Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.
She drew on her own background to create Canadian actress and contemporary amateur sleuth Shara Summers. The first two novels in the Shara Summers series, DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL are available now from MuseItUp Publishing (https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/70-our-authors/authors-t/420-sara-jayne-townsend). The third book, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, will be released by MuseItUp in 2017.
Learn more about Sara and her writing at her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com) and buy her books from Amazon (UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003QROE8S & US http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003QROE8S).
You can also follow her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/sarajtownsend) and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3500282.Sara_Jayne_Townsend) or join her Facebook Group, “Imaginary Friends” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/301037281383).
Poking around in family closets produces skeletons…
British-born, Toronto-based, actress Shara Summers turns amateur sleuth when her sister is stricken with a mysterious illness. Summoned back to England to be with her family during a time of crisis, Shara discovers doctors are at a loss as to what’s causing Astrid’s debilitating sickness.
After her aunt is found dead at the bottom of the stairs the death is deemed an accident. Shara suspects otherwise. Her investigation unearths shocking family secrets and a chilling realization that could have far-reaching and tragic consequences that affect not only her own future, but Astrid’s as well.
DEATH SCENE is coming 22 September from MuseItUp Publishing:
Ruth sat in her rocking chair watching the television–which was probably about ten years old, and appeared to be the most modern thing in the room. She was wearing a blue floral dress, with a patchwork blanket over her knees. I had seen that dress before. Her hairstyle hadn’t changed, either–her white hair was thinning, and she wore it short and curly, in the style of old ladies everywhere. When we came in she looked up, a toothless smile breaking out over her face. She had dentures that she never wore–something else she only saved for special occasions. As a child, Ruth had appeared very scary to me on the occasions she wore her dentures because we just weren’t used to seeing her with them.
My mother went up to Ruth and leaned in to give her a kiss on her soft wrinkled cheek. “How are you, Auntie Ruth?” she said loudly. Ruth’s hearing had been going even back then. She must be virtually deaf by now.
The house was freezing. The only source of heat was a three-bar electric fire on the floor by Ruth’s feet.
“I’m doing all right, dear,” Ruth said. Her voice was husky, ravaged by age and lack of use. “Mustn’t complain.”
Summer, still in my mother’s arms, began to cry and squirm, no doubt intimidated by the presence of this ancient lady. “Who’s this?” Ruth said, stroking one of Summer’s chubby legs.
“This is Summer,” Mum said. “This is my granddaughter. You’ve met Summer. Astrid’s daughter.”
Ruth frowned. “Astrid? Your little one?”
“Not a little girl any more, Auntie Ruth. She’s all grown up now.” Mum pointed in my direction. “This is my other daughter, Shara. Do you remember? Shara lives in Canada.”
Ruth was staring at me, frowning. There was no indication that she recognised me. “It’s been a long time,” she said eventually.
“Hello Auntie Ruth,” I said.
“Have you taken your pills, Auntie Ruth?” my mother asked.
Ruth frowned in concentration. “Pills? Think so. Can’t remember, you know. My memory’s not what it was.”
My mother thrust the crying child into my arms. “Watch Summer for a moment, Shara. I’m going to make Auntie Ruth some lunch.” And off she went into the kitchen.
I sat down in the faded armchair and bounced Summer on my knee. She kept crying. Ruth stared fixedly at the television. There seemed to be an Australian soap opera on. I couldn’t tell which one. I wasn’t a fan, and they all looked the same to me. “So what are you watching, Auntie Ruth?”
“Eh?” She swivelled round to stare at me.
I raised my voice. “The television. What are you watching?”
“Oh, I don’t know, dear. I watch everything. Keeps me company, you know.” And she lapsed back into silence, staring at the television. A couple of minutes went by and then she said suddenly, “they’re stealing from me, you know.”
“They’re stealing from me.” Ruth continued to stare at the television. I wasn’t at all sure she was even aware of anyone else in the room. I stood up with Summer in my arms and hurriedly went to find my mother in the kitchen.
They were dying to be famous. And someone was prepared to kill for it…
Actress Shara Summers has settled in London and is “between jobs” when her Canadian ex-boyfriend David sails back into her life, begging to her to fill the backing singer vacancy in the up and coming band he’s about to go on a European tour with. Short on funds and auditions Shara reluctantly agrees, but tragedy strikes at the opening night party when the band’s charismatic front man Dallas Cleary Anderson falls to his death from a hotel window. It soon becomes clear that Dallas did not fall, but was pushed. His arrogant and confrontational manner means there are no shortage of people who wanted him out of the band permanently – but who would resort to murder?
“You just don’t get it, do you?” David yelled. “You don’t own the world. You can’t swan around doing whatever the hell you please!”
“You’re just jealous because the lady prefers me to you!” Dallas shouted.
I jumped up and hurried over to the table.
David pointed a finger at Dallas. “You’re unbelievable. You just walk in and take what you want. You can’t treat people that way”
“You’re just sore because your little plan backfired,” Dallas sneered.
David took a step forward, his hands clenched into fists. As he and Dallas stood off against each other, I sidled in alongside the table and linked my arm through Astrid’s. She offered no resistance, staring at the two men standing each other down.
“What the hell do you mean?” David demanded.
“Oh come on, it’s obvious. Trying to make your ex-girlfriend jealous by making the moves on her sister. But neither of them is interested in you and that just pisses you off.”
Sara-Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.
The first two books in her amateur sleuth series about Canadian actress Shara Summers – DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL – are available from MuseItUp Publishing. She is currently writing the third book.
Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Shara Summers. She is the main character in Sara Jayne Townsend’s contemporary amateur sleuth novels.
We’re all dying to know about you, Shara. Give us a quick history.
I’m half British, half Canadian. Born in the UK, moved to Canada with my folks when I was young. My mother returned to the UK when she and my dad divorced, with my sister Astrid. I was seventeen and about to start my university education in Toronto so I stayed with my dad. I moved back to England a couple of years ago, and I’m settled here now.
Sounds like you’ve done some traveling. Now that you’re back in the UK, what do you do for a living?
I’m an actress. Or I try to be. It’s not always easy to make enough to get by. Between acting jobs I do whatever I can to pay the bills. Bar work. Office temping. Recently I was offered a job as a backing singer in my ex-boyfriend’s band. That really didn’t end well. Let’s not go there.
An actress, eh? How exciting. Now, tell me what you look like. Are you short or tall?
Very average, unfortunately. I’d like to be a statuesque blonde, or redhead like Nicole Kidman maybe. You can do a lot to change your appearance in the acting game, but you can’t do much about your height.
That’s true. I guess I never thought about it like that. What’s your preferred mode of transportation?
Living in South London I get by on train, bus or underground. I can’t really afford a car at the moment, and parking round where I live is a constant problem. Fortunately it’s pretty easy to get around London on public transport.
What are you most comfortable wearing?
My old jeans and a sweatshirt. I know that’s not the right answer for an actress. We’re meant to be glamorous. But clothes to me are costumes. Even when I’m not on stage, I feel like I’m playing a role. When I’m at an audition or a promotional event, I have to wear clothes that give the right image. Only when I’m at home do I get to be me, and that’s when the jeans come out.
Very true. What’s your favorite drink?
I like a nice glass of white wine. Chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
How about food? What’s your favourite dish?
I’m very partial to Marmite on Toast. For anyone not in the UK, that’s a yeast-based spread. It sounds disgusting but I love it. You can’t buy Marmite in Canada, so when I lived there I used to get my mother to ship it out to me from the UK.
Tell me. Who is your BFF?
My best friend is Helen Grayson, and we’ve been friends since primary school. When I lived in Canada and she was in the UK we wrote copious letters to each other. Since I moved back to the UK we’ve reconnected, but even though we now live quite near each other it’s still hard to find time for each other. She’s a doctor and works long shifts, and I have to go where the work takes me. We try to make a point of catching up every couple of months or so. She’s probably the person who knows me best, outside my family. When we were kids we were always putting on plays for our folks. Of course I always had to have the starring role. And Helen always let me get my own way on that. She knew I was going to be a diva, even back then.
Thanks for coming and sharing, Shara. We’re looking forward to reading all about your adventures.