Blog tour: A Notable Omission

Welcome to the book tour for A Notable Omission by Isabella Muir and enjoy the special treat I have for you: a Q&A with the author!

Hi Isabella! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of A Notable Omission! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: A Notable Omission is the fourth novel in the Janie Juke series and here we meet Janie at the start of a new decade - 1970. When we left Janie at the end of The Invisible Case she was enjoying her new found skills and success as an amateur sleuth. Here we meet her a few months later, stealing a few days away from being a wife and mother, attending a local conference at Sussex University, on the topic of women's liberation, to do some soul-searching. But before long Janie and her friend, reporter Libby Frobisher, are thrust into the heart of another mystery when one of the conference delegates goes missing…

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters took charge?

A: I’ve had an interesting relationship with plotting since I’ve been writing fiction! For the first few novels I really struggled to plot or plan. I’d start writing, knowing how the story would end, but not quite knowing how it would get there. With A Notable Omission I prepared quite a detailed plan, which was useful, but inevitably the characters certainly did take charge! In truth, I love that aspect of writing and of getting to know the characters, gradually understanding the nuances of their personalities. By the time I’ve finished each of my novels I feel as though I’ve gained a whole new bunch of friends!

Why the choice of Sussex as the setting for your novel, which is the fourth in the Sussex Crime Mystery series? How important is location for you?

A: I was born in East Sussex and have lived most of my life in various towns in and around East and West Sussex. Having an in-depth knowledge of the setting really helps to flesh out the stories. A Notable Omission is based in Brighton, which I know quite well, but the other three novels in the Janie Juke series are set in the fictional town of Tamarisk Bay, which is based on my home town of St Leonards-on-Sea.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of Jane and Libby?

A: Good question! Anyone who is familiar with my novels will know about my passion for the 1960s. A passion that not only affects my writing but my choice of TV series too. My absolute favourite TV crime series is Endeavour, with the gorgeous Shaun Evans as the young Inspector Morse. So I think in the role of Janie, I would cast the actor who plays Joan Thursday in that series – Sara Vickers. For Libby I’d choose Dakota Blue Richards, who plays WPC Shirley Trewlove. I can imagine the two of them being the perfect sleuthing team!

Was A Notable Omission your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: I came up with the title quite early on in the planning for the novel and as soon as it came into my mind I felt it was just perfect. All my novel titles suggest a bit of play on words – for example, The Invisible Case begins with the seemingly straightforward loss of a briefcase, but develops into a story that suggests a crime has been committed, but the truth is altogether more ‘invisible’ and complicated! A Notable Omission is similar in that it starts with a missing person, but in the denouement we learn that what is ‘omitted’ is ‘notable’ for entirely different reasons!

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: I mentioned in the answer to one of your earlier questions that out of all my novels, my approach to planning and plotting has been more detailed for this one. So, out of interest, I’ve just revisited my original chapter breakdown for A Notable Omission and discovered that I stayed pretty close to my intentions, with nothing that didn’t make it into the final version. Perhaps that’s a good omen for my relationship with plotting future novels!

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: I’ve already plotted the next novel in the Janie Juke series, which I’m excited about! The story focuses on one of the characters from A Notable Omission, and refers to her somewhat murky past. She enlists Janie’s help to tease out the truth about events that happened during the late 1940s, after the Second World War.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I love Ann Cleeves’ novels – the Vera and the Shetland series. I’ve worked my way through several of them and have learned a lot from her approach to story writing.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: I’ll admit that I’m not a great fan of social media. I enjoy the chance to join Facebook groups with like-minded people – be that authors, or readers – and I have an occasional glance at Twitter. So, it’s not social media that disrupts my writing schedule, but there are plenty of other things that do! Too many excuses for just one more cup of coffee, for example!

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Have fun! When you are starting out as a writer it’s tempting to write what you think you ought to write, rather than what gives you enjoyment. So, try to focus on choosing a format and genre that you’re comfortable with – it might be nothing more than a collection of thoughts to begin with. And just let the words flow, don’t stop to make changes, treat it like an exercise class for your writing brain. Once you’re loosened up you’ll find the time flies and before you know where you are you have the beginnings of something that might be good, it might even be great – but it doesn’t matter right now – what matters is that you are having the time of your life!

Thank you for your time!


Popular posts from this blog

Blog tour: Off Target

Book reviews for Christmas ideas

"Italy in Books" - February winner