Wendy Jones – Scottish Detective Novelist and Bookaholic

Wendy JonesWendy Jones is the author of the Detective Inspector Shona McLeod Mysteries. Her passions are God, reading, technology, blogging and social media. She lives in Dundee, Scotland and kindly decided to have a seat in my virtual interviewee chair. You can follow her on Google+, the blogs Bookaholic or Learning from Life . She also has her own book review site Book Review and Writing Blog Wendy,

Vago: Let’s start with the easy stuff ….you were in the British Military! Wow. Which novel about the British Military is your favorite? Why?

Wendy: I was in the British Military both the Army and The Royal Navy for 23 years, although I should probably point out I was a nurse. It is really difficult to choose my favourite book about the Military but if I was to choose a series I would have to say the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. These are so well written and Cornwell has an eye for detail and a writing style which brings both the story and the characters alive. The books take you back to a time when men were men and women were… Well I won’t go into what the camp followers did but sufficient to say they dispensed general comforts to the troops. They show the Army as they were then.

The Naval equivalent of these is the Jack Aubrey novels by Patrick O’Brian. Also a sweeping series which takes you back to life in the Royal Navy warts and all. These are epic adventures which are well worth reading.

Vago: Shona McLeod. Tell us about her. What does she do? How long has she done it? How did she get into it?

Wendy: Shona McLeod is a 30 year old Detective Inspector in the Tayside Police. She joined the police after completing her Degree in Forensic Science. She loves being in the CID and it she was like she was born to it. Born in Dundee, she moved to Oxford at the age of 2 when her father got a position at the University. She returned to Dundee just under a year ago following her husband when he moved for his job. Unfortunately her husband then left her so she is single and has sworn off men.

Vago: You’ve left the rat race. How so? What are you doing now?

Wendy: A few years ago I was very ill and it made me realise how fragile life can be. I was living in Southampton at the time and decided it was time for me to move back to Dundee. I bought a house up here and have started writing novels. I have just finished my first book in The Detective Inspector Shona McLeod Mysteries and it is currently out with Beta Readers. I will be looking for a publisher or will self-publish if this is not possible.

I am currently planning book number two and have ideas for a further seven. It is so exciting to be able to write full time and I am really enjoying it. As I say life is short so I intend to make sure I enjoy every minute of mine. I would highly recommend others do the same. Take that first step and follow your dream.

Vago: Tell us about Dundee.

Wendy: Dundee has a population of 150,000 so not very large. It is still, however, the fourth largest city in Scotland. It lies on the estuary of the River Tay which is a famous salmon fishing river. It started life as a whaling village and is famous for Jam Jute and Journalism. Dundee Marmalade originates from here as does Dundee Cake. The journalism is D.C. Thompson who produce the Dandy and the Beano comic amongst many others. We have statues of Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan in the centre of the city, both characters form the comics

The tagline for the City is one City many Discoveries. This incorporates the ship RS Discovery which was built in Dundee and now lives there. This is the ship which took Scott of the Antarctic on his trip to the Antarctic. It is a beautiful city with a first class university and friendly and generous residents.

Vago: Are you a religious or spiritual person? What role does God play in your work and your writing?

Wendy: I consider myself a practicing Christian and am heavily involved in my local church. With regards to my writing it is not overtly Christian but I do write for a crossover market in that anyone can read my books. With regards to writing murder mysteries this can be a challenge but I was always one to rise to a challenge. As I was always told in the Army there are no problems just solutions. That has served me well in my writing.

Vago: Who is your favorite musician? Why is he or she your favorite?

Wendy: This is quite a hard question as I love music and listen to many different types. However, if I were to choose just one I would have to say Josh Groban. His music calms and inspires me and he never fails to surprise in the songs he brings out. Josh also seems to be a genuinely nice person who cares about his fans. He reaches out to them and engages with them on a personal level.

Vago: What about writing influences? Who has had the most impact on your writing?

Wendy: This has to be the hardest question of them all. I always introduce myself as “I’m Wendy and I’m a Bookaholic”. I seriously love books and have been reading since I was three. The first murder mysteries I read were the Famous Five, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I started reading adult murder mystery writers when I was at primary school. Mind you they were all a bit tamer than they are now.

If I were to choose a modern author then I am going to go for Stuart MacBride he is a Scottish Author who writes Police Procedurals set in Aberdeen. I started thinking about writing my series because I wanted to do for Dundee what he has done for Aberdeen. One of his Characters, DI Steel, who is not the main detective, is honestly the funniest character in a book – ever. He is a great writer.

Vago: What book do you suggest all writers read? Why? What book do you suggest all readers read? Why?

Wendy: The book I suggest all writers read is How Not to Write a Novel by Howard Mittelmark. This book basically goes through all the things that new and aspiring writers do wrong but in a humorous way. I laughed my way through it and learned so much at the same time. A great way to learn.

It is difficult to choose a book that everyone would like but I am going to go with a Scottish writer here. My choice would be Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott. This was written in 1817 and is a story of the Jacobite Rebellion. It’s a great story if you want to know more about Scottish History. Rob Roy MacGregor was one of the most famous Scottish Folk Heroes of all time.

Vago: What is your next project?

Wendy: My next project is the second book of the DI Shona McLeod mysteries and I am currently planning this out. As with the first book I do a rough plan and then let the story tell itself as I write. The first draft of Killers Countdown the first book was written in a month as part of National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo). I found this pressure worked for me so I may do my own personal NaNoWriMo for this book.

Vago: What’s your favorite number Wendy? Why?

Wendy: Having thought about this I have decided my favourite number is seven. This is because the number seven is so important in the bible and I find this fascinating.

Vago: Please make a prediction of something interesting that will happen in 2013. (You aren’t accountable if it does or doesn’t happen unless you do it) –

Wendy: I think there is going to be increasing turmoil in the world as 2013 develops and we may see major nations struggle even further than they are now. Some major nations may even crumble. By the way I hope this is one prediction which doesn’t come true.

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