Name Judith Baker
Age Too old to tell!
Where are you from
I was born in Middlesbrough and have lived in various places across the north east including spending many happy years in Billingham but now live in a village near Darlington
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc I am married with four grown up children and a grandson. I work as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school and studied for an MA with the Open University. When I’m not working and writing I enjoy delving into my family tree which has proved to be anything but dull!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am ¾ of the way through writing my latest book!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I dabbled for a few years and then dedicated my time to my OU studies. I began to take it really seriously about two years ago.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
2nd December 2016 when Bloodhound Publishers accepted my manuscript!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
We moved house and a river runs at the bottom of our garden. I thought about how good it would be use the setting for a thriller story. From that moment on, Undercurrent started to take form….
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I do tend to write in the present tense which I realize isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I find it gives my writing more impact.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It quite literally came to me one morning and I knew at that moment that it would stick.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I wanted the readers to think of the river as having its own characteristics and the fact that we should all be in awe of its power and strength.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Apart from the setting, it’s all fictitious although my husband reckons I used some of his everyday phrases in there and is claiming intellectual rights on them! Seriously though, everything in there is completely made up.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I don’t think there is one single book. I read a lot and it’s been an accumulation of ideas and themes from novels that have formed my ideas and helped me along the way. The books that have really stuck in my mind over a period of years have been Tideline by Penny Hancock and The Shining by Stephen King which scared the bejesus out of me.
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?
I am always in awe of anyone who is tenacious enough to write a novel knowing how time consuming and difficult it is. I don’t stick to one author but am more drawn to plot/storyline. I’m currently reading Alice Feeney – Sometimes I Lie and love her writing style.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Ooh tricky one as everyone has been so brilliant! Since I now have two jobs I’m going to combine my colleagues at Bloodhound Publishers and the school I work at as they have been outstanding in their support of my new career. I really, really cannot thank them enough for their unwavering support and help.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely! I didn’t realize how busy it is and how soon it can become a full time job!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Apart from making it all even more sinister, I don’t think I would alter anything!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved writing since being a child. When I was little I used to read books and rewrite them in my own words so I think it’s always been in me. Like many people, life got in the way for many years but then a few years back, I had enough time to dedicate myself to writing a full novel.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Absolutely! It’s another psychological thriller set in a coastguard’s cottage set high up on a cliff on the North East coast where inclement weather rages. I can’t give too much away but suffice to say it involves lots of secrets and mystery and has a good twist at the end!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time. I never seem to have enough of it. I work full time so have to write on an evening when my brain is feeling pretty frazzled. Fortunately I tend to cram most of my writing into the school holidays
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fortunately I don’t as I use settings that are often already familiar to me but perhaps in the future I can persuade my husband that we need a holiday in order for me get ideas for my books. Wouldn’t that be nice? Watch this space!…
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Bloodhound Books have their own designer and they do the most amazing covers that encapsulate the overarching theme of the books. They are always breathtakingly brilliant.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Because I dip in and out of writing when time allows, it’s really hard to remember what’s been written so I often have to go back to the beginning and track through it to remind myself of what I have written and what clues I’ve put in there.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned how to be disciplined with my time and how to manage it properly. I’m also trying to improve my grammar and use of language so it has more of an impact for the reader. I’m constantly thinking about new phrases and how to word certain parts of the story so they pack a bigger punch.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I would love for Phoebe in Undercurrent to be played by Tilda Swinton or Emily Watson. Such strong characters.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep on writing and never give up hope. I submitted to literally dozens and dozens of agents and publishers, quite a few of whom expressed interest and a lot of whom didn’t even reply. In the end I got the offer from Bloodhound and have never looked back.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoyed reading Undercurrent as much I enjoyed writing it. It quite literally took over my life for nearly two years and I’ve received some fantastic responses saying how much they loved it so I would like to thank them. A positive review from a reader keeps writers going when they feel like giving up. I hope you all enjoy my next novel just as much as my debut.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney and also Perfect People by Peter James
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
When I was at school I loved reading anything and everything but have a strong memory of reading a biography about Annie Oakley which I loved.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I cried when I read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and I laugh all the time with friends and family. I’m quite blessed.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I think it would have to be Edgar Allan Poe because I loved reading his stories when I was a teenager so I would ask him where he got his ideas from.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
No headstone for me. I would like to be scattered to the four winds.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
We have a very high maintenance garden which takes a lot of looking after, even in the dead of winter!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch a great deal of TV as that’s when I tend to do my writing but have to say I’m a sucker for The Great British Bake Off and Location, Location. I do like to watch the odd scary film and the most recent ones which I thought were utterly brilliant were the Other Side of the Door and Backtrack with Adrian Brody.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favourite food is chocolate without a doubt. Colour – Purple. Music – Anything and everything ranging from Pink Floyd to Take That!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I always wanted to be a librarian so I could have a go of that stamp…
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? I do indeed and welcome any contact from readers. You can find me at www.jabakerauthor.com I also have an author page on Facebook which is J A Baker. You can also find me on Twitter at @thewriterjude
Anyone wanting to buy Undercurrent can find it at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XT425W6/
Thank you for these questions! It’s been a privilege taking part.