Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Hippo Hands Over . . . to Mary-Jane Riley

Today I'm handing over to Mary-Jane Riley, author of The Bad Things and After She Fell, but first let me tell you a little bit about her.

Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. AFTER SHE FELL is her second crime thriller. Her first, THE BAD THINGS, was an Amazon Kindle top 40 seller in the UK and US.

Photo courtesy of Mary-Jane Riley
 I've got to know quite a few authors since I started blogging and I'm always fascinated to
find out just what goes on inside their heads so I was delighted when Mary-Jane chose her subject to talk about. 

                             Inside the mind of Mary-Jane Riley


The scene: A lovely little cafĂ© in Harrogate, wooden tables, comfortable chairs, a bay window, potted plants, smells of coffee and cake in the air. Chatter all around us. I’m having lunch with a fellow author.
‘So,’ says fellow author, cutting her salmon and cream cheese bagel in half,  ‘How are you killing them this time?’
‘I’m thinking of cutting their throats or maybe gassing them,’ I reply, spearing two or three prawns.
She nods. ‘Good one.’
‘Not sure yet.’ Fellow author purses her lips. ‘But I need to kill off a character or two.’ She takes a sip of her Americano. ‘How many people do you think we’ve murdered between us?’
I have to stop and think. I eat a little of my salad. ‘You’ve written more books than me, and I think you’ve seen off quite a few. It’s about eight for me. ’ I look at her. ‘How’s your lunch?’


The scene: A walk along a path with dappled sunlight through the trees, birdsong, my lovely dog Bella padding behind me, enjoying the smells of the countryside.
What would a decomposing body smell like? Sweet and meaty perhaps. How long before it turns to liquid? Didn’t I read somewhere that the body blisters before the skin slides off? When do the flies eggs turn into wriggling maggots on a dead body? Can’t quite remember. Is there an app that can send a text to a phone and it disappears straightaway? What’s the law regarding revenge porn? Do I need to get a bottle of wine for tonight, or is there one in the fridge?


The scene: At the kitchen table, glass of wine in front of me,  (it is wine o’clock) I’m on the phone to my best friend.
‘What if no-one likes it?’ I’m snivelling.
‘You’ve written one. Everyone loved it. They’ll love this one.’ Best friend is very patient.
‘But they might not.’ More snivelling. I gulp wine.
‘They will. Your agent loved it. Your editor loved it. This is your second book. It’s a great achievement.’
‘What if I get horrible reviews?’ More wine gulping.
‘Not everyone is going to like it.’ Best friend is very calm.
I bridle at that. ‘But they don’t need to be nasty about it.’ I pour more wine. I’m feeling very sorry for myself.
‘They won’t be. It’s just their opinion. And some people have nothing better to do than be horrid to other people. Ignore them.’
‘But –‘ I whine.
‘Mary-Jane.’ Best friend is firm. ‘I am so very proud of you.’


The scene: Late at night, after wine. I should not go on social media. I should not post anything after I have been drinking. I must not go on social media – just for a minute then.
I open Facebook. I have a comment on the The Book Club (TBC) page. ‘Reading this (AFTER SHE FELL) now! Great so far, especially Elena’s chapters… perfect.’

                                               *     *     *     *
 Well that was an eye opener! Just imagine that this is all in one day, you go from having a mesclun salad for lunch while chatting about murders, walking the dog while contemplating how long it takes flies eggs to change into maggots. Later that evening  having to drink copious amounts of wine to calm your nerves about your new book baby being released into the wild and then finally reading a comment from someone who has started reading the previously mentioned book baby and all your worries have disappeared. It's certainly more interesting than a day in my head!!

Hopefully now you're curious to hear more about Mary-Jane's books so here's a more about them.

Alex Devlin’s life changed forever fifteen years ago when her sister Sasha's two small children were snatched in broad daylight. Little Harry’s body was found a few days later, but Millie’s remains were never discovered.

Now Jackie Wood, jailed as an accessory to the twins’ murder, has been released, her conviction quashed by the Appeal Court. Convinced Jackie can reveal where Millie is buried, Alex goes to meet her.

But the unexpected information Wood reveals shocks Alex to the core and threatens to uncover the dark secret she has managed to keep under wraps for the past fifteen years. Because in the end, can we ever really know what is in the hearts of those closest to us?

There are so many ways to fall…

Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.

When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.

Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall…

 If you'd like to know more about Mary-Jane you can find her using the links below:

I'd like to thank Mary-Jane for stopping by today and for giving us a quick tour around her mind. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, ladies - and I'm looking forward to book 3!