Jessie Keane Q&A

Jessie Keane has kindly answered a few questions for Killer Reads, telling us all about her ‘wildly vivid imagination’…

Killer Reads: When did you start writing?

Jessie Keane: As soon as I could crawl. I drew little figures with balloons floating above their heads, and stuffed the balloons full of words – mostly rubbish words, but it was a start. I then progressed to throwing big words I didn’t understand into any sentence I wrote – ‘mutation’ was a favorite. My English teacher concluded that I was either a talented writer, or slightly disturbed.

KR: Where do you write?

JK: At home, in a tiny corner under the eaves, or in the kitchen while cooking – anywhere the mood takes me, really.

KR: What are the pros and cons of being a writer?

JK: Pros – getting paid for something you are compelled to do and absolutely love to do. Cons – working-alone anxiety and driving yourself crazy over little details you think you’ve missed.

KR: What writers have inspired you?

JK:Shakespeare, Sue Townsend, Lynda La Plante, Dick Francis.

KR: How important is a sense of place in your writing?

JK: Extremely important. It sets the tone for the whole book. My first book Dirty Game is set in 1960’s East End London, my second Black Widow in 1970 in the same area. That strong sense of place (and time) is essential.

KR: Do you spend a lot of time researching your novels?


JK: Only after the first draft’s written. Then I go back and research and embellish until it’s perfect.

KR: Do your characters ever surprise you?


JK: Not too often. I’m the referee, they’re the players – I’m there to keep them in order.

KR: How much of your life and the people around you do you put into your books?


JK: Very little. I have a wildly vivid imagination!

KR: How did it feel when you saw your book in print for the first time?

JK: Deeply weird, and very delightful.

KR: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing now?

JK: I’d either be in a proper job, or banged up, but I guarantee that I’d still be scribbling away and trying to get those scribbles published!

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