Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and doing fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
What inspires you to write?
I never know what is going to set me off. It might be a conversation I overheard or something I’ve seen on television or read about. Most often I wake up with a new idea in my mindn – “What if the gods really were spacemen?” What if you could live forever?” “What if you woke up one day in an alternative present?” They don’t all end up as stories, but a lot of them do.
Tell us about your writing process.
I think about a story idea over a long period of time, not writing anything down, just keeping it in my head until the whole plot has developed. Then, when I have it all clear, I ‘download’ it. So far I have always done it that way and it works for me.
If I just write and do nothing else, I can do the first draft of a full length novel in a month, but it takes me the rest of the year to get it tidied up and ready for publication.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I wouldn’t say I exactly listen or talk to them, but they certainly develop a life of their own. Once they exist I just let them do whatever they like. This occasionally results in some interesting twists in the plot.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write about what you know.
Avoid long paragraphs and purple prose.
Make sure your work is grammatically correct. It is simply not true that it’s the story that matters and not the language. Nothing spoils a good story like bad grammar and careless editing. Your readers will notice and it will affect their ability to concentrate on the story.
Listen to criticism, but don’t feel you must respond. Remember it’s YOUR story, not theirs and you have the final say. If several people make the same criticism, maybe you need to address it.
When it comes to publication, don’t give up. Remember Stephen King papered his wall with rejection slips when he was first starting out. And JK Rowlings DID give up and only had one last try when a friend persuaded her. The last try paid off.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I first started writing self-publication was in its infancy. I assumed the process would be expensive and complicated, so I went the time-honoured route of submission to publishers. I was accepted (eventually) by a small press publisher and have since contributed to several anthologies with other publishers. I have also published one short story myself and intend to publish more.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think conventional publishers will have to work harder to keep their authors, since self-publishing pays so much more. And I think specialist sites which promote excellence will become very important as readers get fed up with all the mediocre and downright bad books on the internet.
I’ve written an article on this here:
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Horror, Romance, SciFi, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print