Jana Petken is a fulltime Independent author living in Spain. She is British born from Glasgow, Scotland, and spent 7 years serving her country in the Royal Navy. She is passionate about her writing and has gained a wealth of knowledge over the years through travel to post war countries. She is a multi award winning author with three #1 Bestsellers, and says that her genre, historical fiction, gives her the passion she needs to drive her stories home.
What inspired you to start writing?
I began my writing career after an aeroplane accident left me badly injured. My Neurosurgeon suggested that I buy a computer. He believed that typing could aid in my recovery, after I suffered nerve damage in my arms. One could say that becoming an author was fate, coincidence, or destiny, but it was never in my plans until I had typed that very first chapter. When I started writing chapter two, I felt inspired.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
I read a lot as a child. Most of the books were adventure stories. Enid Blyton, The Famous Five. Gone With the Wind. Lord of The Rings, which took me over a year to finish. To be honest I wanted to read it to prove to my older brother that I could.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
One challenge is pushing a story forward during the first draft. At times the early chapters seem disjointed, like a jigsaw puzzle. I tell myself that everything will come together on my second read through. I’m happy to say that it usually does. Of course the test of courage continues long after the book is finished. Amazon, for instance, holds almost 6 million books. Getting one’s work noticed is probably the biggest challenge to authors in today’s publishing industry.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I don’t tend to do a lot of research before I start writing the story. I choose the historical period, country, and events set during that time. There are days when I don’t write. I concentrate solely on reading, taking notes, and thinking about plots and characters. I can honestly say that my research is extensive. I believe that if historical facts are wrong or lacking, the story dies a horrible death.
What motivated you to write the book “The Errant Flock (The Flock Series Book 1)”?
The motivation to write The Errant Flock, came from Spain. I live there, and the Spanish Inquisition is a subject that has always interested me. Unfortunately, in our present world, religious Inquisitions still exist. Perhaps not using the same model, but still deadly, cruel, and incredibly destructive. I didn’t want to water this dark medieval period down by writing a love story. I felt very strongly about taking the plunge with a gritty, hard hitting thriller, which I think depicts more accurately the Inquisition’s rule. I think it worked. The Errant Flock has won numerous awards, to date.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “The Errant Flock (The Flock Series Book 1)”?
The story revolves around four men whose ambitions merge and collide in a deadly game of intrigue.
David Sanz, a young militiaman, is forced to carry out a heinous crime, and he becomes an unwitting pawn in a tense battle for power.
Luis Peráto, the duke of Sagrat, sacrifices his own people to cover up dark secrets that could see him burnt at the stake for treason.
Sergio Garcia, Sagrat’s lord treasurer, is a cruel and unscrupulous man, willing to eliminate anyone who opposes his rise to power.
The inquisitor, Gaspar de Amo, zealously punishes heretics for their sins against Rome and her Holy Office. But bringing the Inquisition to the town of Sagrat proves more challenging than he or the church could ever have envisaged.
In the midst of chaos, the people of Sagrat, terrorized by a series of murders, face an even greater danger with the arrival of the Inquisition and the unimaginable horrors it brings.
How did you came up with the idea of writing historical fiction genre book?
I love history. I think the historical fiction genre chose me. Writing about an interesting historical period and merging it with a good story is a wonderful experience. I’m very passionate about the subject and I think that shines through in my books.
Who are your favourite authors?
I like a wide variety of authors. Ken Follett is one. Milchner, Phillipa Gregory, and a host of Independent authors who don’t get enough attention, in my humble opinion.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
I write on average about five hours a day, usually starting early in the morning, and straight after I walk my dog, Reina.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Aspire to write the best book you can and leave no stone unturned. There are no guarantees of commercial success, especially today, because there are so many authors and books on the market. But, with determination, self belief, and a desire to continually improve your work, your writing career will not only give you great pleasure, it might just break the mould and propel you to stardom, if that’s what you want.
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