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Jodi Taylor - Four Way Interview

Jodi Taylor is the internationally bestselling author of the Chronicles of St Mary's series, the story of a bunch of disaster prone individuals who investigate major historical events in contemporary time. She is also the author of the Time Police series - a St Mary's spinoff and gateway into the world of an all-powerful, international organisation who are NOTHING like St Mary's. Except, when they are. Alongside these, Jodi is known for her gripping supernatural thrillers featuring Elizabeth Cage together with the enchanting Frogmorton Farm series - a fairy story for adults. Born in Bristol and now living in Gloucester (facts both cities vigorously deny), she spent many years with her head somewhere else, much to the dismay of family, teachers and employers, before finally deciding to put all that daydreaming to good use and write a novel. Nearly twenty books later, she still has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up. Her latest book is Hard Time.

Why time travel?

The story wasn’t supposed to be about time travel at all – it was supposed to be about history. I wanted to write about all my favourite historical events and it seemed to me the only practical way to do that was to invent some time-travelling historians who could actually visit them in person. Thus was born the Institute of Historical Research at St Mary’s Priory.

Initially, St Mary’s itself wasn’t supposed to be that important. It was the history that was supposed to be the star of the show and St Mary’s was simply the mechanism for getting the historians to whichever event they were supposed to be observing. But, in the way of characters everywhere, they developed and became a bigger and bigger part of the story.

Why this book?

Well, having invented a bunch of irresponsible, feckless, time-travelling disaster-magnets – or historians as they prefer to be known - I thought I could then go on to write about the hapless organisation tasked with keeping them and the time-line straight so I invented the Time Police. A bunch of humourless thugs who don’t give a rat’s a**e about history and whose policy is to shoot everyone within a five-mile radius, torch everything in sight and then arrest any survivors.

Hard Time is the second in the Time Police series. It was an interesting book to write, as I tried to explore some of the darker aspects of time-travel and the uses to which it could be put. I don’t want to give away what is laughingly known as the plot, but should time travel ever become possible it will certainly raise ethical issues concerning the exploitation of people and resources from the past.

What’s next?

I think that’s a bit of a hard question to answer. No one really knows where we’ll be in six months’ time, do we? Hopefully my lockdown waistline will be under control and I’ll have tamed my lockdown hair – although I’m not optimistic about either of those.

Bookwise – the traditional St Mary’s short story is out on Christmas Day – The Ordeal of the Haunted Room … dum … dum… dum … Followed by the next full-length St Mary’s story in April. Look out for Another Time Another Place. Followed by the third Time Police novel – Saving Time – in October, I think.

So – busy, busy.

What’s exciting me at the moment?

Books mostly. New books to read and new books to write. I have notes for new projects and new genres to explore. For instance, I have another supernatural thriller out next year, notes for an historical novel, a couple of Regency romances and the story of a family having the misfortune to labour under two family curses.  Ironically, it’s time that is my problem. There’s never enough of it to get everything done.


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