Sara Jayne Townsend was born in Hyde, UK in 1969 and spent the first ten years of her life in the North of England before emigrating to Canada with her family in 1980.
She returned to England after high school ended in 1988, and now lives in Surrey with her guitarist husband Chris and their two cats.
She writes horror and crime fiction - either way in her stories, someone dies a horrible death.
She is co-founder and chair person the T Party Writers' Group, which at its inception in 1994 was the first genre-focused writing group in London.
Sara was welcomed abord as part of the Kensington Gore publishing family in May 2015. Where her first horror story "The Whispering Death" is due for release summer 2015.
Sara's website can be found at:
KG: What made you want to sign for Kensington Gore Publishing? Was it their belief in your talent?
They liked my hat. Seriously, it was mostly the focus on horror. Horror can be a tough sell these days, especially with so many people still labouring under the erroneous assumption that women don’t like horror.
KG: How do you see this changing your writing career?
Kensington Gore make a long term commitment to their writers, which gives me an incentive to write more books. Knowing that there’s someone out there who wants to publish you is a wonderful thing for a writer, and gives you focus. It’s too easy to get into that funk where you think, “nobody cares. Why am I bothering?”
KG: What inspired you to write in the first place?
I’ve always told stories. Before I could even write, I was making up stories. I’ve never known a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. I was writing my stories down by the time I was seven years old.
KG: What made you write this book?
I wanted to write a story about a supernatural creature, and liked the idea of using a D&D monster. I focused on the idea of a lich – an undead creature that has intelligence and can use magic. I was doing a lot of live action roleplaying at the time, and thought it might be interesting to have a group of players use a real ritual in a game, that released a real monster. And hence the main plot of THE WHISPERING DEATH was born.
KG: Who is your favourite writer?
Stephen King is my favourite writer of all time, and he was a big inspiration to me when I started writing horror.
KG: What's your favourite book?
It’s hard to pick one. I tend to have favourite writers rather than favourite books. Of Stephen King’s books, though, IT, THE STAND and NEEDFUL THINGS are up there as his best, in my opinion.
KG: What are you reading right now?
I’m working my way through Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books. This is my second read-through for them all but I am enjoying them just as much as I did the first time around. I love the character of Harry Dresden – charming, slightly roguish, always trying to do the right thing but not always going about it the right way. And the books are a wonderful amalgamation of my two favourite genres – crime and horror.
KG: What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got a few projects on the go. I’m working on the third book in my amateur sleuth series, and I’ve also got a new horror novel in progress – about a group of urban explorers who get trapped in an abandoned house with a malevolent entity.
KG: What do you like most about writing?
Being able to kill off people who annoy me without having to face murder charges! I have been known to fictionalise such people, put them in a story and find a nasty way of finishing them off. It’s most cathartic. And it means colleagues tend to be nice to me, because they are worried about ending up in one of my books and not in a good way.
KG: What one writing tip would you share?
Don’t give up. I was eleven when I decided I was going to be a published novelist. It took me nearly thirty years of submitting and rejections before I got my first publishing contract. You have to have dogged persistence, and you have to grow a very thick skin. You can’t take rejection personally; you have to pick yourself up and send the manuscript out to the next publisher on the list.
KG: What would you say to inspire young writers?
No one is born a great writer. The only way to get better is to keep writing. But you also have to be willing to learn from others. Read widely, and talk to other writers. Join writing circles and send your work out to more experienced writers who are prepared to give you advice. Make sure you heed that advice. Join in critiquing other people’s work, if you have a critiquing group available to you. We all get blind to our own failings, and sometimes the best way to understand where you need to improve yourself is to see the same mistakes in someone else’s work.
1.I spent the first ten years of my life in the North of England, the next eight in Canada and the remaining time in the South of England. My accent is a peculiar mix of all three regions. More than once, someone has spent time talking to me and then said, “I’m trying to place your accent. You’re not from round here, are you?”
2.I started playing Dungeons & Dragons in high school, in the 1980s, when a friend and I joined the school D&D club together. The friend subsequently quit the group, being convinced by her church that D&D was evil and everyone who played it was doomed to the Everlasting Fire. I not only carried on playing, I went on to meet my husband through playing D&D. Twenty-five years on, we’re still together, and still playing D&D. The couple that plays together, stays together, it seems.
3.I have a very sweet tooth and love all sugary things. I hated vegetables as a child, and I still hate them, as a 40-something woman. If I ran the world, everyone would get to skip the vegetables and go straight to dessert.
4.When I started learning to play bass guitar, my dad, who played in a rock band in the 1960s, gave me his 1962 Burns Sonic Vista bass. So I now play a bass that’s older than I am, and when I take it out on gigs, the bass gets more attention than I do.
5.I’ve never broken a bone, but I’ve sprained my left ankle three times. The most recent time happened when I was running across a field during a paintball game and got my foot caught in a rabbit hole. I was storming a machine gun nest at the time. As you do…
6.I love horror and crime fiction and go to as many of the fan conventions as I can, which is where I’ve managed to meet quite a lot of my favourite authors. In fact I’ve been lucky enough to meet all but one of my favourite authors. I’ve met Jim Butcher, Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs and Mike Carey. I’ve only got to meet Stephen King now and I can die happy.
7.Above my desk is a shrine with effigies of all the people who inspire me in my writing: Yoda, Jedi Master; Buffy, goddess of kick-ass women; Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and strength. And a statue of an Egyptian cat. Because they Egyptians had the right idea. The cats are really in charge, and they don’t let us forget it.
Click on the link below for Sara Jayne Townsend's festive Q&A.