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Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based author of crime and horror.  She is the founder and Chair of the T Party Writers' Group (http://www.t-party.org.uk), the only London-based 'real space' writing group for genre writers.

You can learn more about Sara Jayne and her writing at her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).

Interview with Sara Jayne Townsend

When you were little, did you want to be a writer when you grew up?

Yes. Everyone told me I would have to get a real job, but I never wanted to do anything else. It turns out they were right about needing the day job to pay the bills, but I never had any career aspiration other than being a writer.

Which deceased author would you most like to take out to dinner?

Ariana Franklin. She only died last year, but I loved her series about the woman Sicilian doctor in medieval England, and it’s clear that she knew this period of history well. I would love to know more about what happens to her character after the last novel. It’s very sad that she is no longer with us – she was a talented writer who still had more to say.

What is the best contemporary novel you've read in the last year?

A difficult question, as I read a lot of contemporary novels. Probably BODY WORK by Sara Paretsky. I am a huge fan of her work and her character, VI Warshawski, who I think is a shining example of a strong female character. Sara Paretsky has never written a bad VI Warshawski book, and the character ages as the series go on, so the books always feel contemporary.

If you had a book club, what would it be reading and why?

SISTER, by Rosamund Lupton. This an amazingly well written book, about an older sister trying to find her younger sister’s killer. It deals with the grief and isolation of losing a sibling, as well as being a very good murder mystery.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your writing career?

Trying to juggle the writing around the day job. Time is always a factor. You have to be disciplined and make time. I find getting up early and getting an hour’s writing time in a coffee shop before going to the day job is working for me, but if someone had told me a few years ago I’d be voluntarily getting up at 5:30am on a regular basis, I wouldn’t have believed them.

Name a book that you'd be embarrassed to be seen reading.

Any of the TWILIGHT books.
 
How much of your writing is based on things you see in real life?

Quite a lot, actually. Writers are naturally nosy. Snippets of conversations I overhear on the train often find their way into novels. Occasionally people I know inspire fictitious characters. Sometimes a story starts because an ordinary event triggers the “what if...” question.

What are some of your favorite books from your childhood?

I was a big fan of Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five series. When I was about 11 or 12 I went through a Judy Blume phase. I really identified with the things she wrote about – issues like growing up, boys, not fitting in – things that are still relevant with young girls today.

What do you think of eBooks? Do you support digital publishing?

Yes I do. I am a big fan of eBooks. I think e-readers are much more convenient to carry around with you when you travel, and for those of us who have so many books we are running out of space, they are a great thing.

They are also opening doors for new writers. The eBook-only route seems to be attractive to small independent presses, as they don’t have to worry about the costs of printing or storage. Such small publishers seem more likely to take a chance on new writers, so the more of them there are, the more opportunity there is for new writers to find a publisher.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

VI Warshawski, the aforementioned Sara Paretsky character. She’s strong, brave and resourceful, and answers to no one but herself. And she can take care of herself in a fight.



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