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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

REVIEW and AUTHOR Q&A: One by Jane Blythe

One by  Jane Blythe

The first in a series, this psychological thriller with a side of romance will keep you guessing as you turn each page.  See below for the synopsis, a Q&A with the lovely Aussie author, Jane Blythe and my full review.  Cheers and happy reading!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep. 

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead. 

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game. 

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.

Q&A with Jane Blythe:

Stats please!
Name: Jane Blythe
Age: 32 when I’m writing this but 33 by the time you read it!
Where from: I was born and still live in Melbourne, Australia
Books written, blurbs.

  • A Secret to the Grave
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Dead or Alive
  • Little Girl Lost
  • Forgotten


Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep.

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead.

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game.

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.


Before the sun rises, another will fall.

When Brooke Mariano is found murdered on the grounds of the powerful Everette family’s estate, it looks at first as though she may have been killed in order to keep the paternity of her unborn child a secret.

However, when another member of the Everette family turns up dead each night, it quickly becomes a race against time as Detective Ryan Xander and his partner try to discover which member of the family is the killer before the entire clan wind up dead.

Ryan’s only inroad to the secretive family is Sofia Everette. Shunned by her father for her refusals to obey him, and battling a mysterious illness, Sofia’s childhood dreams may be the key to saving her life and stopping the killer from exterminating the entire Everette family.


He targets couples, attacking them in their bed, killing one and leaving the other alive.

She targets wealthy businessmen, luring them to a hotel and then drowning them.

When the two killers meet up a wild killing spree erupts.

Annabelle Englewood is still struggling to cope with what a vicious psychopath did to her eight months ago. Sofia Everette has spent five months recovering from the physical and psychological trauma inflicted on her by her sister. When the two women and their respective boyfriends, Detective Xavier Montague and Detective Ryan Xander, meet up they will have to deal with the fallout from two killers’ love affair, all under the ever-present eye of an escalating stalker.

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What does your writing process look like?

I love to plan! Like absolutely LOVE it! So my writing process starts off with a lot of planning. I always start off by writing my story in approximately 50 words, this helps really know exactly what my book is about. Next I expand on that and write my story in about 250 words. After that I plot it out scene by scene, this helps me with timing and revealing of information, and usually I pick up any problems with the story in this stage, which helps when I come to editing because there usually isn’t anything major to rewrite in the story because I’ve already dealt with those problem areas.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?

Hmm, maybe the middle of the book. I enjoy planning and I am always excited to start writing a new book, and the end is also exciting, plus by then I’m usually ready to start the next story, but sometimes I get stuck in the middle and lose some of my motivation.

How many hours a day do you write?

It depends, I work a part time job two days a week, so on those days I may only get in a couple of hours, on days when I’m not working I may get several hours done. Plus there is all the extra stuff to do too, marketing and promoting and networking, so much to keep me busy! I pretty much spend every available second that I have on writing!

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I don’t really have any strange habits, just my obsessive need to plan everything out!

What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process? Favorite part?

My favorite part is the writing itself, and my least favorite part would have to be marketing. I get kind of bashful sometimes talking about my books because it feels weird promoting myself, but I have learned a TON about promoting in the last year so I don’t mind it as much anymore!

Is there one particular subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

There isn’t much I wouldn’t ever write about, probably the only thing would be a woman who kept the fact that she was pregnant from the baby’s father, I usually get pretty annoyed by that storyline in books I read because its so unfair to the baby and the daddy. Otherwise I am up for pretty much anything else, even some sensitive topics like rape and abuse.

Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?

The hardest scenes for me to write are the kind of carefree, fun, happy scenes. Not really sure why that is, maybe because I find them they’re harder to make sound natural and to have them flow easily.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think you need to be confident in yourself and have a pretty thick skin, its tough to put something you worked so hard on out there where you know some people are going to hate it, and you also want to be opening to advice, because that’s how we grow and improve. So I think you need a bit of an ego but not too much!

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When books first transported me into their magical world. I loved reading different books and living in that world while I read, and I wanted to write books that could transport people outside their regular lives and into a book world for a little while.

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?

Book four in my Count to Ten Series is in the final editing stage ready for publication in July 2017, books five and six are in the first draft stage. I have written an unrelated trilogy all in first draft stage, have plans for two spin offs which are next in my writing to do list, plus a series spin off from the trilogy of which I just finished writing the first draft of book one.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?

Usually a couple of months, my shortest ever was five weeks, but I’m not usually that fast! If I stick to my schedule, which is aiming for one scene written each day, then about two months is enough time to get a first draft done.

If you could cast the characters of One for a movie, who would play your characters?

Oh, that’s a tough question! I think I would love to cast unknown actors in the roles, someone who when I met them just encapsulated the characters.

What inspired you to write such a dark book?

When it comes to writing darkness just seems to come out! Usually I love cute things, I collect teddy bears, I love baking and making adorable cake decorations, my favorite colors are pink and yellow, I love Disney. But for writing I just love getting into that dark “criminal” mindset and thinking about what makes the bad guy tick, and I love exploring how victims react to and rebuild their lives after experiencing trauma, so for the writing aspect of my life I’ll always go for dark.

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes I am addicted to checking for and reading reviews! I do not respond to reviews written from random readers, if I have submitted my book to a blogger for a review then yes I gush all over them with thanks, whether the review was good or bad, for fitting my book into their busy schedules!! When I get a bad review I allow myself to feel bad for a moment, then I remind myself that it is just one person’s opinion, maybe read a good review to remind myself that other people have enjoyed my books, and then I move on and get back to writing!

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I am a teacher, mainly preschool but I have taught up to sixth grade, so if I didn’t write I would go back to that fulltime, but I cannot imagine my life without writing, I have loved storytelling since I was a very little girl and it is just a part of me!

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I would have to say the best results I’ve ever gotten from spending money on my writing have been paid promotions for when I do a book sale.

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it? (And I do mean reader's, not writer's) :D

Haha! Great question! Yes, I have! So I am one of those awful people who read the end of a book first, and if I really don’t like the ending then I get terrible reader’s block and really have to force myself to finish the book, because I am also one of those people who has to finish a book once I start it! Usually I will procrastinate over the book for ages until I set aside a day to catch up on all the books in my to be read pile, then I just speed read my way through it!

Do you google yourself?

I have!

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Teddy bear or Dalmatian! They have nothing to do with my books, although the odd teddy or Dalmatian does pop up from time to time, but I collect teddies and have two Dalmatians so I would definitely choose those as my mascot!

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am currently working on a novelette that grew out of some flash fiction scenes, I’m very excited about it because I never thought I could write a short story! When I finish that its editing Four, and then starting one of the books that’s a spinoff from the trilogy I wrote last year, I’m very excited about this book too because I love the theme for my killer!

What literary character is most like you?

Hmm, I really don’t know!

What authors have inspired you?

All the authors who write the same kind of books that I write have inspired me to write as good a stories as they do! Some of my favorite authors are Karen Rose, Allison Brennan, Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton.

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?

Never give up! Writing is hard work but if its what you really to do and you would do it even if no one ever read what you wrote, then do it!

My Review:
Annabelle Englewood wakes up handcuffed to a hospital bed. The last thing she remembers is feeling tired after dinner and going to lay down for a nap. Her entire family has been brutally murdered during this time and she's suspect number one. Detective Xavier Montague is on the case, but there's something about Annabelle's eyes that draws him in and soon his first instinct of her innocence is proven right when more families are murdered in the same fashion and she becomes a pawn in the killer's vicious game. How far will Detective Montague go in order to protect Annabelle?

Let me just say that the killer is one cruel, psychotic and horrifying son of a bitch. And let's face it, I LOVE me a crazy antagonist with no moral boundaries. His killings and actions become more brutal as the book progresses. Solidly my favorite character from the book. Now, while I do like my characters flawed, and Annabelle and Xavier both certainly are, it became a bit overwhelming with Annabelle's continuous self-depreciation and repetitive questioning of herself and everyone around her. At a certain point I almost wish he HAD killed her. (I'm a horrible person, I know.. and I'm fine with it.) If it was the author's point to make the reader really see how much self doubt and anxiety she had, it absolutely worked. I just wish the background on why she was like this was a bit more fleshed out. Xavier is a likable character though - a hot detective with a tad bit of a hero complex after a traumatic experience with his ex wife? GIMME. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of insta-love... I know, I know, traumatic experiences brings forth lots of other emotions, some tending to the co-dependent, instantaneous love of a lifetime. It's plausible. I just don't like it. (I could be a jaded, single woman too but that's a whole other story that has nothing to do with this one.) Also, I did have a hard time believing in the realism of the detective work and their procedures in light of the feelings involved and how certain events came to play out.  With all of the ramblings above said, let me point out this is the first book in a series so I expect that we will learn more about Annabelle and her past, see how the relationship may possibly continue between her and the detective and what more the creepy antagonist can bring forth. I'm certainly intrigued enough to want to know where the story continues. Take TWO!

Big thank you to Jane Blythe for taking the time to answer my Q&A and providing me a copy of her book, ONE, in exchange for my honest review. 💓

View all my reviews

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