I’m thrilled to welcome author Anna Jacobs today, and lucky to catch her on one of her trips to the UK. Anna is a multi-published author of literally dozens of books – I gave up counting on Amazon – and I’m so glad I’ve been able to lure her away from her keyboard today to speak to us.
I already know where Anna lives, and so I’ve made us some tea and a plateful of Vegemite sandwiches especially :)
That sounds wonderful. It must be summer all year round for you!
Where is your favourite place in the world? My office in Australia. From there I can travel the universe in my head – with the help of my computer. But I also love ‘the tops’ ie the moors between Lancashire and Yorkshire, great rolling stretches of uplands with cloud shadows playing hide and seek across them. Wonderful!
I live very near the tops. I agree, the landscape is wonderful, and it changes every day.I never get bored of it.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working as an equal opportunity officer in a big government department. It’s an impossible task and I was naïve enough to believe I could make a difference. I ran myself ragged and destroyed my health. I didn’t much enjoy working in Woolworth’s as a teenager, either, but there it was the boredom of standing behind a counter in quiet times trying to look busy that drove me mad.
By coincidence, I was listening to the brilliant Freddie Flintoff (I love that man!) on Desert Island Discs the other day. He used to work at Woolies, too, and he was really funny about it. You can listen again here.
What book do you wish you’d written? Oh dear! There isn’t one. I enjoy writing my own stories in my own ‘voice’. I enjoy reading some other authors’ stories, and read about three novels a week – but have never even thought of wishing I’d written any of them. I couldn’t. I see the world one way; other authors have a different slant on life. That’s what makes it so interesting.
What’s your favourite song? The whole opera ‘The Mikado’. It’s full of glorious songs and we watch it at least once a year. After each viewing we keep singing ‘extracts’ to one another for days because we can’t get the tunes out of our heads.
I love that opera, too. My daughter recently played one of the “Three Little Maids from School” in a version first produced in 1939, called The Hot Mikado, in which the original songs are interspersed with jazz and swing. It was brilliant!
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? Stephen Fry. I think he’s a polymath, he knows so many things. And he’s fun. I think I’d listen to him more than saying anything in particular.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? Going to the library in Rochdale. I went three times a week because they only let us borrow 4 books and I was an avid reader, getting through 12 children’s novels a week. The library was in a spacious Victorian Gothic building (same style as UK Houses of Parliament) with stained glass windows raining colour down on us. And it was peaceful. Bliss!
What a lovely library. And a great memory!
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? I’m so happily married that I can’t even begin to answer this one. Even with my vivid imagination, I can’t imagine wanting to marry anyone else. My husband is my soul mate and has been for 53 years.
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? To go on learning, I suppose. It enhances life and allows for variety. I’ve learned a lot and am still learning, but I don’t think there is any other single lesson I could pull out because life is a patchwork of situations and needs. The only thing I’m sure about it’s that things will change, and change again. One of the qualities I value most in other people, however, is kindness. And one of the things I try to do in my later years is ‘carpe diem’ ie seize the moment, not waste time or opportunities.
And finally, please tell us about your latest book, where we can find it, and where we can find your blog/website
A Time to Remember is set mainly just after World War 2, a time I remember as a small child. Most women are longing for their husbands to return but Judith is dreading it, because her husband is a violent man. Mayne has only one way of saving his dilapidated manor house, by dividing it into flats and selling them, because the family money has disappeared. He and his friends have been demobbed early to start up a building company, because the country is in desperate need of houses. And there are other characters making new lives in the imaginary Lancashire town, other tales of these fascinating times.
It’s 70 years now since the war ended and what people who weren’t born then might enjoy reading a story showing how I remember it. Don’t forget to read my letter to readers at the beginning of the book . . .
A Time to Remember is out now in paperback and is for sale in bookshops across the UK, especially at WH Smiths. It’s also available in all Commonwealth countries. Or you can buy it on line from the various Amazons, or the Book Depository (who don’t charge postage even overseas).
You can read the first chapter and find out more about the book on my website
You can keep up to date with my books on Anna Jacobs Books
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Thanks so much for dropping in while you’re here in the UK, Anna. I absolutely love the premise of your latest release. It sounds a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing it with us.
If you’ve enjoyed Anna’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!