Friday, 27 January 2017

Triskele Author Feature - JJ Marsh

Once in a while, we like to remind ourselves of why we’re an author collective. Five individuals in three countries bound by a love of writing. People often ask how it works, but rarely why.

Here is the third in our Author Feature series, on why we appreciate JJ Marsh.

Jill grew up in Wales, Africa and the Middle East, where her curiosity for culture took root and triggered an urge to write. After graduating in English Literature and Theatre Studies, she worked as an actor, teacher, writer, director, editor, journalist and cultural trainer all over Europe. Now based in Switzerland, Jill works as a language trainer, forms part of the Nuance Words project, co-edits The Woolf and reviews books for Bookmuse. She is also a regular columnist for Words with JAM magazine, and an expert on writing book blurbs. She lives with her husband and three dogs, and in an attic overlooking a cemetery, she writes.

One of my all-time favourite series' character is Jill's DI Beatrice Stubbs. In a recent interview with author, Jane Davis, Jill spoke about the central character of her 6-part European crime novel series, DI Beatrice Stubbs.

JD: Your main character is Beatrice Stubbs. Can you tell us a little about her?

JJ: Metaphor-mixer, serial survivor, bipolar sufferer and lover of good food, she takes her job seriously and believes in justice. Problems arise when justice and the law diverge. Beatrice has been in my head for years, and I finally found the right vehicle for her. She feels like an old friend.

Watch this short interview to find out more about the captivating Beatrice Stubbs.

So, what makes JJ Marsh such a valued member of Triskele Books?

Liza Perrat: First and foremost, I value Jill’s organizational skills for the Triskele collective. So that we stay on track and have continuous interesting output, Jill maps out a weekly Workplan, which I believe we’d be lost without. Secondly, I am in awe of her ideas about how to promote ourselves and our collective, her dynamism and enthusiasm about instigating those ideas, as well as supporting our author friends, both indie and trad published. Thirdly, Jill’s critiquing skills are invaluable. Her no-nonsense, no-holding-back comments help to bring all the Triskele books up to the highest possible standard. I’d like to make a special nod to her blurb-writing skills too. I was floundering with the description for my latest novel and Jill came up with the most succinct, engaging and highly suitable blurb! And finally, Jill has written five out of six of the most brilliant and engaging European crime series. My personal favourite is number five: Human Rites, although the books can be read in any order. All of us are eagerly awaiting the release of number six this spring, while at the same time sad to say goodbye to Beatrice Stubbs.

JD Smith: Jill's talents for organising our tribe are always reflected in her writing, which is concise, well-researched and brilliantly executed. She is a talented and astute critic, and one of the most tactful I know. 

Catriona Troth: To get any disparate group of creative folks to work together, you need at least one person with a talent for herding cats. Someone who can focus on the long game, and also keep track of the steps needed to get there. In Triskele, that person is JJ Marsh. She is the one who pulls our madcap ideas together into a coherent plan. She cracks the whip, though always with a twist of humour. And she holds us all to a high standard in everything we do.

As a writer, she brings to each of her books the rich flavours of the many corners of Europe where she has lived. (Quite literally, as her detective, DI Beatrice Stubbs, is a lover of food and drink.) My favourite, Tread Softly, had me itching to jump on the next flight to Northern Spain, to walk (and eat) in Beatrice’s wake. Her plots are intelligent - a thinking reader's crime stories that don't rely on violence for cheap thrills.

As an editor, Jill is your greatest champion - and your harshest critic if she suspects you are selling yourself short. When I brought out my novel, Ghost Town, I was on the point of choosing a cover that was simply wrong for the book. Jill was the one who insisted I think again – and thank goodness she did!

Gillian Hamer: There are lots of magical facets to Ms Marsh that complete a sparkling diamond. From a writing perspective, she has the imagination, intelligence, experience, wit and warmth to ooze talent and create brilliant characters and page-turning stories.

From a Triskele colleague perspective, Jill has the most amazingly creative brain, she sees opportunities and makes them work, and she is totally committed and determined to succeed and help others succeed too.

Add to that her honesty, integrity and unflinching support - you can see why she is our driving force and why we couldn't survive without her.

What readers are saying about JJ Marsh’s Beatrice Stubbs European crime series:

Cold Pressed
Editor’s Choice – The Bookseller

“This is J J Marsh’s fourth, snappily written crime mystery featuring the feisty but vulnerable Stubbs, a most appealing character. It’s all highly diverting, and an ideal read for those who like their crime with a lighter, less gruesome touch.” Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller

Tread Softly oozes atmosphere and JJ Marsh captures the sights, sounds and richness of Spain in all its glory. I literally salivated as I read the descriptions of food and wine. JJ Marsh is an extremely talented author and this is a wonderful novel.” Sheila Bugler, author of Hunting Shadows

“There are moments of farce and irony, there are scenes of friendship, tenderness and total exasperation - and underlying it all a story of corruption, brutality, manipulation and oppression with all the elements you'd expect to find in a good thriller, including a truly chilling villain. Highly recommended.” Lorna Fergusson, FictionFire.

“I loved JJ Marsh's debut novel Behind Closed Doors, but her second, Raw Material, is even better. While Beatrice is fully occupied with the London crime, Matthew, and Beatrice's neighbour, Adrian, decide to investigate in Wales and what starts out as a light-hearted caper turns into something horribly grim. The truth is more terrible than Matthew, Adrian, or even Beatrice, could ever have imagined and the final chapters are heart-stoppingly moving and exciting.” Chris Curran, author of Amazon Bestseller, Mindsight.

 “Some rather realistic – if not particularly laudable – human exchanges reveal honest personal struggles concerning life’s bigger questions; the abstruse clues resonate with the covert detective in me; and the suspense is enough to cause me to miss my stop.” Vince Rockston, author.

“Beatrice Stubbs is a fascinating character, and a welcome addition to crime literature, in a literary and thought-provoking novel (Behind Closed Doors). I heartily recommend this as an exciting and intelligent read for fans of crime fiction.” Sarah Richardson, of Judging Covers.

Behind Closed Doors crackles with human interest, intrigue and atmosphere. Beatrice and her team go all out to see justice is done. And author JJ Marsh does more than justice to the intelligent heroine who leads this exciting and absorbing chase.” Libris Reviews.

“Hooked from the start and couldn't put this down. Superb, accomplished and intelligent writing. Ingenious plotting paying as much attention to detail as the killer must. Beatrice and her team are well-drawn, all individuals, involving and credible.” Book Reviews Plus.

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