Blog tour: Still Life with a Vengeance

Welcome to the blog tour for Still Life with a Vengeance by Jan Turk Petrie, who very kindly accepted to answer a few questions for the occasion!

Hi Jan! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Still Life with a Vengeance! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you Silvia. Without giving too much away, it’s the story of Eve who is married to a rich and famous rock guitarist Nick Quenington and living in their restored Somerset Manor House. Unable to have a child together, their adoption hopes are thwarted when Nick and his band mates are accused of rape. Eve believes Nick’s claim that he is completely innocent, but with the press ‘doorstepping’ them and his music career in free fall as a result of the allegations, she begins to question everything she thought she knew.

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

A: I began with a rough one-page outline of the plot. As always, in the process of writing the first draft, I allowed my characters and the situations I put them in to develop in ways I hadn’t foreseen. For me, those sorts of unexpected turns help to keep the writing process fresh and interesting.

Was Still Life with a Vengeance your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: The title is a line I used when describing something that happens near the beginning of the first chapter. I liked the phrase so much that from then on it became my working title. Once I’d finished the final draft, I considered changing it but decided to stick with it. For me the title encapsulates the main themes of the novel.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the role of Eve?

A: Jodie Comer would be perfect for Eve.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: At one point Eve retreats to a remote but stunning Scottish island. Having just holidayed in a remote part of Scotland, I thoroughly enjoyed writing those scenes.

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

A: Unlike a lot of writers, as I’m writing a first draft, I do a lot of editing as I go along. In the second draft of this novel, I deleted quite a few passages I wasn’t happy with. However, it was more a case of adding scenes I felt were needed to make the story flow rather than taking them away.

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 just started working on a sequel to ‘Running Behind Time’ – my recent time-slip novel. I never intend to write a sequel to the book, but you get very fond of your characters, and I started to imagine some interesting and unusual challenges they would have to face after the novel ended. I’ve decided it might be fun to explore what happens to them next.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I’m currently about half-way through ‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett. I’m really enjoying all its twists and turns.

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 always love interacting with my readers particularly on Facebook and Twitter. I also enjoy online chats and interactions with other writers. However, I try to discipline myself to write most morning and so I really have to be careful not to become too distracted by social media.

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

A: Read widely and often – it will help you improve your own craft

Thank you for your time!

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