Interview with Jo Fenton, Author of Revelation
25 Feb 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Revelation?
It’s set in early 1989 in Manchester, and follows 2 students, Becky and Dan, in the aftermath of the suspicious death of their friend, Rick.
Revelation is a story of unrequited love, grief, friendship, prejudice, revenge and the challenges of being a student in the late 80’s.
It’s a crime thriller, so there is plenty of intrigue, suspense and suspicion.
This is the start of a series, and Revelation is a prequel – with the next in the series starting 30 years later in the present day.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
My husband always said I should write a book, but it was a combination of events that got me started. Early in 2011, I did a touch typing course, which allowed me to get my ideas down on paper in a manageable format, and I started by writing a few short stories.
Then in October of that year, I heard about NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. My husband suggested I should give it a go, and I sat down to think about what I could write about. The concept of my first novel, The Brotherhood, popped into my head within about 5 minutes, and 6 years later (almost to the day) I finished writing the last draft, and starting submitting it to agents and publishers.
I was lucky enough to be taken on by Crooked Cat in December 2017. They have published The Brotherhood, its sequel The Refuge, and are now, under the Darkstroke imprint, publishing Revelation.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Gaudy Night – Dorothy L Sayers (beautifully written, character driven, and tightly plotted. Inspirational.)
On The Night of The Seventh Moon – Victoria Holt (love the dark gothic intrigue, and the romantic but terrifying setting.)
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (another brilliantly written novel, with fascinating characters and a disturbing dark side.)
The Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (the whole series is so well constructed. Attention to detail is perfect, and the plotting is immaculate. Brilliant world building and character development.)
His Dark Materials series – Philip Pullman (I only read this recently, but was struck with another example of fantastic world building, plotting and character development. I also loved how the author explores current issues through his fantasy world.)
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
JK Rowling – one of my questions, that has been burning a hole in my brain for a long time, is whether the cat, Mrs Norris, was based on the character from Mansfield Park. I’m sure I could find some other questions to ask too.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love escaping into a world of my own creation, and having the power to dictate what happens in that world. Although sometimes my characters tell me what’s going to happen, and that’s pretty exciting too.
What is a typical day like for you?
I have a full time job in Clinical Research as a manager, so I have to fit my writing in around that. I try to write for 15-30 minutes a day before work, as my brain is often frazzled by the end of the day. During the evenings, I usually manage to fit in some time for social media and marketing activities, but my favourite writing time is at weekends, when my husband and kids are at football, and I get a couple of hours to sit and immerse myself in my latest work in progress.
What scene in Revelation was your favorite to write?
There’s a scene about half way through, when Dan is struggling with his grief so badly, that he finds himself on a bridge over a railway. I loved writing that scene, because it allowed me to delve into the emotions that led him there and his subsequent terror.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I have a set of rules that I try to live by:
‘Challenge yourself to be as amazing as possible.
Be kind to others. Most people will be kind back. The others aren’t worth worrying about.
Move out of your comfort zone whenever possible. Your comfort zone will become huge.’
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