Jenny Blackhurst grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her husband and children. Growing up she spent hours reading and talking about crime novels – writing her own seemed like natural progression. Inspired by the emotions she felt around her own son’s birth, How I Lost You is Jenny’s thrilling debut crime novel.
Welcome to Compulsive Readers Jenny and thank you for agreeing to answer my questions.
As you know I am a HUGE fans of both your books Before I Let You in and How I Lost You but for those readers who haven’t yet read them can you please explain a bit about each book?
How I Lost You is about a woman who has served 4 years in a psychiatric facility for murdering her son. Then on her release she receives a picture of a four year old child with her son’s name on the back…
Before I Let You In is about a group of women who have been friends forever with Karen at their head. Karen is a psychiatrist and the mother hen of the group and when one of her patients knows a bit too much about her and her friends she has to decide how far she will go to protect them…
Tell me about the reasons behind the book titles of your first two books – both have 4 words and both ending in You?
The first one is a boring story – I named the book Cradle and All then subsequently found out that some virtually unknown by the name of Patterson, also published by Headline, had beaten me to it. I was given some suggestions and liked How I Lost You.
Number two came about from the Al Wilson song, The Snake. It’s about an old story of a woman who takes in a dying poisonous snake, nurses it back to health and it bites her. As she lies dying she asks the snake why he would bite her after she saved its life and he says ‘you knew damn well I was a snake before you let me in.’ I was at a party when I heard it and scrawled the lyrics in eyeliner on a napkin – my book was basically conceived on a table at a party.
Are you writing a third book and if so what can you tell us about it?
I’m currently editing Book Three, called The Foster Child. It’s about a child who everyone says is evil because Bad Things happen to people who upset her. Imogen Reid works for Child Services and she is determined to prove that Ellie is just a messed up kid – until she gets on the wrong side of Ellie herself…
Both your books have wonderful quotes and recommendations from some of my favourite authors (Alex Marwood, Clare Mackintosh, Sharon Bolton, Helen Fitzgerald) do you get tongue tied or start fangirling when you meet some of these authors in real life?
I can’t talk to Sharon Bolton when I see her in person. I’m such a fan it’s ridiculous and I’m scared I’ll say something really stupid so I just avoid her. We were literally sat in the same room for an entire day recently and I just pretended I couldn’t see her. I’m sure she’s really lovely, maybe I’ll manage a smile next time I see her (then worry I have lipstick on my teeth).
Alex and I were introduced by our mutual agent so I didn’t get the luxury of avoiding her, but she is wonderfully easy to talk to and very funny. It was her book, The Wicked Girls, that made me want to submit to our agent so I feel like I owe her a debt of gratitude for that. Helen is a huge name and I loved The Cry so much but she was so lovely when I met her, it’s hard to fangirl too long when people are so down to earth. It’s weird with Clare because I love her books and I obviously know of her success but we started chatting just after she’d read How I Lost You – her book hadn’t even been released then and no one had heard of her yet. We kind of started the journey together and I’m ridiculously pleased for her and her success.
If I gave you 3 superhuman powers for a day what would you choose and why?
The power to write an amazing first draft in a day.
That Johnny 5 one where he reads books in about 30 seconds.
The one Samantha has in Bewitched where she wiggles her nose and the housework gets done.
What’s your favourite takeaway and are you a good cook?
Chinese is my favourite takeaway – probably because my husband hates it and so I don’t have it enough to get bored of it. I’m a reasonable cook – although I’m usually reading a book or watching Netflix while cooking and so dinner ends up slightly charred!
We’ve met a couple of times (Crime in the Circle and Harrogate) and something struck me as odd. In photo 1 you are pregnant and about 3ft 4″ tall and in photo 2 at Harrogate you’ve had your baby and you’ve grown 2 feet, can you please explain this?
Are you sure you’re not shrinking? (Also I wasn’t pregnant at Crime in the Court – I was drunk and bloated!)
whoops… embarrassed face… I meant you had just had your baby!
Do you have any disgusting habits or strange superstitions?
I always touch wood – boring but essential. If I’m doing a writer thing and I forget to wear my Pandora bracelet I convince myself something is about to go horribly wrong.
I’m not telling you my disgusting habits – you can’t keep a secret.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
1) Finish The Foster Child
I didn’t want to bring this up but you mentioned it first in a private message – you have rather large boobs – where do you buy your underwear?
My latest haul is from Primark – they have some really good bras in big sizes! Asda is good, and if I’m feeling fancy, Bravissimo. For the interview will you put Agent Provoceteur and make me look classy?
Finally, I have a quick fire round and you have to tell me which you prefer:
A: Coffee or Tea? Tea
B: PC or Mac? Mac
C: Ketchup or Mustard? Ketchup
D: Cake or Pie? Cake
E: Sky dive or bungee jump? Sky Dive
F: Hardwood or carpet? Carpet