Good evening everyone.
Welcome to another thrilling installment in the Author Interview Series.
For your entertainment tonight, I have had the delight of speaking with Award Winning author A.J. Griffiths-Jones, who has published some excellent mystery thriller novels and has also delved into the dark world of Jack the Ripper.
I can’t wait to hear what she has to say, so let’s get this show on the road and the interview underway – have a great evening and thanks for reading.
Hi there A.J., wonderful to have you here with us today, we look forward to hearing more about your writing advice and your intriguing books.
Let’s start with your latest novels “The Seasiders” and “The Villagers”, both of which were published earlier this year. Are these titles linked or related to each other at all? Tell us more about the backgrounds behind them and fill us in on their character arcs, plots and situations that fuel their thrilling narratives.
Thanks David. The idea for these novels started with my grandma telling me tales about a village that she lived in during the 1950’s. The story unfolds as Olive, the main character, discovers that all is not as it first appeared and the residents around her are hiding some quite sinister secrets. I had so much fun creating the characters in ‘The Villagers’ that I decided to create a series of five books, each in a different location and set one decade apart, hence we have ‘The Seasiders’ set in the 1960’s. The recurring theme that connects them are the characters secrets.
You also published your debut novel last year called “Prisoner 4374”. This is a meticulously researched biography of Dr. Thomas Neill Cream who was famously accused of being Jack the Ripper. What inspired you to take on this literary adventure and what twists and turns can we expect to uncover as we start to believe that Cream may not have actually been the infamous Ripper?
I actually started researching Dr.Cream over twenty years ago, believing him to be a potential ‘Jack the Ripper’ suspect due to his age, stature & appearance matching that of a witness statement at the time of the 1888 murders. However, after reading a few books on Cream, I soon realised how very little was actually known about his life. Therefore I decided to try to locate his prison records and the rest is history, so to speak! You’ll find plenty of twists and turns but I’m giving nothing away!
If any of your novels were to be made into movies (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
What a great question, and the answer is easy. For ‘Prisoner 4374’ the lead would have to be played by Kit Harrington. He hasn’t the same dark, piercing eyes as Thomas Neill Cream. For ‘The Villagers’, I think Una Stubbs would be perfect as Olive and Grace in ‘The Seasiders’ would best be played by Imelda Staunton. Both women have the fantastic combination of dark humour and poise.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
For me, the most difficult thing is actually switching off. I suffer terribly with insomnia as I’m constantly plotting storylines or thinking about unusual things that I’ve found during research. The easiest thing has to be the writing, as once I’ve got the characters in my imagination they take me on a journey, sometimes I have no idea where they’re taking me!
Who are some of the authors and historical figures that inspire you?
My three favourite authors are, Paulo Coelho as I love that his books always teach something or have a moral running through the storyline, the vivid imagination of Kazuo Ishiguro satisfies my need for open-ended tales where the reader can create their own finale and I also reread my collection of Charles Dickens books every couple of years. He was the master of atmosphere, twists and everlasting tales.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
Obviously I have to undertake an immense amount of historical research for my ‘Jack the Ripper’ work and very often I find material in the most unexpected places. It’s amazing to think that after 128 years there are still documents and letters that have been hidden away or stored and forgotten about for all this time.
For my novels, I tend to read about the music, food trends, fashions etc for the period I’m writing about and let my imagination do the rest.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer, bit of a cliché I know, but it’s true! I was the child that was always filling notebooks with stories and writing plays for my cousins and I to act out for the adults at Christmas parties. For ten years I lived and worked in Shanghai and life was so busy that writing wasn’t an option, but now that I’m back in the UK I’m writing full-time. It’s like a dream come true.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
Luckily I never suffer from Writer’s Block as I always work on two projects at once, switching them around on alternate days. So, I research one book while writing another, that way there’s never a dull moment.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would simply tell myself, “Don’t stress, your time will come.”
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I love cooking and grow all my own vegetables, so a great stress-buster is creating new recipes and testing them out on family and friends (Yes, there is a cookery book in the pipeline too!). My husband and I also love to travel, so we’re always planning our next trip and filling our home with unique souvenirs.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
‘Prisoner 4374’ has just won the ‘Jack the Ripper Book of the Year 2016’ award, so I’ll be doing some promotion. I’ve literally just finished my fourth book, ‘The Congregation’, which will be out in time for Christmas, I’m currently researching a second Ripper-related book and in December I’ll start the next novel, ‘The Travellers’.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
I would tell aspiring writers not to take criticism to heart. There are readers out there for every author, you just need to find your niche.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for spending the time to chat with us Amanda and we look forward to checking out your books further 🙂
A.J. Griffiths-Jones has a special interest in the world of Victorian crime and has spent many years researching notorious criminals. She has devoted considerable time to studying historical data and genealogy. Her other passions include cooking, travelling and swimming. After a decade of living and working in Asia, A.J. Griffiths-Jones now resides in Shropshire, U.K.
You can connect with A.J. on the following Social Media channels:-
You can buy her books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, one of the books A.J. has written is about the infamous and nefarious Jack the Ripper and there is a prompt over at The Daily Post that appears to be relevant for Jack specifically. For more articles relating to the theme word ‘Bludgeon’ then check out the links below:-
1. Do Not Annoy The Writer – A Little Prompting
2. “Bludgeon.” – Nomadic Adventurer
3. shame – An important deduction
4. fickle mistress – pith and bone
5. Prescription For Bento – Hyperbole
6. Your attitude will determine your day – Roberta Pimentel
7. A Piece of Advice (To Angela, From Angela)
8. Eclipse – Angela Montijo
9. What Hasn’t Killed Me… – Angela Montijo
10. Corned Beef Hashtag – The Last Drop.
11. Ride On A Nightmare – MY ENDURING BONES
12. Le Drake Noir – Pressed clouds do rain
13. whennothingworks – The Bludgeoning Sky
14. Love Unrequited – a mile in my shoes
15. An Upturned Soul – Shallow Waters Don’t Always Run Deep
16. XingfuMama – ‘Tis the Season
17. ALL I’VE EVER WANTED! – Okoto Enigma
18. Bludgeon – Micks Blog
19. Success Inspirers’ World – Armageddon
20. a breezy space – Love it Now
21. DisaG – Bludgeoned At 25
22. BodynSoil – Daily Prompt Bludgeon
23. The Creature – The Literary Phoenix
24. Bludgeon – Spectres & Stardust
25. Best Looks: Lady Gaga 2016 Fashion Trends Bludgeon – Just Fashion
26. Boat cruise Dubai marina – Dubai teen creates healthy eating app – Yacht in Dubai
27. Bludgeoned – In The Soul’s Streets
28. Authentic Cloupor Mini Plus 50W TC APV Box Mod – Vape Style Blog
29. Twisted Roads of Madness – Day 175 Daily Prompt – Bludgeon – 50 Word Story Expanded
30. To the Mind That Is Still, the Whole Universe Surrenders? – Le Happyone
31. sonja benskin mesher – .mouse .
32. Grumpy Axolotl – Hypothetically
33. witchlike – Cubs Win World Series!!!!
34. Bludgeon…(daily prompt) – my unremarkable story
35. Prescription For Bento – Here Kitty Kitty
36. The World Series – A lot from Lydia
37. wordsareallihavesite – You have
38. Potting Plants and Sorting Potatoes – The Chicken Grandma
39. WORLD INSIDE THE ROOM – Start Your Real Diet
40. Scraps of Paper – Fall Apart
41. Dipping Into the Heart – Writer’s Block
42. Prescription For Bento – Here, Kitty Kitty
43. Bludgeon – Vermont Book Works
44. Bludgeon – Inner Whispers
45. Moonlight Reflections – Bludgeon
46. Bludgeon: Let it go – Writer2011
47. Lost Property Repository – Bludgeoning poem
48. kStan(ly) kSays – the daily prompt is fickle
49. helen meikle’s scribblefest – Daily prompt: Pardon me for bludgeoning you, but…
50. thinkinkadia – Bludgeon
51. Transformers – Bludgeon
52. We’re on a Zombie Road to Nowhere – Rexine Rawhead
53. a brief treatise on title – pause for mental thoughts randomly selected
54. Grumpy Axolotl – Taking care of business
55. I Overcame and I Overcome – My Loud Bipolar Whispers
56. KT Tape and Me – Sneakers on Pavement
57. Write Now – Enough!
58. a bliss of birds – across the fields, windrows as straight as die
59. Story Time: About an Old Job – Far Behind Me
60. findmeinsanfrancisco – Colada Morada y Guaguas de Pan: Death and Life and Birthdays
61. Annette’s place – DAilY pROmpT/BLudGeOn
62. Fluffy Pool – Bludgeon and Day 2
63. Bludgeon – The Bag Lady
64. PROJECT ASTRAL – 7 Eye (I) Wonders of the States
65. s1ngal – The Real Post
66. Bludgeon – Image & Word
67. What it’s like – WP bludgeon
68. LadyLebz – BLACK SUNSHINE: THE DAY MY BULLY DIED
69. Pondering Life and Its Perils – The Unlikely Overhauler
70. 13 Reason to be Happy and Grateful – Okoto Enigma
71. Occasional Dreams – Autumn Reverie
72. Bludgeoned soul! – Ever wondered why…
73. Bludgeoned by a Tyrant – Ann WJ White
74. sonja benskin mesher – 228 politics
75. Zombie Flamingos
76. Life with Jess – Like A Champ
77. Media Bludgeoning – writealineblog
78. The Asian bludgeon is probably a feather duster. – Sincerely, Loewe
79. Allerheiligen: vervolg op Afscheid van een dierbare // vervolg op Afscheid van een dierbare – Theo Herbots TV
80. Beating a dream killer – Debbie Gravett
81. Bludgeon Defeat With Courage – THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
82. National Stress Awareness Day – Views From Around the Corner
83. Stutter-Stepping Heart – Words Bludgeon
84. CLUB – A SELECTION – Rainbow
85. Bludgeon, Halloween leftovers – persuasion2015
86. Life Less Ordinary – Cosh : A thick, heavy stick or bar used as a weapon.
87. Bludgeon – All About Writing
88. Chris Writes – We All Got Angry
89. kStan(ly) kSays – subtle like a hammer
90. Bludgeoned by the Truth, A Poem – Sumyanna Writes
91. SERENDIPITY – THE BLUDGEON VERSUS THE RAPIER
92. BLUDGEON – spirit480
93. Bludgeon – The Extern – thepissypoetpage
94. The deadly orchestra – Leaking Ink
95. To Wear A Rainbow – emotions
96. thelonerose – You don’t have to hit me over the head
97. Bludgeon – whodoesshethinksheisblog
98. Arguments – indisputably inconclusive
99. sparksfromacombustiblemind – Bludgeon
100. Bludgeon – Random Thoughts and Musings
101. Flowers and Breezes – Bludgeon
102. The Deadly Deadline – Mindflight
103. There Are More Poets than Stars in the Firmament – the truth was murdered today
104. Recharge your day – Terror Calling #Flash Fiction(FFfAW)
105. Bludgeoning – Caillen James — Author
106. s1ngal – Bludgeoned to Death
107. Atrocity? – emotionsoflife2016
108. Frank Prem – pruning roses with an ally
109. Copycat/Bludgeon ~ Until Proven Guilty – Word Adventures
110. Bludgeon – Covert Novelist
111. I Make Long Facebook Statuses – Mars Gone Mad
112. Stories and Songs – S. Thomas Summers
113. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE… – Okoto Enigma
114. Suddenly Single… Minded – A boy by any other name …
115. The Bludgeon of Talent? – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
116. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Let’s go bludgeoning
117. Betcha didn’t know! – Bludgeon
118. Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 YNN – Brute force sometimes required on job
119. Armageddon – atrangizindagieksafar
120. Relax – Yerlady
121. Twisted Roads of Madness – Day 175 Daily Prompt – Bludgeon – 50 Word Story
122. poorhaiku – Winter Comes, continued
123. My message to me – A bit of lateral thinking
124. Bludgeon a bull or how I got a well ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
125. Bludgeoned Writing – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
126. The Best Bread Pudding You’ll Never Make – Dangerspouse
127. juantetcts – Daily Post:Bludgeon
128. Purposive Writer – Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge
129. A Three Line Short Horror Story- Chapter 13 – Khayal
130. Mouse – Bits of Poems
131. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Blind Judgment
132. Stay away from trouble!! (40 seconds read) – Burshblog
133. Before the moon was yours – artcouk
134. Willowbeithe – Bludgeon One-Word Prompt
135. Needle in my Weighing Machine – passiondesignerblog
136. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Childhood
137. the15thday – they’re ev-er-y-where
138. Daily Prompt – Bludgeon – Bob’s Blog
139. Modern Politics: A Cycle of Domestic Violence – Zone of Non-being
140. This, On Purpose – We Need to Talk About Negan (with apologies to Lionel Shriver)
141. Bludgeon – nursingandknitting
142. Travel Much? – Halloween-smiles
143. Ugly Word – Just Writing!
144. slideaways – on the edge
145. He Endured For Me – Pete Gardner Psalms
146. Devil Doll Musings – Hit Me With Your Best Shot
147. Bludgeon… – Emotions that matter.
148. sixty, single and surviving – Bludgeon: let me think about that
149. Lost Property Repository – The Poet doesn’t take a hint
150. Breakfast and butterflies – Don’t hold your breath
151. Bludgeoned by awareness – broken fingernails
152. I wrote a book. Now what? – One hundred
153. Under the bludgeoning of Chance – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
154. Not an “other” – So Many Hats (or Veils)
155. The Never Ending War – Blog of Hammad Rais
156. It’s all in the kill – Back On The Grid
157. Hot White Snow – The Circus of Life
158. Discovering a Pirates Life of Myths and Legends – WeDiscover USA
159. Designer Sophisticate – I get it already. Damn.
160. Bludgeoned… – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
161. Life after 30 – Unlearning
162. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: bludgeon
163. The Wandering Poet – Standing on the other end