Interview: Jenny Morton Potts, author of HIDING {giveaway}

Hiding

interview (1)

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Another (very successful) author read my novel ‘Piano from a 4th Storey Window’. He admired my work and asked me to write a thriller with him. I had been writing non genre literature and wasn’t sure I could ‘do’ thrillers. But I loved it. LOVED it!

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

It’s something hardwired in me. Firstly, just a huge love of words and the magic of them. I didn’t come from a bookish background but once I found stuff like ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ and ‘The 39 Steps’ as a kid, I was off.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing plays at about nine. I directed them, produced them, cast them (myself in the leading role, obv).

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I still write plays. I’m writing one now about a woman who is to be killed by the robot she has lived with for decades (her contractual time is up). Her son is sharing her last hours too.

Used to write lots of short fiction.

I’ve had quite a lot of poetry published and I still read a lot of poetry.

Mostly novels though.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

Oh lordy, that’s an essay. Every art form is story telling whether it has words or not. Art brings us the world’s joy and pain and everything in between. Without it, what would we be?

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

I’m not sure what this means. I’m overwhelmed with the earth, its benevolence and its cruelty but I don’t think I’m spiritual in the sense I imagine the question implies.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Its voice.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Death. The death in my hands.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Spending time with the characters. I love them all; the very small to the very old. I care for them deeply.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

Not really ‘underrepresented’. We know about vulnerable people. We know that people are in difficulty around us but it is very difficult to resolve, or to even involve yourself. And of ourse suffering has a way of creating hell amongst the undeserving.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Solzhenitsyn, Tartt, Forster, Kate Millett, Colette, Smiley. I love comedy writers too. They are a huge influence in my life, so surely make their mark on the page.

The above have all had a huge imact on my mind, and they must affect my writing therefore, though quite in what specific way, I couldn’t say.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

I learned to classify my thoughts, to answer (some) questions, to find a way of being (somewhat) understood.

The most destructive is the rejection and whilst one can always learn from that, the toll is hefty.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Full time, till I drop.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I’ve been mostly in sales and marketing. I lived in France for a long time running my own business. I had a job as a director in a marketing firm. The boss there was, um, a character. I wrote a story about it called, ‘The Wonderful World of Wankler (with a silent ‘l’)’ . I’ve never tried to publish it.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Mostly contemporary literature. Lots of poetry (so happy with all the new rappers and fab performance poets coming up now). But anything really, ‘as long as it’s brilliant,’ as French & Saunders used to say.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I have three more thrillers/domestic noirs written and need to edit them a little before publishing this year. Also, I am writing a book with another man which will be a bit triptychy, like The Hours: Anna Magdalena Bach (wife of), Pau Casals (the cellist) and a batshit crazy author lady with an autistic child.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Writing psych thrillers set in amazing locations (but always with one strand in Blighty). I’d love to travel to these places but can’t till my son is finished schooling.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

How can your books be so serious, yet so hilarious, Jenny? How, how, HOW?

(and this is me) I don’t know. I’m just blessed (holding hand tenderly on heart).

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Standing on my head? With my neck? No. I am always thinking of writing, including in the shower, but I don’t actually take a notebook and pen in with me. (I have written underwater though, with a diver’s notebook. Overrated.)

What book do you wish you could have written?

I’ve never had that response because a book is like a person. You can’t be another one.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Well, when I started writing, I don’t know that I had read a book. Of course there are the authors mentioned above but I am also incredibly attentive to screenplay writers. Dare I say that I think screen dramatists are blazing the trail?

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Ha! Well, I used to have a theatre company, so I’d be bound to pick some of my old pals there, but of famous people, Dame Jude for ‘Primmy Anctillious Brown’, Sairse Ronan for ‘Rebecca’, Max Minghella for ‘Keller’, Derek Jacobi for ‘Ralph’, Helen McRory, Tom Hollander, Tom Hiddleston, Jennifer Garner etc etc.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Very, very important. I spend a lot of time in this and I know when I have fallen upon the right one. I am always looking and analysing and judging names. On credits, lists, everywhere. Love names.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I can’t think of one.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I don’t think I’ll have one but I would do the dishonourable thing and leave that for my partner to decide. Probably a Victoria Wood quote.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility, hands down.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

It would be Jenny Mouse, as I sign myself on many a card. And a mouse costume. A grey mouse costume.

What literary character is most like you?

Any female protagonist with a calm exterior whilst on the inside, her guts are being ripped out.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Patagonia.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

I’d like to be a spider monkey, but more accurately, one of these meerkats peeking in and out of the burrow.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Securing the safety of my child (the most talented, happiest, painter boy on earth) who has a profound language handicap.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I have a mild Scottish accent, which is ok. I’d stick with that.

 

Aboutthebook (1)

hiding cover

Hiding

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice. 

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

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abouttheauthor (1)

Hiding - jenny

Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realised she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with family.

She tries not to take herself too seriously.

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