Q&A with Diane Jeffrey, author of Those Who Lie.

Emily Klein doesn't know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.
At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death - events which led to her own memory loss - she begins to suspect that her husband's death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate...

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily's physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can't possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous questions of all. Can she really trust herself?

Today on Hummingbird Reviews, I am delighted to be welcoming the thoroughly fabulous Diane Jeffrey to the blog for an author Q&A. Diane Jeffrey is the author of the thrilling debut, Those Who Lie, recently released with HQ Digital UK. I have read and reviewed Diane's debut right here on Hummingbird Reviews, and if you fancied taking a peek at that then you can do so here. But if you'd rather keep on reading for our fantastic Q&A, then stick around.
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? And what's your shoe size?
My name is Diane Jeffrey. I'm from North Devon and I live in Lyon, France where I teach English in a secondary school. My shoe size is 38. 39 in running shoes. If I remember correctly that's 5 - 51/2!

When was your latest book published and what is it called?
My debut psychological thriller was published on 27th January and it's entitled THOSE WHO LIE.

What is it about?
Emily Klein only realises she is responsible for her husband's death on the day of his funeral, but then she starts to receive disturbing messages from him which force her to question her reality and to confront her past.

How do you hope readers will feel while reading it?
Intrigued. Hooked. I think the best compliment is when a reader says s/he couldn't put your book down. One of my readers told me she'd felt "creeped out", which I loved!

If you were to describe this book in the same way you'd describe the weather, what would you say?

When did you begin writing? What was your first book about?
I started young. I wrote my first novel when I was 8 or 9! The title was "Stowaway", so that must hold a clue as to what it was about! I can't remember the plot now. More seriously, I attempted to get a RomCom/ChickLit novel published 13 years ago now. I didn't manage to find a home for it, but it was my first attempt at writing a full-length novel as an adult and a vital part of my learning curve.

What are your goals for your writing?
I've always wanted to have a book published and see my name in print. I'd still very much like to be able to hold a paperback version of a novel that I've written one day. It's probably more of a dream than a goal for the moment, but I'll get round to working on it!

Which authors inspire you?
For psychological thrillers, Elizabeth Haynes is a name that springs to mind. Her novel, Into The Darkest Corner, is the first book that, for me, really stood out in this genre.

In crime, Dennis Lehane, Harlan Coben, Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, and, of course, Agatha Christie.

There are many authors in other genres who inspire me, but not necessarily for my own writing: I have always had a big soft spot for the Bard, for example!

If you had to describe your writing style in only three words, what words would they be?
Work in progress!

What themes do you focus on within your writing? Is it different with each book?
In Those Who Lie, the main themes are sexual abuse and the psychological scars that this can leave, harassment, jealousy, revenge, love and friendship.

I have just started a second book where the main themes are domestic abuse and manipulation. Love, friendship and loyalty will be a big part of this, too.

I like to have central female characters who fight to function normally even though they are damaged and have been betrayed.

Once you've an idea firmly in place, what is usually the next step for you?
Chapter by chapter planning. Character profiles.

Do you have a favourite part of the writing process?
I found the Author Amends immensely enjoyable. I'd survived two rounds of editing, which was also satisfying but very hard work, and with the AA I really felt like I was on the home straight. I added the author bio and the acknowledgements after that, and it all seemed finally complete. That was a great moment.

Are there any techniques/methods you use when it comes to plotting?
I had a timeline. As I juxtaposed past and present chapters the story took place from 1995 to 2015, this was vital.

Have you ever come face to face with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I just write when I feel like it, so no.

Where do you normally find inspiration?
Real life, conversations, newspaper articles... The beginning of this book was inspired by an online article about a man who had been receiving messages from his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. He found this alarming as she was dead!

What does a typical day in your life look like?
A typical weekday:
I get up at 6.40. I wake up the kids and I get ready for work while they get ready for school. I teach English in a local secondary school, but usually finish by 2 or 3 pm at the latest. I walk the dog when I've finished work, then I have an hour or so to prepare lessons or mark papers or, if I'm lucky, read or write (or occasionally nap), then I pick up my children from school and we go swimming training for an hour to an hour and a half four evenings a week. After that, I make the dinner while helping the kids with their homework (unless it's maths as I'm hopeless). In the evenings, if I haven't got any work to do for the next day, I read books on my Kindle or watch TV with my husband and cuddle my dog!

Weekends are more interesting!!!

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Writing the first three chapters. There's so much pressure!!!

How do you usually come up with your titles?
I like titles that turn out to have several meanings within the story (I choose titles like this for my short stories, too). However, my publishers came up with THOSE WHO LIE. (My original title was OUT OF THE BLUE.)

When it comes to creating your characters, what is the first step you take?
I write a profile for each of the main characters. I don't necessarily use all of the information I write down, but it makes them come to life a bit more in my head. I would choose an age for each one, a job, a tic or quirk, interests and a background so that I have an idea of how they would express themselves.

Have you ever taken a research trip? If so, where did you go and for which book?
No. Unless going to Oxford during the writing process counts! I was there on a school trip with my pupils while I was writing a novel. The present day part of the book is set in Oxford. I took photos of everything with my phone!

Do you ever set yourself word-count goals?
I haven't done until now, but I am going to do this. I will set a very low word count so that I can achieve my goal!

What is your definition of 'success'?
Happiness, setting and attaining your own aims.

What is your definition of 'happiness'?
Family, friends and stability.

Which do you find hardest? The beginning or end?
In the writing process, the beginning.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don't give up.

What one piece of advice would you pass on to another writer?
Get in touch with authors of the same genre via Twitter and Facebook.

Tell us an author who is on your auto-buy list?
Khaled Hosseini.

If you were to write in a genre entirely new to you, which genre would you pick and why?
I've written the texts for two children's picture books. Neither of these was published, but I loved writing them and reading them to my children when they were younger. I suppose that's not entirely new, but children's books would be my alternative genre.

What are you working on at the moment?
I think "working" might be an exaggeration for the moment, but I have an idea (and plans and a prologue!) for another psychological thriller.

Now for some quick-fire questions:
Coffee or tea? Tea.
Summer or winter? Summer.
Bath or shower? Shower.
Sweet or savoury? Sweet.
Holiday in the city or in the countryside? Countryside.
Text or call? Call. Better still, FaceTime.
Facebook or Twitter? Too close to call.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise, particularly at the weekends!
TV programmes or movies? TV, especially good dramas.
Wine or beer? Beer.
Cats or dogs? Both.
Chinese or Indian food? Indian.
Pasta or cheese? They go together!

About the author.

Diane Jeffrey grew up in North Devon. She lives in Lyon, France with her husband and their three children, Labrador and kitten.

Those Who Lie is her debut psychological thriller.

Diane is an English teacher. When she's not working or writing, she likes swimming, running and reading. She loves chocolate, beer and holidays. Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

You can find Diane Jeffrey on Twitter.
You can find Those Who Lie on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US.

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