The Twisted Knot is pretty much one of my best reads this year, and what I love is that for a second book in a series, it’s a marvellous and compelling introduction to the series and Sammi! I mean, how many times have you found the sixth or seventh book in a series, realised how behind you were and not gone back to the beginning?
What I was also intrigued to find out is that JM Peace is actually an Australian police officer, and now writer! Read on to find out more about her and Sammi!
Given your normal life as a police officer, how did you find yourself one day deciding to write?
I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. I actually wrote a full-length novel when I was seventeen. I enjoyed writing so much, I thought I’d become a journalist – that’s the same thing, right? I lasted a year as a journo and afterwards I no longer wanted to write. It took me about fifteen years to start again.
What surprised you the most about the process of writing?
I love it most when the story takes on a life of its own and goes in directions I hadn’t anticipated. Sometimes the pieces just fall into place in such a way that it doesn’t even feel like I’ve planned it. But I must have. Somehow.
The Twisted Knot is the second in a series, with Sammi and what I enjoyed so much about this book was that even though I haven’t read book 1, book 2 gave me a realistic and complicated look into Sammi’s recovery – it’s not easy and she’s suffering PTSD, while her relationship with her boyfriend is in trouble too – tell us about Sammi, about her journey through this book?
I felt like the events in the first book would have to have affected Sammi deeply. But she is still a police officer at heart. Although she is battling anxiety, she never considers doing anything else aside from policing. She wants life to return to normal after her ordeal in the first book and stoically works towards this. Her relationship with her partner, Gavin, has changed irrevocably and they struggle to find a new ‘normal’ for the way they should behave towards each other.
In regards to Sammi, what did you know you had to get right about her above all else?
The thing I strived for not just with Sammi, but when writing both books was plausibility. Even though I put Sammi in extraordinary situations, the way she dealt with them and the way they were resolved had to be within the realms of possibility. I’ve had police friends read a draft of each of the books to make sure I was hitting the mark.
Tell us about the influence of your work as a police officer on your writing?
When I decided to start writing again, my first projects were children’s books. I quickly realised that in order to have any chance at all to get published, I would have to exploit my point of difference – so I became a police officer writing crime. I write with an insider’s understanding of how not just policing works, but also the dynamics and hierarchies within a police station.
What’s next for you and Sammi?
I’m just in the process of finishing another of Sammi’s stories. I have a rough idea for one more story after that but not sure if that will ever see the light of day. Book three is not under contract either so it’s hard to speculate on whether Sammi has any future. As for myself, I have too many ideas and not enough time. I am working towards quitting my ‘day job’ so I can devote more time to writing.
What do you think of The Twisted Knot and JM Peace?