The Writing Life of: J. A. Corrigan
J. A. Corrigan
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author J. A. Corrigan, who will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her new book ‘The Nurse‘, which was released on 20th May 2021 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
J. A. Corrigan was born in Nottinghamshire. She studied in London, completing a BA (Hons) Humanities degree, majoring in Modern History and English Literature.
Travelling in Europe for several years, she taught in both Greece and Spain – countries and cultures she found fascinating. On return to the UK she gained a BSc (Physiotherapy), becoming a Chartered Physiotherapist. Her first suspense thriller, Falling Suns, was published in 2016.
She currently lives in Berkshire with her family. J. A. Corrigan also writes modern historical fiction under the pseudonym Jules Hayes.
1) Did you enjoy writing when you were a child?
I did! And from a very early age too. According to my primary school teacher I had an extremely vivid imagination. It was Mr Judson (my lovely teacher) who encouraged me to write my stories. I’d go home, scribble away, and hand it in to him at the end of the week. I loved the deadline he would give me – some things do change!
2) Which author shaped your childhood?
A few I’d say, but definitely Enid Blyton. I loved Elizabeth in The Naughtiest Girl collection – loved both her rebelliousness and vulnerability. I am, though, aware of the current controversy surrounding Blyton’s work.
I was a big fan of the Narnia books too – I really did live those stories. The first full novel I ever read was The Hobbit, which I adored. I think I was 7.
James Herbert is another writer I read as an older child. My love of horror books has stayed with me, although I read them very sporadically these days.
3) What motivated you to begin your first novel?
I’m unsure of a defining moment, but I think it was the feeling that if I didn’t start soon I never would. So I did start … initially signing up for the Open University Start to Write Fiction course and that was when I also learnt to use a computer too. It was all a massive learning curve!
4) Do you plot your book, or are you a pantser?
I’m very much a panster, although I do have to have an ending in mind before I start, and a few key plot points/twists written down. Some twists and convolutions really don’t come to me until I’m well into writing the book. I’m big on thinking through the story inside my head and as I’ve gained more experience, I’m able to easily identify – and early on – what might be too difficult for me to pull off. For example, too many viewpoint characters or an overly complicated story structure.
5) What is your average writing day?
I’m an early riser when I’m in the midst of writing a story. During 1st draft time I wake up around 5am and start writing after a few cups of coffee. I’ll be at my desk for 6am and will work until 4-5pm, taking a break to walk the dog! It’s rare for me to get any new words down in the evenings, but after 6pm I can edit words that are already down… if I have to. The evenings are for reading other author’s books, or reading non-fiction, which I love – biographies, history books etc.
6) What is the best thing about being an author?
The other lovely authors I meet!
Publisher – Canelo
Pages – 336
Release Date – 20th May 2021
ISBN 13 – 978-1800323759
Format – ebook, paperback
When you hear her story, will you believe her?
Rose Marlowe is a hard-working nurse, a loving wife, and a merciless killer. Or so she says. Despite her confession, it is hard to believe that this beautiful, kind woman could have killed her vulnerable patient in cold blood.
Down-on-his-luck true crime author, Theo Hazel, is convinced that there’s more to what happened than Rose is telling, and so decides to visit her behind bars to write her story. His first surprise comes when Rose reveals that the victim was not a stranger to her.
As time goes on, it seems that Rose is letting Theo see behind her perfect mask. With each new visit, he learns terrible new things about her heart-breaking past. With each new visit, he becomes more and more convinced that she can’t be a killer. But is he trying to free an innocent woman, or falling prey to a calculating murderer?
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7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
For The Nurse I didn’t need to do a lot of research, as my background is medical, (I’m a qualified physiotherapist), although I did fact check everything (I hope!) with doctors and midwives. Locations – I will always, if possible, visit the locations I use in my books, or in the case of Chesterfield and Nottingham in The Nurse, revisit.
8) How long did it take to go from the ideas stage to writing the last word?
Difficult question, but I’d say approximately 2 years, although I was working on another manuscript at the same time.
9) What made you choose the genre you write in?
Commerciality. The psychological thriller market is extremely competitive and so to a large extent it is over-populated/saturated; however, on the other hand, there is great reader demand for this genre. My editor told me that psych thriller readers devour these books in a matter of hours!
I do love writing in this genre, as it allows me to let my imagination run wild with the ‘what-ifs’ and the ‘whys’ – and these are extremely potent story drivers, particularly in this genre.
10) How did you come up with the name(s) for your lead character(s)?
I really don’t know. Rose’s character name literally popped into my head immediately. I think deep in my subconscious I wanted Rose to have an Irish heritage (she does.)
I took the name, Theo, from a friend’s son!
11) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
A young Rose is sassy and clever, but also naïve and very much a product of her upbringing.
Theo is kind, but too impetuous. We meet him as an older man with more wisdom and patience, but I think a younger Theo was much more selfish, or rather self-centred. He’s mellowed with age…
12) How did you feel when you had completed your book?
Relieved, and eventually, proud.
1) Do you have a favourite quote you live by?
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning…”
2) Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a gorgeous, meek, well-behaved, although needy apricot-coloured cockapoo!
3) What’s on your current reading list?
Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent
The Savage Instinct by MM DeLuca
The Dilemma by BA Paris
Stalin by Robert Service
4) Your book has been made into a feature film, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what would you be doing?
I’d be an inmate inside Rose’s prison or maybe a nurse in the intensive care unit!
5) If you could travel to the fictional world of any book for the day, which would you choose?
I think I’d like to meet Garp in the novel, The World According to Garp by John Irving.
6) There’s a penguin sitting in your writing chair, what is the first thing he says to you?
“Where’s your glass of water?”
I would like to say a big thank you to J. A. Corrigan for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.