Summer in northern England has been a bit of a wash out this year, and the skies here are gloomy again today, so I’m hoping my guest has brought some southern sunshine with her. The kettle’s on, and I have a big plate of scones, cream, and jam ready especially. Now I’m waiting for my guest to show me whether to put the cream on the scone first or the jam. I can never remember. (And if you’re from the south-west, you’ll know just how important that is!) Welcome to Yorkshire, Jane Jackson!
Where do you live, Jane? In the Cornish village where I grew up. I love the sense of continuity, of seeing people in the shops that I went to school from the age of five who, like me, are now parents and grandparents. We are really blessed as we have a Dr’s surgery with dispensary, a fantastic shop that sells everything from freshly baked bread to a wide range of wines. There’s a deli counter and great fruit and veg. The village also has a butcher’s and a newsagent where a new PO counter recently opened after the previous postmaster retired. The proprietor is from Algeria and each time I go in teaches me a new phrase of Berber dialect. There aren’t many villages you get that! There have been changes over the years but the school is thriving, the pub serves great food, and the village hall has something going on nearly every day.
That sounds a lovely place. And a great setting for a novel. Our newsagent’s is run by an Algerian, too. He taught me how to make butter :)
Where is your favourite place in the world? For me Cornwall has everything: fabulous scenery: heather and gorse-clad moors, long sandy beaches, and small rocky coves below wooded hillsides. It has a rich and varied history crammed with stories. Some of the world’s greatest inventors were Cornish: Richard Trevithick, Sir Humphrey Davy, Elizabeth Arden.
Cornwall is my husband’s favourite place, too. We’ll be spending Christmas there again this year. The coastline is fabulous (and the weather so much better than Yorkshire!)
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Police cadet. I was a naive eighteen-year-old when I joined the Worcester County Force as it was then. I worked at County HQ first then went out to Droitwich station. I loved the variety. One minute I was taking phone messages from area HQ listing stolen cars – this was before the age of computers! – next I’d be checking lost property, after that I could be writing licenses for farmers to move pigs. I enjoyed foot patrol with PC Bannister, who was a surrogate Dad and made sure I wasn’t teased too much. I was really lucky to be sent on an Outward Bound course, the first for women at Towyn in Wales. Court was fascinating too, though much of my time was spent making tea for the barristers. The rest I spent looking after women and children, and that taught me I would never be a good policewoman as I lacked the ability to detach my emotions from the misery I saw every day. I had joined thinking it was a job where I would help people. In fact the police spend most of their time dealing with humanity at its most selfish and violent. My eighteen months gave me a glimpse of the daily pressures these men and women face. They have my deepest admiration.
That’s a great answer. I often wonder how the police harden themselves to their jobs. I know I couldn’t do it, either.
What book do you wish you had written? How long have you got? There are too many for me to choose just one. I’d love to have written any of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Her first pages carry you instantly into a very different world so skilfully described that it seems familiar. Marriage was important to both sexes: men sought a wife with money, and as well as the status marriage conferred, women hoped for love. GH writes from both viewpoints with both acid wit and empathy. I came to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series only a few years ago, pressed into reading ‘Mort’ by a friend. I was hooked. I loved the way Death spoke in capital letters and seemed bewildered by humans. I particularly enjoyed those featuring the three witches. The Watch stories were also favourites. Captain, later Commander Sir Samuel, Vimes is one of the greatest literary creations, and his courtship of dragon-breeding Lady Sybil is one of the most moving things I’ve ever read. I’ve chosen books I regularly re-read, finding something new every time.
Georgett Heyer is my favourite romance author. I tried reading Terry Pratchett a long time ago, and I really couldn’t understand why people love him so much.Perhaps I tried the wrong book. I’ll try reading Mort this time.
What is your favourite song? I’m going to cheat again because this isn’t actually a song as it doesn’t have words. But it doesn’t need them! The Kiss from the soundtrack of The Last of the Mohicans begins with a hypnotic and lilting traditional fiddler’s jig called The Gael which swells into an orchestral love theme leading to one of the all-time great cinematic kisses. It’s powerful and deeply moving.
That soundtrack is great!
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? The Dalai Lama. I’d ask how he manages to maintain hope for humanity in the face of the terrible things people are doing to each other in the name of religion.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? Nate Romanowski from CJ Box’s Joe Pickett series set in Wyoming. Nate is the ultimate quiet man who has killed in the service of his country, yet he is a master falconer, a skill that demands great patience. He’s a thinker and a man of action able to live off the land. He respects other cultures and is deeply loyal to those he cares for. Yup, he’d do!
I haven’t read it, but he definitely sounds like he’d do!
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? To be tolerant, accept that I’m not going to please everyone, be the best I can be at what I do, and take time out to enjoy the wonders of where I live.
That’s a great life lesson.
Please tell us about your latest release, and where we can find it. My latest book, my 29th, is The Consul’s Daughter, first in ‘The Captain’s Honour’ series published July 2 by Accent Press as an ebook with POD paperback to follow July 30th
Caseley is the 21-year-old daughter of Teuder Bonython, successful shipyard owner and consul for Mexico. When Teuder falls ill, Caseley takes responsibility for the shipyard, the consulate, and her father’s health – but as a young woman in Victorian England, she must hide her talents in a world dominated by men. Not being conventionally beautiful, Caseley also resigns herself to a life without love … until she encounters Jago Barata, half-Spanish captain of a Bonython ship. Jago is fearless and determined, a brilliant sailor – he’s also impudent, arrogant, and unnaturally perceptive. Love is the last thing on Caseley’s mind as their every encounter sets her and Jago at each other’s throats. Then, just when she thinks Jago is out of her life for good, fate intervenes. Caseley must deliver a letter to Spain on behalf of her father – a letter containing information that could seal the fate of Spain one way or another. It will be a journey filled with doubt, intrigue and danger – and the only ship leaving in time is Jago’s…
Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Helena. I’ve really enjoyed it.
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Thanks for coming, Jane. I’ve really enjoyed our chat. I’m looking forward to my next trip to Cornwall. And The Consul’s Daughter sounds just my sort of read! Thanks for dropping in!
If you’ve enjoyed Jane’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!