The Writing Life of: Jane Thynne
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Jane Thynne. Jane will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Solitaire‘, which was released on 18th May 2017, and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Jane
Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English and joined the BBC as a journalist.
She has also worked at The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, as well as for numerous British magazines. She appears as a broadcaster on Radio 4. Jane is married with three children and lives in London.
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I had passionate desires to be a doctor or a politician, and I regret both those lost careers, but writing for a living was always the dream.
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
Frances Hodgson Burnett and Charlotte Bronte. I also loved My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, due to an early survivalist streak.
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
At fifteen I began writing and circulating stories featuring my school-friends, which they seemed to enjoy, and it struck me that people liked the idea of being transposed into a fictional setting. I suppose I’m only doing more of the same today.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
I knew I needed a job associated with writing so I became a journalist, first at the BBC, directing films and reporting, then in Fleet Street.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
I sit at my desk at 8am, and try very hard to write a thousand words. It doesn’t always work!
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I don’t, but I have thought about it, especially if I wrote in two different genres. The strange thing is, I can name any number of characters but I simply can’t think up another name for myself.
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
Sitting down and trying to create an entirely fictional universe is probably strange enough.
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
Apple Mac. My work-in-progress standalone novel features a 1931 Underwood typewriter, but personally I’m relieved to be free of the Tippex and the carbons and the ribbons.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
Ten to date, but there’s not a writer in the world who doesn’t have unpublished work in their drawer.
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I love a plot. I like to have it entirely structured before I begin writing, then extra ideas and twists emerge organically, which is part of the joy.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
I think I read most of them. My only coping mechanism is angst.
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – Simon & Schuster UK
Pages – 464
Released – 18th May 2017
ISBN-13 – 978-1471155819
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
TO SAVE HER OWN LIFE, WILL SHE SACRIFICE ANOTHER?
June 1940: the first summer of the war. Berlin is being bombed and nightly blackouts suffocate the city. Then France falls and a shadow descends.
A shadow has fallen over Clara Vine’s own life, too. She is an Anglo-German woman in a country that hates England. Then she is summoned to meet the Propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who has decided that Clara should adopt a new role – as his spy.
Much as she dislikes the idea, Clara realises this might be the chance to find an escape route to England. But Goebbels has other ideas and soon Clara is drawn into a web that threatens to destroy her. As everything she holds dear is taken as ransom, she must fight to protect her family – and to survive…
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
Solitaire is the fifth in a series of Clara Vine novels, so that makes things easier. When you write a series you already know your protagonist and their back history, you just need to find a new plot to entangle them. That said, it took around a year to write.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
Most of the people in the novel are real people who lived in Germany during the Third Reich. Clara is fictional, but I had always loved that name, and conveniently it sounded both English and German, as is Clara herself.
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
Clara Vine is an Anglo-German actress who arrives in Berlin in 1933 just as Hitler comes to power and witnesses the rise of fascism at first hand. She is not especially brave or political, and it is pure chance that she gets involved in espionage when she falls in love with the man who recruits her. Yet as time goes on, Clara’s access to the Nazis’ VIP ranks is increasingly valuable – and increasingly dangerous.
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
I probably worked hardest on the scene I loved writing, when Clara attends a garden party given by Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor.
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title, Solitaire, echoes a couple of plot strands. Firstly, Clara is on her own, because her lover has been killed. Also the storyline involves diamond smuggling, and thirdly, card playing and especially the game of Solitaire became hugely popular among German women left behind after their husbands had gone to war.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
My first reader is always my agent, Caradoc King. His gracious manner makes the harshest criticism sound entirely reasonable.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
The novel was pre-commissioned, so I had only to write and deliver.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
Made a cup of English Breakfast tea.
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
I’m just finishing a standalone novel, provisionally called The Typewriter. It’s a split time narrative set in the 1930s/40s and the present day and features two sisters, divided by war.
1) What’s your favourite food?
Does anyone not say chocolate?
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
Yellow always. The colour of sun and happiness. I painted my study primrose yellow so it would give me a lift every time I walked in.
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
Withnail And I
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
Nina Simone, He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands
5) If you won millions on the lottery, what would be your first purchase?
I’d like to think I’d help out some relatives, but it would almost certainly be an addition to my daughter’s extensive wardrobe.
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
Probably the same thing everyone asks when they walk into my room. ‘What’s for supper?’
You can find out more about Jane Thynne by visiting the website/social media sites below.
I would like to say a big thank you to Jane for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.