CRIMINALLY GOOD: Interview with Author J A Baker

1) So, who are you & what have you written?

My full name is Judith Baker, although I write under the name of J A Baker after discovering that there are two other writers out there with my name. Turns out there was also another writer called J A Baker as well! Who would have thought it? I am based in the north east of England and started writing a few years ago after completing my degree with The Open University. My debut novel, Undercurrent is due out with Bloodhound Books on 28th March so watch out for it! You can follow me on twitter @thewriterjude and my website is currently being updated so watch out for that too.

2) Why do you write crime fiction?

I love both reading and writing crime fiction because of the complexities of the characters and all the twists and turns that you encounter along the way. I also really enjoy the element of surprise and the eerie ambience that comes with this particular genre. Being scared and scaring others by being able to provide tension is such an enjoyable sensation.

3) What informs your crime writing?

I’m a people-watcher and thoroughly enjoy dissecting situations, getting to the nub of a problem or finding out the story behind an event. I tend to steer clear of police procedural writing as I’m not well enough informed to get it right. My background is in education and psychology, which is why I focus on the darkest recesses of a character’s mind, working out what makes them tick. It’s amazing what the most timid of characters can be driven to do when put under enormous pressure, or when faced with a really difficult situation.

4) What’s your usual writing routine?

I work full time, so most of my writing is done on an evening or at the weekend. I would love to see a time when I could do it as a full time career but for now I’m happy enough to tap away at my keyboard while everyone else watches the soaps or the football on TV!

5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?

Ooh such a difficult question! The first obvious thoughts would be The Widow or The Girl on the Train, both of which were brilliant books that focused on the workings of the characters’ minds. However, my all time favourite book and the one that inspired me to write is Tideline by Penny Hancock, so it would have to be that. Firstly, the language she used was beautiful; how she described the sounds and smells of the River Thames was just perfect. Also Penny managed to convey the borderline madness of the main character without giving anything away. Even at the end, I actually had sympathy for her despite the fact that she was completely psychotic! Now that is good writing …

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