An adrenaline-pumping debut thriller, inspired by real events, from a trailblazing Australian journalist.
At seventeen if you watched your best friend die at the hands of brutal attackers who would you be today? Even though you got away could you ever really escape?
What if your worst fears came true . . . again?
Jaye Ford is a former journalist, who worked in print, radio and television for twelve years. She was Australia's first female presenter of a live national sports show, hosting Sport Report (as Janette Fulford) on SBS in 1988-89. Later, she fronted evening news on regional television and ran her own public relations business. Beyond Fear is her first novel, and she is currently writing her second, another gripping psychological thriller. She lives at Lake Macquarie in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Random House Australia
Author: Jaye Ford
Question: What inspired you to write Beyond Fear?
Jaye Ford: I wanted to write a thriller where an ordinary woman got to be the hero of the story. I say hero because traditionally the heroine is rescued or plays sidekick to someone else, instead of taking centre stage. I wanted to write about a regular woman who was pushed to her limit but who was physically and mentally tough enough to do what needed to be done in a terrifying situation.
Of course, your average 35-year-old mother of two wouldn't normally take on a couple of bad guys (not if they're anything like me), so it was important for Jodie, the main character, to have a good reason for both being physically capable and willing to go to extreme measures.
Question: How did you ensure there was the perfect amount of suspense in Beyond Fear?
Jaye Ford: I'm pleased you think there was the perfect amount of suspense in Beyond Fear - thankyou. I think there's so much suspense and violence on TV and in the movies that we're all a little desensitised from watching shocking events. But watching isn't the same as being in the shocking event. In Beyond Fear, I tried to write what it was like to be Jodie so a reader could be in Jodie's shoes, feeling what she was feeling, each scary step of the way. Everyone knows how creepy it can be standing in dark by the side of the road but I wanted readers to think about just how black the night can be and how the rustle of leaves can sound like someone breathing and how very, very alone it can make you feel. And as the stakes got higher for Jodie, I wanted the reader to be in on each heart pounding, nerve jangling, dirt covered moment that pushes her to the end.
Question: Is the character, Jodie, based on anyone you know?
Jaye Ford: Jodie's history was inspired by a newspaper article I read almost 30 years ago. A teenager near where I lived was attacked by two men on her way home from a bus stop. She was punched repeatedly in the stomach but managed to escape. When she reached the road, she realised she hadn't been punched but stabbed and was covered in her own blood. When I started thinking about the character of Jodie and what might make her take desperate action, I wondered what someone who'd survived an experience like that might be like twenty years later and what affect the memory would have on a terrifying situation. Unfortunately for Jodie, I made the story of her assault even worse and she not only has brutal, frightening memories but a huge dose of survivor guilt.
Question: What research went into Beyond Fear?
Jaye Ford: One of the best aspects of writing about ordinary people is that it doesn't require a lot of research - other than just being an ordinary person! I've been on my share of girls' weekends away so writing about that was familiar territory. The town in the book, Bald Hill, is fictional but inspired by a town in the Hunter Valley, which is about an hour from where I live and my few visits there were more pleasure than work.
Prior to putting any words down, I spent some time researching flashbacks and survivor guilt to try to understand Jodie's character as well as possible before I threw her into the unfolding events.
After I'd finished my first draft of Beyond Fear, I was lucky enough to meet a retired police superintendent who helped me with research into the character of Matt, a former police detective. He also gave me advice on police procedure and the guns used in the story. We had some fun conversations talking about various weapons and what they look and sound like.
Question: Can you provide any information on the second novel, you are writing?
Jaye Ford: My second novel is called Scared Yet? and is another thriller. It's about a woman who is stalked by an unknown admirer. It seems like a cruel game until she realises it's not just her peace of mind she should be worried about - but her life.
Interview by Brooke Hunter