I think about this a lot more in my writing now. Is this scene essential to moving the plot forward in some way? If it is not, it shouldn’t be in the book.
In some ways the publishing process is harder work than the actual writing. You finally finish the manuscript, and submit it. Once it’s been accepted, you think that’s the end of the story but it’s actually the beginning. Rounds and rounds of edits follow, where you end up reading the manuscript so many times you get sick to death of your own story, and often you have to do it to tight deadlines. And no matter how many times you and your editors go through it, you get to final galley stage and you still find mistakes that have somehow slipped through. I never read the final published copy of my own books when I receive them. Firstly because by the time I get to that stage I’ve read the story so much I’ve grown to hate it, and secondly because I’m afraid of what mistakes I might find, that have still managed to slip through the net and at that stage it’s too late to do anything about them.
What do you want readers to tell others when they’re done?
That it’s a good holiday read. I’m not aiming to win any literary prizes, but if I can write books that people find an enjoyable way to pass the time while they are lying on the beach, then I will be happy. And I hope readers will tell others – reviews and word of mouth are the best forms of publicity for any author.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the third Shara Summers novel, which places her in a remote house off the Scottish coast as part of a reality show. The novel is an homage to Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”. I’m at an early stage of draft 1, though, so a long way to go yet.
I’m also working on a horror novel about a group of live action role players who unwittingly release an ancient evil entity during a game. That one I’m hoping to have finished and ready to submit very soon.
About the Author:
Sara-Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.
The first two books in her amateur sleuth series about Canadian actress Shara Summers, DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL, are available as e-books from the MuseitUp book store.