Where do your ideas come from? – Guest Post by Jane Isaac

Today I’m pleased to welcome author Jane Isaac to the blog. Jane is the author of An Unfamiliar Murder, The Truth Will Out and Before It’s Too Late. Her first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, featuring DCI Helen Lavery, was re-released on 1 March 2016. Jane has kindly written a guest post discussing where her ideas come from.

Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

I was doing a talk at a book club a while ago when I was asked this question. Well, no. It actually went a little more like this, “Are your mysteries based on reality, cases from the past, or simply just a stab in the dark?”

While we all merrily chortled away at her little pun, I took a breather to wrack my brains. I’ve been to literary festivals where writers have been asked this question and said, “Everywhere… They’re all around me.” There are those that claim the idea came to them in a dream (I wish!).  Neil Gaiman openly admits that his stories are complete figments of his own imagination, and Ian Rankin keeps a file of newspaper cuttings that he wades through for inspiration for his next book. But I don’t do any of this.

My fascination lies with people, and how they react when you take them out of the realms of normality, so I usually start with my characters. My books are psychological crime thrillers/police procedural crossovers. When I start a new project I usually consider the opening – putting somebody normal, somebody like you or I, in an extraordinary situation. As the mystery unravels and we begin the police chase to solve case and track down the killer, we also explore the perspective from the victim’s point of view.

I guess it derives from a great sense of nosiness. When I was growing up, my mother was always telling me to, “Stop staring!” Even now, I love to sit in cafes, stand in the supermarket queue, wander around the stores watching how people react in certain situations. It’s that all important ‘what if’ scenario that captivates me. Most of us tend to live in a little bubble of habits that are tried and tested, that we take for granted. We drift through our days and don’t give them a second thought. But it’s when things go wrong, run differently, that fascinates me. How do we react to the extraordinary?

So, no, my initial ideas aren’t a stab in the dark, they don’t derive from reading real crime (that comes later with the research), nor from the news that persistently clogs my television. They are born out of nosiness, and flourish with the assistance of a rather overactive imagination. And my answer to the question? “My ideas come from everyday people. In essence, they come from you!”

About the Book:


“Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder inquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim…

Leading her first murder investigation, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?”

Find out more here.

About the author:


Jane Isaac lives writes detective novels with a psychological edge. She lives with her husband and daughter in rural Northamptonshire, UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. On 1st March 2016 she re-released her first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, originally published in the US in 2012, which was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ Later in the year her fourth book, Beneath the Ashes, will be published by Legend Press.

You can find out more about Jane here.

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