On the blog today, debut Australian author JM Pearce stops by on her blog tour to chat about her writing journey and how her background in policing has influenced her writing style.
Set in the Queensland bush, A Time to Run is a tense, gritty crime thriller featuring a cop-turned-victim and a chilling serial killer.
It’s been an interesting journey to become the author of a published crime novel. Especially since I set out trying to write picture books. It’s a bit of a jump from rhyming verse for five year olds to serial killers but I see now it was a no-brainer.
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I wrote my first novel when I was seventeen. I banged it out on a typewriter on whatever pieces of paper I could lay my hands on. So the paper was multi-coloured and the plot was patchy. I think I still have it somewhere in a drawer – what I don’t have is the fortitude to read it again. I’m fairly certain it is awful.
I studied journalism thinking this would be a way of combining my love of writing with the need to earn a wage. It did exactly the opposite. It sucked the life out of writing for me. For nearly fifteen years after that, I didn’t write. I didn’t feel inspired. My life was busy.
But then I became a mother. I read to my children from a very early age. I read books I’d loved as a child, plus books I had never heard of. Time and time again, with a book in hand and children in my lap, I would think “I could do better”. So I tried to channel Dr Seuss. Zany stories about children and animals, written in rhyme. The first competition I entered into, I came about 145th out of 150 entries. Pow! Take that!
But I was writing again, and I felt the compulsion to keep at it. I quickly realised two things. Publishing is an enormously competitive industry and having kids is not enough to qualify you to write children’s books. But then I saw that I did have something that set me apart from other writers. I was a police officer. A serving police officer, with many years experience. I had a point of difference, a voice of authority and the badge to prove it.
Everything in my story is fictional, but so much of it has been inspired by things I’ve seen, people I’ve worked with or jobs I’ve been too. The old adage of ‘write what you know’ has given me the edge.
My characters are usually an amalgamation of actual people. I can hear them talk as I’m writing their dialogue. The investigative procedures are based on real experiences. I know the legislation. I also know the difficulties and the constraints. Although I’ve never investigated a murder before, I have sworn warrants and raided houses, I’ve apprehended a wanted criminal, I’ve caught out liars in interviews. In know what it feels like.
I also believe taking police statements has affected my writing style. There is a certain artform in listening to someone’s rambling, jumbled version of events, and turning it into a crisp cohesive story which can be easily understood by whoever picks it up.
Police work isn’t like a TV show. Crime shows aren’t real. Even the reality-type shows cut out the boring bits, the nitty gritty left behind after the adrenaline-soaked action subsides. So that’s where I’ll hang my hat. I write an authentic account.
Yes, it’s fiction but it could really happen like this. I know it could. Trust me. I’m a copper.
For more information about JM Pearce’s novel or blog tour, check out her blog @ http://jmpeace.com/2015/06/18/blog-tour-a-time-to-run/
Be sure to stop by other book blogs on the tour for lots of great reviews, blog posts and interviews.
Friday June 26 – Sandi Wallace blog – Q&A
Wednesday, July 1 – Cops and Novels (JM Peace author blog) – extract
Friday, July 3 – Tien’s Blurb – Review
Saturday, July 4 – Carpe Librum – Review
Monday, July 6 – Reading, Writing and Riesling – Review
Tuesday, July 7 – Tien’s Blurb – Guest Post
Wednesday, July 8 – Debbish.com – Review
Thursday, July 9 – Reading, Writing and Riesling – Q&A
Friday, July 10 – Reading, Writing and Riesling – Giveaway
Monday, July 13 – Carpe Librum – Q&A
Tuesday, July 14 – Debbish.com – Q&A
Wednesday, July 15 –Two Little Humans and Me – Guest Post
Thursday, July 16 – Book’d Out – Review and Guest Post
Friday, July 17 –Book Muster Down Under – Review
Monday, July 20 – The Australian Bookshelf – Guest Post
Wednesday, July 22 – All the Books I Can Read – Review and Guest Post
Thursday, July 23 – Confessions from Romaholics – Review
Friday July 24 – A Happy, Healthy Life – Review and Q&A