Good morning lovely bookworms,
Today, as part of the blog tour for The Crying Boy, I am handing over the blog reigns to the wonderful author, Jane E James, so, without further ado, I’m off to eat all the jelly tots and put the kettle on … Over to you Jane!
A bit about me
My name is Jane E James and I am the author of The Crying Boy a suspense thriller and supernatural mystery, which was inspired by actual events. This is my 2nd novel, but it’s the first to be published by Bloodhound Books. I have a day job, working in marketing, but my writing comes before anything else, except for my all-action super hero hubby of course (he loves it when I call him that) and Fury – my veteran Jack Russell Terrier who is mostly blind and deaf – but understands sign language. I love all animals, especially dogs, cats and horses and I was pony mad growing up. Still am, if I’m honest, but a bad riding accident resulting in a fractured coccyx prevents me from ever riding again. No surprise then that I used to read anything to do with horses – Jill Has Two Ponies and The Brumby series, as well as Black Beauty. Born the youngest of six children, my father was a straight talking Yorkshire man and my Mam was a deeply suspicious Welsh woman. I have her to thank for introducing me to the curse of The Crying Boy (more about this soon). People who meet me usually can’t get over the fact I write dark, disturbing stories – probably because I’m so daft and never take myself seriously (I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a stand-up comedian). If I wasn’t a writer I’d like to own a burger van. I’d call it JR’s, and wear a cowgirl outfit all day. I still read paperbacks and don’t own a kindle (I know, shock, horror) and my favourite all time reads are Rebecca, Wuthering Heights and The Woman in Black. I also love the classics and comfort read Jane Austen and The Bronte’s whenever I get a chance. When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading. Saturday is my main writing day and I love to finish off by listening to classical music, cooking something a bit special and opening a bottle of red. I love Saturdays … and Monster Munch (has to be pickled onion flavour).
What inspired me to write The Crying Boy
Some of you may remember the Crying Boy portrait from the eighties; which would be found undamaged amid the ruins of houses burned down by fire. The subject is personal to me as my parents owned one of these portraits and when I was little I became fascinated by the myths and folklore that surrounded it. Being a superstitious type, my mother was one of the thousands of anxious owners who sent their copy to a tabloid newspaper to be burned. I always knew I would one day write about the curse as I spent so many hours wondering about the boy in the painting. In fact, I first started researching the story over ten years ago and that’s when I first made the acquaintance of former tabloid newspaper editor Kelvin MacKenzie, who used to report on the curse in the 1980’s. Kelvin has been very supportive of my work and we have kept in touch over the years. Perhaps this only means something to someone like me who has worked as a reporter. Anyway, he very kindly agreed to provide the foreword for this book and I am extremely grateful to him. Writing the novel also helped improve my understanding of deaf awareness, which proved invaluable when it came to writing about the characters in this book whose lives are overshadowed by profound deafness. Learning to communicate through sign language is one of the most worthwhile new skills I’ve picked up in a long time; made all the more enjoyable by my fellow students at Stamford New College who made night classes such fun.
About The Curse
The ‘curse’ of The Crying Boy began in September 1985 in West Yorkshire when over 50 mysterious house fires were thought to have been caused by the painting. In most cases the houses were completely destroyed and only the portrait remained untouched. I love the fact that the paranormal activity surrounding the portrait created such a stir in the UK and even made worldwide news as mass hysteria, generated mainly by the tabloid press, grew.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the curse and various explanations were given as to why the portraits didn’t burn, but it’s also rumoured that there wasn’t a fire fighter in Yorkshire who would have allowed one in their home at the time.
What the ‘curse’ inadvertently does is explore human nature in its simplest literary form: – the need for storytelling, the desire to embellish facts and a craving to create legends. Hence the well-documented ‘eye witness’ accounts that hold the portrait responsible for so many deaths and supernatural occurrences as well as the mysterious house fires.
There are many different types of Crying Boy paintings by the same artist, Bragolin, who went by a number of pseudonyms, and he painted lots of different boys; all rumoured to be street urchins. Many of the paintings are still in existence today. In fact, I own two of them. The one on my study wall helped inspire me to write this story and I am rather fond of him. The other is best kept hidden away as I fear there is something malevolent about it. Its eyes have this sinister and somewhat unsettling habit of following a person around the room; leaving me to suppose it would be dangerous to destroy it or even attempt to part with it. A revengeful creature if ever you saw one!
I’m currently working on my 3rd novel, The Butcher’s Daughter, another psychological thriller with yet another strong female lead. I won’t say protagonist as my leading ladies are sometimes not all they seem. I’m always happy to connect with readers and other authors and you can catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter, but make sure you bring wine and Jelly Tots … or sign up to my newsletter for updates on ‘all things Jane E James’ by going over to my posh new website which is in need of some love www.janeejames.com
The Crying Boy is out now … here’s the blurb …
Bloodhound Books (31 Mar. 2017)
Clayton and Avril Shaw have lost their little boy and are still grieving when they move into Swallow’s Nest on the Yorkshire moors.
In their new house Avril discovers a painting and is intrigued by the history surrounding it. When she learns that the boy in the painting was deaf, like her dead son, she starts to try and communicate with his ghost.
Meanwhile, Clayton finds himself entangled in an equally undesirable friendship with a retired fire chief who knows more about the painting than he is prepared to let on.
Is The Crying Boy painting cursed and can numerous house fires be linked to it?
Struggling with their unstable marriage, the couple find themselves in further danger as an increasingly disturbing bond develops between Avril and The Crying Boy.
In a twist of events Avril’s irrational behaviour is brought to a dramatic halt when she discovers she is pregnant. With her affections once again restored for Clayton, she decides to dispose of the sinister portrait. But the cast off painting wants revenge and its anger towards Avril’s unborn child might just prove immeasurable.
Can Avril and Clayton live happily ever after or does The Crying Boy have other plans?
My god how creepy is that cover?!?!?!?
Thank you so much for joining my blog today Jane, it’s been a pleasure letting you take over for the day 🙂 Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more insight into the author, reviews and guest posts!
Have a super day everyone, keep reading,