Jennifer Lee Thomson, but I also write as Jennifer Thomson (my non-fiction books) and as Jenny Thomson (my fiction books). Jennifer Lee Thomson is full name and I’ll be writing my books under it from now on as it was one of my dad’s last wishes that I use my full birth name. He died after a long battle with cancer last year.
I’m at the age where I stop countingJ
Where are you from
Scotland. I love this country and have never wanted to live elsewhere. I used to live in a lovely island, but moved last year to near Glasgow to be near my widowed mum.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’ve been earning a (small) living from writing since I was 19, but have done various jobs such as working as a TV extra and working in a hospital laundry where I was lucky not to lose a finger after finding a scalpel in a doctor’s white coat.
I live with my wonderful partner and our rescue dog Benjy. He’s the kind of dog who’s always happy and we adopted him from the Dogs Trust. It’s the best thing we ever did.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Vile City, my first Detective in a Coma book featuring DI Duncan Waddell and his pal Stevie Campbell whose the one in a coma but who still talks to Waddell, will be published next year by Caffeine Nights. I’m so excited as I won an award for the novel in 2011 and it took me years of editing and revamping to find the right publisher.
Here’s the blurb –
DI Duncan Waddell has big problems. He’s borderline diabetic. The paperwork is piling up faster than the underwear at a porn shoot.
Now his best pal DC Stevie Campbell, who’s in a coma after being attacked by a suspect, has started to talk to him. Trouble is, only Waddell can hear him.
The last thing he needs is the country’s biggest case to land on his lap.
Three women have gone missing in the city he used to love, but is fast coming to despise, victims of the “GLASGOW GRABBER,” as their assailant has been dubbed by local hack and all round thorn in Waddell’s backside, Catriona Hastie.
Shelley Craig is the latest victim, snatched as she and her boyfriend took a shortcut through Glasgow city centre.
And she’ll do anything to make it home.
I’ve finished writing book 2 in the series, Cannibal City and I’m working on book 3, Vigilante City.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written wee stories. I kept a diary until my teens and started writing short stories. I also wrote some truly awful poetry.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I sold my first short story to a magazine called Jackie at 15 and a friend of the family cashed the cheque and the money fluttered through the letter box. I started writing articles soon afterwards
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, Bullying A Parent’s Guide was inspired by the bullying I suffered at school for years. It was a self-help book aimed at helping parents and bully survivors.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My fiction always has a sliver of dark humour throughout it. I think that’s quite a Scottish thing – even at the worst of times we can see the humour.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My titles often come from a line or theme in the book. For instance, Hell to Pay (written as Jenny Thomson) comes from my main character’s who’s raped and almost killed by the men who murdered her mum and dad. She goes all out to get revenge and decides that they’ll be hell to pay.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my books have strong women characters. That’s important to me. Women are strong in real life so why shouldn’t they be tough in books too? In Vile City, my crime/mystery novel that’s out next year, there’s two parallel stories – Inspector Waddell’s and gutsy office worker Shelley Craig who he’s trying to find. She’s been abducted and will do anything to make it home.
My zombie novel Dead Bastards has a female lead in kick ass Scottish lass Emma.
My Crimes Files trilogy – Hell to Pay, Throwaways, Don’t Come for Me – feature rape survivor Nancy Kerr and her former Special Force’s boyfriend Tommy McIntyre who join forces to solve crimes.
You can read more about them here on my publisher’s website http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/jenny-thomson
(I’m attaching a photo of the 3 books)
You can check out all my books at –
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My novels are all fictional. There are parts of people I know in some of my characters and they’re all set in Scotland.
My non-fiction books (written as Jennifer Thomson) have some of my real life experiences in them. For example, Living Cruelty Free: Life a More Compassionate Life is partly based on my 30 plus years as a vegetarian. Caring for Your Dog is based on a lifetime of caring for dogs, including one with epilepsy. I’m proud to say all my dogs have been rescue dogs.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve been influenced by Stephen King (the greatest living writer in my opinion), horror writer Shaun Hutson and being Scottish I love Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Stephen King is the king in my book. He can write anything – horror, sci-fi, fantasy and crime.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I don’t know if you’d call him an entity, but my rescue dog Benjy is the best person I know. He’s fun, listens to me reading out my work (even if it’s with his paws covering his ears) and when I’m upset he knows and cheers me up.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve made a living out of it for 25 years, so I would say so.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve reworked it so many times now I feel that its as good as it can get. The good thing is that my characters seem real to me, so hopefully they will to readers. That’s what every author hopes to achieve.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I wanted to write the kind of books I enjoyed reading.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d be delighted.
Here’s an extract from Vile City that’s out in 2017 from Caffeine Nights –
Stuart was hiding something. Shelley could tell. She was always the one who’d had to wake him because he could always block out the shrill of the alarm clock, but these days he was up before her, grabbing the mail whilst she slept. And, he’d started making breakfast – nothing much, just tea and toast, but that was more than he’d ever made her in their two and a bit years together.
When she’d calmly ask him if anything was wrong, he’d shrug his shoulders, give her a wee smile and say everything was fine. But, she knew he was lying because his face went even paler, making his freckles stand out as if they’d been drawn in by a kid with a coloured pencil. She never pushed it, maybe because deep down she was worried that he’d tell her he’d met someone else.
The No.76 bus was empty when they clambered onboard – one of the benefits of working until 11 at night in a call centre, was that there was no need to scoot past a sea of legs and become a contortionist to get on and off a bus.
Their cold breath filled the air with ghosts as they walked towards Waterstone’s, Shelley pausing to take a peek at the new crime fiction releases showcased in the illuminated windows, whilst Stuart fidgeted with his watch. He was always footering about with something since he’d given up cigarettes and it drove her mad, but at least it didn’t fill his lungs with tar and make the house smell like an overflowing ashtray.
“I need to have a pee,” he announced, as they came to the dimly lit lane off Mitchell Street that reeked of eau de Glasgow: decomposing takeaway, urine and other bodily fluids.
She groaned. “Can’t you wait until we get home, Stuart?” She knew she’d pronounced his name “Stew-art” as she always did when she was annoyed with him, but she couldn’t help it. What made men think it was okay to urinate in public?
Stuart looked pained. “Sorry, I can’t. Too much coffee tonight.”
She let him walk on ahead of her and whilst he scooted down the alley, she stood outside the amusement arcade, pretending to look in so she wouldn’t be mistaken as a prostitute. Around here, at this time of night, unaccompanied women were likely to be mistaken for prostitutes. It’d happened to her once when she’d got off the bus alone. Stuart hadn’t been working that night.
Five minutes later, she was so cold she couldn’t feel her nose and Stuart still wasn’t back.
She turned the corner to look for him, fully expecting to see him ambling back towards her with that jaunty walk that always made her smile. But, he wasn’t there.
Where was he?
Anger welled up in her chest. Had he started smoking again? He swore he wouldn’t.
There was one way to find out.
She headed down the alley. The sole light was provided from some nearby buildings so visibility was poor.
She’d walked a few steps when she spotted a bundle of rags on the ground. Was someone sleeping there?
She moved closer. Squinting into the dim light, she realised it was Stuart. He was lying motionless on the ground. He must have tripped and knocked himself out after hitting the concrete.
She ran over to him, calling out his name, the squeezing in her chest waning slightly when she knelt down and heard him groan.
She pulled her mobile phone from her bag to call for an ambulance.
She didn’t make it to the third digit. A gloved hand clamped across her mouth and nose, cutting off her airways and the phone fell from her grasp, clattering onto the cobbles. Terror gripped her and she couldn’t breathe.
As she struggled, her assailant pressed his mouth to her ear. He was so close that it occurred to her that if anyone saw them they would think he was her boyfriend whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
“Your man’s been given a strong sedative. He’ll wake up with a sore head and nothing more. But, if you scream, I’ll kick him several times in the head and he’ll never get up again. Do you understand?”
She didn’t recognise the voice, but there was an accent. Not from around here. His voice was cold and emotionless.
She nodded under his hand. Then she did something he didn’t expect: she back-heeled him in the groin.
There was a satisfying yelp as he released her.
She ran, arms pumping away like Usain Bolt’s, down towards the café at the end of the alley and safety.
She’d almost made it when he grabbed her arm and hauled her back. An electric shock shot from her elbow to her shoulder as she pulled herself free. He was too strong.
She could offer little resistance as he dragged her towards him.
Before she could scream, he punched her fully in the face and she went down with a thud jarring every bone in her body, momentarily stunning her.
As she fought to get up, he punched her in the back and she fell again.
The last thing she saw was the pavement rushing towards her before she blacked out…
END OF EXTRACT
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I write scenes from my novels as they come to me, so they’re out of order and I have to piece the book together. I don’t plan, I just write.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t travel any further than inside my head.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher does, but my few self-published books were designed by professional designers. If it was down to me it’d be little stick figures. I can’t draw to save my life.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Keeping everything organised because IO write in such a crazy, disorganised way. My reasoning is, if I know what’s happening next then so will the reader. As a reader I love to be surprised so I want anyone who reads my fiction to feel the same way.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
For the book I’ve just finished writing, Cannibal City, I had to research how Suffragettes were force-fed as that’s what my killer does to his victims.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Juliette Lewis would be ideal as Nancy Kerr in my Crime Files books.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write the type of book you like to read. Don’t copy anyone else – be yourself, find your own voice.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Read my books if you like strong female characters, a lashing of humour in your crime/mystery novels and want to be entertained. If you enjoy one of my books, please leave a review. It’s so tough to get reviews.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. It’s one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve read it dozens of times.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My parents enrolled me in the library when I was 3 or 4. I loved pop-up books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love comedy shows like The Office (the original UK version and the USA remake) and Parks and Recreation. My dog also makes me laugh because he does some crazy things.
Sad stories especially involving animals or children make me cry.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I was right. I’m a firm believer in reincarnation.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love going for walks with Benjy and playing hidden object and mystery computer games.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a big zombie fan and love The Walking Dead, ZNation and my fave movie is the original Dawn of the Dead.
I also love crime dramas like Criminal Minds and Rectify.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’m vegetarian so nothing beats a nice baked potato and salad or veggie burger.
I love lavender and our living room is painted that colour. I find it soothing.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
At one stage I wanted to be a vet, but I couldn’t put down healthy animals so that idea didn’t last.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find my blog over at www.ramblingsofafrustratedcrimewriter.blogspot.co.uk
I also have a blog for my Scottish zombie novel, Dead Bastards at www.deidbastards.blogspot.co.uk
And a blog for Living Cruelty Free: Live a more Compassionate Life www.greatestguidetolivingcrueltyfree.blogspot.com
Yep, I blog a lot.