Today I am welcoming Jane Jackson to my blog. Over to you Jane - tell us about yourself and your book.
I was moved to Cornwall when I was two. We lived in the nursery wing of a large mansion near Tregony until we moved to the village near Falmouth that has been my home ever since. Our house, three floors high, made of bricks that had been used as ship’s ballast, and with iron bars on the top windows, was one of a terrace of three constructed by a Captain Garland who built them as a curse on those who had refused him permission to extend his own house.
As far as my mother was concerned, the only curse was the primitive facilities: no mains water (this was obtained from the pump in the middle of the street), no electricity upstairs, a tin bath on a nail outside the back door, a Cornish range for cooking, and an earth closet toilet fifty yards up the garden. When my father arranged to have mains water laid on in the village, the local people complained bitterly. They didn’t like the taste!
My mother was an avid reader, and when I was three, she taught me a long poem to recite to my father on Valentine’s Day. I can still recall it word for word. I could read by the time I was four, and so began my passion for stories. We had a dressing-up box, and when friends came to play, I would make up stories that we acted out. I adored acting, and because I had a good memory (for learning lines!) often took the lead in the school plays. English was my favourite subject at school, and I loved writing compositions. I also helped win the inter-house cup for poetry recitation and prose readings, though this did not make for an easy life.
But gradually writing took over from performing. I was – and still am – fascinated by the whole process of creating the world of the story and characters who come alive as they cope with the dramas I create for them.
I left school at sixteen, and after working as a sales assistant in Boots, an insurance clerk, a police cadet, and a library assistant, I married. Sadly, the marriage failed. And at twenty-five, a single parent with two young children and an ulcer that meant I couldn’t work, I started to think about writing again. After taking correspondence courses in writing for radio and TV, and journalism, I realized that what I really wanted to do was write novels.
I remarried and had a son. But though my career blossomed, the marriage didn’t, and my confidence in myself, and my writing, disintegrated. It took a couple of years to get myself together. And after several false starts that really tested my courage and self-belief, I returned to my passion, historical fiction. In 1992 I married again – a triumph of hope over experience, but definitely a case of third time lucky. My three children are happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults. Having a doting husband, six lovely grandchildren and the best job in the world, I consider myself truly blessed.
Passionate about history and my home county of Cornwall, I combine the two in writing historical romantic fiction. Three titles have been short-listed for major Awards. Originally published in hardcover, large print and audio, all have been reissued by Accent Press as ebooks and in paperback.
The Master’s Wife
Second in ‘The Captain’s Honour’ series.
Set in 1882: This is a sequel to The Consul’s Daughter set 1874 but can be read as a stand-alone book.
When Caseley and Jago Barata’s two young sons die in an epidemic while he’s away at sea, her grief and his guilt create an unbridgeable chasm between them.
Believing he failed Caseley when she needed him most, Jago cannot turn to her for comfort. Seeking escape from his guilt he takes up with his former mistress, devastating Caseley when she finds out.
Aware of Jago’s undercover work in Spain, and deeply anxious that increasing unrest in Egypt could lead to war, the British Treasury asks him to carry £20,000 in gold to Egypt to bribe the largest Bedouin tribe to take Britain’s side.
Ambitious to make Egypt more like Europe, Khedive Said and his nephew Ismail had raised money for their grandiose but poorly-planned schemes through crushing taxation. When that wasn’t enough, they took out huge loans at high interest rates from British and European banks.
By 1876 Egypt faced bankruptcy. Anxious to protect its 44% share in the Suez Canal, Britain demanded – and was granted- joint financial management of Egypt with France. Ismail was deposed in favour of his son Prince Tewfiq, and left for exile in Naples on a train loaded with gold, objets d’art, jewels and furniture.
The poorest Egyptians saw little improvement in their lot. They toiled for overseers employed by large landowners and too often had to choose between buying seed for their own small plots, or a length of cloth to replace the rags that were all they had to wear.
Wilfully blind to their own part in fuelling the upsurge of anger, the ruling elite refused to believe that the fellahin would ever rebel. But the Egyptian poor, who did not want their country ruled by Turks or by Europeans, had found a charismatic leader in Egyptian-born Col. Ahmed Arabi.
Jago’s mission to Egypt would take him away from home for at least three months. Desperate to escape a house filled with memories and the pity she faced every time she ventured into town, Caseley pleads to go with him. When he refuses out of concern for her safety she points out that for her the worst has already happened so what has she to fear? She reminds him the official language in Alexandria is French. She speaks it. He doesn’t. if only for this he needs her.
Their journey into the gathering storm echoes their struggle to find a way forward from the loss that shattered their lives.
‘The Master’s Wife’ ebook pub Accent Press £2.99 27th June.
Available for pre-order at:
For more info about my books (with excerpts) please visit my website at: www.janejackson.net