Author Jim Fairfax talks as regards his new crossword killing mystery thriller, new book The Necklace, and what stimulated his story.
Tell author Jim Fairfaxa bit as regards who you are:
I have been an athirst reader all my life. I live in a little village in rural Kent and now work part-time. My interests are various than writing including walking our border terrier and playing guitar.
When, Virgo, do you WANT to write a book?
I introduced myself by writing poems and songs, but it wasn’t until I completed a Fiction Writing playing that I decided I wanted to scribe a book, initially a collection of short stories.
When did you decide to start writing?
After taking a fiction class, I began writing stories whenever I had the opportunity. I even wrote one on my hotel computer while on vacation in Switzerland!
How tall did it take you to scribe your first book, from idea to publication?
It took about six months to write the manuscript of the book. Then a few more months of rewriting and proofreading while approaching agents and publishers. When I signed the book at Cranthorpe Millner, there was more work to be committed with their editorial team, which took a few more months. The book is then given a release date, which in this case is January 2023.
focus on the latest release. What made you decide to write The Necklace?
I have already written and published a collection of twenty-one short stories, The Panic Room and Other Stories. In doing so, I realized that I enjoyed writing stories that had an element of mystery and suspense. So I decided to write a thriller. A holiday I took with a friend to Cornwall gave me ideas for many of the locations in the book.
I’ve always been a big fan of the classic spy thrillers by John le Carré and Joseph Kanon, but I also love the thrillers by Robert Harris and Robert Galbraith.I hope I’ve managed to write a book that combines some of the elements shown by these authors.
What were your maximal challenges writing The Necklace?
As the book moves between London, Oxford, Cornwall, and Kent and has three main characters each with their own subplot, the biggest challenge is continuity. The next big challenges were keeping up and the element of surprise. I was very pleased with the unexpected twist I added at the end of the book, even though there had been quite a few twists before.
The second challenge was to create crosswords that hide messages. In the book, all but one was solved for the reader by Dom, so I had to find the clues and their solutions!
Who or what inspired you to create The Protagonist?
I wanted two main characters. I liked the idea of Penny as a media agent who tends to provide most of the common sense in the book while Dom chimes in to escape his boring lifestyle. In both cases, I use certain characteristics of people I know or have observed, but I can’t say they are based on anyone.
Who or what inspired you to create The Antagonist?
The main antagonist is an extremely likable character. I wanted the reader to feel Dima to some extent. I hope he turns out to be both someone to relate to and someone trapped in a system that has served him so well before.
What is the fire incident at The Necklace?
The book begins with a murder at the end of the first chapter that ignites the story. From that moment on, the story unfolds before the reader’s eyes, but it’s always a little hidden because of the element of surprise.
What is the main conflict in new book The Necklace?
Well, I guess it’s a mental battle between Penny and Dima. With Dom’s help, will Penny be able to figure out all the details of Dima’s plan before he can put it into action?
Did you plan the necklace in advance or did you fly by the seat of your pants and write freehand?
I had the idea for the initial story with Stewart – his background and what is revealed later in the book. Then I had to plan out the entire book—more than thirty chapters on paper. The division of the book into four parts helped me with the planning. I could see where I was at the end of every game.
Did you get editing help and how many edits did the Necklace need?
Yes, the Cranthorpe Millner editorial team worked with me to do the proofreading. I don’t think there’s been a huge change, but as a writer, there are always little bits missing, and sometimes a book reads differently to new eyes.
What is the maiden piece of writing counsel you would pay someone that inspired you to write a story?
Get to work. Don’t hesitate – just write. Once you’ve written something, you can always edit it later, and you probably always will. I’ve also heard that Hemmingway limited the number of words he wrote each day to 250 so that the well wouldn’t dry up when he wrote again the next day. I tried to follow this advice whenever I could. Leaving part of the story unfinished for a while gives you a chance to think about the next step.
Can thou tell me which books thou would like to scribe from in the future?
I have planned a sequel set in an Andalusian village where Penny and Dom still work together. Of course, I have to travel to research the plot.
And finally, are thou proud of thine success? It was worth it?
Yes, I am proud of this book. It took a lot of effort to put it all together, especially mental skills, but I think it’s on par with other thrillers out now.
Add any links to your social media and books, websites, here so readers can find you:
The Necklace by Jim Fairfax | Waterstones
Cranthorpe Millner published Jan 2023
Twitter jimfairfax1 @jimfairfax1
Facebook- Jim Fairfax