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Tuesday 30 July 2019

ℚ The Sweetest Poison: Pitfourie [1] - Jane Renshaw

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Sweetest Poison (, Jane Renshaw, 466 pages), a Mystery, book one in the Pitfourie series.

"The writing is warm, witty and dark in places - full of light and shade. And the plot is gripping and emotional. In my experience it is rare to find all these things in one book. I can't wait to read the next Pitfourie book in the series!" ~ Amazon review

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Jane Renshaw; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for The Sweetest Poison?

"I love series of novels that allow you to get to know a cast of complicated characters over time – such as the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett, or Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series.  There is just something so nice about opening a book and knowing you are going to be reacquainted with characters you have come to care about, like meeting up with old friends and wanting to know everything that’s going on in their lives.

My intention with the Pitfourie Series has been to a create a world readers will want to spend time in, populated by ‘real’-seeming characters to love or hate, or maybe both!"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I’ve been asked if Helen is based on me – and I don’t know how to answer that question.  Most characters are an amalgam of reality and imagination, I think.

There is some of me in Helen, but mostly she comes from my imagination, from asking myself ‘What if...?’  What if I was Helen, and x, y and z happened...  What would she do?  (Not ‘What would I do?’)

My love of nature, though, is something I definitely draw on in my writing, so I had to have several characters in The Sweetest Poison who shared that trait – Helen and ‘NatureDork’ in particular (I’ve edited this to remove a name after realising it’s a minor spoiler...)."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Sweetest Poison - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I love the cover!  (I can say that because I can’t take any credit for it.)  I wanted something with a pensive and mysterious feel, with a hint of intrigue, and I think the woman’s expression provides that.  I was keen on the dominant colour being green, too, to let people know that the setting is rural.

It was created by The Cover Collection.  Their designs are fantastic and they’re very easy and pleasant to work with.  Reasonably priced too.  Highly recommended."
Why should we read The Sweetest Poison and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"I like to think of readers getting really caught up in the lives of my characters.  The Pitfourie Series is a little unusual in that the reader will not be inside the heads of the main characters, a pair of charismatic brothers, until maybe Book 3 or 4.  You see them at first through the eyes of the other characters.  I want readers to get to know them slowly and wonder about them and their secrets.

I hope readers will also enjoy the setting of the books – the wild, beautiful countryside of the Grampian Highlands of Scotland – and the depiction of a rural community on a Scottish country estate."

Can you tell us something quirky about The Sweetest Poison, its story and characters?

"I am a little bit obsessed with old gravestones in picturesque country churchyards, so this had to be incorporated into the story.

The ‘emblems of mortality’ on the ancient ‘table’ gravestone the young Helen and Hector sit on to have their lunch are culled from many happy hours poring over carvings of skulls and skeletons and Grim Reapers."
Who would you recommend The Sweetest Poison to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I think The Sweetest Poison will mainly appeal to women who enjoy a character- and relationship-focussed read, although I hope the story is also ‘gripping’!

I intended to create main characters the reader can fall for, so if you enjoy being in love with characters in books, you are my kind of reader.  If gritty urban crime is your thing, though, this series isn’t for you."
If you could / wished to turn The Sweetest Poison and the Pitfourie series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I love Merchant Ivory films like Howards End.  It would certainly be a dream to have the Pitfourie Series given that sort of sumptuous, sensitive treatment.  But I’m also a big Game of Thrones fan – I can watch it over and over again and not get bored, it’s so intelligently made and so compelling... and the script is wonderful... and the characters... I could go on and on!  Would a hybrid of the two styles be too weird?!"
I am trying to picture how that would work... uhm...

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I absolutely love crime fiction of all kinds, from cozy to gritty.  My writing is somewhere in between, but definitely more cozy than gritty.

I also love to read speculative fiction and historical novels.  I have a crime/speculative fiction/historical cross-over novel on the back-burner (!), featuring Mary Queen of Scots, which I’ll return to at some stage and which was a lot of fun to write."
What is your writing process?
"When I have time, I usually write in the morning.  I just sit down with my laptop and get on with it... or surf the internet... or email friends... or eat... or play word games...

Thinking about the bigger picture in terms of plotting is best done when I’m not trying too hard, I find.  Often I get my best ideas when I’m out for a walk or shopping or vegging in front of the TV.  I think there is some scientific evidence that relaxing helps the brain be creative...  That’s my excuse, anyway, and I’m sticking to it."
What is in store next?
"The next book in the Pitfourie Series is in the pipeline.  It’s called Bad Company and has two point-of-view characters: a minor character from Book 1 and a new character, Claire, who is an undercover policewoman sent to Pitfourie to investigate the nefarious activities of one of the inhabitants..."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Unfortunately he is not mine, but this is Mannie, my friend’s collie, with his head on my lap. He is using emotional blackmail to get me to put down the camera and play with him."
Mannie! What a gorgeous boy :-)
Thank you for sharing, Jane.

The Sweetest Poison
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from find on Goodreads


Jane Renshaw said...

Wow, thank you - I love the way you've laid out the post. And I'm grinning away at the idea of the Merchant Ivory/Game of Thrones collaboration... Great questions. Thanks very much for inviting me onto your fantastic blog.

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