Interview with J.E. Forman, author of Really Dead

Interview with J.E. Forman, author of Really Dead thumbnail

Interview with J.E. Forman, author of Really Dead

Posted on February 14 by J.E. Forman
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Today on this Valentine's Day we're talking about murder. J.E. Forman sits down with me and tells me about her new book Really Dead, her creative process, and what's she working on next.

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the idea for this work?

J.E.: I was on vacation in the British Virgin Islands, walking along the beach where I’d shot a TV movie many years earlier, thinking about how reality TV has changed the television landscape. My footprints made a line in the sand and I began to wonder how far over the line producers and future reality contestants would be willing to go to get high ratings.

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the title?

J.E.: The title wrote itself. Before writing the actual manuscript I wrote up a brief synopsis of the story (to keep myself on track) and once I typed “…it really does have the most dramatic finale ever – and someone is really dead” I knew I’d found the title.

Caitlyn: What was the creative process like for you?

J.E.: I let the basic idea rumble around in my head for a couple of months. Scenes started to play in my imagination, like short films. Characters developed their voices. The plot points slowly fell into place and I started to research some of the details and scribble down notes. Once the opening line popped into my head I knew I was ready to write. I strapped myself into the chair in my office, gathered up all my scribbled notes and shuffled them into some sort of order, and then hit the keyboard. For the next few weeks I ignored the real world, disappeared into the world of my characters and wrote, non-stop (except for meal and sleep breaks), until the story was out of my head and written down. After rejoining the human race for a while, I returned to the chair and was able to look at the manuscript with fresh eyes. That’s when the real work started – correcting, cutting and pasting, and downright deleting.

Caitlyn: Describe your ideal writing environment.

J.E.: The ringers off on all the phones, computer disconnected from the Internet, mug of hot tea, comfy chair, feet up on the footstool my grandmother embroidered, keyboard tray adjusted to just the right position, headset on and tunes playing, logs crackling in the fireplace, spectacular view of Georgian Bay (north of Parry Sound) … let the words flow. You said “ideal” right? In reality, there’s no fireplace – just an air vent under my desk that only crackles if a paper clip has fallen into it, my office window looks out over my neighbour’s garbage bins, and sometimes the words get stuck and have to be forcefully yanked out.

Caitlyn: What is your new project?

J.E.: Crime Seen – Fifty-three people saw the accident happen but no one, not even the killer, saw it coming. The lead actor on a three-part television docudrama about an infamous Canadian serial killer has died in a car accident on set. Ria doesn’t think the actor’s death has anything to do with the serial killer case, but Glenn has a different point of view. Even though the serial killer is safely locked up in jail, he’s been granted an Appeal and Glenn’s out to help the police prove, once and for all, that he’s still just as guilty as he was when Glenn covered his original trial. When there’s a second accidental death on the docudrama set Ria begins to realize that there’s something they’ve all overlooked.

J.E. Forman

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
J.E. Forman photo

J.E. Forman

J.E. Forman was once a relatively sane television producer. She moved from cameras to keyboards, adding screenwriter and romance novelist (under a pseudonym) to her list of credits. Really Dead is her first mystery. She’s already working on Ria and Glenn’s next case from her home base in Toronto.