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" was published.
KG: What or who inspired you to be a writer?
SJT: I don’t think I was ever inspired by anything in particular, I just always felt like I was born to be a writer. Even before I knew how to write I was making up stories. As a child I had a lot of dolls and soft toys. I gave them all names, and personalities, and family histories. Each night when I was put to bed I used to select one at random and tell myself a story about them before going to sleep. Between the ages of about six and ten I shared a room with my younger sister, and I used to get her to tell me who she wanted the night’s story to feature and what she wanted it to be about. She only recently told me how much she enjoyed those stories!
KG: What gave you the idea of your latest book?
SJT: My husband and I both work full time so the only way we communicate with each other during the day is by sending emails. One day he sent me a link to a news story about a Nazi base that had recently been discovered in the Arctic and he suggested it might make a good story idea. I read it and started to wonder what the Nazis had been doing at this base and why had it been so secret? And the idea for OUTPOST H311 was born.
KG: Who is your favourite writer and why?
SJT: Stephen King. I love the way he writes about ordinary, flawed people in extraordinary situations. It’s safe to say he has inspired my own writing style. Occasionally I get compared to Stephen King and I take that as a real compliment.
KG: What's your favourite book?
SJT: I can’t pick a favourite book, there are too many of them. I do have favourite authors, whose books I consistently love. Stephen King has already been mentioned. On the crime side my favourite writers are Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs and Sue Grafton. What they have in common is that they all write about strong female central characters. Sue Grafton recently passed away, which is very sad. The world of crime fiction is not the same without her.
KG: Do you read a lot? If so what are you reading right now?
SJT: I read a lot and always have. My mother says when I was young she’d send me off to do some chore or other like tidy my room, and when she came to find me, hours later, she’d find me reading a book, having been distracted from the task in hand.
I still read a lot, but I have a lot less time to do it these days. I spend three hours every day commuting to and from the day job. The only good thing about this journey is that it gives me reading time. I love my Kindle, since it’s much more convenient to carry around for my commute than paper books, and I get through a book a week. At the moment I’m reading DEAD MEN WHISTLING, which is the ninth book in the Katie Maguire series by Graham Masterton. Although he is best known for writing horror in the 80s and 90s, this is a crime series, featuring DS Katie Maguire, the only woman detective sergeant in Dublin. As well as having to deal with a great deal of blatant misogyny, Katie faces some seriously nasty Irish criminals. I always refer to it as a crime series for horror fans. There are no supernatural elements but the crimes are gruesome and graphically described, and not for the faint-hearted.
KG: What writing projects are you working on?
SJT: I’m working on a collaboration with my husband about a young woman who moves to London in 1967 to make it as a musician and gets embroiled in a gang war when she searches for a friend who’s gone missing. That’s taking a while to write as we are doing it together, and we’ve had to do a lot of research about what everyday life was like in the late 1960s.
I’ve also got a couple of ideas for the next horror novel, but nothing sufficiently progressed to talk about it yet.
KG: What do you like most about writing?
SJT: I like having the power to create characters based on people who piss me off, and then kill them off in a horrible way in a story. Mwa ha ha.
KG: Where do you see yourself and your writing in five years time?
SJT: I’d like to be able to quit the day job and be a full time writer. So please buy my books and help me towards that goal!
KG: What one writing tip would you share?
SJT: Find writing time. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything we want to do, and no one’s going to give us any more so we have to make the most of the time we have. Schedule time in your calendar that works for you, and protect it. It might mean giving up something else. For me this is sleep – I get up at 5:30am so I can have an hour’s writing time in a coffee shop before going to the day job. I’m not naturally an early riser, but this is the only time that works for me because I’m too tired when I get home in the evenings to write.
KG: What would you say to educate and inspire young writers?
SJT: Firstly, if your ambition is to be rich and famous, find another career. Don’t be looking at JK Rowling as your inspiration. She’s the exception rather than the rule, and the vast majority of writers don’t earn enough money from writing to do it for a living.
Second, develop a thick skin. Get used to rejection. You will get it a lot. And every time you get a rejection note, you will want to crawl under the covers and wail about what a rubbish writer you are and why are you even bothering? Be aware that EVERY SINGLE WRITER in the world, even the really successful ones, goes through this. We are all riding on a heady roller coaster, lurching between crippling self-doubt and the adrenalin-inducing euphoria of believing what we write is actually pretty good. Just try and remember the latter when the former kicks in, because it will pass.
Thirdly, and most importantly, sit down and write. The only way to be a writer is to get the words down. Get to the end of that first draft, no matter how rubbish you think it is. First drafts are allowed to be rubbish. No one has to see it. Fix it in the rewrite. You may need four drafts, or five, or six, or maybe even ten, or fifteen, but you can’t do any polishing until you’ve got that first draft down.
Finally, don’t give up. I was ten when I decided I was going to be a published novelist. The first novel contract arrived two months before my fortieth birthday, and in that thirty years in between I lost count of the number of novels I wrote and the number of rejections I racked up. Keep the faith and keep submitting. Eventually you will get published.
© KGHH Publishing 2018
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.
Outpost H311 was a top-secret base used by the Nazis in World War II conducting experiments into paranormal activity, on a desolate island in the Arctic circle.
An oil exploration team are plunged into a nightmare when their plane crashes on the remote island. The survivors soon discover that they are not alone, and a supernatural evil released by the Nazis’ experiments inhabits the island.
With no way of calling for help, no chance of escape and zombie Nazis on the rampage, the team find themselves locked in a desperate race for survival.
This scary, atmospheric, ice-cold supernatural thriller by Sara Jayne Townsend will chill you to the bone.
Death comes to us all; life is the name of the game and everyone has a role to play.
When a group of live action role-players perform a ritual as part of a game, they unwittingly unleash an ancient evil that tears their world apart. The reanimated corpse of a long-dead magic user, corrupted by powerful dark magic, offers a promise of unlimited power, but at a terrible price. Having helped open this Pandora’s box, Mark and Elizabeth must race against time to close it again – before it’s too late.
This scary, at times touching, horror novel by Sara Jayne Townsend is a must read for all horror and gore fans.