Blog Tour | Aussie Author Round-Up | JM Peace
Today, it is with great pleasure that I welcome the somewhat elusive Australian author, JM Peace to my blog to celebrate the recent release of her second Constable Sammi Willis novel, The Twisted Knot.
An avid reader and writer from an early age, Jay wanted to be a writer, so she studied journalism figuring this would be a way of turning a passion into a job. Her career as a print journalist failed after a single year, and the experience completely sucked the joy out of writing for her. So, she took a complete change of direction by becoming a police officer and, over the past sixteen years has served throughout south-east Queensland in a variety of different capacities, including Intelligence and CIB.
After her children were born, the dangers and stresses of the job made it unappealing so, in the search for a new career path, she returned to her childhood dream. By carving a spare hour out of every day, she wrote the manuscript for A Time To Run whilst juggling her family commitments, police work and running a household.
Jay currently lives on the Sunshine Coast with her partner, wrangling her two cheeky children, a badly behaved dog and an anti-social cockatiel. Although she travelled extensively when she was younger, these days she is just happy if she makes it as far as the beach on the weekend. Her current goals are trying to teach her children to surf and finishing the next book in the ‘Constable Sammi Willis’ series.
Please feel free to pull up a stump and get to know her a bit better.
Before I continue though, I’d just like to thank Pan MacMillan Australia for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.
Wow Jay, it’s fabulous to finally have you here! It appears that the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag and it’s no longer imperative that we keep your true identity a secret?
I was worried that there might be a conflict of interest between being a cop and a crime writer, but I’ve been a published author for over a year now and no one appears bothered by it. I’m a bit more relaxed this time around.
Could we start off with you telling us a bit about your childhood.
My parents are German migrants who taught me to work hard and make the most of every opportunity. I have an older brother who showed a lot of promise as a writer when he was a child. Perhaps that’s why I’ve pursued this career? (I win this round, Robert…)
I’ve just recently finished reading The Twisted Knot and, like A Time to Run, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but for those who haven’t yet heard about your latest, would you mind sharing with us your version of the story they can expect?
Sammi returns to active policing duties at Angel’s Crossing and finds herself caught up in the suspicious suicide of a suspected paedophile. The story attempts to show some of the difficulties and frustrations involved in the burden of proof in some police investigations.
Because you’re a serving Queensland Police Officer I’m sure you have a treasure-trove of knowledge to fall back onto when it comes to subject matter for your novels but, are there still certain aspects for which you conduct research?
Research is probably a lot easier for me because I can generally find the right person to chat with. My policing background is in general duties, so I have spoken to specialist officers in CIB, CPIU, Forensics and also the Fire Service about different things.
I’m sure that when you were trying to keep your identity a secret it presented its own challenges but what other types of challenges did you need to overcome to get your first novel published?
There were all the usual hurdles of trying to find a publisher willing to take a chance on an unknown author’s debut novel. But one thing I didn’t realise would work against me was that I live on the Sunshine Coast. I love it here but it is not Sydney or Melbourne which is apparently where you are meant to do all your networking.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
A typical working day consists of me getting my kids off to school and going to work at the police station. Writing is not work for me – it does not pay the bills so it is still a hobby. I try to write for an hour in the evenings. I don’t have a dedicated writing space so there always seem to be distractions. I aim for 1000 words a day but usually fall short. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day at the moment. Sometimes I’m surprised that I have actually managed to write these stories.
Do you, as a writer, have a motto or maxim?
“You can’t edit a blank page”. Just start writing. Something. Anything. Once I get going, I usually end up keeping most of it anyway.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received since you started writing?
“Don’t read the comments”. I steer clear of most reviews, Goodreads is a minefield for writers. There might be twenty good reviews, but you will always focus on the one person who says “this is rubbish”. That can absolutely floor you on a bad day.
Any advice for aspiring crime writers?
Become a cop? I think it would be quite difficult to write the police side of a crime story without knowing how all the procedures and processes fit together.
Now for the easy questions:
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Can you believe you are a published author? Sometimes I can.
Pizza or Pasta?
Pizza – I make homemade pizza regularly. But pretty much anything if there’s lots of chocolate for dessert.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading and why?
‘Like I Can Love’ by Aussie author Kim Lock. Aside from giving a spine-tingling portrayal of domestic violence, it is also an intriguing and multi-layered read.
Give us three good to know facts about you – be as creative as you like.
1. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t like the taste. This seems to baffle people.
2. I’ve backpacked through 43 countries.
3. I can touch my nose with my tongue.
Jay it’s been such a treat having you visit the blog and I just want to say thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me today.