- 1.What is my favourite thing about myself? My curiosity. I start off researching one specific subject then come across something that leads me down a side-path which reveals yet more fascinating facts. The upside is that I learn all kinds of new and interesting stuff. The downside is that a couple of hours have whizzed past without me noticing.
- What do I wish I’d known before I started writing? That getting my first book published wasn’t only the culmination of a lot of hard work, it was just the beginning of a lot more. Standards have risen and with so much competition out there, each book has to be better than the last. But when you love what you’re doing, it is often – always! - demanding, but never a chore.
- We’ve been married 24 years and my husband rarely remembers our wedding anniversary, but he always holds my hand when we’re out.
- The one subject I’d never write about? S&M sex. There are authors who are brilliant at it. I’d be rubbish. That’s not a judgement. It’s an acceptance of my limitations as an author.
- Suggestions to help someone be a better writer? First, read. Read as many different authors as possible within your favourite genre, but read other genres as well. See how other authors structure their books, balance narrative with dialogue, achieve their effects, build up tension and create page-turning-quality. Second, always go deeper when creating your characters. People rarely do things for the reasons they state, there is always a deeper motive driving them. Knowing what that is allows them make unpredictable decisions which make perfect sense to the character while the reader thinks, ‘Wow, I never saw that coming’ and has to read on.
- What did I do growing up that got me into trouble? I questioned. I just wanted to know why, but my parents and teachers said never mind why, just do as I was told. I never forgot how intensely frustrating it was to be told ‘Because I say so.’ My children were encouraged to query and talk to me about anything and have brought their children up the same way.
- If you came to my house for dinner, I would ring you in advance to ask about your likes/dislikes/allergies, then I’d prepare cold salmon, chicken and quiche with a variety of salads followed by a fruit crumble and Cornish clotted cream. All this could be prepared in advance so we’d have lots of time for talking – which is surely the point of inviting someone for a meal.
'Exciting, mysterious, poignant and compelling. I highly recommend The Master's Wife.' Jodi Taylor, author of The Chronicles of St Mary's
'I cannot praise this book enough. I particularly liked the details of life in Egypt both for the Europeans and Bedouin. Issues are raised within the plot which resonate today within Middle Eastern tensions. Other details are carefully researched and depicted- camel rides, desert plants, smells and sights and a prevalent sense of danger within an alien world. I was reminded of a novel I love - The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif.' Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife
I have lived in the same Cornish village nearly all my life.
My first book, a romantic thriller, was published in 1982. After four medical and ten contemporary romances for Harlequin as Dana James published worldwide I began writing longer historical romances. Of the fourteen published as Jane Jackson some remained Cornwall-based, others - set in the C18th and C19th - ventured to foreign shores while maintaining strong Cornish links. After joining the RNA in the early 1990s I reached the shortlist for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award with Eye of the Wind in 2002, and was shortlisted for the Historical Prize in 2010 with Heart of Stone, and in 2016 for The Consul’s Daughter. Crosscurrents published in 2016 was shortlisted for the Winston Graham Historical Prize. The fourth in my ‘Polvellan Cornish Mysteries’ series, Secrets and Lies written as Rachel Ennis was published in April.
Teaching the Craft of Novel Writing for over twenty years from Ad. Ed. to MA level has been both a pleasure and a privilege. Ten of my former students are now multi-published novelists.