20 Jun 2016

Author Interview / Jaime Raven

 Women always uncover the truth . . .

Three years and eleven months. That's how long Lizzie Wells has been banged up inside Holloway prison, serving time for a crime she didn’t commit.

Six months. That's how long it’s taken Lizzie to fall in love with her fellow inmate, Scar.

Now they are both finally free and, together, they are about to embark on a vengeful search to find those who framed Lizzie . . . and to make them pay.


The first of two books for Avon/Harper Collins. The second - THE ALIBI - will be published in January. The second book is set in London and features a female crime reporter


If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I’m actually a huge fan of Jessie Keane. I like her hard hitting, gritty novels and the way her characters really come to life on the pages. Also, I was born and raised in South London and my working class family were familiar with the local villains who ran the criminal operations. I’m sure that if I worked with Jessie we could come up with a few cracking yarns about the reprobates who inhabit the London underworld

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I have an office at my home in Southampton but I actually can’t stand writing in there. I much prefer going out to local coffee shops. I really don’t mind the noise around me because I can tune it out once I get going. Most mornings I walk into the town centre and spend a couple of hours writing, drinking Americanos and scoffing cakes – and I always write in longhand first. Then once I get home I’ll type it into the computer. 
What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Firstly it’s coming up with the idea. That’s always the hardest part because with so many books being published every year it’s very hard to identify an original premise. Secondly it’s the title. This is something I really struggle with because whenever I come up with title I discover that one or more authors have beaten me to it. Fortunately, there’s no copyright in titles, but it is nice to have one that isn’t already out there.

When and why did you first start writing?
I first started writing while at school. At the age of fifteen I wrote my first novel about thieves stealing a priceless painting from a museum in Amsterdam. But quite honestly it was terrible and so I never bothered to send it to a publisher. Maybe one day I’ll resurrect the idea and turn it into a novel!

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I live in Southampton where THE MADAM is set. One day in the local evening newspaper I read about a prostitute who had been arrested in the city. It gave birth to the idea of developing a story around a prostitute. I started to think about how vulnerable prostitutes are and from there I came up the character of Lizzie Wells, a prostitute who is wrongly convicted of a crime she didn’t commit. She spends almost four years in prison and on her release she sets out to get revenge on the people who framed her.

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I do read an awful lot. Currently I’m reading the While my eyes were closed, by Linda Green. Before that it was The Missing, by CL Taylor. I enjoy reading crime novels and at the same time I like to see what competition I’m up against. It’s a fact that THE MADAM will have to compete against a lot of terrific, well-written books. 
Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
My advice would be to keep at it no matter how many times you’re knocked back. Being rejected by agents and publishers is part of the process. And you should always remember that all views expressed are subjective. What one agent or publisher dislikes another will think is terrific. Just keep writing and with a bit of luck you’ll get where you want to be.