Jacqueline Ward is the author of the DS Jan Pearce crime fiction series including Random Acts of Unkindness, Playlist for a Paper Angel, and What I Left Behind.
[Question]: What kinds of research did you do for your the Jan Pearce series?
[Jacqueline]: The Jan Pearce series is set in Saddleworth in the North West of the UK and references the infamous Moors Murders. I had to research not only the facts, but the effects this had on local people as one of my character’s timeline was at the time this happened. I also had to research moorland animals and soil types for a scene in Random Acts of Unkindness, and for Playlist for a Paper Angel I had to interview and lap dancers to get an in depth view of their work – anything less would have been an insult to them.
[Question]: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
[Jacqueline] I read a novel called The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas that made me realise that stories were not straightforward. She later brought out a writing book called Monkeys with Typewriters that is my go-to book when starting a novel. I learned a lot about subtext from Margaret Atwood’s novels. The best tip I have ever had from a writing book is from John Yorke’s Into the Woods – be the avatar.
[Jas]: You write both novels and screenplays - what do you find satisfying about each? What about each is the most challenging?
[Jacqueline] Novel writing is very different from screenplay writing. My first love is novel writing because I love the story arc and the depth of character and location that is possible, as well as choice of psychic distance. Screenplay writing in satisfying because it is immediately three dimensional and minimalistic – so much can be achieved with so few words.
[Jas]: What’s your favorite movie and why?
[Jacqueline] My favourite movie is the “Wizard of Oz.” I love this movie because of the lasting imagery and the different things it has meant to different people over the years. The longevity of it has been proven in Wicked, which is my favourite musical. I also like “It’s a Wonderful Life” which I watch every single Christmas and it never gets old for me. My favourite movie genre is the old Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire dance movies – I could watch them all day! Modern day movies –“The Matrix,” Bridget Jones films and “The Notebook.”
[Jas]: What is your next project?
[Jacqueline] My next project is very exciting. I now have a two-book deal with Atlantic Books and I am working on the first of those books, Perfect Ten. I am working on edits and I am very excited about publication early next year. Perfect Ten is a departure for me. I usually write police procedural, but Perfect Ten is a psychological thriller/women’s fiction crossover. I really enjoyed writing it and my next book with also be a psychological thriller –I will be returning to DS Jan Pearce in the future.
[Jas]: Why are you drawn to crime fiction?
[Jacqueline] I initially tried to write chick-lit, but always ended up with a murder! It took me three novels to realise that I was a crime writer. I have a doctorate in psychology and I am very interested in what makes a psychopath, and this is often in the background of my crime novels.
[Jas]: What do you do to relax? Relieve stress?
[Jacqueline] I am a complete workaholic. The only thing that truly relives stress for me is spending time with my family and running. I have three grown up children and four grandchildren, and I try to see them as often as I can. I also have a dog called Naz and he is a great distraction.