What inspired you to write and publish your first book? Can you share a little about the challenges of publishing your first book?
I know they always say never write a dream in your book. Mine was inspired by a dream. Or rather, as I write crime books, by a nightmare. I woke up thinking that would be a perfect idea for a book. It coincided with my ringing a radio show and asking the guest what a new writer should do. I was advised to write and to do NaNoWriMo. I went to find out more about NaNoWriMo not realising that in the process. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I told everyone I was writing a book and went ahead.
Like most authors I first tried the publishing route. At the same time I researched going down the independent publishing route. Many big names were saying this was now a valid method of publishing. I had to hire editors and a cover designer. I was frightfully naive and expected everything to go well and my book to sell. I didn’t expect it to be otherwise and it all worked out. I had a great time bringing out my first book and it has led on to other books and a publishing contract.
By the way my first series is called the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries.
Where do you get your ideas? Are they based on your life or someone you know or are they purely from your imagination?
Everything is from my head which is a tad worrying given I write about serial killers. I do sometimes see something in real life that will spark off an idea for something in my book, or a way in which I can take the storyline. I have a t-shirt that says, “Anything you say may be taken down and used in a book.” I am sure most authors can relate to that. Trains are a rich source of material. There are a number of yobs on trains who could seriously end up in my books, and not in the best of ways. Before I get British train companies suing me, on the whole the British train system is awesome.
Tell us a little about yourself – perhaps something not many people know?
Blimey, I’m pretty much an open book. I am from Dundee in Scotland and after a life travelling the globe I have settled back there. I was in the Royal Navy as a nurse for 6 years and then in the Army for 17 years. I left as a Major, a rank I still hold to this day. I won’t lose it until the day I die. I have met a number of members of the Royal Family and sang opera for the Queen when I was 12. Prince Igor if you want to know which production. I love travelling and I also love public speaking and combining the two seriously rocks. I’m fortunate in that this has happened for me so I get to go to cool places and talk about writing.
Is there a message in your books you hope comes across to your readers? If so, what is it?
Evil never pays. If you’re a serial killer you are going to get caught. However, I also like to get over that life isn’t always serious. My books are a mixture of crime and a soupcon of humour.
Do you have a job/career in addition to being an author? What is it?
I am a full time author so life is grand. I was a lecturer in Teacher Training before becoming a writer so hence the reason I am confident in public speaking. I also run a training and coaching company called Equipped to Write. I will be running a 1 day course in London on 11th November if anyone fancies joining me, and moving your writing career along in the process. You can find out more on https://www.equippedtowrite.co.uk
Do you have any favorite quotes or verses? Why are they important to you?
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Stephen King
I am a voracious reader and have been since I was 3 years old. I have always been an advanced reader, and I believe in the power of the written word. Reading, to me, is as important as breathing.
Can you share a little from your current work in progress? When is it due to come out?
My current work in progress is completely different. It’s the first in a new series called Cass Claymore Investigates. This is humorous and more Janet Evanovich than serial killer. It will be out in November this year. Here for the first time is the opening...
Antiques and Alibis
I’m Cass Claymore, redhead, biker chick, ex ballerina and Private Investigator.
Oh, did I mention the dead body at my feet? The worst part, I’m not sure if I killed him or someone else performed the dirty deed. My days are not usually cluttered up with the recently deceased. So, a difficult call for me.
Aged about thirtyish, clean-shaven, and wearing designer brogues. Not your average lowlife who’d end up dead. Unless he’d nicked the shoes, of course. The way my week was panning out, I’d probably bumped off some visiting Laird. Might he have died of natural causes? Bending over, I peered at him. He didn’t have the look of someone who’d shuffled off this mortal coil voluntarily.
What had I got myself into? A queasy feeling started in the pit of my stomach. Turning away from the corpse I became reacquainted with the hummus sandwich I’d had for my lunch.
I pulled out my phone and pressed the first 9.
Are you a planner or a pantser? (aka – Do you write by the seat of your pants or do you plan it all out?)
I’m a pantster all the way. Well almost. I sometimes do some planning to make sure timelines work out, but I do my best writing starting at page 1 and going for it. I do jot notes down everywhere when I think of something that I could add to the book. I’ve notebooks everywhere and use my phone and the Evernote app to keep all my jottings together.
Is there anything you would change in your publishing experience? Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I’m pretty happy with how things are going. My advice to aspiring authors is to start writing immediately. Also let everyone know you are writing a book. This will keep you focused, help you finish and get a buzz going early on about the book. It helps with marketing later on when youa re ready to publish. My other piece of advice is have fun. Writing, promotion and public speaking are not a somber affair. I have a blast with it all.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I want to say thank you for buying, borrowing, reading and enjoying the books, Thank you for your support this far. Without you my journey wouldn’t be half as much fun as it is. I also want to say I hope you enjoy Cass Claymore as much as you’ve enjoyed DI Shona McKenzie. I hope you laugh as much reading it as I did writing it. Keep on reading and enjoying books; it’s the best hobby in the world. Writing is the best job in the world.
FIRST BOOK IN THE DI SHONA MCKENZIE SERIES
Dead Women. A Ruthless Killer. A Detective with something to prove. Newly promoted Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie struggles to cope with her new job, the respect of her colleagues, and the need to solve the hardest case of her life. Will she succeed?
A killer stalks the streets of Dundee, Scotland. Shona,having recently returned to Scotland, relies on the local knowledge of Sgt Peter Johnston and the rest of her team to help her track down the killer. However, this is no ordinary killer. Shona needs to use every trick in and out of the book to bring them to justice. The final revelation will shock you to the core.
Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield.
As well as nursing, Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer's Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer's Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2017. There are now six books in this series with Killer's Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger's Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book was a finalist Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.
FOURTH BOOK IN THE DI SHONA MCKENZIE SERIES
A severed human leg is found buried deep inside a Scottish wood.
An arm is uncovered on Dundee’s Law Hill.
Treasure hunters unearth a grizzly trophy at a Dundee beauty spot.
An evil killer who has turned murder into a sport.
DI Shona McKenzie is catapulted into a deadly game of human jigsaw. Only the jigsaw killer knows how many pieces there are and where they are hidden. The chase is on to catch them before another individual is dragged into this horrific game. Who will win?
SECOND BOOK IN THE DI SHONA MCKENZIE SERIES
A blizzard of murders in snowbound Dundee! Dead bodies proliferate. Nuns, prostitutes, and a henpecked husband! Is anyone safe? DI Shona McKenzie investigates multiple murders, unsure how many killers she is seeking. Will she succeed before the death toll mounts?
POWER PACKED BOOK MARKETING
SELL MORE BOOKS
You’ve published your book and it's adorning shelves both real and virtual. Now it’s time to start marketing your book and getting it into readers' hands. Whether you’re a first time author, or a publishing veteran looking to revitalise your marketing, this book is here to help. It is jam packed full of simple strategies, hints and tips which will take you through every step of the marketing process. From running a buzzing book launch, and building your mailing list, through to effective social media marketing, you will explore how to get your books noticed and bought by readers. Each of these techniques has been used successfully by the author to build a growing platform designed to sell more books. Learn from her what works and what doesn’t and use this book to build your own Power Packed Marketing Plan and sell more books.
About: WENDY H. JONES
THE DAGGER'S CURSE
THE FERGUS AND FLORA MYSTERIES
An ancient Egyptian dagger.
A hungry curse.
A city under siege.
In the dead of night the ancient dagger is stolen from the museum in Dundee. As mysterious accidents, illness and even death stalk the city, the Detective Duo, Fergus Bernstein and Flora MacDonald, follow clues that lead them into ever increasing danger. Can they find the dagger and break the curse before it’s too late?
WENDY H. JONES Books:
THIRD BOOK IN THE DI SHONA MCKENZIE SERIES
Another great crime mystery from Wendy Jones! The accumulation of murders is lightened by the sharp wit of DI Shona McKenzie and the entertaining relationships between the key players. Like others, I thought this was the best one yet - perhaps because I have come to know and love the characters as the series has developed. Roll on number four!
SIXTH BOOK IN THE SHONA MCKENZIE SERIES
Where better to dump a dead body than in a crypt? As the body count rises faster than the soaring temperatures, DI Shona McKenzie is hurtled into the midst of another deadly case. But this killer is always one step ahead of the law. Why? The revelation will shock them to the core.
FIFTH BOOK IN THE DI SHONA MCKENZIE SERIES
Winner of the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2017.
A man found hanging by the neck until dead A ship with a historic past A killer with a deadly personal quest DI Shona McKenzie is anticipating a peaceful Scottish summer when a hanging thrusts her into the midst of a fatal chase. As the body count mounts unravelling the difference between reality and fantasy is a deadly challenge. Shona and her team will need to use every trick in their arsenal to solve the puzzle and bring a killer to justice. Will they do it before more innocent victims die?