A warm welcome to award-winning historical fiction author Jane Jackson, my guest author today. It's always nice to host people I know on my blog. Jane and I met many years ago when I lived in Cornwall, we were both part time lecturers on the MA Professional Writing Course at Falmouth University. Jane also writes a series of contemporary novellas as Rachel Ennis.
Jane Jackson has been a professional writer for over thirty years, and shortlisted for four major awards. Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall all her life finding inspiration for her books in the county's scenery, history and people. ‘Summer Loving’, written under her pen name of Rachel Ennis, is her 31st published book
I asked Jane to tell us a bit more about herself:
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I wrote my first three books as a pantster. But as I was a single parent trying to fit my writing around my children, I very quickly realised the value of planning. Having an outline on paper makes life so much easier. I don’t have to carry the story and characters in my head, and I can add or adapt my plan as new ideas occur.
What are you writing at the moment?
Number 6 in my Polvellan Cornish Mysteries series, ‘Moving On.’ I love this series, partly because it’s set in a Cornish village and as I’ve lived in one nearly all my life I know that all human life is here – scandal, secrets, kindness, and family feuds that started so long ago no one remembers the cause. The other reason I so enjoy writing it is that I have several regular characters who all have their own histories and story development. Plus in each book there is the mystery for Jess to solve.
The mystery in ‘Moving On’ was inspired by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after Napoleon had been exiled to Elba and the victorious Allies were haggling over the borders of Europe. A new client comes to Jess having found a mysterious portrait hidden in the attic of his mother’s house.
It sounds fascinating, Jane.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing day?
I’m usually in my office by mid-morning. First I do admin. Then I might type up or check research notes. After that I re-read and edit what I wrote the previous day so that when I stop for lunch I’m tuned into the story and ready to go as soon as I sit down again. Afternoons are my creative time. In the evenings I answer emails, post to my Facebook pages, and perhaps do research. I always read (for relaxation and pleasure) before sleeping.
What are your hobbies?
Reading! Baking. I’m wheat and dairy intolerant so I make my own cakes, flapjacks and pastry. My husband renovates very old agricultural machinery and shows it at Vintage Rallies. I went along to one earlier this year, had a fantastic time, and have been to six this season. I can only manage one day though because after non-stop chat, laughter, ring parades, visiting all the car-boot stalls (him) and book stalls (me) I am shattered and need a day of silence to recover. Two weeks ago I drove my first tractor! I’d really like a small one of my own. Himself says we don’t have enough space. I know he’s right, but I’m working on it!
You can drive a tractor? Respect, Jane!
You can find out more about Jane/Rachel here
Jane's New Book
I love that cover, it's so invocative of Cornwall.
July in Polvellan brings the Summer fete and regattas up and down the coast. It’s usually a happy time – but Jess Trevanion’s relationship with Tom Peters is in trouble, as he wants a greater commitment than she is ready to make.
Jess soon has other things on her mind – she has to use all her investigational skills to try and prove a woman innocent of infidelity, but this uncovers long-hidden secrets.
Jess’s friends aren’t having much luck, either – teenage neighbour Tegan is being bullied over her pregnancy then Ben and Morwenna’s wedding plans are turned upside down by two huge shocks – will their big day go ahead or is it too late?
The storm broke just before dawn. Lightning lit the room with dazzling flashes followed a few seconds later by the boom and roll of thunder.
Jess reached for the small clock on her bedside table.
‘Wha’s time?’ Tom mumbled.
‘Quarter to five.’
Jess counted the interval between light and sound. It was shorter. ‘It’s moving very fast.’ She sat up. ‘Tea or coffee?’
Tom swung his feet to the floor and scrubbed his scalp with both hands, ‘I’ll do it.’
‘We may as well both go down.’ She tied the belt of her cotton robe. ‘There’ll be no sleeping through this.’ Normally thunderstorms didn’t bother her. They didn’t happen often. But her skin was prickling and, as she rubbed her arms, unease feathered down her spine. The air felt spiky and charged.
Tom had pulled on his boxers and was stepping into his jeans. ‘I been up at sparrowfart every day this past week,’ he grumbled. ‘Just one more hour, that’s all I –’
A blinding flash and simultaneous ear-splitting crack of thunder made the cottage vibrate. Jess gasped at the sound of smashing tiles and shattering glass.
‘That’s a strike,’ Tom said.
The air was acrid then Jess smelled burning. She ran on to the landing, and looked out of the window that faced her back garden as lightning flashed again.
‘Tom,’ her throat was dry, her voice raspy. ‘I think it hit the chapel.’
If, like me, you want to read more you can buy the book here:
Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us about your new book, Jane. It sounds a fascinating read.