I first met Janie Juke in February 2017. I was walking my Scottie dog, Hamish, along a Spanish beach and she came into my head. But back then I didn’t know her name, I didn’t know that she would be a mobile librarian and I hadn’t met any of her family and friends.
Since then Janie has become a friend. I have discovered a little of her likes and dislikes, her fears and insecurities. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her dad, Phillip, who is a blind physiotherapist and her husband, Greg, who is her soulmate and stalwart supporter. But I’ve still got a lot to learn about Janie and about my writing craft.
Anyone who has tried their hand at writing fiction will understand that moment when your character takes on a life of their own. As an author you think you are in control, but once the words start to appear on the page, you discover that you are not. Well, that’s how it feels to me.
So far, Janie has had two major adventures. In The Tapestry Bag, Janie is desperate to track down a friend who has gone missing. By solving that mystery she realises that she has skills as an amateur sleuth and in the early chapters of Lost Property she is surprised to learn that those skills can earn her money. Just like many young families in the 1960s (or now, for that matter) any opportunity to bolster their financial coffers is grabbed with both hands.
The Janie Juke mystery series is set in the late 1960s. I have loved the chance to look back at that era when The Beatles were breaking the mould of popular music. Medical advances were coming thick and fast. Attitudes were changing to sex, crime, women’s rights and family life.
In Lost Property Janie meets Hugh Furness, a Second World War RAF pilot. She learns something about life during the Second World War, and the years immediately following it. Researching this era has given me a taste for it and I’d like to spend a bit more time with Hugh.
So what happens next? Well, I know there is a lot more I have to learn about Janie and her family and friends. I’m pretty certain she is going to take me on more adventures and I hope you will come along with me…it’s going to be a busy 2018!