Today we travel to Edinburgh, Scotland to chat with Jess Faraday about how family time, outrageous stories, a standing desk, martial arts, a mohawk, Scooby Doo, being supernaturally patient, and monsters fit into the journey of Jess’s life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi Camilla! I’m a writer and editor living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In which genre do you write?
I write historical mysteries, many of them with LGBTQ main characters and themes.
How many published books do you have?
I have four novels, two novellas, and a short story collection. I’m currently working on novel number five.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
Whenever my family gets together, we spend a lot of time cracking each other up with funny or outrageous stories, complete with different voices and getting up and acting out the different parts. It was only a matter of time before one of us started writing stories. Actually, Julian May (a distant cousin) beat me to it. But, like I said, it was only a matter of time.
How did you figure out that it was what you should be doing?
At some point I realized that no matter which job I was doing — and I’ve had a lot of different jobs — I always hurried through my work so I’d have time to write stories at the end of the day before going home.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I can’t sit still. I work at a standing desk, and work out all of my plot kinks while running or walking the dog.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
I have two mascots: my dog and cat, who curl up near my feet while I write, and hang out with me in the back yard while I run through my martial arts routines.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I’m a keen runner and martial artist. Before the pandemic, I ran 10K and half marathon races and was a member of my local taekwondo club. Now I do my taekwondo in the backyard. =)
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?
Recently I decided I was bored with my hair. I had a very nice stacked, angled bob, but I’d had it for a while. So I went to my regular salon. The woman who usually cuts my hair had left, so they asked if I wouldn’t mind working with a newly-qualified stylist. He looked about 16, had sleeve tattoos and the sides and back of his head shaved. I was feeling adventurous, so I said “Sure!”
I explained to him what I wanted and showed pictures. “Oh, like mine?” He asked, pointing to his own hair. “No,” I said. “Nothing like yours.” I showed him the pictures again. He nodded and went off.
Suddenly there’s a buzzing noise, and before I know it, he’d mohawked me on my left side. We looked at each other, wide-eyed. Then he glanced over at his boss. He looked very worried.
“It’s all right,” I said. “It’s only hair. It’ll grow back. But perhaps you could leave a bit more on the other side so I’m not completely bald.”
In the end, it turned out to be one of the best haircuts I’ve ever had. I tipped generously.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
Oh, hands down the original Scooby Doo. It was in reruns by that time, but it’s still my most favorite kind of story: humorous ghost and monster tales that turn out to be greedy humans in the end.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
I’m really enjoying How to Get Away with Murder right now. Viola Davis is incredible, and the storytelling is absolutely astounding.
Do you believe things happen for a reason?
I believe that events have causes — usually complicated chains of interlocking events. Sometimes those chains of events make great stories.
But do I believe that there’s some Great Plan? No.
Things happen, people react to them, other people react to the reactions, and sometimes this creates unexpected results. Sometimes those results are serendipitous, and these are the chains of events that make great stories.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I am almost supernaturally patient. This is really important when it comes to getting everything right. It can be maddening to go over and over the same story until everything is exactly right. But it’s one of the most important parts of the process.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
All of Scotland is gorgeous, but I really, really love Edinburgh, with its rolling green hills, cobblestone streets, and centuries-old buildings.
I first saw Edinburgh years ago, while my husband and I were visiting his brother’s family in Aberdeen. At that time, I told my husband that if he ever had the opportunity to find work there, he wouldn’t even have to ask. My bags would be packed by the next morning.
It took many years, but it finally happened. We live here now, and I’ve never been happier.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on my first monster story with actual monsters in it! It’s a blast!
Unfortunately, it’s a different kind of story in every other way, as well, and it’s a bit of a challenge to bring it to heel. This story is actually teaching me how to write stories like that. The process is slow and there’s a lot of stopping and starting over, but…I’m patient and a good student. It’s going to be excellent.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My most recent book is a short story collection called Shadow of Justice. It is eight interconnected novelettes featuring 19th century constable Simon Pearce. There’s also a personal/romantic arc that connects the stories.
It was wonderful to have you on MTA, Jess. I was fortunate to visit Edinburgh in November of 2000. I didn’t get near enough time there, yet, what I saw took my breath away. I’m adding your book to my list. Sounds really interesting and I love the cover. All the best to you! – Camilla
Where to find the book:
Shadow of Justice is available from all of your favorite e-tailers, and also in paperback.
You can find it here: https://books2read.com/u/meg6zY
Also, check out the other fantastic stories from Blind Eye Books!
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