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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Interview: Jill Rosenblatt

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This week, I am happy to be welcoming crime thriller writer Jill Rosenblatt to The Writing Greyhound to take part in my weekly author interview. Keep on reading to learn more about Jill, her writing, and her latest book The Fixer!


Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
My name is Jill Amy Rosenblatt. I write an indie pub crime/suspense series, The Fixer. The first two books in the series are The Fixer: The Naked Man and The Fixer: The Killing Kind
I have a Master’s degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Burlington College. If I’m not writing, I’m either reading or looking for something good on Netflix (while waiting for Stranger Things to return).
How did you first become interested in writing?
I always had an overactive imagination. I was the kid sitting in the back of the class by the window staring out and daydreaming up stories. I liked to read but I really loved watching tv and movies. I became interested in writing after high school and I started off by studying screenwriting. After many years, I decided to try writing a novel. It was very scary! But I loved it and I haven’t looked back since.
Tell me about The Fixer.
The Fixer is an origin story of college student Katerina Mills who finds herself in a desperate situation needing fast cash. She takes a job where she “fixes” the problems of wealthy, powerful men who are willing to pay any price to make their troubles disappear. Katerina is smart and capable, but she has a lot to learn about this shadowy, dangerous world she’s fallen into. The first thing she learns is once you’re in, there’s no getting out. 
The series has a central plot that runs through the books, connecting them together. However, in each book Katerina meets different individuals and faces different challenges to get the job done. She will also have a group of supporting characters who continue to appear in the books. Sometimes they will teach her and sometimes they will help her complete her jobs.
Why did you decide to write a thriller?
I feel I didn’t choose this genre, it chose me! The Fixer is the first project I’ve taken on since I had a very bad case of writer’s block. That was a very tough period of time for me. This idea came on slowly, coming together in bits and pieces. I spent a lot of time thinking about the story. It went in the direction of a crime/suspense/thriller and I’m following.
What do you find appealing about crime fiction?
I think it’s interesting to watch characters in tough situations and see the decisions they make. I remember taking Robert McKee’s class, Story, and he explained the idea that everyone thinks they’re a good person, doing what they have to do to get by. As Katerina gets deeper into this life, it’s interesting to see how the circumstances make her question her moral compass and her ethics.
Did you have to do any research for the book?
Yes, absolutely. I love research! I always like to know as much as I can so I can write in a way that gives readers confidence in the world of the story. I have been so lucky to meet up with lovely people who have been very kind and giving with their time to answer my questions. I also like to go into New York City and visit the places I will write about and walk around in my character’s shoes.
How did you get inspiration?
For this series, the first inspiration came after a frustrating, sleepless night. I wasn’t writing and I was very angry with myself. At the end of the night, I had an initial idea of a man and woman, enemies, locked in a negotiation, a battle of wits over... something. I kept thinking about it. I had heard the term “fixer” before, so I kept thinking about the idea for several months until the story started to work itself out.
What’s your writing process?
I’m very careful about the writing process because I’m afraid I will do something that will stop the flow! I wrote The Naked Man longhand, in pencil, in a journal book with cream paper (something else I learned in class – never write on white paper). I wrote scenes and stopped when I felt I was done. I didn’t want to pressure myself. That’s why The Naked Man is a novella. The Killing Kind is a full novel. I’m finishing The Last Romanov and that’s even bigger! 
I still write in longhand in journals and I write until I feel I’m done. Then I go back and make a list of the scenes I wrote and organise them and see where I am with the story and what else is needed. It’s messy and disorganised but it seems to be working so I don’t want to disturb it.
jill-rosenblatt, author

What’s the hardest thing about writing?
At the moment, nothing! If I had to pick something, I would say when I get close to the end but there’s still so much to check: grammar, spelling, and smoothing sentences. I’m done but I’m not finished. So that’s the hardest part, being so close and still not quite there.
What do you love most about writing?
Everything! If I had to pick one thing, it’s how this strange, wonderful process works in the background of your mind. I can be driving and suddenly I’ll think of a piece of dialogue or make a connection that either knits the story more tightly together or takes it in a new direction. My characters are quite bossy! Sometimes they do things and I’ll think, “Oh that’s interesting. What am I supposed to do with this now?”
Which authors inspire you?
I confess this is one of my favourite questions. There are so many! Shakespeare, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Janet Evanovich, Margaret Atwood, Don Winslow, Ian McEwan, Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Silva and that’s just to name a few. 
They make me want to work at my craft every day and be better.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
The only suggestion I give is to read as much as possible. Read authors with different writing styles. Try reading books outside your favourite genre, too.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading two Thomas Perry books at the moment, Vanishing Act and Sleeping Dogs. I read his book, The Butcher’s Boy. It was amazing.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
That’s a hard one. I would have to say my all-time favourite book is The Handmaid’s Tale.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I like drawing and watercolour painting although I don’t get much time for it. One day, I would like to go back and continue with saxophone lessons. I’m a big ice hockey fan and the New York Rangers are my team.
The Fixer is available to buy now. For more about Jill and her writing, you can visit her website.

Does The Fixer sound like your kind of read? Let me know in the comments below!

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