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Writer Wednesday: Louise Jensen

Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap spaniel and a rather naughty cat. The Sister is Louise's debut novel.

Louise loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction.

1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I’ve always been an avid reader, and when I was younger I was forever scribbling stories and poems. Somewhere along the way I lost that and it wasn’t until I became disabled in my 30’s I began to write again, but this time it was non-fiction. Articles centred around mindfulness and coping with chronic pain using natural methods. I popped along to a writing group who were giving a talk on self-publishing and we did a hot pen exercise. I was given 3 words and ten minutes to write a story. Grace and Charlie came into my mind as fully formed characters and I wrote what is now, essentially, the bare bones of chapter one of The Sister. At home I couldn’t stop thinking, or writing about the girls and my 100 word story ended up as a 90,000 novel.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
My physical health is a constant challenge and does sometimes mar my enjoyment. Sitting for long periods is uncomfortable and as a result of chronic pain my body now goes haywire with inflammation and my hands and arms are very painful. That said, the passion I feel for writing, the pleasure it brings drives me forwards and I can’t see myself every stopping.

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
Without a doubt the interaction I’ve had with readers and writers both online and offline. Hearing someone has been both chilled and moved by The Sister which, despite being a psychological thriller is a very emotional story, is such an incredible feeling.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
Goodness what a difficult question and my answer would probably change hour by hour but I’ll say The Stand by Stephen King. It’s the longest and most gripping book I’ve ever read and it took me through the whole emotional spectrum as I was reading it.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why? 
All the characters in The Sister go through the ringer at some stage during the book but most of them cope very well. Lexie is a little bit different. Grieving for her daughter she drinks to numb her pain and isn’t as strong as she thinks. She needs a big hug.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
Jo March from Little Women. She’d be great fun to be around and could perhaps teach me to be a little more assertive.

7. What can we expect next from you?
My next book is another psychological thriller with a big heart. It’s currently with my editor and I’m waiting with bated breath to see if she likes it, and if she does it will be out later this year.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
To follow your heart and write the story you really want to write and if you use the term ‘aspiring’ writer – ditch it! If you write, you’re a writer.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
On a good day, after the kids are off to school/college I spend about an hour checking my emails, social media and replying to any comments on my blog and then I write until lunchtime. If I’m working on fresh words I find two hours is enough. My concentration becomes sketchy after that. In the afternoon I might edit those words or write a blog but I’m definitely at my most creative in the mornings and I try to finish for the day when school is over. When deadlines are looming and I’m editing however, it’s a little bit different. I snatch every minute I can and put in longer hours.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells and really enjoying it. I adore commercial fiction.

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"I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me..."

Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend. 

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan's home. 

But something isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger? 

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie ...or was there?

Follow Louise on Twitter | Buy The Sister on Amazon | 
 Visit her blog

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