I am thrilled to be part of the Stephen Lloyd Jones WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD Blog Tour. On this leg of the tour Stephen has very kindly taken time to complete a Q&A.
Having loved Stephen’s first novel, THE STRING DIARIES, I was keen to find what lay in store in WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD. I also wanted to find out a little more about life beyond the books and find where the ideas may have come from.
Jakab was the menacing threat throughout The String Diaries, can readers expect a similar foe in Written in the Blood?
They certainly can. THE STRING DIARIES was the story of Hannah Wilde’s struggle to escape Jakab, psychopathic member of Hungary’s secretive hosszú életek. I think of that book as a microcosm – it touched on the hosszú életek mythos but focussed on the intensely personal fight between Hannah and Jakab.
WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD is set fifteen years after the climactic events of THE STRING DIARIES, and occurs over a far broader landscape. This time around, the main protagonist is Leah Wilde, Hannah’s daughter. Early in the novel, Leah falls prey to a danger more formidable than the hosszú életek. I don’t want to reveal too much about the new threat, but it’s not the only danger confronting Leah. Closer to home lurks an even greater menace. And if you thought Jakab was a conflicted character in THE STRING DIARIES, wait until you meet Izsak, his younger brother . . .
Both The String Diaries and Written in the Blood feature strong female lead characters (Hannah and Leah). Is it hard to write for a central character of the opposite sex?
Thank you! I must admit, I don’t set out to write strong female characters, just strong characters. That’s something that happens long before the writing begins – the better I know a character before I commit them to paper, the easier the job of writing them becomes. If I caught myself considering gender too closely, I’d be worried. We’re all unique creations, after all. Gender is simply one facet.
Your website suggests you live in a house that is filled with too many books – what do you read and where do you seek guidance or inspiration?
The shelves are truly creaking around here. I tried a Kindle once, didn’t like it, so am doomed to mountains of books instead. I read a wide range of genres but I do have a few old favourites in terms of writers – Dean Koontz and Stephen King particularly. Other than that, I enjoy historical fiction, thrillers, fantasy. I tend to pick up and read whichever book is threatening to collapse the most precarious stack.
Inspiration comes in a never-ending drip-feed of thoughts and images. Out of that soup, sometimes a story will emerge.
Written in the Blood (as with The String Diaries) covers a lot of territory while the story unfolds. Do you travel to research your locations?
The new book contains a wider range of locations than my debut, but I think I’ve travelled to all but one of them. The fun part was investigating their history: during WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD, readers will visit contemporary California, London and the Italian Lakes, as well as nineteenth century Hungary, 1920s New York, and wartime Canada.
Finally, what comes next for Stephen Lloyd Jones?
I’m currently writing my third novel. It’s a standalone book, based on an idea I’ve had for a while. Headline are due to publish it in January 2015.
My thanks again to Stephen for taking time to answer my questions. WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD is published on 6 November by Headline.
Please also ensure you visit the other stops on the Blog Tour for exclusive content and extracts from WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD.