Sunday, 26 August 2012

Author Interview with Janey Fraser - Author of The Au Pair

Janey Fraser's new book THE AU PAIR is published by Arrow (Random House) £6.99. Her previous book was THE PLAYGROUP. Before that, she wrote five novels as Sophie King for Hodder & Stoughton. She also writes short stories for women's magazines. Her background is in journalism.

Hello Janey. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and chat with me.

When did you start writing?
I have always written! Telling stories to other people (and myself) has been my way of escape for years! I was apparently a very young reader too. My first published piece of work was a letter in a girl's comic at the age of eight. I still have it somewhere. I used to get very worried at school about what I would do because everyone kept telling me that it was very difficult to write as a career. But I was lucky enough to be chosen for a prestigious newspaper graduate entry scheme that led, eventually, to a job with Woman's Own magazine. After my children were born, I turned freelance and wrote regular columns for The Daily Telegraph, The Times and a host of women's mags. One of my editors sent me to interview a young actress who was delightful. We had a great lunch and girly chat together. The following week, her new film came out and she was being toasted everywhere! Her name was Julie Walters. Like many novelists, I wrote a few books before being published. Now I see that as my self-imposed training.  

Have you ever done anything else as a career?
After my first marriage broke up, I needed to increase my income. So I applied for a job as a writer in residence of a high security male prison. I didn't really want the job at the time as I was quite scared. I knew nothing about prisons! But to my horror, I got it. Then I found that, from day one, I was hooked. I met all kinds of people there and it opened my eyes to another world. My contract was for two years but the governor extended it to three which was very flattering. At the same time, I was teaching adults to write at Oxford University's Continuing Development course. I would often go straight from the prison to Oxford but I can honestly say that the standard of writing was just as high with some of my 'students' in prison. There's a wealth of talent there - and writing can also help people to reform by expressing their emotions. I also invited famous authors to come in and talk, including Colin Dexter. Now I am one of the judges for the Koestler Trust, which runs a huge national competition for writers in prisons and mental institutions. 

Where do you get your ideas from?
Life; Snatches of conversation; Things that happen to me and others. THE AU PAIR

What book is on your bedside table?
I'm half-way through Lisa Jewell's The Making of Us which I am really enjoying. Like me, she writes from the perspective of different characters. I find this fascinating because, in real life, one person's actions affect what someone else does. So we need to show this in fiction too and one way of doing this is to write multi character viewpoint. I like to find a central stage (such as au pair land) and then people it with characters who all have an interest in that stage.

What are you working on next? 
It's the next novel for Arrow called Parent School and it's due out in March. However, I also write historicals for Italy and Germany. In fact, my last novel The Pearls was number eight in Italy. I write my historicals under my married name Jane Corry but they're not available in English yet. (My agent is still in discussion with various publishers.) You can read about it on www.janecorry.co.uk. My next historical is called THE RUBY RING and comes out in Italy this October.

Thank you Janey. I appreciate you taking some time out from your busy schedule to visit my blog and share your thoughts with us.

Janey can be found on the following websites:-