Jean Shorney is one of those authors that you love connecting with. Unlike the gritty characters of her novels, she’s someone who is open, warm, self effacing and with a wonderful sense of humour. It’s almost surprising considering the seedy underbelly of London and Ireland that she conjures up in her Aidan McRaney books, or her urban fantasy books for that matter. I was hoping that she’d say yes to an interview as I’ve enjoyed a number of her books – our email exchanges and conversations have brightened up what would otherwise be a very tedious week.
I’m always interested to know how people’s journeys as writers start, and in the case of Jean Shorney it was at a young age. …
How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Not sounding too weird – but from the age of eight I knew I wanted to write. I wrote my first story in an old exercise book. The story was called ‘Murderous Home.’ There were only three characters in it. A nephew who killed his wealthy uncle for his money, and buried him under the floorboards. A policeman, alerted by the eighbours about the smell, arrested the nephew.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration can come from a random photograph, or a snippet in a newspaper. I once wrote an entire novel on a headline. I love old crime and supernatural thrillers. My inspiration for ‘Progeny of a Killer’ was based on ‘The Resurrection Man’ starring Stuart Townsend.
What’s your process for writing?
I work each scene out in my mind – in bed, standing at the check-out. I was so involved in working out a scene while I was in Boots, I had to be shouted at by customers before I realised it was my turn. Then it’s just a matter of typing it out on my trusty iPad.
You’ve written in different genres.. supernatural and crime thrillers. Which do you prefer?
I enjoy writing both, depending on the characters.
For crime, it has to be Aidan McRaney. I love writing about him. He has a criminal past that he finds difficult to shake off. At the moment, I’m working on a supernatural novel, and in this genre the characters Freya and Nicholas Monroe are my favourite. Freya is a psychic with exceptional powers. Nick is an ex- U.S Army Captain. Nick epitomises my love of the anti-hero.
Tell us about Aidan McRaney.
Aiden was born in Dublin on 21st June, 1982. Until the age of twelve Aidan’s life was a reasonably happy one – then he’s suddenly uprooted, with his family, to live in London. From then on, he views life as an obstacle course – getting into trouble and carrying the proverbial chip on his shoulder. A boy with a bad attitude, he becomes minder to a gang boss, and is eventually imprisoned for killing the man who murders his girlfriend – she also happens to be the girlfriend his employer! After 8 years in prison, he longs for a normal life but gangland want him back in. Then he meets wheelchair-bound ex-copper Sir George Treveleyan who runs a rather unorthodox agency using ex-cons for their skills. Unable to find work, Aidan is employed by Treveleyan as an assassin, assigned to blow away the bad guys. Women find the dark haired, brown-eyed Irishman tremendously sexy, and he never fails to please the opposite sex.
When you started writing about Aiden McRaney, did you intend to write a series?
Not to begin with. But I couldn’t let Aidan McRaney go. In fact he practically writes his own stories because of my familiarity with his character.
Can we expect more McRaney books? What does the future hold for him?
He does have another book ‘ Dangerous to Know’ In which a wealthy property developer, whose daughter was raped, and who subsequently drowned herself, asks McRaney to kill the man who did it, aware of his reputation. Aidan refuses,and Caitlan is killed, when there is a brake failure on Aidan’s car. Aidan is thwarted at every turn as he attempts to prove that Paul Harrington, the property developer was behind her death. Convinced Harrington’s wife knows more than she is letting on, he tries to extract the truth. But a confession comes from an unexpected quarter, and in a most surprising way.
There’s more than a passing resemblance to actor Aidan Turner in Aidan McRaney. Indeed your book, All of Them Vampires, started life as a Being Human fan fiction. What would you say to Aidan Turner if you met him?
Probably nothing, because I might actually pass out. But should I remain conscious I would ask him what he thought of ‘Progeny of a Killer.’ Plus I would discuss his part as Ross Poldark. Poldark has always been my favourite period drama.
What words of advice would you give to an author writing a series?
It is always useful to know, if you use the same characters, their destination throughout the books. In the Aidan McRaney Trilogy, his main objective has to be his relationship with his son, in spite of all the obstacles that are thrown his way. We first meet Aidan, newly released from prison. His son views him as a stranger, and is a little scared of him. His ex wife has already poisoned his son against him but Aidan is determined. By the third book, father and son have a close relationship.
Tell us more about the book you are currently working on?
It’s a supernatural/ occult novel called The Irish Witch. As I’ve said this introduces some new characters – husband and wife Freya and Nicholas Monroe. She is Irish and Nick is an American from Tennessee. They have a six year old son Simon. Freya is a psychic with exceptional powers. Nick the U.S Army Captain, is rather more down to earth.
In the wake of Freya’s first husband’s murder at the hands of the Hecate Circle, to which she once belonged, Freya turned her back on the Coven. Although Freya and Nick have been together for seven years, he has yet to learn that his beautiful wife is also a witch. Now the Circle wants her back in order to resurrect the Warlock and Satanist Dante LeVey – they’ll stop at nothing and Freya is compelled to unleash the powers that have lain dormant for so long.
What’s on your bookshelf? (As a fan of the occult and crime thrillers, I’m sure that Jean can give me some recommendations…..)
They are quite varied – I research a lot so I mostly read for that purpose. Elliott O’Donnell as to be my all-time favourite author. I once owned 250 books on the occult. – eventually I had to give some to charity. I also love M.R. James. Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury and Jack Higgins irish thrillers too (his character Fallon in A prayer for the Dying lent himself to a bit of Aidan McRaney). I’d recommend Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self Defence.
Want to know more?
If you’d like to find out more about Jean Shorney then follow her on Twitter@JMShorney or visit her blog www.jmshorney.wordpress.com, or hook up on GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7088313.Jean_Shorney