JANE LYTHELL: ALL THE CHARACTERS IN AFTER THE STORM ARE HIDING SECRETS
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Few years ago Jane Lythell decided to transform her inspiration from television production into quality writing as an author. She published two books After the Storm and The Lie of You. Both were accepted very well and she quickly started to grow a fan base. It’s a real pleasure to welcome at Land of Books Jane Lythell.
– Jane, what is your book After the Storm about?
– After the Storm is about two couples who set off together in a 37 foot boat after knowing each other less than 24 hours to sail to a paradise island, Roatan, in the Caribbean Sea. But this is a thriller so of course it turns out not to be a dream holiday at all. All the characters are hiding secrets. Some of these secrets are trivial, some are serious and some are deadly.
When the two couples reach the island a secret emerges which tests the four of them to the limit. The underlying theme of the novel is that you need to bring dark secrets out into the light of day for them to lose their destructive power.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I made the sail to the island of Roatan some years ago and always felt it would make a great setting for a novel. I also liked the idea of putting four characters into the small and claustrophobic space of a boat. This heightens the tensions between them.
– What was the biggest challenge during the writing process?
– The biggest challenge was getting all the details about sailing right. It was important to me that the reader truly believed they were on that small boat with Anna, Rob, Owen and Kim. I had kept a travel journal when I did that sail and this was a huge help to me.
– Tell us something more about your main character Rob and Anna? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– Anna and Rob are not really close to any one person but all the characters I write have elements drawn from people in my life. Writers are like magpies – we collect anecdotes and characteristics we have observed and create our fictional characters from these elements.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It took me a year to write the first draft and six months to edit it and a further six months for my publisher to do all the logistics – so two years from start to finish.
– Would you share some insight about your debut book The Lie of You?
– The Lie of You is a psychological thriller and the tagline is one’s woman’s fear is another woman’s weapon. It explores jealousy and obsession. It is set in the workplace of an upmarket architectural magazine and the two central characters – Heja and Kathy – are colleagues there. The question the book asks is can you have any sympathy for a woman who is trying to destroy another woman?
– Who are you?
– I live in Brighton in the UK, and I’m a mum, a sea-lover, star-gazer, film and football fan. My novels are published by Head of Zeus.
My background is journalistic writing and television production. I was a TV producer for 15 years. I left to become Deputy Director of the British Film Institute and later Chief Executive of BAFTA before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for seven years. I now write full time.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write standing up. I find this makes me feel far more alert and it also allows me to pace up and down when I’m thinking about a difficult scene. I have rigged up a tray on legs on top of my desk and this gets my laptop up to the right height.
I also like to write in the mornings so I turn off the phone and focus on my writing until lunchtime. My friends know to leave me alone in the mornings!
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– Yes I am, it’s very exciting. The Lie of You has been out for 21 months now and is finding an audience in the UK and in North America. After the Storm has only recently come out as a paperback.
– What are you doing to promote your book in the best possible way?
– I love to hear from readers so I have a Facebook account which readers can join. I am also on Twitter. And I write a blog where I talk about my books and the writing process.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– My third novel is coming out in June 2016. It is set in the world of live television. The main character is a woman who is Head of Features at a TV station and she has to deal with all the monster egos there!
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– My question is: Do you wish you had started writing earlier? I wanted to write for many years but I had a small daughter and a large mortgage. I also did the kinds of jobs that left very little time for writing. I was able to start writing full time in May 2011 and it has been a joy.