Talking Thrillers with Author Nick Jones: And Then She Vanished

Nick Jones
Nick Jones was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and now lives in the Cotswolds, England. In a previous life, he ran his own media company and was a 2nd Dan black belt in Karate. These days he can be found in his writing room, working on his latest mind-bending ideas, surrounded by notes and scribbling on a large white board. He loves movies, kindness, gin, and vinyl.

TFx: What inspired you to write the book?

Jones: I’ve always been fascinated by time travel, but so often, time travel stories revolve around big historical events, like world wars or well-documented disasters. I wanted to write a time travel mystery that focussed on the smaller things, a character-driven story about family, determination and doing whatever it takes to save someone you love. I wanted to explore what it would be like for an ‘Average Joe’ to discover he can travel through time and realise he could fundamentally alter the course of his life. 

TFx: What can you tell us about the plot?

Jones: The book is about a mid-thirties man called Joe who is haunted by the disappearance of his little sister, Amy. She vanished from a fairground in 1997 and Joe always blamed himself for what happened. His life has slowly fallen apart and he’s suffering from terrible insomnia. He turns to hypnosis and accidentally discovers a latent ability to time travel. The only problem is, the further back he goes, the less time he gets to stay in the past. Joe needs to somehow make it all the way back to 1997, solve the mystery and save his sister.

TFx: How does writing a series compare to a standalone novel?

Jones: It’s important that any book, whether it’s a part of a series or a standalone, has a satisfying ending and ties up all of the core story questions. That said, there are also overarching plot lines that can be gradually explored across numerous books. A series is such a fantastic opportunity to delve deeper into the characters, to challenge them and then watch them grow.

I love returning to major events from previous books as well. I find the emotional fall-out of these is often overlooked, but I think that’s where a lot of the good stuff happens. One of the challenges with a series is the need to go bigger and bigger with each book.

In many ways it’s a good idea to raise the stakes and challenge your hero, but as a reader, I lose interest quickly if I don’t care about the characters. So, as the series progresses, I’m making sure to keep things realistic and focus on the smaller, character-based drama.

TFx: What are you reading now, and what good books have you read lately?

Jones: I often have a few on the go. I’ve just re-read How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig. Similar to the movie Highlander, it’s about a man who ages very slowly, meaning he gets to experience multiple eras in human history and suffer the loss of loved ones for more time than perhaps one should. I love how Matt takes high-concept ideas but reins them in and brings them back to the fundamentals of human, emotional connection. That is something I aspire towards in my own work.

I’m reading A Time for Mercy, by John Grisham (Jake Brigance Book 3). I've always admired Grisham. He writes compelling books, but it feels like all the work he’s put into his craft over the years is really paying off now. His writing has such flow, making it a pleasure to read.

I also love audiobooks (ideal for dog walks). I’m currently enjoying The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman. It’s about a group of pensioners who solve murders. A very British take on the whodunit, like Murder She Wrote with a dash of Agatha Christie. Great fun and well put together.

TFx: What’s next for the series?

Jones: Book 2 in the Joseph Bridgeman series comes out in June, and takes place around a gangster mystery in 1960s London. I'm currently closing in on the end of book 3. Joe is investigating a mysterious opera house fire in 1870s Paris, as well as tracking down a missing time traveler. The stakes are high and the ending is coming together nicely. After that, I’ll be straight into book 4.

Get Jones' latest release, And Then She Vanished, out now on Amazon.

And Then She Vanished

He only looked away for a second.

Still haunted by the disappearance of his little sister, Amy, over twenty years ago, Joseph Bridgeman’s life has fallen apart. When a friend talks him into seeing hypnotherapist Alexia Finch to help with his insomnia, Joseph accidentally discovers he can time travel. His first trip only takes him back a few minutes, but his new-found ability gives him something he hasn’t felt for the longest time: hope.

Joseph sets out to travel back to the night Amy went missing and save her. But after several failed attempts, he discovers the farther back he travels, the less time he gets to stay there. And the clock is ticking.

With the help of Alexia, Joseph embarks on a desperate race against the past to save his sister. Can he master his new skill and solve the mystery of Amy’s disappearance before it’s too late?

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