23 & 24 August 2018


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European Lesfic Literary Conference

Meet Clare’s other half – Jayne

Ever wondered what keeps a writer going? Who is their other half, the one who makes the endless cups of tea and props them up when they feel down? Us too! Which is why we have been extra nosy and gone asking questions on your behalf. First to reveal all is Clare Ashton’s wife, Jayne – let’s give her a warm welcome.

Jayne – how long have you known Clare?

Jayne – Actually, we can’t remember the exact first time we met. Alcohol was involved. We’ve narrowed it down to one of two occasions 18 years ago.
Clare – *I* remember.

Jayne – (Laughs) Liar!

Clare – I do! You were at the pool table looking like a real hustler and frankly intimidating with your bleached buzz cut. How wrong could I be! She’s a big softy, and rubbish at pool.

Jayne – I could kick your arse at table football though.

Do you read your partner’s books?

Jayne – No.

Clare – Yes she bloody does.

Jayne – (laughs) As her editor, I read her books several times.

Clare – Which is way beyond the duty of a wife, especially as she’s a crime reader not a romance lover.

Jayne – Actually I enjoy Tig’s writing very much. The start of After Mrs Hamilton reminds me of Carol, which is one of my favourite books.

Clare – Jayne also designs the covers which I think she does really well because she has a good feel for the books.

What is the best thing about being married to a writer?

Jayne – I’m really proud to see her doing so well. That’s the best thing.

Clare – Awww. (blushes)


Is writer’s widow a real syndrome?

Jayne – Oh yes! I don’t see her for several months while she writes the first draft.

Clare – True. All true.

Jayne – Every so often she wanders into the lounge and either rants about how badly it’s going, and how she’s going to stop writing forever, or grinning like an idiot when she’s hit a scene just right.


How much ice cream/chocolate/wine gets consumed when writing the first draft?

Jayne – Co-op’s luxury chocolate puddings are on bulk order!


How do you keep Clare the writer in a good mood?

Jayne – See above! And a lot of reassurance that it will get there in the end (it always does).


Do you get jealous when she spends too much time with her characters?

Jayne – Actually no, because she keeps the plot a secret until she’s written the first draft, so there’s no-one to be jealous of. Although it’s a good bet she’s based one of her characters on Catherine Deneuve or Rosamund Pike!

Clare – Err…that might have happened.

What is her more adorable/irritating quirk as a writer?

Jayne – Every so often in conversation she’ll stop mid-sentence, run off to the nearest note book and scribble away for 20 minutes – it happens so abruptly it’s a bit like Homer Simpson spotting a donut. It’s adorable in most situations, but I have been left stranded on a couple of occasions!


What do you think writers are doing when they stare blankly into space?

Jayne – Humming?

Clare – I am not humming. Not only humming. OK I’m humming.


What’s Clare’s biggest writing secret? Something she has never spoken about to her readers. Something nobody knows … until now!

Jayne – She used to write Stars Wars fanfic comics when she was young. She’s never shown them to me, but I like to think they’re based around Princess Leia.

Clare – No comment.


How do you feel right before Clare’s book is released? Is it as stressful for you as it is for her?

Jayne – It’s incredibly stressful! Both worrying for her and because I’ve been so involved with the editing and cover it feels a little like my baby too.


Do you organise something special to celebrate, like a party, when her next book is released?

Jayne – Fizz and puddings! In my head, I take her out for a Michelin-starred meal, but in reality it’s likely to be somewhere kid-friendly with our two young children.


What is the best thing your writing partner does to make you feel appreciated?

Jayne – (Laughing)

Clare – Oi!

Jayne – (Still laughing)

Clare – I make a very nice pillow when you fall asleep in front of Netflix in the evening.

Jayne – I’m laughing because over the last few years between having kids and my job, we don’t get the luxury time together we used to. Tig knows I have an exhausting job and don’t get to see the kids enough, so she gets the dinner ready every day so we all have a family meal together before the kids’ bedtime. Plus she’s a really good cook.


What advice would you give to significant halves of aspiring writers?

Jayne – Stock up on their favourite chocolates/pudding/wine and subscribe to Netflix!