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Diane: SUFFER THE CHILDREN has been re-released. What’s the story with that?
Sara Jayne: My contract with Lyrical Press was for three years. When those three years expired in April this year, the rights reverted back to me and the e-book was no longer available. It had built up a solid sales pattern in those three years, and it seemed a shame that it was no longer available. I also have a particular fondness for this book, as it was my first published novel.
Since it was technically a backlist title, and had already gone through an editing process, I decided to re-release it myself as an e-book. It’s currently only available for the Kindle, but it will be available in other e-book formats in due course.
Diane: It also has bold new cover art. Who is the artist and what went into the creation of this cover?
Sara Jayne: I commissioned an artist friend, David Bezzina, to create a new cover image – something that was different from the Lyrical cover, but would still capture the essence of the story and relay the ‘horror’. David liked the mythology I used behind the creation of the monster in SUFFER THE CHILDREN, which is based on two versions of the same myth – Lilith and Lamia – and this inspired his artwork. The goddess icon in the background of the cover image is the Sumerian Lilitu, the original version of Lilith.
Diane: What else have you been working on?
Sara Jayne: I’ve just finished a new horror novel which I’ve started shopping to publishers. It’s about a group of live action role-players who inadvertently release a lich during a game, and they have to work out how to stop it as it wreaks death and destruction. I’ve enjoyed working on this novel. As well featuring LARP and other geeky hobbies, it has zombies.
While I’m trying to sell that one, though, I’ve got two more works in progress to be getting on with. One is the second book in the series about my amateur sleuth Shara Summers, fondly referred to as “the case of defenestrated rock star”.
I’m also working on a collaboration with my husband. He’s not a writer, but he’s been running tabletop RPG games for 30 years, and he’s pretty good at plotting. The book is a crime thriller set in the London music scene of the late 60s. The main character is a young woman who wants to play bass, and turns amateur sleuth when her friend goes missing. We’ve been collaborating about the plotting and I’m doing the writing but this book is at an early stage thus far.
Diane: What’s the last three books you read?
Sara Jayne: The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid – one of Britain’s best crime writers. She has a knack for creating realistic and engrossing characters. This one basically revolves around the story of a ghost writer who’s hired to write the biography of a reality TV star – and she leans that there’s more to this person than the ‘thick but well-meaning’ image that the newspaper portray. Not necessarily a likeable person, but the more you learn about the more, the more engrossed you get in her story.
Fade to Black by Francis Knight. Francis is in my writing group and I know her well. This is the first of a trilogy best described as ‘fantasy noir’ – a world that’s one giant city, with layers, where magic is frowned upon. The main character, Rojan Dizon is a pain mage and something of an anti-hero, but Francis’s writing style is easy to read and her main character so charismatic that you can’t help but grow to like him.
I’m currently reading The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde. Hard to describe this series – the second in the Nursery Crimes series. I want to say comic crime, but since it’s set in an alternate Britain there’s an element of fantasy. It’s set in a world where characters from nursery rhymes actually exist, they all live in Berkshire and a separate police division has been set up to deal with the crimes perpetuated by these characters. In this world, the Gingerbread Man is a violent and sadistic criminal (though I never did trust that guy).
Diane: You’re quite the world traveler! What’s the last place you went and what did you think of it? What are you planning for the next destination?
Sara Jayne: It’s true I have been enjoying a lot of foreign trips in recent years. They have tailed off since we moved house last year though – house maintenance, as well as moving costs, have sucked up the funds we would ordinarily be spending on travel.
We went to Vietnam with some friends two years ago, and that was the most memorable trip in a while. Everything there is so alien to the world we know – the politics, the landscape, the history, the people. The Vietnamese people are all short and dark. Westerners, being tall and fair compared to the locals, are seen as some exotic species. But the people are incredibly friendly, and Halong Bay was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
We’ve been talking to the same friends about us all taking a trip to Cambodia next year, so hopefully that will be our next memorable trip. This year sadly exotic holidays are out – we’ve spent far too much money on home maintenance. However, part of that has been sorting out the garden so if we end up stuck at home for the summer, at least we’ll be able to enjoy it.
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of horror and crime fiction. When she’s not writing she likes blasting zombies in the Resident Evil games, horror films, table top roleplaying and other forms of geekery. She lives near London with her guitarist husband and two adorable but manic kittens.