Short, Sharp Interview: Jenny Thomson

Jenny Thomson

PDB: Can you pitch your latest project in 25 words or less?

In Hell To Pay, gutsy Glasgow office worker Nancy Kerr goes all Die Hard on the men who murdered her parents.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

When I write I listen to Radiohead, Elvis Costello, Midnight Oil and Roddy Frame (including his Aztec Camera stuff). Why change your music tastes when you know what you like?

I love Craig Russell’s Lennox novels that are set in 1950’s Glasgow. When I read Dead Men and Broken Hearts, his description of Lennox when he was soaking wet and on the run was so well done I felt like I had icicles on my nose. Fellow Scottish author Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae books are great reads. Anything Gregg Hurwitz writes – his latest The Survivor was a rollicking read. Japanese writer Matsuo Kirino’s book Out about a woman who ends up in the body disposal business is one of my all-time favourites and I can’t stop reading it over and over again.

I read a lot of translated fiction, including Arnaldur Indridason, Camilla Lackberg and Simone Van Der Klugt. I’m a big fan of Hammer’s classic horror movies, so Shaun Hutson’s novelizations are a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ll be very sad when the Kinsey Millhone alphabet books end.

TV shows have eclipsed movies, in my opinion. I love Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Person of Interest and Warehouse 13. British shows Utopia, Sherlock, My Big Fat Diary and Being Human (the first few series) are as good as any US shows.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

It is difficult. Whenever I’m reading I’m always looking at structure and pace, but I think that makes you a better writer when you can read a book and think, “so that’s how you do it.” When I’m getting stuck into writing a book, I deliberately avoid reading Stephen King’s latest. For me he’s the greatest living author not Hilary Mantel as I recently read, and I know my writing can’t compete.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

Every writer worth their salt wants to. I’d love to write a screenplay for my Scottish zombie novel, Dead Bastards that came out last year. It’s finding the time that’s tricky. I even have actors in mind for the roles.

In the past, I’ve written treatments for TV shows, including panel shows that never got made. Yes, I am David Brent.

PDB: How much research goes into your writing?

I try to avoid research as I want to write escapist fiction and have had to do so much research with my non-fiction titles, but I can’t avoid it completely. For Hell To Pay, I had to research what drugs would incapacitate a man enough for him to have the word RAPIST gouged into his stomach. For another book, I researched pop out cakes – the cakes that women jump out of at birthday parties – and was disappointed to find they’re made mainly of cardboard. I was kinda hoping you ate your way out. Writing crime, you also need to know quite a bit about police procedure, but there are always people willing to help.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you?

Social media might be time consuming, but you’ve got to dive right in and get involved. I’ve met so many great people on Facebook and Twitter and the great thing is that there are no borders. No matter where they live, authors and publishers are just a click of a mouse away.

Hell to Pay cover high res

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

I’m finishing writing Throwaways, the second Die Hard for Girls book featuring Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre. They go on the trail of someone’s who’s abducting Glasgow sex workers after one woman is found dead with another’s finger in her stomach. I’ll also be working on a short story to promote the books, which will be giving away free on Kindle. People might view that as working for free, but to me it’s promotion.

I’m also in talks with a publisher who want to turn my zombie novel into a paperback (so far, it’s eBook only), so fingers crossed there.

PDB: Where can people find out more about your work?

I’m all over the place. I blog about writing at

The Die Hard for Girls books at

You can also read a free excerpt of my zombie novel Dead Bastards & watch the trailer at

I also tweet as @jenthom72 & @diehardforgirls

Published by PaulDBrazill

A writer and teacher, from England and living in Poland. 'The Poundland Poe.' Books include The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, and Gumshoe Blues. This/ That/ & The Other.

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