Q&A with Jack Jordan, author of Anything for Her & My Girl.

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man.

She has nothing left to live for.

Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter's death?

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband's secrets.

But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn't hers to gamble - she belongs to me.

Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? And what's your shoe size?
My name is Jack Jordan, I'm a full-time author from East Anglia (Essex, really, but I'm terrified that people think I talk and act like those on TOWIE. **Shivers**). I spend my time imagining the despicable and jotting it all down. My shoe size varies from eleven to twelve, depending on the shoe!

What is the title of your most recently published book?
My second novel, MY GIRL, was published July 14th 2016.

What is MY GIRL about?
MY GIRL is about a mother, Paige Dawson, who is in a pit of despair in the wake of her husband's recent suicide and her daughter's murder ten years prior by a killer who was never discovered. She has nothing left to live for but to self-medicate, until she has reason to believe that her husband killed himself after finding out the truth about their daughter's death. Paige dedicates her days to finding out the truth, but she has no idea what she is about to uncover.

How do you hope readers will feel while reading MY GIRL?
My biggest priority is to make sure that my readers don't see the twists and turns coming. I want them to be shocked and racing through the pages, so most of my time and energy goes into developing my characters and plots so that they weave in and out of each other without revealing too much until I want them to.

If you were to describe this book in the same way you'd describe the weather, what would you say?
Knuckle down - a storm is coming!

When did you begin writing? What was your first book about?
I began writing seven years ago during a particularly difficult period in my life. Writing gave me a new purpose in life, and I can't imagine doing anything else.

My first published novel, ANYTHING FOR HER, is about a mother and daughter who have a deadly secret, that slowly begins to unravel and threaten everything they hold dear - including their lives.

Do you have goals for your writing/writing career?
I plan to be writing on my deathbed. I will always write thrillers, but later in my career I plan to write stories in different genres under pseudonyms. I think restricting one's creativity can be destructive.

Which authors inspire you?
For my thrillers, I'd say Shirley Jackson, Mo Hayder, and Karin Slaughter, although so many books and authors have inspired me along the way.

Describe your writing style in three words.
Honest, unapologetic, sharp.

What themes do you focus on within your books, or is it different with each one?
I seem to be drawn to subjects that are unthinkable. I want my stories to shock and linger. There is also a sub-theme that makes an appearance in my work, which is mental health. I don't think it is written about enough, and I certainly use my own experiences to mould my characters.

Once you've an idea firmly in place, what is the next step for you?
I like to write a chapter timeline to follow. I benefit from having the story right in front of me, so I can develop it with each step. I don't like sitting down to a blank page with nothing but unorganised thoughts rattling around in my head.

Do you have a favourite part of the writing process?
I like getting to the point in my work when my own story grips me. I'll be writing or reading back on what I've written and suddenly I look up and hours have passed. It's a golden moment and a big step in developing my stories. By this point, I know I'm on the right track.

Are there any techniques/methods you use when it comes to plotting?
I start with mapping out the major points in the story, and then begin to create and nurture further twists and turns as I write.

Have you ever come face to face with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Absolutely. I think the main way to overcome writer's block is to identify what's causing it. For me, it is usually lack of belief in myself or in the story I'm writing. If it's about my abilities, I give myself a pep talk and crack on. If it's about the story, I either need to change it dramatically or throw it away. If I fall out of love with a story, I scrap it. If I don't love my work, my readers won't either.

Where do you find inspiration?
A lot of people ask how I come up with my stories, and the honest answer is that I have no idea. Sure, there are true stories, TV shows and books that will spark ideas here and there, but the majority of the time, inspiration comes to me out of nowhere. I'm always thinking about characters and scenarios; I always have, even as a child. I'm constantly writing things down, which is a bloody nightmare when I'm trying to fall asleep! I honestly think it's some sort of creative madness, and I love it.

What does a typical day in your life look like, Jack?
I've always balanced a day job with my writing career, but as of 2017, my only job is my writing. My new daily routine is fitness in the morning, writing in the afternoon and into the evening, and downtime before bed (which consists of TV boxset marathons, movies, and reading, reading, reading). I'm quite an introvert, so I like to push myself into being more sociable.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Self-doubt. It's always there sitting beside me as I write, scoffing and shaking its head, but I'm learning to work with it as the years go on. So much self-belief goes into achieving one's dreams, so it's only natural that self-doubt makes an appearance too.

How do you come up with your titles?
For me, the story always comes before the title, which is then born out of the story itself. Sooner or later the title just screams out from the words on the page. I love that eureka moment!

When it comes to creating your characters, what's the first thing you do?
First I decide what I want my character to be like, and what traits I want her to have. Once I have the building blocks (goal of the story, physical appearance, mental state), relationships bloom and subplots manifest themselves until I have the developed character looking back at me.

Have you ever taken a research trip?
I haven't! Although I think about this a lot. This boils down to self-confidence and time management, but I hope to build up to this.

Do you set yourself word-count goals?
I like to have a rough estimate of how many the story will have as I write it, and develop the story further if it's not meeting my expectation. I also try to achieve specific amounts of words per day, although I always allow room for adjustments.

What is your definition of 'success'?
I've been driven by success all my life. My ambitions have always been a part of me, like DNA. For me, it's being financially secure and content, with a life without restraints. Love and family are also very important.

What is your definition of 'happiness'?
Being content with myself and the life I have built; good relationships. Waking up and looking forward to the day.

Which do you find hardest, the beginning or the end?
The beginning!

What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
The advice wasn't given to me, but from Neil Gaiman to Jenny Lawson: pretend you're good at it. Whenever I doubt myself, I make myself believe I'm great at what I have to do, and soon enough I believe it.

What piece of advice would you give to another writer?
You will be rejected a LOT. You have to learn to turn that rejection into fuel to keep you going as you continue to chase your dreams.

Tell us an author who is on your auto-buy list.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

If you were to write in a new genre, which genre would you choose and why?
I always have other stories begging to be written that belong in different genres. The main two are contemporary literary fiction and horror. Very different from each other!

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on my third thriller, and loving every minute of it. I can't wait to share it with the world! 2017 is an exciting year for me.

Now for some quick-fire questions:
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
Summer or winter? Summer.
Bath or shower? Shower.
Sweet or savoury? Sweet all the way.
Holiday in the city or countryside? City.
Text or call? Text. I ignore 99% of calls I receive (I told you I was introverted!)
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
TV or movies? Movies.
Wine or beer? TOUGH! I love them both so much. Urm... wine. I think. Help.
Cats or dogs? Dogs (if my cats read this I'm dead).
Chinese or Indian food? Indian.
Pasta or cheese? Pasta.

About the author

Jack Jordan is a full-time writer from East Anglia, with two thrillers to his name: Anything For Her (2015) and My Girl (2016), and a third on the way.

He describes himself as an introvert disguised as an extrovert, an intelligent person who can say very unintelligent things, and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with more books than sense.

You can find Jack Jordan on Facebook & Twitter.
You can purchase your copy of Anything for Her & My Girl here.

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