Inside the Thriller Author Wendy H. Jones

The thriller genre produces some of the most popular fiction in the market, encompassing many subgenres. The elements thrillers have in common are action, suspense, excitement, and maybe a touch of mystery. They are also all written by a curious species known as the thriller author.

Who are these thriller authors? Where compels them to write such intense stories? Where do they get their ideas?

We are going to find out as we dive into this edition of Inside the Thriller Author with Wendy H. Jones!

About Wendy H. Jones

Wendy H. Jones is the author of the award winning DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, the Cass Claymore Investigates series, The Fergus and Flora Mysteries and a children’s picture book, Bertie the Buffalo. She is the President of the Scottish Association of Writers, the Secretary of the Society of Authors in Scotland and the Webmaster for the Association of Christian Writers. She loves to combine her writing with her love of travel and is an International Public Speaker. She supports other authors with marketing and motivation.


You were such an avid reader that you consumed every book in the children’s section of your local library by the age of ten. What made you go from reader to writer?

I’ve always been a writer as well. My mother gave me a typewriter as a present when I was still very young. I started out writing Noddy Fan Fiction, so I probably invented the genre. When I left school I joined the Royal Navy as a Student Nurse and then, the Army as a Nursing Officer. This career took me all over the world and I documented my travels as I went. Moving into academia introduced me to academic writing in the way of nursing textbooks and journal articles. However, serious fiction writing waited until I took early retirement due to ill health. As I read a lot of crime fiction this was a natural progression for me.

You’ve had quite a full life serving in the Navy and the Army and traveling the world. How valuable was that experience to you as a writer?

Serving in the armed forces teaches you discipline, perseverance and determination. It also gives you confidence and a belief in your own abilities. I believe all those traits give me the discipline to write whatever is going on in my life, or indeed this crazy world in which we live. It also opened me up to new experiences, new cultures and a curiosity about life and the world in which we live. I soak everything up as I travel and this makes my writing richer and fuller.

Which book or author was your first writing inspiration? What is it about this writing that stands out to you?

This is a tough one for me, as I believe I am an amalgam of the all the books I have ever read. Being a voracious reader since the age of three, this is a lot of books. I’d even read most of the classics before I’d left primary school. However, I remember being introduced to Robert Louis Stephenson when I moved up to Secondary School at the end of twelve and immediately fell in love. Who could resist The Strange Case of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. Of course he is Scottish, which may have coloured my view.

What books are you currently reading? Who are your favorite authors today?

I love all the Scottish Crime Authors such as Alex Gray, Lin Anderson and Craig Robertson. American authors I would have to say are Kathy Reichs and Tess Gerritson, and in Canada, Louise Penny. At the moment I am binge reading cozy crime books, as I am writing a new cozy crime series. So MC Beaton is in there as well as the brilliantly written Simon Brett books.

Who is Shona McKenzie? What was your inspiration for this character?

Shona McKenzie came straight out of my head. I wanted a feisty female who had a desire to do her job well. She’s a bit sharp, a bit funny and smart and has the team from hell. She also spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about how she can kill her boss. The poor woman has a reputation as being the grim reaper as dead bodies seem to follow her around.

You released many books. How long does it take you to write a novel? What is your writing process?

I can write the first draft of a novel in a month. I then spend a couple of months editing and polishing it up. The most books I have released in one year are five. I’m an anytime, anyplace, anywhere girl when it comes to writing. I literally write everywhere and at any time I can. I do a lot of train journeys and find I get a lot written on those. I would consider myself extremely motivated and my latest book, released last week is called Motivation Matters: Revolutionise Your Writing One Creative Step at a Time. This helps writers to remain motivated using easy steps.

Tell us about Wendy’s Book Buzz!

This is a radio show where I interview other authors about their books. It’s great fun and it has made me widen my reading choices as I read at least one of their books. They also choose music that means a lot to them or links to the books. You can tell a lot about a person by their music choices. Sometimes they surprise you. You can listen to the show by going to and finding Wendy’s Book Buzz on listen again.

You’ve also written Power Packed Book Marketing: Sell More Books. What is the biggest struggle you see most self-published authors having with sales?

The biggest struggle all authors are having at the moment is that it has become a pay to play market. Authors need to be confident in using both Amazon and Facebook Ads in order to get their books seen by readers. However, there are other ways you can market books as well but most authors shy away from anything that smacks of marketing. The book helps authors to take simple steps to market and promote their books.

What advice do you have for writers who want to begin writing in the thriller genre?

Read as many crime and thriller books as you can, in every possible sub genre. Soak yourself in crime books and speak to authors who are already writing in that genre. Read a book on writing crime books. I can recommend the Masterclass series. Whether you are a plotter or a pantser is up to you. I am a mixture. Some crime authors say they start at sentence one and finish typing the end, without knowing at any point what is going to happen. Others plot it out to the nth degree and just fill in the passages that link it all together. Whichever way you do it, write, write, and write some more.

What is your best marketing advice for writers who plan to self-publish?

Start marketing your book the minute you write the first word. Take every opportunity you can without boring the pants off the whole world. I started by telling people that I was writing a book, using my blog to get the word out.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? In what way do you want to serve your readers?

My ultimate goal is to continue as a full time writer. I want to write the books that readers want to read and to help and encourage other authors on their journey. Mostly, I want to continue to enjoy my crazy, enjoyable, whirlwind writer’s life.


Many thanks to Wendy H. Jones for sharing her writing life and wisdom with us!


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