Dead Jealous was published in the UK on July 4th and is the debut novel from the lovely Sharon Jones. So far it's been getting great reviews, and here's a synopsis so you know what it's all about:
People think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she's also Death. Sixteen-year-old Poppy Sinclair believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn't been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise - too late - that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time.
Thanks to Sharon for this guest post that just happens to mention my favourite lady/show: Buffy!
Influences: The Great Girl Detectives.
I’m not talking the ones you think, because for me the great girl detectives of recent times have come from the flat screen goggle box in the corner of your lounge. You know the one…
I didn’t read Nancy Drew when I was a teenager, I’m sure she’s great, but I was too caught up in Agatha Christie by then and so my heroes were the old woman whose favourite pastime was watching the murderous goings on in the village of St Mary Mead and the Belgian sleuth who wouldn’t leave the house without half a tonne of wax in that trim moustache of his.
However, from the goggle box came some absolute stars, the first of which was…
You guessed it…
Yes, she was a vampire slayer. Yes, she spent most of her time dispensing justice to the undead and should-be-dead, but I claim her as a girl detective. Buffy and the Scooby gang were forever getting jiggy with the internet search and boogying with the book work.
Veronica also had a really interesting relationship with her dad who, I have to say, was just as cool as she was, therefore proving that parents could be useful and interesting characters in a teen-driven drama.
It wasn’t just that Buffy had particular skill in solving the many, many deaths by neck wound that plagued Sunnydale (RIP), she was witty, smart, occasionally ditzy but incredibly loyal to her friends and even the people she didn’t particularly care for. She even managed to hold down the slayer gig while falling for the wrong guy again, and again, and again… And having her heart broken again, and again, and again. Oh, and don’t get me started on her family.
Through it all, Buffy didn’t just survive, she took control and she drove the plot bunnies relentlessly.
When I was writing Dead Jealous, I wanted a character who would embody something of Buffy. I wanted a character who would make things happen and not just be happy to be messed around by fate. I wanted someone who had the drive and mind of a detective, even if she didn’t quite know how to run an investigation.
My next girl detective has to be…
I’d actually written most of Dead Jealous by the time I was introduced to ‘Vee’ by my lovely mate Jen (thanks, Jen!) Barring Buffy, she has to be the most kick-ass girl detective of all time! Veronica Mars had one of the best first season story arcs I’ve ever come across. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it go buy the DVDs. The writing was tight and swoon-worthy and oh, the one-liners!
Jackson Douglas: I hear you do detective stuff for people.Veronica: I do favours for friends.Jackson Douglas: I can pay.Veronica: Sit down, friend.
The sassy and incredibly cool outsider with a passion for getting to the truth, Veronica Mars managed to be both sensitive and caring without ever losing her edge.
I’m kind of glad I didn’t see the show until I had Poppy very firmly in my head, otherwise I think I might have given up. Greatness has that effect on me! But watching that first season as I was finishing Dead Jealous, really helped me think through the story arc and identify what wasn’t going to work.
I’m so unbelievably happy that there’s going to be a Veronica Mars film funded through Kickstarter.
Youtube vid link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=oXg15h_OiQU
So… POPPY SINCLAIR…
She’s not a great detective. She stuffs up (a lot), she’s (very) messed up over a particular boy and her parent’s divorce… She confused about the meaning of life, and yes, she does give the subject quite a lot of thought. And did I mention she nearly died last year? So you might say she has some issues, but actually getting involved in a murder investigation tends to bring life into sharp contrast, and through the twists and turns of the story I think (I hope) she begins to find her way a little.
But she is determined. Some might say foolhardy. And maybe one day she’ll make a great detective. I do hope so.
Youtube Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=f9f358lN948