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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed Jane Badrock about her life, what inspires her, and the creative process behind her new book, The Ice Maiden.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades.  At school my best subjects were maths, art and English. When it came to choosing a career, for various reason, I opted for something which paid well and became an accountant. When I could afford to give up work for a few years break, I went to Art School. Finally, when I retired from accountancy, I became a writer.

Jane Badrock, author of The Ice Maiden, interview on The Table Read
Jane Badrock

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I have three children. With each of them there were complications at birth and that, together with what I learned about the experiences of other women, made me want to write a book to forewarn expectant mothers of the things that can go wrong. Not in any way to scare anyone, but so that if it happened, they would know they were not alone, and help could be available. It was my first submission, and it was turned down!

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When did you take a step to start writing?

I began in 2011, writing a film script. Not long afterwards I was writing short – and mainly silly – stories on the Google Plus platform, now gone. People were foolish enough to tell me they liked my writing so that encouraged me! Soon after, I came across the NANOWRIMO project which encourages you to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. I decided to test myself and discovered I could do the quantity –if not the quality– easily.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

Sinister Sisterhood, a black comedy, wasn’t my first novel but it was the first to be published (in 2020). It began as a short story written on Google Plus, called Beryl the Badass Bookkeeper. I decided it would be nice to have a whole team of badass women.  At around the same time, I read about the killing of Cecil the Lion, by a trophy hunter. This gave my women their cause, if not quite their individual goals, and so the story was developed. It was picked up by the publisher BAD PRESS iNK, who were specifically looking for ‘niche’ books.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

The Ice Maiden, a psychological thriller, is my third published novel. The first draft was written very quickly, in about six weeks, in 2018. I like to write first drafts and let them stew for quite a while because I can pick up see all the problems much better at a distance. It could have been released earlier but circumstances – especially Covid – conspired against me.

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Ice Maiden?

I’ve read a few books written in first person which didn’t quite work for me as a reader. I wanted the readers of The Ice Maiden to inhabit the head of Maddie, the protagonist. She doesn’t think in whole sentences. I don’t think most people do. Her thoughts spill out in a more natural way. The reader only hears and sees what Maddie does. I am thrilled when readers tell me they feel like they feel they are her!

What were your biggest challenges with writing The Ice Maiden?

I had to do a fair amount of research –which can’t go into details about. But the biggest challenge, for me, was not with the writing, but whether readers would take to it. I was really holding my breath when I first sent it out to be read.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

I have to give my daughter some credit there. Like Maddie, she did a Maths degree, and I may possibly have borrowed the title of her dissertation….

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

Jane Badrock, author of The Ice Maiden, interview on The Table Read

The whole idea came from a dream I had – which became the ending. It meant I had to work back from that so step by step I reconstructed what would need to happen to arrive at the ending. The antagonist was a product of that process.

What is the inciting incident of The Ice Maiden?

While Maddie is getting on with her studies at university, her mother dies unexpectedly. Maddie is thrown into complete turmoil during which she discovers that the man she thought was her father, isn’t her biological father. As she begins to investigate, she unknowingly sets a chain reaction in place.

What is the main conflict of The Ice Maiden?

Someone is trying to kill Maddie, but it unfolds very slowly so she isn’t aware of it until things escalate.

Did you plot The Ice Maiden in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I’m normally a pantser, but because of the idea behind this story, I already knew the ending so all I had to worry about was how I got there. And that was by putting myself in Maddie’s shoes and working out the steps she would have to go through to get to the conclusion.

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Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Ice Maiden need?

Yes. I’m with a fantastic author group called Question Mark Press and they very kindly provided an editor to go through it. In terms of the story, there were no significant changes. But my punctuation is atrocious, so I expect there was quite a bit of effort there!

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Writing short stories can be a good starting point. It certainly helped me. It focuses the mind on the beginning, middle and end which obviously are the cornerstones of all stories. I have a tiny Facebook group where I’m encouraging everyone to have a go. The hope is that we’ll produce enough stories to publish a small volume one day.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

I’m writing a crime series about a Detective Sergeant called Karen Thorpe. Comatose was published in April this year. The sequel, Three Little Girls, should be coming out in November 2021.  There are two more in the series.

I also have a contract for two novels with the publisher Spellbound Books. The first one is expected to be published in Spring next year.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I’m not sure proud is the right word, but I’m pleased I did it. They biggest reward comes from when a reader tells you they love your work. Thankfully I’ve had a few of those already and am hoping for more!

Find more from Jane Badrock:

Twitter– @janebadrock

Facebook– Jane Badrock Author

Instagram – janebadrock

Linked In Jane Badrock

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