This week I’m chatting to the wonderful Jeanette aka J.M. Hewitt, who is the author of seven crime novels. Her work has also been published in three short story anthologies. Her sixth novel – THE LIFE SHE WANTS – was released in July 2021, and her seventh – THE EIGHT YEAR LIE – is out in January 2022. In contrast to the sometimes dark content of her books, she lives a very nice life in a seaside town in Suffolk with her dog, Marley.
Welcome, Jeanette, so…
Who was the best Beatle?
John. Without a doubt. One of my most favourite places is the John Lennon memorial, Strawberry Fields in Central Park. There’s a circular marble plaque in the ground which is usually covered in flowers that fans have left. A busker plays Beatle songs constantly. If I used one word to sum it up it would be ‘peace’, which is appropriate.
When was the last time you were arrested?
Ooh I’ve never been arrested, but when I was around seventeen, I used to hang out with this group of bikers who all lived together in a farmhouse. I’d ride pillion and obviously they never really kept to the speed limit. We were all riding through the country lanes one night and suddenly sirens blared out behind us. Naively I thought all the bikers would stop and apologise to the policeman and hopefully get let off with a warning but… they decided to run from the law!
The chase went on for a little while with me clinging on the back of a Kawasaki 750 for dear life, then the half a dozen motorbikes veered off to the left and rode full pelt down a set of concrete stairs – obviously the police cars couldn’t follow us.
We hid the motorbikes and our helmets in a field, covered them over with long grass and made our way the five miles back to the farmhouse on foot.
Would you rather have four arms or four legs?
Four arms – I could write two novels at once!
Have you ever heard voices in your head?
Erm, yes – doesn’t everyone?
Who was your first crush?
Ooh I had an eclectic mix of crushes. The first posters on my bedroom door were Edward Furlong, Alan Shearer and Mike Tyson. Swoon!
What’s the last book you read?
Ha – I’m almost finished with my current read, it’s an amazing storyline and I’ve been hooked from the very first page. It’s called Substitute. The author escapes me…
What is the most annoying thing?
Oh! People who wear jackets in a heatwave. It makes me want to scream. Also, people who walk in the road instead of on the pavement. It’s got to the point where I refuse to brake and we have a little standoff; who is going to get out of whose way first? If I do this quiz again this may well end up being the answer to ‘when was the last time you were arrested’.
What was your first gig?
Bon Jovi, These Days tour, Wembley Stadium, June 1995. It was my first and last gig. Six-inch heels and 72,000 people tramping through mud don’t mix.
What was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
A few years ago I had a biofuel fire. It was a pointless, stupid ornament that didn’t really give off any heat but looked nice. You poured ethanol into it and the flame appeared between two pieces of glass. One night I had this fire on, it had burned all the fuel so I topped it up. But I hadn’t let it cool down and it sparked, and suddenly littles fires were everywhere. On the cushion, the carpet, the picture frames on the wall but worst of all, flames were on the outside of the bottle of ethanol I was holding.
I remember thinking that this flame is going to burn through the plastic of the bottle, touch the fuel inside and it’s basically going to be a petrol bomb that I am holding in my hands. So I ran through the house, opened the back door and hurled the bottle as though I was doing javelin in the Olympics.
The bottle hit the decking and exploded. It was like fireworks night.
I ran back inside, shut the door and put out all the little fires in the lounge.
I called my partner at the time who was at work and said, ‘I’ve had a little accident. Everything’s okay but the garden is still on fire…’
Did you like school?
I was indifferent about school until the final year when we got computers. I’d not attend my scheduled lessons, instead I’d go to the brand spanking new I.T rooms and sit and write novels. I have fond memories of my fourteen-year-old-self channelling all the Jackie Collins I’d read into my high school computers instead of attending history or maths.
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