MEET THE AUTHOR: JAYE FORD
Jaye Ford became the biggest-selling crime debut in 2011 with her first novel Beyond Fear.
Now she is set to strike terror in our hearts all over again with her psychological thriller Scared Yet?. Ford takes us into the life of Livia, who finds herself the victim of stalking and can now trust no-one, not even her nearest and dearest.
Meredith Jaffé spent some time finding out what makes this crime writer tick.
How did the idea for this particular story evolve?
I was still writing my first book Beyond Fear when I went to a meeting of Partners in Crime, which is a group for fans and writers of crime. They had a forensic psychologist come and talk about the research she’d been doing into stalking and the research itself was both horrifying and completely fascinating. I had my own teeny-tiny story of that kind of experience so I went away from that meeting thinking, wow there’s got to be a story in that. And there was.
The lead character Livia is a tough cookie and pretty capable of looking after herself who you then put into a dire situation. What was the attraction of Livia for you?
I wanted to write about a woman who was both mentally and physically strong. Mentally because stalking is a psychological assault, so she needed to be mentally strong. Physically strong, because I knew that there would be some kind of physical outcome in this and it doesn’t make sense to have somebody who’s not had some kind of physical training to be able to deal with that. So that was my starting point.
Part of it was about logistics. A lot of stalking goes on over years and I didn’t think you could sustain the suspense for that length of time so it needed to be contained in a tight time frame. I figured your average tough girl is not going to fall apart within a two-week period and I decided it would work better if she were not in a good place in her life to start with.
Stalking is bad enough in itself, but how much worse to be having to deal with that on your own? One of the stories the psychologist told that day was of a woman who’d been stalked for 10 years by a colleague who she offered to buy a sandwich for once. And her husband left her during the 10 years. I kept thinking, how awful it would be to have to deal with it on your own and not have anyone that you could trust.
Often what a writer chooses to write is the complete opposite of their personality. Comedians are often depicted as bitter, twisted depressed souls and I was thinking does that apply to crime writers? Are you all very happy chirpy people who bake cookies and sing 1950s songs from musicals when you’re not off killing people?
My daughter reckons that I’m actually living this alter ego by writing my books that gets to do these outrageous things. My husband thinks that if I wasn’t writing books I’d probably go insane.
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