On The Page With . . . Jacqueline Pye

Hi Jacqueline, welcome to "On The Page With . . .", please make yourself comfy, there are lots of delicious nibbles on the table over there. Mind my Siberian husky, he'll try to cadge a cake or two!

Hello, Gina, and thanks so much for inviting me. 

Let's start with where you write . . . 

So, my writing space is in a bedroom. It is, I agree, a bit cluttered, but somehow that helps me to concentrate on the screen as everything is so familiar. The squashy Pacman always raises a smile, and the bears were presents from the family. A photo of jellyfish is in there somewhere, too.

The squashy Pacman just seems to be grinning! How long have you been writing for?

I've been writing for others since my mid-teens, when I produced the pop music column for the local paper. Being desperate to meet Adam Faith, I persuaded the paper to give me a reporter's card so I could interview him. That cunning plan worked, too; swooning is about the right word. In the following years a great number of my articles on parenting, child development and health were published nationally, but more recently fiction has been calling. So now I write mainly dark short stories and dark or humorous flash fiction.  As a psychologist, I'm fascinated by how obsessions, passions and anti-social behaviour develop, and this is reflected in my writing. There's no routine though; I tend to decide what to write and then find odd times to attack. I'm very goal driven, and react best if there's a deadline. Pressure junkie.

You sure have written a lot and how lucky you were to meet one of your teen idols! Do you have a favourite drink to fuel your writing? 

I know you like green tea, Gina, but to me that is Satan's brew. I have tried. The nearest I can come is mango and strawberry tea, which is beside my computer if I'm feeling virtuous. Otherwise it's a nespresso - I love it and am now spoiled for other coffees. One shot and the writing flows; more than that and I'm hot and jumpy though madly cheerful.

I do like green tea, and of course coffee but I can't have too much coffee either or my eyes are bulging! What are you currently reading at the moment, I imagine you have a huge TBR list - I do!

There's an enormous TBR list of course. Looking on Goodreads it was a surprise how many books I've read recently. The next two are The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd (a thief-taker in the Dickens era) and then The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fy by Rachel Joyce. In between, some short story anthologies. As for currently: a rather interesting book called, now what was it again? - ah yes, Mortiswood, Kaelia Awakening by ... you! Two-thirds through; an unusual genre for me but I'm visualising the action as we go and there are colours, flashing, teleporting, whirling and strange powers. Excellent.

Yay! Thank you for reading Mortiswood, I hope you enjoy it! I have read, and enjoyed, your short story collection and also your story for young readers. What are you currently working on, and are there more cases planned for Millie?

I'm currently working on my second dark short story collection, following Bottles and Pots which has been very well received and is featured in the December issue of Freelance Market News. A couple of time frames will recur, as will the odd character from B&P. Very little gore, but plenty of menace, psychosis, jealousy and revenge is already in the mix. A second case for Millie the Detective is brewing in the background; the first was a novel for 8-10s about loyalty, temptation, bullying and resolution featuring 11-year-old Millie, her younger brother Dave, his best mate Joe, and Boris the dog. Determined that the next will involve cake in some way.

Why did you decide to self-publish Bottles and Pots? What do you love about self-publishing?

I self-published Bottles and Pots because I know that lesser known authors' collections are not that welcomed by publishers - and because I can! I love the idea that writers can now do it all themselves; it feels like saying, "Here it is, everyone. Don't know if you'll like it, but anyway!" There was the odd problem getting the publishing programme to work, but a change of browser and of format sorted it. Meanwhile, John kept his head down and tiptoed into this dragon's den with occasional refreshments.

Read my short review of Bottles and Pots here.

I know you have lots of interests outside of the writer-world, can you tell us about them?

Away from the writing, interests include vegetarian cooking (there's a blog about that), theatre, jellyfish and cats. Veg cookery is an abiding passion, and I have been completely in love with any cat that ever lived, including Hettie who has been with us for a year or so. Even though she regularly brings in mice and young rats (alive) in the early hours and they have to be rescued and set free. And I do like wolves, including Vallesms (Mortiswood fans will understand). On your chaise longue just now you've a lifetime member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the Vegetarian Society, and a member of the Bat Conservation Trust. (All one and the same.) Things that make me cry: any type of personal tragedy on TV or in my circle, absolutely any hint of maltreatment of animals, and community hymn singing. Soft centred as well as an utter wuss on the outside - friends can't believe I wrote Bottles and Pots as it comes from my darker side!

I'm a vegetarian too and really love to cook. Hettie is just adorable! And of course I adore wolves, especially Vallesms! Is there anything you'd love to try in life?

A lingering ambition is to tread the boards. A few years back I took AS level Drama & Theatre Studies, writing three of the five acts of the play we had to create and produce. Called True Colours, it explored how, under pressure, wobbly characters went mad, bad or dangerous! There were comic moments, too. I played a neurotic spinster called Hettie who lost it and wandered around in her old wedding frock pretending to rock a baby. And an 'A' grade result!

Sounds interesting! You've been a wonderful guest, Jacqueline, thank you so much for visiting! Let's share your links below:

Well finally, Gina, thank you so much for hosting. The cupcakes were lovely and your dog licked my hand.

I can be found lurking on twitter: @JacquelinePye and occasionally Facebook.

Writing blog: jacpye.blogspot.com

Both my recent books are on Goodreads on my Goodreads page

Bottles and Pots is in paperback and for kindle.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading, wishing you a Merry Christmas!


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