grew up on the west coast of
Scotland, completed a degree in
English at St Andrew's
University and then studied
singing at the Guildhall School
of Music. The trigger for her
start as a writer was in the mid
1980s when family friend P.D.
James came to stay and Joss took
her on a tour of the Roman Baths
in the city of Bath. While
touring the baths Joss jokingly
suggested that 'this would be a
good place to find a body', they
bounced around the idea for a
minute or two and then P.D.
James said 'Oh, you must go and
write it now, dear'. At the
time, Joss didn't take the idea
seriously but a couple of months
later, without telling anyone,
she entered a story-writing
contest sponsored by Good
Housekeeping magazine and was
awarded a prize as a runner-up.
This is her 4th book following Funeral Music (1998), Fearful Symmetry (1999) and Fruitful Bodies (2001), all set in Bath, England and based around cellist Sara Selkirk. Half Broken Things, her first stand-alone novel, won the 2003 UK Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger Award.
Her latest novel, Puccini's Ghosts, was published in the UK in July 2005, and will be published in the USA in a couple of weeks (late Aug 2006). It is set in a small coastal town in Scotland in the 1960 and centers around an amateur production of Puccini's last opera, Turandot. Joss says, 'It's really a coming of age kind of novel .... I hope it's sort of grimly funny because the idea of an amateur production of Turandot is preposterous. It's all to do with first falling in love and that hideously obsessive way that first love can practically bring you to your knees and about the difference between theatre and life and reality and illusion.'
This article was originally published in October 2005, and has been updated for the
July 2006 paperback release.
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