Today is my stop on the My Girl by Jack Jordan blog tour and I am bringing you my review of the book AND a q&a interview with the author.
My girl follows Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man, who's life is spiralling out of control due to addiction and grief. Paige starts to notice odd things going on and then discovers a gun hidden in her dead husbands desk. She tries to figure out what is real and what is her drink addled imagination.
My Girl is extremely well written and is pretty fast paced right from the beginning. Paige is an unreliable narrator as she is drunk and high on prescription pills for most of the story, so you're never sure whether to trust her and what she thinks is going on. You really feel Paige's grief, it's almost physical, but sometimes you just want to tell her to pull herself together and get herself sorted. She's not the most likeable character, but you definitely do feel for her.
I really enjoyed My Girl and the twist was done masterfully. I flew through the book and read it in one sitting on a Saturday afternoon, my heart in my mouth the whole read. My only "complaints" about the book is that it was too short and I felt there were a couple of questions left unanswered. I would have loved just a bit more of the book because it was so good!
That's it for my review as I'm giving away no spoilers! The next part is my interview with Jack Jordan who kindly took some time out to answer my questions.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
I have always loved stories. As soon as I could string a sentence together, I would ask (or demand, in toddler-frankness) for stories from my mum and my grandmother. Walking to the shop, settling in bed, or sitting on the potty (haha) I would ask for stories.
As soon as I could read and write, I began to write my own stories, but only for fun. I didn’t know it was possible to write for a living, I simply enjoyed doing it.
It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realised my passion for writing could be, and should be, my career.
One could say I’ve wanted to be an author my whole life – I just didn’t know it until later!
Have you always wanted to write thrillers? What draws you to them?
I wrote four novels before I wrote and published Anything for Her and My Girl, and not all of them were thrillers. My main focus was on the lives of the characters, but I couldn’t help but notice the darkness in my stories. I knew that whatever I wrote, there would be that chilling streak, and found that the thriller genre was the best fit for it.
I really enjoy writing thrillers, but I plan to write novels in other genres, too. I’m inspired to write lots of different stories for various reasons, and I have to follow my gut and write the story that is longing to be heard the most.
You write female characters very realistically, do you have support to help you with that?
I’ve always preferred writing from a woman’s standpoint. Unbeknown to me, I feel more comfortable doing so. It might be because I prefer the company of women, or because most of my friendships are with women. I certainly think the strong women in my life have inspired me.
When it comes to writing female characters, I use years of observation, friendships, empathy, and imagination to embody them. I haven’t directly asked for help with writing female characters yet, but I do share my work with feedback readers prior to publication, and a large amount of them are women.
Both My Girl and Anything For Her are very dark, do you draw inspiration from real life or does it come straight from your imagination?
It’s definitely a mixture of both. News articles, memoirs, documentaries, and real people inspire me to write my stories, and my own personal experiences integrate themselves along the way. Facts inspire the foundation of my plots, but it’s my imagination that brings them to life.
Often I find subjects that I’m passionate about work their way into my novels. My Girl, for instance, deals with the question of sexual consent, and the results of abuse. Important themes can be subtle in my work, but they are always there. My future work will definitely revolve around more of my passions and beliefs, and I will write stories that I believe need to be heard.
Do you have a writing routine or a set place that you prefer to work in?
I have a standard approach to writing: I write notes for a new novel until I have enough to go on, create a chapter timeline of events, and begin the first draft of three. I send the third or fourth draft to my editor, and the final result is usually stapled ‘8th draft’ or roundabouts!
I’ve found that I need structure when approaching a new project, but it can’t be too regimented. Too much or too little control over a new novel can stifle my creativity and fuel procrastination, so over the years I have learned to get the balance just right.
You've written two awesome standalone novels so far, what can we expect from you next?
Another standalone! I love the freedom of writing standalone novels – it means I can flit from one story to the next and create new, fresh characters that are begging to be heard. Personally, I feel writing a series would be detrimental to my writing career. I think writing standalones creates mystery around my next book – I like my readers to expect the unexpected!
The novel I’m writing at the moment is called The Vultures, my darkest tale yet, and my first novel that isn’t featured in the 21st century. The Vultures allows me to explore new horizons in my writing and stretch my literary muscles. I believe it will be my next published book, although at this point in the writing process, it’s always hard to say! Any writer’s first three to five novels decide whether their career will stick. It’s good to take risks, but sometimes it’s wiser to rein in one’s stories to avoid a flop. The Vultures is one of my most exciting stories, but later down the line I may decide to wait until later in my career before I release it into the world. Watch this space!
Was there a lot of research that went into making addiction in My Girl look so realistic?
I researched the symptoms and side effects of addiction, but I also drew from my own previous mental health condition and true stories to make Paige’s addiction more realistic. I think my most-used tool when fleshing out characters is empathy. I put myself in my character’s shoes to understand how I would feel in their predicaments.
When you're not writing what would we find you doing?
Do you have a favourite author?
ME! Just kidding.
I’ve always struggled to pinpoint my favourite author, or my favourite book for that matter. To dodge the question so I don’t regret my answer later, here are the six best books I’ve read this year:
· Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
· The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
· Bird Box by Josh Malerman
· The Road by Cormac McCarthy
· The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
A Place Called Winter by Peter Gale
Thank you so much to Jack for answering all my questions, I have to say I hope The Vultures is released sooner rather than later as it sounds extremely intriguing!
To find out more about Jack, visit him here:
You can grab yourself a copy of Jack Jordan’s debut novel, Anything for Her, here: https://goo.gl/v00OP8
You can pre-order Jack’s second thriller, My Girl, here: https://goo.gl/4zQOyU
My Girl is available worldwide on July 4th 2016 in ebook and paperback.