8 May 2014


First of all, I'd like to thank, Malla Duncan, for inviting me to participate in this writing process blog hop.  Malla is the author of a string of psychological thrillers, including Fat Chance, a humorous murder mystery set on the Amalfi Coast, and Dark Sanctuary, a chilling thriller, set on the Yorkshire moors.  You can find all Malla’s books at Malla's Amazon Author Page
and visit her blog at http://malladuncan.wordpress.com

I find writing an all consuming activity to the point that I’m sure my subconscious mind is still working away when I’m fast asleep.  In the day time, however, I’m in charge (I hope) and the following is my writing process.

What am I working on?

My work in progress is the fourth book in the Fitzjohn detective series. The working title is, The Silver Cane. 
The story opens with the discovery of a man’s body during a function at the Sydney Observatory.  The victim is an uninvited guest, and a stranger to all those in attendance.  DCI Fitzjohn's only clue is the man's silver handled cane.

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

Perhaps my work differs from others in a detective series because although my books can be categorized as police procedurals, they can also fit comfortably into the cozy murder mystery slot.  However, as you’re no doubt aware, most cozies have an amateur sleuth with settings in country houses and/or villages whereas I have chosen a professional sleuth who works in a large city.

Of course, Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn doesn’t fit the mould for the majority of police procedurals either.  He’s a detective from the old school and his methods are thought, by some, to be archaic, but he does get his man - or woman, whichever the case might be.  His pastime, when he isn’t on a case, is tending his greenhouse full of orchids.  His nemesis is his immediate superior, Chief Superintendent Grieg, and his biggest annoyance in life is his neighbour, Rhonda Butler.  There are no guns being fired, no swearing other than the occasional “damn”, and no explicit crime scenes.  Just a mystery to be solved.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I enjoy creating puzzles for the reader to solve.  My challenge is to keep the reader guessing until, almost, the last page.  If I can do that, I have been successful.

How does my writing process work?
I've never given it a great deal of thought, but I guess I’m a bit of a Pantser - I start with an initial idea and see where it takes me.  I write in the third person, and I usually have two point of view characters.  I keep a time line of all my characters so I can see where everyone was at the time of the murder(s).  I also keep a character table to remind myself of each character's specific details.  It wouldn’t do for their hair to change color or to suddenly lose 100 pounds.  I use a laptop computer as well as pen and paper and I usually work in my study but am notorious for writing just about anywhere - trains, planes, airport lounges, coffee shops - in fact, wherever I can sit down.  Am I obsessed?  Probably.

Fergus-overseeing the writing process

My constant companion is Fergus, my cat.  He's rather bossy, but he is very beautiful, with large yellow eyes.   He’s what you would call an ‘indoor cat’ although the back patio is also part of his domain.  If he isn’t sitting on my printer or laptop he sits at the window keeping an eye on the sparrows in the birdbath outside.  He growls at them.  It makes his day!
And then there's Mozart - another feline friend!
If you would like to check out a few other authors here are three of my favourites:-

Anna Mullins, author of  Confessions of a Crazy Fox, a memoir.  Visit Anna at


Denise Moncrief, writer of romantic suspense and author of  Deceptions of the Heart. You can find Denise at http://www.denisemoncrief.blogspot.com

Roxanne Barbour, is a SciFi writer and the author of Alien Collection http://roxannebarbour.wordpress.com/about-2

Paul Hollis, a suspense/thriller/mystery writer, is the author of The Hollowman Series.  You can catch up with Paul at the following web site http://thehollowmanseries.com


  1. I just finished Once Upon a Lie and while the book itself was all right, I hope you are going to get a new editor/proofreader for your next book because the typos and poor grammar became quite painful after a while. I am no grammar Nazi but the misuse of commas is a pet peeve of mine.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment on Once Upon A Lie, Rachel. Negative as well as positive comments are always appreciated. I will take them on board.

  2. Great post, Jill! I loved your book 'The Celtic Dagger' and thought it extremely well done. You have all the points of a good mystery down to a T. Lovely to see your furry writing companions. I have 'Once Upon A Lie' most definitely on my list.

    1. Thanks, Malla, I'm pleased you enjoyed 'The Celtic Dagger'. And thank you also for inviting me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Hop. It's been fun.

  3. I've read all three of Jill's "cozy mysteries" and enjoyed them all. Her writing reminds me of a very prim and proper Brit. Misplaced comma's don't bother me at all, I don't notice them, being a writer I think we often tend to hit that comma key at pauses in our thoughts and I assume not every one pauses in thought at the same place. I know from experience you can have several professional editors edit your work and they still don't catch everything a punctuation expert would frown on.

    Love the photos of Fergus and Mozart. They look like they rule the roost.

    1. Thank you, Anna. And you're right. Fergus particularly does rule the roost. He's quite bossy really, but I do love him.