By Sara Jayne Townsend
I love the theatre. The first time I was on stage, I was five years old, appearing in a school production of PETER RABBIT. I was a flower in Mr McGregor’s garden. I had to sit cross-legged on stage wearing a headpiece of construction-paper petals, singing about what a fine garden it was.
That’s when I was bitten by the bug, and I got involved in all the productions I could at school after that. However, I was never all that good at acting. I was, however, a very good reader, and supremely organised. In junior school this meant I was always the narrator, and in high school I was always the stage manager.
Later on I got involved in amateur dramatics. Although this was a lot of fun, and I spent many happy years involved in plays, time was always a factor. It’s bad enough trying to fit the writing around the day job. When involved in a play, I was going straight from work to the theatre, and straight from the theatre to bed, fitting in eating and sleeping whenever I could. Writing got put on the back burner.
When I made a conscious decision to be more disciplined about finding time to write, I decided reluctantly that the amateur dramatics had to go – there just weren’t enough hours in the day to fit it in with everything else.
Occasionally, I miss it. But I think the decision to make my amateur sleuth, Shara Summers, a professional actress was one way of bringing the theatre back into my life again. I am able to transfer that thrill of adrenalin when the curtain goes up on the first night to her. I am able to use my experiences with the theatre as part of her back story. Various anecdotes from theatrical friends have found their way into DEATH SCENE.
I also thought that an actress would possess useful personality traits for an amateur sleuth. Shara is nosy and forceful, and not afraid to poke her nose in where it’s not wanted, in order to solve the crime. She is able to don disguises and take on different personas in order to infiltrate a place to hunt for clues.
Sarah-Jayne's latest release is Death Scene available now from Lyrical Press. Here's the blurb:
After her aunt is found dead at the bottom of the stairs the death is deemed an accident. Shara suspects otherwise. Her investigation unearths shocking family secrets and a chilling realization that could have far-reaching and tragic consequences that affect not only her own future, but Astrid’s as well.
Sara-Jayne Townsend writes horror and crime fiction. Whichever genre she writes in, somebody always dies in a horrible way. By day, she works as a Personal Assistant at a medical college. At night, she kills people off in her writing. She admits to basing characters who meet unfortunate ends in her stories on people in real life, but she’s not saying which ones.
She is a UK-based writer, living in Surrey with her guitarist husband and two cats, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there.
She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group, the longest-running writing group in London specialising in genre fiction.
Questions? Comments? Sara-Jayne would love to hear from you! :)