AW Hello Jo and thanks for being here. Tell me, what is your current release?
JF Last week I launched my debut novel, The Brotherhood a psychological thriller based in a religious sect.
AW What first got you into writing and why?
JF I’ve had stories in my head for as long as I can remember, but only started work on my novel when I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in the autumn of 2011. The kids were old enough to not need quite so much attention, and my husband thought it was a good chance for me to write the book he was convinced was lurking somewhere inside me.
AW You write Contemporary crime novels. Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
JF A large part of it is imagination. I find it’s less limiting to have an imaginary setting for instance, but there are some things that are rooted in fact, and I like to be accurate. I did a lot of research into cults, miracles and the technical aspects of the murder in The Brotherhood. I dread to think what the police would make of my browser history!
AW And what about other types of writing? Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
JF I have dabbled in a few short stories and flash fiction, but nothing that I felt was worthy of publication. I also like playing with poetry occasionally but just for fun.
I have an idea for a historical crime novel lurking, but there are a few other projects to be done first. It will probably need to wait until I can write full time, as that will require significant amounts of research.
AW Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing. Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
JF I work from home a lot for my day job in Clinical Research, so I have an office in my house. It’s my working space, so I find it quite easy to concentrate in there. I can write anywhere though, as long as it’s not too obviously moving – trains and cars are rubbish, as I get travel sick. Hotel rooms, libraries and coffee shops are generally good places to write.
AW Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with any one individual, living or dead or a character from a book, who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?
JF I would love to spend an afternoon chatting to Stephen Fry. He’s such an interesting man, and I would happily discuss everything from Abba to Georgette Heyer novels to QI to mental health issues with him.
about the book...When a young woman becomes pregnant in a religious sect, how far will she go to escape the abusive leader and save the people she loves?
The Brotherhood – safe haven or prison?
After her parents’ sudden death, a grieving Melissa falls back on her faith and into the welcoming arms of a religious sect. Captivated by their leader, Dominic, she leaves her old life behind and moves to the countryside to join them.
But life in The Brotherhood is not as safe as it first appeared. When engineer Mark joins The Brotherhood, Melissa finds herself conflicted between her growing feelings for him and her crush on Dominic. With their leader's initial encouragement, Melissa and Mark grow close.
But as her haven becomes a prison, Melissa's newfound happiness is destroyed by Dominic’s jealousy. How can she escape and save the ones she loves?
about the author... Jo grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer and now has an eclectic and much-loved book collection cluttering her home office.
Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.
When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.