Thursday, 24 September 2015

60 Seconds with Jenny Blackhurst

By Gillian Hamer

Jenny Blackhurst rediscovered her childhood love of writing after the birth of her son in 2011 and wrote her first novel between feeds and nappy changes. Jen has a Masters degree in Psychology, and when she isn’t writing works as the Fire Safety Systems Administrator for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. She is currently working on her second novel, which is also a psychological thriller after the amazing success of her debut release, How I Lost You.

Tell us a little about you and your writing.

I started writing How I Lost You after being made redundant in 2011 but have always loved both reading and writing. My favourite genre is crime and I am constantly thinking ‘what if’ in my day to day life.

It’s a popular genre at the moment, but why did you choose to write crime thrillers?

It’s the genre I read most in so it was a natural choice for me. If I try to write anything else it usually ends up turning to crime so it’s obviously where my first love lies!

Who are your crime author heroes?

I started my love of crime with Patricia Cornwell when I was about 11 years old but recent inspiration has come from Alex Marwood, Sharon Bolton, Mo Hayder and ultimately Sophie Hannah.

You say your own pregnancy inspired the plot of How I Lost You – how did that come about?

There are a lot of mixed up feelings which come with the arrival of a new baby and I feel it’s definitely a time a woman can feel most vulnerable and suggestible. There are so many doubts that set in about your sense of identity and who you were before vs who you are now. I found it a very emotionally rich time which was incredibly conductive to writing.

Does your Masters degree in Psychology assist in writing thrillers – and how?

Psychology is essentially the study of the mind and behaviour which is enthralling for a crime writer. Why people behave the way they do, nature vs nurture and how different people respond to stresses, and of course how our past shapes our future. It’s fascinating.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

There are so many great things! My favourite is being part of a world I used to be a spectator in – crime writers are the most friendly people (maybe it’s because we spend so much time killing people off!) Attending Crimefest and sitting on panels with ‘real’ authors, being paid for something I would be doing anyway…the list really is endless.

And the worst?

The Fear. Is this any good? This is fantastic! This is the worst thing ever written. Ok, this might turn out alright…

Where do you write?

Anywhere and everywhere. With a four year old and a one year old I can’t afford to be precious about where I write. I’m very productive in Tesco cafĂ© and I love a long train journey. The hardest place I’ve tried to write was a soft play barn. Those places are carnage.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island?

Just 3? Can’t I take my kindle?!? Okay, Strangers by Dean Koontz, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling and The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton.

What are your future writing plans?

Hopefully to keep writing! I’m working on book 2 at the moment which is a psychological thriller but eventually I’d like to explore the genre further as well as try my hand perhaps at another genre completely, maybe horror or young adult. Essentially I just love to write and just want to keep learning the craft and improving.

Twitter: @jennyblackhurst

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