JJ Marsh is the next willing victim in our series to delve into the darkest past of successful authors, to see exactly where their storytelling gifts first developed.
Jill is the author of the brilliant Beatrice Stubbs series: Behind Closed Doors, Raw Material, Tread Softly, Cold Pressed and the forthcoming Human Rites (due out this November), which has a global fan base. Not to mention a reputation for quality writing and professional standards, topics she advocates across the independent publishing world.
But she wasn't always as polished and perfect. Where did her first attempts at the art of novel writing take her, and will any of these budding masterpieces ever see daylight again?
We delve into the bottom drawer of JJ Marsh and demand she reveals all ...
"Three full novels sit in my bottom drawer.
One (Creed) was an oafish attempt at rewriting my own history. It should have gone on the fire years ago, but I keep it as a form of ballast. If someone emails me to say they love my books, or when I come home from a book club appearance glowing, or on the rare occasions I write a scene that makes me punch the air, I read a random sample of the novel formerly known as Creed (aka Crap). It’s the opposite of positive affirmation. I look at my writing self in the mirror and say, ‘You’re not all that.’
Two (Close) has something. Not what I thought it had, but an idea lurks beneath the first wobbling steps of I-got-adverbs-and-know-how-to-use-’em. Sadly, the end result was little more than flexing of new writing muscles. Much like learning to ride my motorbike, Close was a necessary and bruising phase, best kept off the streets.
Three (An Empty Vessel) is a cryogenically frozen embryo of an idea. With the right shot of reanimation juice, it may yet be resuscitated. It has a central concept I can't leave alone and range of characters whose voices call to me in the wee hours of the morning. ‘Don’t leave us unfinished... we’ve got a story to tell...’
I itch to apply all I’ve learned about writing to this book, but my gut feeling says that in order to do this story justice, I first need to learn more about myself."