Five Minute Interview with Jane Ryan
Jane Ryan co-won the Wasafiri New Writing Fiction Prize in 2010. She is currently working with secondary schools who have adopted her recently launched teen spy thriller series Missing Dad 1: Wanted (Troubador) for use with library reading groups. Book 2: Twisted is out this Spring and Books 3 and 4 are due out during 2017 – Spring 2018.
What are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished Spaceman by Mike Massimino (Simon & Schuster) which our oldest son gave me for Christmas – never encountered a hero with such humility and humour.
Where do you write?
I’m lucky to have a heavenly office in a converted barn where I can hide away. I once wrote right through the night; I’d been so absorbed that at first I couldn’t work out if I was looking at dusk or dawn.
Does travelling inspire your writing?
The sense of place is critical to Missing Dad, from the Corsican mountains to the glorious Camargue and sinister Naples. I learned basic Italian before researching Naples for Book 4, where the troubled half-Italian half-English teenager Tommaso was raised with his Camorra family.
Paper or pen or laptop?
When I’m travelling I scribble happily in notebooks; at home when my desktop goes on strike, I resort grumpily to my laptop.
What was the first book you read that made a difference?
No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (Vintage Books). It defines the sense of clan and the individual within such a haunting sweep of history that it stays with you forever.
What one book would you take to a desert island?
Any novel from The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (Little, Brown). His wonderful characters and insights, and the sweetness of language, never fail to make me smile.
Which new author should the world be reading?
Can I have the wiggle room to choose a recent book by one of our finest authors? I don’t know how Ian McEwan just keeps going deeper into the human psyche’s response to profound moral issues, but The Children Act does that for me.
What book or books are you most looking forward to reading next?
Watching the English by Kate Fox (Hodder & Stoughton). My husband keeps laughing out loud and quoting from it and I wish he’d get on and finish it.
What role does Wasafiri play in international contemporary literature?
Wasafiri’s wonderful energy is a challenging force for today’s readers and writers worldwide. Going in for the New Writing competition shook me right out of my comfort zone and I needed that.