NK Chats To… Janys Thornton

NK Chats To… Janys Thornton

Hi Janys, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your novel, Female Remedies and what inspired it? 

I was part of a project to research into Women’s lives during WWI on the Isle of Sheppey where I live. I read all the local newspapers from 1914- 1919 but kept getting distracted by other stories – human interest stories. I thought there are tales to be told here and when I retired, just before lockdown, I had the time to write.


What’s your typical writing day like – do you have any writing rituals and a particular place you like to write? 

I usually write in the afternoon as I like to be busy. In the morning I either go to aerobics, or my art class, or I volunteer as treasurer for the Sheppey Little Theatre and I write once I’ve freed up my time, in my study.


Which fictional character would you like to meet and why? 

Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair. She is a modern woman living in Georgian times. She lives on her wits and makes her way in the world and she swims! She is so different to the usual fainting heroines of the time.


What elements make up a good historical story? 

Good research which doesn’t intrude in the story, and of course a good story.


From idea to finished book, what’s your writing process like and how long does it typically take you? How do you know when you’ve done enough research? 

I make a plan, but don’t necessarily follow to it. I then start writing. I don’t stick to writing the beginning, then the middle, then the end. These can change as I write. I may find that something I want to say in the second half needs more explanation in the first, so I go back and write new scenes. Once I start editing, I look to flesh out characters, scenes and dialogue where needed. Once I’ve done this a few times I will get people to read my manuscript and see if it all works. The two novels I have completed have taken around a year each.

As I said earlier, the research for the main setting of WWI was done as part of a bigger project, but when I was writing, I constantly needed to check dates, check what food was available, and all sorts like school leaving age, cost of living and even train times from Michael Portillo’s friend – Bradshaws.


What’s your favourite word and why? 

Nevertheless! Its three words in one. It’s a statement and its better than saying words like “anyway”.


What are you currently working on? 

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