Jackie Kabler is pretty amazing. Not only is she a hugely successful journalist, reporter and TV presenter (you can currently catch her on the fabulous QVC) but she can also now add author to her list of talents as she releases her debut novel, The Dead Dog Day this Thursday, 22nd October, with Accent Press. Click here to pre-order your copy. I am lucky enough to be reading The Dead Dog Day at the moment and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I am LOVING it! I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen and who is behind the murder of Cora’s boss, Jeanette. Before I go off on a tangent, my review will be published this Thursday and in the meantime it’s over to the lovely Jackie…
Hello! I’m so happy to be here – as a debut author, this is my first EVER interview on a book blog, so be gentle with me! Right, introductions – I’m Jackie Kabler and I’m a journalist, TV presenter and now a writer too. Some people might remember me from GMTV, where I spent nearly ten years as a news reporter, followed by several years as a newsreader and reporter for ITV and BBC news among others. Now I work as a presenter on shopping channel QVC, which is just the most fun job in the world, and I’m very, very excited that my first novel is due to be published this autumn.
I am really excited about reading your debut novel, The Dead Dog Day (released October 2015 by Accent Press) Can you tell us a little more about it?
It’s a bit cross-genre really – a mix of chick lit/rom com and crime. Chick crime? It’s about a breakfast TV reporter called Cora Baxter, who has a very bad Monday morning which starts with a dead dog and ends with a murdered boss. Cora is assigned to cover the murder for the breakfast show, and ends up getting dragged into the investigation in unexpected ways. One of her camera crew seems to be hiding a dark secret; there is very weird behaviour from one of her colleagues; and her ex-boyfriend (who has just dumped her at the beginning of the novel) has mysteriously vanished. Alongside all of this, Cora is trying to juggle her day to day work as a news reporter with her complicated love life. So there is a murder mystery at the heart of the book, but there’s romance and humour in there too. I absolutely loved writing it!
There’s no question that you are a lady of many talents, with a successful career as a TV presenter, journalist and reporter. What made you decide to write a novel? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been a huge reader ever since I was very young, and have loved writing since I was at school, when teachers would ask for a two-page essay and I would hand in ten pages because I just couldn’t stop writing. I didn’t think seriously about writing a novel until I was at GMTV though…I wasn’t very happy in my job during my last couple of years there and I began writing as a sort of escape. When I finally decided to quit to work as a freelance newsreader and reporter, I thought I’d have plenty of time to finish the book – in reality I was so busy that it was put aside for about five years, until I decided to leave the news business altogether and join QVC. Then I finally dragged my unfinished novel out again and managed to complete it!
I am so excited about reading The Dead Dog Day! It sounds absolutely brilliant. What inspired you to come up with the storyline?
It was obviously heavily influenced by my life as a breakfast TV reporter. So many crazy things happened during that time – things that viewers would never believe went on behind the scenes every day. Virtually everything in the book (apart from the murdered boss!) actually happened to me during those years, although clearly I’ve had to change some details to protect identities. I’ve also always loved crime fiction, and covered many hundreds of real life crimes as a news reporter, so it felt natural to me to include crime in my writing.
How long did The Dead Dog Day take you to write?
Probably about a year in actual time, but that was spread over about six years because I put it away in a cupboard for years not long after I started it!
What was the best thing about writing a crime novel?
I just love the twisty-turny nature of crime novels…coming up with red herrings and throwing suspicion on all sorts of innocent people along the way. It’s fun!
You’ve signed a three book deal with the fabulous Accent Press (congratulations, by the way!). Do you plan to write a follow on to The Dead Dog Day? Are your next two books going to be crime or something different all together?
Thank you! It’s SO exciting. The book deal was actually for a series of crime novels featuring the same characters – the series is called The Cora Baxter Mysteries and The Dead Dog Day is book one. The second one is called The Deadline and the third will be The Development. (I’m not sure why they all have titles featuring the letter “D”, it just seems to have worked out like that!)
What would you say has been the proudest moment of your career (writing and television!) so far?
Blimey, that’s a toughie! I’m not sure about proud moments, but I’ve had some incredible ones…I’ve travelled the world for my job, and covered some huge stories like the Kosovo crisis, famine in Ethiopia, the Soham murders and the Asian tsunami. I’ve interviewed prime ministers and pop stars, and Hollywood icons like George Clooney, Sharon Stone and John Travolta, and filmed in so many exotic locations including Cuba, Egypt and Sri Lanka. But I can honestly say that these days I’m at my very happiest when I’m writing, so I’m very proud to have been able to write a book! A WHOLE NOVEL! Amazing, isn’t it? (I would like to thank Earl Grey tea for getting me through those long hours. Oh, and chocolate too…)
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I read almost anything, but I particularly love crime, and chick lit! Crime and mystery authors I adore include Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Harlen Coben, Peter James and Tess Gerritsen, with recent discoveries being the fabulous Clare Mackintosh, Paula Hawkins and CL Taylor. I’m also a big fan of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, Jane Green, Kate White and Ali McNamara (who was kind enough to read an advance copy of The Dead Dog Day and give me a fabulous cover quote, thank you SO MUCH Ali!).
And finally, can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m powering ahead with Cora Baxter Mysteries novel number two, The Deadline! And my “deadline” to complete it is thundering towards me like a runaway train, so I’d better get on with it!
A huge thank you to Jackie for taking part in this interview. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Dead Dog Day, released 22nd October 2015.