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A conversation with Justine John, Author of Gilding the Lily #BlogTour

About Justine John

After thirty years in corporate life in London, half of which was running a successful events company, I decided to take a chance to write the novel that was ‘in me’ since I was a child. Gilding the Lily is the result of this and is a domestic noir story which I hope will keep you on the edge of your chair/sofa/bed/train/plane-seat….

A conversation with Justine John

Today, I have author Justine John with me as she talks about her new crime thriller, her inspiration and future plans.

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written. 

After thirty years in corporate life in London, half of which was running a successful events company, I decided to take a chance to write the novel that was ‘in me’ since I was a child. Gilding the Lily is the result of this and is a domestic noir story which I hope will keep you on the edge of your seat. I am working on another novel now called ‘Beneath the Ceiba Tree’.   While I’m not writing I love riding the horses or walking the dogs. I am married to a very supportive husband and we live in the alluring and inspiring Surrey Hills.  I like chocolate, keeping fit and deep hot bubble baths. I dislike spiders, olives and bad news.

Where were you raised?

I was born in a place called Stone, in Staffordshire, but my family moved down to Berkshire for my Dad’s work and I went to school near Ascot.

Where do you live now?

In Surrey not far from Guildford.  

Do you have any pets?

Three horses (Patrick, Enzo and Cosmos), three dogs (Molly, Yoda and Lily – although Lily belongs to a friend, we ware looking after her while she is unable to) and two donkeys (Gizmo and Noodles).

Picture this: You feel uninspired and you’ve sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Have a glass of wine, maybe sleep on it, do some research – I also find Google Images help with anything I find trouble describing.

Describe your ideal writing spot.  

Somewhere not too distracting – my office is a spare bedroom – but I do overlook my horses’ field and I find myself inspired when I see them. 

When you’re writing what’s your drink and snack of choice?

Depends on the time of day – tea in the morning, coffee in the afternoon and wine if it’s after 6pm.  Snacks are Maryland cookies or a chocolate bar, packet of crisps, nuts – the usual really and I don’t really take care of sugar intake!

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Something to do with horses and their wellbeing.

Writing Gilding the Lily

Tell us a bit about your new book ‘Gilding the Lily’. What inspired you to write it?

Gilding the Lily is my first book and it’s about a dysfunctional relationship. In 2010, my father passed away suddenly.  During the process of his illness and death, I found myself in a set of circumstances that challenged me greatly.  Organising a funeral in a foreign country was one, but because I wasn’t expecting it, I felt as though I was in a dream and the things that happened around me were almost fictional.  Once I was back in the real world, ideas kept popping into my head of things from that time that would make a great story so I mixed everything up with a whole load of fiction and eventually created the novel.

What does it take to write crime fiction?

A good imagination and the ability to have some great ideas.  Also, research!

What do you think will be the initial thoughts of your readers while reading your book?

I can relate to that!

How do you come up with names for your characters?

I search the internet.

What was your hardest scene to write in ‘Gilding the Lily’?

Probably the death scene because it was so emotional and I was very close to it.

What’s next for Justine John?

Are you working on a new book? Can you tell my readers a little about it, a blurb, potential release date, etc? 

I’m working on a second novel called ‘Beneath the Ceiba Tree’.  Here is the blurb: Back Cover info:

©Beneath the Ceiba Tree by Justine John

Africa 1972. Ed and Charlie, two successful English confectionary company executives, are travelling at night along a dirt track towards Accra, the capital city of Ghana.  They have a gun in the car for protection.  After a loud and scary tyre blow-out, they are terrifyingly ambushed by a robber desperate for money. Both men are panic struck and in the following seconds a resounding gun shot is heard and the robber suddenly drops down dead.  But which of them killed their attacker? They are too shocked to talk about it in the dark together – and as they flee the scene after burying the body under a mystical ceiba tree – they swear to each other to secrecy, forever, both believing they are loyally supporting the other, but are they?

England 1995. Ed and Charlie’s lives have changed dramatically, both with wives, Judy and Michelle respectively, and children. An unexpected, additional death reveals unbelievable facts, leading to the two wives travelling together, to Africa to unearth the unthinkable truth of what lays beneath the ceiba tree.

A tension-packed, phycological thriller, with unexpected twists and turns about love, guilt, honesty and the devastation secrets can bring. A truly fast-paced, page-turner, which will keep you guessing until the end.

I have recently been signed by an agent (Wendy Yorke) who is working hard for a traditional publishing deal for me, and I’d like to say that Beneath The Ceiba Tree will be out next year but have to keep you posted on that one (keep your fingers crossed).

Thanks for being with us today, Justine. Best wishes for your new book ❤

About Gilding the Lily

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

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