Q&A with Jane Retzig

23 Feb

The_Wrong_Woman_Cover_for_KindleToday we have Jane Retzig in the hot seat for a Q&A. Jane started writing in the 90s and published Boundaries – a tale of passion and turmoil between a young and older lover in 1970s Northern England. After a break in writing she has written three more novels – stories with a bit of a difference to keep her readers on their toes.

Her latest, The Wrong Woman, is a lesbian mystery romance set in the north. It features Kate, the rising star of the trauma therapy world, accused of a terrible crime and finding love when she least expects it.

Hi Jane. How would you describe your novels and please tell us a little about your new work The Wrong Woman.

I’ve always seen my novels as Lesbian Romantic Fiction. I’m interested in situations where something happens to take my protagonists out of their comfort zone… How they respond under pressure.

The Wrong Woman was inspired by personal experience of bullying directed against myself and several of my friends. While I was writing it, I jokingly referred to it as ‘my revenge novel’ but I don’t think it is really. It was motivated by a desire for the ‘baddies’ to get their come-uppance, but I hope I managed to capture the light and shade in all of us. The book pretty much wrote itself and took me by surprise on several occasions. It was a cathartic experience. I felt a lot better after I’d written it.

What have readers liked most about your latest novel?

boundariesIt seems to be a bit like Marmite – people either seem very enthusiastic or they hate it. It’s got a big ‘cast list’ compared with my usual writing and the lack of chapters seems to have thrown and confused some readers. The people who like it seem to have enjoyed the fast pace, the twists and turns, and the fairly quirky characters. A friend who read it texted me at 2.30am with ‘Just finished your book, you ****! Thought you should be awake in the middle of the night too!’

You have a diverse set of characters. Who have you enjoyed creating and writing most?

I’m very fond of a lot of my characters, but in The Wrong Woman I’d have to say Saskia, my ‘shake-up cocktails girl’. I had a lot of fun with her.

How important is setting and region for your novels?

All of those things – region, season, period, time – they all vary in importance depending on how important they are to my characters.

Who has influenced your writing and which authors/novels have left their mark on you?

thephotograph

The Photograph – a lesbian mystery romance

There have been so many, starting with Enid Blyton as a kid. Then the great Northern writers – Stan Barstow, Keith Waterhouse. A whole swathe of American authors – Patti Smith, Kate Millett, Jane Bowles, Carson McCullers. American lesbian fiction – I think I worked my way through everything Silver Moon and Gay’s the Word had on their shelves. I also love the books of my Northern gay romantic fiction writing buddy Tim Bairstow. But probably if I had to name my two biggest influences I’d have to say Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Taylor for their brilliant characterisation and great storytelling.

Are you a fan of lesbian fiction and if so, which novels have tickled your fancy?

I love lesbian fiction and I’ve currently got five UKLesFic blog featured novels waiting impatiently for me on my kindle. Frustratingly, I don’t seem to be able to read when I’m writing though, and I’ve been writing fairly constantly for the past year.

So the last lesbian-themed novel I read was By Blood by Ellen Ullman. It’s brilliant, very creepy and compulsive and set in San Francisco in the 1970s.

When I finish my current novel, I’m looking forward to a massive lesfic binge (hopefully in the garden on a sun lounger).

You had a break from writing. What got you back in the saddle?

The_Full_Legacy

Lesbian tale with a hint of the supernatural

It was more the other way round. I’ve always tended to write when I have space. I just hit a period in my life that was quite turbulent – moving four times, looking after a poorly elderly relative, coping with the breakdown of a very long-term relationship – I’m much more settled now, so I’m writing again.

What’s next in the pipeline?

I’m about a third of the way through a new novel. Its working title is The Retreat, and it’s about a long term affair that’s on the verge of being uncovered.

Thanks Jane! You can find out more about Jane and all of her novels on Amazon.

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4 Responses to “Q&A with Jane Retzig”

  1. Devlyn February 23, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    I enjoyed the Q and A. Looking forward to reading your novels.

  2. Tim Bairstow March 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Jane! Wow! You put me in some pretty amazing company there! I’m so honoured to be one of your favourite authors. Keep writing – you’re an inspiration! On holiday next week and taking ‘The Wrong Woman’ with me … erm … as it were! As Vic Brown might say: “astonishing good luck!”

    BTW – shame there isn’t a forum for gay, male writers such as this one. This is an outstanding site!

    • Clare Ashton March 3, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      Aww shucks, thanks 🙂

      • Tim Bairstow March 3, 2015 at 10:16 pm #

        The pleasure is all mine … (takes suitably florid, camp 18th Century style bow!) 🙂

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