Happy Friday, everyone! This week, I have a very special guest for you – the wonderful Jane Risdon. I’m sure you’re all enjoy this fascinating insight into her life:
I’m a hybrid author writing mostly crime/thriller/mysteries often with music or espionage involved in the stories. At present I have a three- book series, Ms. Birdsong Investigates, in with my agent in New York featuring former MI5 Intelligence Officer.
Being both traditionally and Indie published, my first Women’s Fiction novel — written with bestselling, award-winning author, Christina Jones — Only One Woman, is published by Headline/Hachette and I have two short stories published with them in anthologies, Shiver and Wishing on a Star.
My collection of short stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, is published by Plaisted Publishing, New Zealand. I’ve contributed to eighteen anthologies — in various genres — written for magazines in print and online, and I’m a regular guest author on video podcasts and radio.
I’m one of those who came to writing later in life, I’d always wanted to write but life got in the way. My early working career was spent in Germany, working for the British Ministry of Defence, on a large army base which dealt with repairing tanks, guns, various vehicles, and instruments for our forces based in North Rhine Westphalia.
The base was situated in a village flooded by the Dam Busters in WW2, and the houses each had watermarks showing on their walls, where the waters reached following the raid.
Later I moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, to be closer to my musician boyfriend whom I’d met shortly before I left for Germany. I lived in a civil service hostel in Lancaster Gate, on the Bayswater Road, before moving into a flat which I shared with a girl from work, before I married my musician and moving into the house he and his band shared. Do read Only One Woman if you want to know a little more. I’m working on a sequel.
London was an amazing place during the latter 1960s, early 1970s, and it was a great source of background material for Only One Woman: The Swinging Sixties was the grooviest decade of the 20th century. The music scene was unreal with so much going on – incredible music and outrageous personalities.
It was an exciting time at the FCO where I experienced Soviet spies being expelled from Britain, the kidnapping of our ambassador to Montevideo, as well as being personally vetted (PV) by a Special Branch commander who arrested Soviet spies, known as The Kruger’s, part of the notorious Portland Spy ring.
All great material for a would-be writer.
Being married to a musician whose career was taking off, life was never dull. I learned so much about the music business, met so many fascinating people and enjoyed a very different lifestyle compared with my friends.
I’ve always travelled and lived overseas, being an Army brat, and this didn’t change when married to a musician. Later we went into the management side of the International Music Business, collaborating with musicians, record producers, singer/songwriters and placing music onto movie and television soundtracks, including the most successful TV series in the world in the 1990s, with two billion viewers in 200 countries every week filmed on Venice and Zuma beaches in Santa Monica.
We’ve worked with all forms of rock, pop, and R&B, as well as Chinese Opera.
Hollywood is a fantastic source of material for a writer. Power, money, and crime go hand in hand. We’ve done business with famous movers and shakers in Hollywood who’ve taken the 5th Amendment to avoid prosecution, not to mention conducting negotiations with a lawyer who had a baseball bat and a gun on his desk; for those managers who wanted to get more money for their artists, apparently! Books have been published about the way the entertainment business really works, who controls it and how. None of the authors has ever been prosecuted for libel which speaks volumes.
It was wonderful working with superstar performers, recording albums with them, and with iconic record producers, and song writing superstars. We were there for the San Francisco earthquake foreshocks, the LA riots, suffered fires, mudslides, and the Northridge earthquake. Touring all over the USA we were chased by tornadoes and groups of armed men in pick-up trucks in Texas.
I was given the opportunity to talk down fighter jets when visiting a USAF base, being invited into the air traffic control tower. Pilots were practicing take off, brief touch down, and take off manoeuvres and I guided them throughout. A thrill.
Working in Singapore and Taiwan was such a fabulous experience, at a time when few Europeans worked in the music business with record and publishing companies, in Taiwan, especially. We learned a great deal about the Chinese and Singaporean work ethic. It was fun working with Chinese Opera and musicals, so colourful and dramatic. We recorded with singers in Mandarin and Cantonese as well as English. One show was a musical about a magic act, and we had a blast seeing rehearsals when the magicians went through their act; watching up close, how their tricks were done. We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, of course.
So, this is who I am. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg of course, but when I write, all these experiences are the basis for my stories and characters. Like any other writer I try to write what I know. Obviously, writing crime does not mean I’ve committed murder. I read a lot, and crime and all sub-genres is my favourite genre, and I love watching true crime documentaries too.
I’m thrilled Western Kentucky University, Kentucky, USA, is using Undercover: Crime Shorts in classes with second year students — An Introduction to Literature — and I’m lead panellist for the online discussion for LitCon — The Intersection of Women’s Literature and Literary Fiction — out of New York in March 2022. I’m looking forward to connecting with new readers at that time, and to learning more about my craft.
Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, Electric Press, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
She is a regular guest on international internet podcasts including Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways, and on radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com, and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show. Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre.
Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Introduction to Literature Class, for second year students 2021/22.
She is the Lead Panellist, next March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA in March 2022.
Jane’s latest 100-word piece of Flash Fiction entitled Payback was read by her for Showboat TV Equinox Online Festival on 25th September as part of the event’s Spoken word segment.
Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series.
Earlier in her career she also worked for the British Ministry of Defence in Germany, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and in other Civil Service departments.