Jackie Baldwin – Q&A

Today I’m pleased to welcome Jackie Baldwin to the blog. Jackie’s novel, Dead Man’s Prayer was published by Killer Reads on 2 September 2016

Jackie kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions.

Thank you so much for inviting me on to your blog, Janet.

1.Tell us a little about Dead Man’s Prayer.

It is a police procedural set in Dumfries, SW Scotland and featuring DI Frank Farrell, a former RC priest. A priest is murdered who was responsible for forcing Farrell out of the priesthood years ago and he must delve into the past he thought had had left behind to catch his killer. Not long after the murder, twin boys are abducted from a nursery. Farrell starts to see patterns emerge. Is the killer messing with his head or is he losing his grip on reality? He must push himself to the edge and beyond to catch a killer before anyone else winds up dead.

2. What inspired the book?

I met many priests growing up and was always struck by what a lonely and difficult life it seemed to be. I am also fascinated by psychology and how the human mind reacts when placed under stress. I wanted to explore how having led such a life would impact on someone in the secular world.

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?  

I do plan because I feel insecure just launching off with nothing to guide me. That doesn’t mean I stick to the plan rigidly. All my notes for the novel are in a hard-backed A4 book and when I flick back to the beginning I am surprised at how much has changed and evolved from my original conceptions. There are so many choices and forks in the road at the beginning of a novel it is enough to drive you crazy. This particular book, I am ashamed to say took me 11 years, although it did languish in a drawer for quite a few of those years when life got in the way.

4. What did you discover about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?

I was surprised by how real my characters became to me, almost as if they were actual people. At times it would be as if I was overhearing a snatch of conversation between them.  

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

My favourite thing is to go on holiday as I love the stimulus and excitement of discovering new places and ways of living. I had a week in Russia fairly recently and it was just so fascinating I was buzzing. However, as we have two dogs, we can’t go far away too often. I love to visit Northumberland as it is the most dog friendly place I have ever been. Every little village has at least one dog friendly place to eat or drink and the girls can just run for miles on almost deserted beaches.  

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

What a desperate prospect! Let me see…I would go for ‘Jane Austen, Her Complete Novels.’  Is that cheating?

7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Are you in any writing groups?

Yes. I am in two. Crime and Publishment is an annual weekend of crime masterclasses, in Gretna.  Moffat Crime Writers meets once a month. Writing can be a lonely business and being in both these groups has made such a difference to me. It’s great to meet up with like- minded people who don’t look at you as if you are mad when you talk about the voices in your head or different ways to kill people!

Thanks very much for answering my questions and for appearing on my blog. 



About the book:


“Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood fifteen years earlier.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inextricably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when twin boys go missing. One twin is recovered in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?

As Farrell investigates the two cases he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.”

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