It is such a pleasure to welcome a fellow author to Interview an Author on Jemsbooks.blog. Today, please help me welcome talented author, Jane Risdon!
Thank you so much, Jane, for coming again to share a little bit about yourself and your lovely books. Here is your previous visit on Jemsbooks. I am excited to have you back! The floor is yours!
Hello, Janice, and friends, thanks for hosting me on your fab blog today.
My name is Jane Risdon, and after many years in the International Music Business living and working around the world in the USA, Singapore, Taiwan, and Europe — managing and producing recording artists, singers, songwriters, record producers, actors, and facilitating placement of music on to soundtracks for movies and television — I began writing full-time; something I’ve wanted to do since I was a youngster, devouring books by Enid Blyton, Robert Louis Stevenson, and later Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Daphne Du Maurier, John Le Carrè, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, and similar authors. I loved adventure stories, political thrillers, crime novels, and spy novels — still do.
About 12 years ago we decided we’d had enough of babysitting testosterone-fuelled musicians, and hormonal teenaged female singers; we longed for peace and quiet — we retired; life has been anything but that since then. I settled down to write.
Life had a habit of getting in the way up until then. I’d lived in Germany in my late teens and worked for the Ministry of Defence, (British) and then in London at the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), and various other departments over time, whilst my husband’s band toured and recorded around the world. When we went into business together, nothing changed; we spent our lives on the road, in recording studios, travelling in planes, tour buses, and you name it. Living out of a suitcase most of the time. Although we had a home in England which we kept, we also had a permanent place in the USA.
Although I write mostly crime stories, I dabble in other genres if the story dictates. I’ve written Women’s Fiction – including a novel, (Only One Woman), co-authored with award-winning, bestselling romance author, Christina Jones whom I met when she employed by my husband’s management team as his band’s fan-club secretary, back in the late 1960s. We’d always wanted to write together. Only, she writes romance and I prefer crime. So, it took many years before we worked out how to do it.
I’m going to be the lead panellist at the Authors’ conference out of New York, USA, March 2022, called LitCon. It’s online because of Covid, and the panel I’m hosting is, ‘The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature. Wish me luck, I am going to need it.
I’ve contributed numerous short stories to various anthologies in many genres, including crime, humour, ghost, pirate, and time-shift stories. I write for magazines, and one in particular— The Writers’ and Readers’ magazine, in which I have a series and write about my experiences in the music business. So, you could call me multi-genre, although I like to consider myself a crime/mystery/thriller writer.
My collection of short stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, (Plaisted Publishing), is my first collection of short stories, under one cover. I hope to put another collection together later in 2022. I have dozens of stories and a couple of novels sitting on my hard drive.
Usually, my short stories go into anthologies for charity, or when invited to contribute to a group of authors or publishers wanting to put a collection out. I enjoy doing it.
Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used at Western Kentucky University, Kentucky, USA, by 2nd year students, in their classes, ‘Introduction to Literature’.
Working at the FCO when younger was a fabulous opportunity for a young would-be writer. All those secrets and intrigues. I was there when the Soviet Union expelled about one hundred of our diplomates in retaliation for the British expelling dozens of theirs in their London embassy, suspected of spying. It was fascinating.
Our ambassador to Montevideo in Uruguay, Jeffrey Jackson, was kidnapped in broad daylight by extreme left-wing guerrillas, the Tupamaros, as he went to work. It was a tense time with negotiations going on 24/7 and it took 9 months to get him freed. He spent the time in a windowless cell. It was an exciting time for us, but not for him of course.
When you work for a government department such as the FCO, you have to be security cleared, something called Positively Vetted (PV), to ensure you are not or are not going to be a security risk. The Special Branch commander who PV’d me on a regular basis had an interesting past. He’d been instrumental in the surveillance and arrest of a Soviet married couple known as the Krugers, (also known as the Cohens). They were part of the infamous Portland Spy Ring of the early 1960s. They were sentenced to 20 years and in 1969 were exchanged for British citizen, Gerald Brooke, who had been arrested by the Soviets. As part of the process the Soviets confirmed that they’d been spies. All a wonderful source of material for a budding author.
I often write crime with an espionage touch or with MI5 thread going through them. Now you can see why. But I also write crime, and other stories with music imbedded in them. Write about what you know they tell you.
Being married to a musician and having lived through the most wonderful time ever – the 1960s – I’ve so many memories and experiences to call upon when writing. Only One Woman is based upon the diaries I kept as a young woman married to a guitarist who was in England to tour and record. Their (our) experiences proved invaluable when authoring the novel with Christina. She was also a rock/pop journalist as well as being the band’s fan-club secretary, so she had similar experiences and stories to weave into our novel.
My later career in the international music business has provided me with endless material for novels and short stories. Where there is power and money there is crime, corruption, and sometimes murder. Working in Hollywood and in SE Asia, it would be impossible not to be aware of what really goes on in the entertainment business. Books have been written about the criminals in the business. All great fodder for a creative mind.
Those interested might want to look up Stiffed (a true story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia) by William Knoedelseder, and The Hitmen (Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business) by Fredric Dannen, to give you a flavour of what I mean.
I use all this when writing, heavily disguised of course. I’d hate to wake up to a horse’s head in my bed, or to find myself floating down the river wearing concrete boots; several ‘characters’ and ‘players’ have disappeared, never to be seen again. One meeting with a Sicilian music attorney in Hollywood, who had a gun and baseball ball bat on his desk, is a hint I don’t need receiving twice. I intend to live long and prosper.
My latest project is a series of novels about a former MI5 Intelligence Officer, Lavinia Birdsong, who is forced to take early retirement or face the sack after a failed joint mission in Russia with MI6 partner and now former lover, Michael Dante. Lavinia is a martial art expert and is an excellent shot. She moves to a village in the Vale of the White Horse. Oxfordshire, to plan and plot how to inveigle her way back into the Security Services. My series follows her as she investigates various crimes: a missing woman, she tracks Russian Mafia (the Bratva) and Ukrainian gun and drug dealers, and generally shakes up her new neighbours a little.
My series attracted the attention of my — now — literary agent in New York. She approached me, and I took a year thinking about it, researching her, and refining my books, before agreeing to work with her. We’re hoping 2022 will be the year my series is published. Book one is completed, books two and three are in various states of completion. I decided to rewrite both of them. Silly woman! So much work.
I’m not sure I have any unusual talents. I don’t play an instrument, but I can hear and see where fingers on guitars and keyboards need to go. I can spot and nurture talent (with my hubby, of course) and I can produce a record, by that I mean I can hear the finished record in my head, have ideas about production for the producers to put into practice, and I know a hit song when it is in its most basic form. I can sing and this is handy when working in studios, and my husband is a guitarist and bass player, so creating and producing songs and music is second nature for us both.
Being wobbly about my knowledge of all things Forensic and finding TV series and books written about pathologists and detectives can often be misleading, I decided I’d better up my game in case readers started to tell me my crime scenes and methods of detection were lacking in accurate detail. Not that I write police procedurals or about pathologists but, having a little more than basic knowledge would surely help. I took seven university courses with seven universities in 2015-2017 and studied Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, and basic Archaeology. I feel more confident about investigating crime scenes – for fiction – and how our Justice system works. Rest assured I shan’t be including postmortems in any detail in my writing. I don’t do gore.
I love photography, walking, doing family history research, general knowledge questions, science, astronomy, and anything to do with space and whatever is out there. I doubt whatever it is, it’s little and green. I’ve heard tell they are gray, and others are reptiles, but it takes all sorts; who am I to question? My imagination is over-active as it is. I’ll settle for stargazing.
I’ve never sought a publisher or an agent, had never even considered having either, but here I am. My advice, if any, is to write what you know, enjoy it, and don’t stress it, if you love a good yarn, tell one; be yourself. What will be will be.
Jjspina: All I can say is WOW, Jane! You certainly have had an interesting and busy life in the music industry. You have many interesting hobbies, talents and knowledge about many aspects of life. All this knowledge and talent will be infused into your books and provide entertaining reading for all of us. I will add my review at the bottom of this post of the featured book, Undercover: Crime Shorts.
Only One Woman:
Two girls, one lead guitarist, and an epic love-triangle set in the closing years of the grooviest decade of the 20th century when young rock band, Narnia’s Children, arrive in England to tour and record. If you love the era, the music, the fashions, and the vibe of the ‘Swinging’ Sixties,’ this is for you. Guys, gals, and musicians love it for its authentism, nostalgia, and how world events, social change, coupled with fab locations in the UK, Europe, the Channel Islands of Jersey, and the Mediterranean, weave a fast-flowing tale our readers find hard to put down. They tell us they’ve read it more than once, guys included. Musicians can relate to the real-life venues, the music scene, and way of life on the road. More than a love story, Only One Woman captures modern life and attitudes as they happened, written in diary format, as they impact the lives of the characters. Be prepared for earworms as you find yourself singing along to the songs referenced in the book.
Undercover: Crime Shorts:
A collection of crimes stories to suit lovers of most sub-genres. With more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction this collection will have you on the edge of your seat as you sprint through the stories, designed for those with little time to read a novel, but wanting good yarns with a beginning, middle, and ending.
Iconic rock singer, Graham Bonnet, has written the foreword explaining how he came to record Only One Woman, written for him by the Bee Gees. Graham has sung with Rainbow, Alcatraz, MSG, Blackmore, and others and is a legend in the rock business.
Please read the reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere for my writing.
Jane Risdon’s Bio:
Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and author of ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having 17 short stories published in numerous anthologies, and writing for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradion.com, and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show. She also appears as guest author on online video podcasts and live events.
In her early years Jane worked for various British government departments including the MoD (in Germany) and the Foreign and Commonwealth office in London.
Before turning her hand to writing she worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers, and actors . They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series, living and travelling all over the world.
‘Undercover: Crime Shorts’ is being read by 2nd year students at Western Kentucky University, Kentucky, USA, in their class, ‘Introduction to Literature.’
Jane is lead panellist at LitCon — an authors’ conference based out of New York (USA) — in March 2022, for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature.
Her agent is: Langtons International Literary Agency, New York, NY USA.
Jane’s books are available on several digital platforms, including Amazon in UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, France, Brazil, and India.
Her paperback books can be ordered from Waterstones and other brick bookstores.
You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, BookBub, Pinterest,and Instagram as well as:
This is Jane’s book I am showcasing today:
Here is my review of Jane Rison’s book, Undercover: Crime Shorts:
A creative compilation of short stories that were engaging, mysterious, and gripping with a few twists and surprise endings. The stories were diverse and rich in characters and storylines.
I enjoy short stories that have a punch and are unforgettable as these were. Although this was just a teaser and not a complete set of short stories I found it enjoyable and look forward to reading the complete set.
I received a copy of this book and chose to review it without compensation.
Thank you so much, Jane, for coming today to share a little about yourself and your books. It was a pleasure to learn about your fascinating life and experiences. Please feel free to come back again when you have some new projects to share with my readers and me. Wishing you much success with your work.
Thank you, readers, for stopping by to read this post. Please check out Jane’s fascinating books on the links above. Also, please remember to review books wherever you purchased them. We authors appreciate your efforts to support us in this fashion.
Blessings & Hugs! Stay Safe, Stay Well and God Bless!
READING GIVES YOU WINGS TO FLY! SOAR WITH JEMSBOOKS ALL YEAR THROUGH! HAPPY READING!
Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina
Jemsbooks for All Ages!
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