My Friday Reads is back and today I'm delighted to welcome Jane Cable, who is going to tell us all about her historical romance novel, Another You.
Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord. Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son turn into a talented artist.
But the sixtieth anniversary of a D-Day exercise which ended in disaster triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change as Marie discovers that sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself.
“All right, Mar? Any more for lunch?” Baz is up to his elbows in water, shining pans clattering onto the draining board to his right. Outside the window the merest hint of sunshine is straining to warm the faceless squat tower of the church beyond the pub yard.
I pick up a tea towel and shake my head, trying to rid myself of the constant roar and rumble in my ears. “We deserve a quiet one after the weekend.”
He balances the last saucepan on top of the pile.
“You can go now if you like,” I tell him.
He fights to coerce his arms into his one-size-too-small donkey jacket. “See you at five.” His shadow stops outside the kitchen door. The click of his lighter. A moment to inhale. Then he strolls across the yard towards the village as the sun wins its battle with the clouds.
Sod it. I pull my jacket off the hook in the lobby as I call to Jude. “Just popping out for some fresh air.” I am gone before he can answer.
April. Yes, there is some warmth in the air. As I start to climb the track towards Old Harry the sun gains in confidence, although the damp chalk slips and slides beneath my feet. At the edges of the path the last of the daffodils have been beaten down by the weekend’s rain but further up the bank the primroses are taking over, lemon-meringue fresh against the moss.
The sea is hidden from view by hedges and trees topped with a froth of hawthorn. Their dark leaves contrast with the brighter greens of the new growth around them. How many greens are there? Twenty? Thirty? Even Jude would struggle to paint them all.
I thought I’d be the only person out walking but coming towards me is a man wearing khaki combats and a white T-shirt, his hair cropped disconcertingly close.
“Good afternoon, ma’am.” American.
I smile without breaking my step. “Lovely day.” English.
Want to read more? You can buy the book here:
I have been writing on and off all my life but started to take it seriously when my first romantic suspense novel, The Cheesemaker’s House, reached the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. It gave me the confidence to publish the book independently and in 2015 it won the Words for the Wounded Independent Novel of the Year. As a direct result of this I was signed by my agent and within a year had my first publishing contract with Endeavour Press.
I asked Jane to tell us a bit more about herself
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I grew up in a house of books and it’s always been my dream, although I have to say that much of the time real life and the need to earn a living has forced me to put my writing on the back burner.
Has any author inspired you?
A great many but the one I would pick out for special mention is Mary Wesley. Quite apart from her brilliant characters and strong stories, her first novel for adults was published when she was 71. I was reading her in my twenties so it made me believe I had plenty of time.
What do you like writing most?
Romantic novels with a twist of suspense. I’m fascinated by short stories as well and when I have more time I’d love to learn how to construct them properly.
Do you have a special place for writing?
As long as there’s no TV or radio blaring I can write anywhere.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I’m about 75% plotter, but I do let my characters take over when they want to – it’s one of the most magical things about writing. I found it rather strange working with my agent for the first time because I had to be more disciplined about producing the book we’d agreed I’d write.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
My writing can be inspired by real life, but normally somebody else’s. The historical element of my latest novel, Another You, is based around a rehearsal for D-Day which went tragically wrong killing six soldiers. The idea was to test the tanks to see if they would float in the sea but the water was a bit too choppy and they launched them too far out. Ludicrous as the concept sounds it did work in the end and the British at least perfected it in time for D-Day.
What are you writing at the moment?
I am writing a romantic novel about an archaeologist who feels she is never quite alone inside her own head. After yet another disastrous relationship she is sent to work in Lincolnshire where she discovers rather more about herself than about the past.
What inspired you to write this book?
A visit to the Humberside village of Winteringham, which is where Roman Ermine Street ends. The beautiful countryside and wide open skies were just begging to be peopled with interesting characters.
What time of the day do you write best?
First thing in the morning. I’m at my brightest and freshest then and it also means I can set down any ideas I’ve had overnight straight away.
What are your hobbies?
I love walking and when conditions allow, swimming, bodyboarding and snorkelling – I’m a real waterbaby.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Never forget that you are responsible for your book. You may have an agent and a publisher, but at the end of the day your name is on the cover and it’s up to you to make it as brilliant and as successful as you can.
Excellent advice, Jane!
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us about your book, Jane
Bring a little sunshine into your life!
Sassy, feel good romance by Karen King. Just right to cosy up with on cold winter nights. Published by Accent Press