Christmas Awards 2011

Saturday, 28 November 2009

An Interview with Jane Jackson

Tell us a little about yourself: My name is Jane Pollard but I write as Jane Jackson. I live in a small Cornish village at the head of a creek that flows into the third largest natural harbour in the world. I grew up in the village and went to school here as did my three children. My husband has just retired after twenty years of self-employment and is busier than ever. He’s a passionate gardener and also has an allotment so we eat well, and the furthest our fruit and veg travels is three miles! I’ve been a professional writer for over thirty years and consider myself truly blessed to have been able to make a living (some years better than others lol) doing something I truly love. My daughter lives just a few miles away and works part time as office manager for a Community Centre. She has two gorgeous daughters of 18 and 16, both talented artists, and a son of 8 who like his nanny (me) is a voracious reader.
My elder son lives in Australia with his wife and assorted animals. They love travelling and have come home twice via most of Europe. My younger son is senior application engineer for a German company in Lichfield. He and his wife have two lovely little boys aged two and seven months.

What do I write? My first book was a romantic thriller. I followed that with two Cornish-based historical romances. Then as Dana James I wrote four medical and ten contemporary romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon. I loved writing them and they were published in 23 countries and 19 languages. But history has always been my first love, so I returned to that and have written eleven to date. In fact the eleventh, Heart of Stone, was published this month.

Why do you write? Because it’s as natural and necessary to me as breathing.
It’s part of who I am. I started when I was four years old. I love writing romances in which both hero and heroine are fighting demons from their past while facing difficult situations that force them to overcome antipathy and work together. When they finally acknowledge their love, they have earned happiness, and no matter what life throws at them they will survive it.

What are you writing now? The story of a character I left two books ago. She lost her widower father, her home and her status in a terrible fire, and broke off her engagement to a man who had lied to her. The theme of the story is trust. Jenefer has never lacked courage. So she makes a leap of faith and allows herself to fall deeply in love only to learn he has been keeping a devastating secret. It’s a powerful dramatic story and I race through the chores each morning so I can get to my office and pick up where I finished the previous evening.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear? Comfy and casual: trousers, polo shirt, sweater or fleece. But when the occasion calls for it I enjoy putting on a long black skirt and jewel-coloured silk blouse with ropes of beads. With my white hair (I started going grey at 16) I can look striking. I can also – on a bad day - look like the wicked witch of the west. Lol

Are you in love? Have you ever been? I certainly am. I love my husband dearly. He’s my closest friend, my confidante, and the comforting shoulder I cry on. That’s not to say he doesn’t occasionally make me mad. But then, I expect I do the same to him. He’s very practical whereas I’m emotional. He works on logic, I’m instinctive. Our differences complement one another, and our similarities bind us closer. I like that old saying: if you never argue, one of you is unnecessary.

Do you have a dream lover – what does he look like? Every time I create a new hero I fall headlong for him. His colouring may vary, but he’ll be tall with broad thickset shoulders and long muscular legs. His pride and cynicism mask vulnerability, he’ll be articulate and have a way of looking into my soul. Oh yesss!

What kind of comfort food do you like best? Thick homemade soup with a salad sandwich, a Cornish pasty from Warren’s bakery – they are the best!
Flapjacks made with honey, oats, ginger and masses of mixed dried fruit.

What makes you laugh? Tales of work and school my children and grandchildren tell me. But my main source of amusement is my husband. He’s Cornish, with a very dry quick wit, and his take on things often has me doubled up with laughter.
Cry? News stories about cruelty to children. Heart-wrenching books and movies.

What do you do to amuse yourself when you’re not working? Read. Husband and I go for long walks and talk non-stop. We might drive to West Cornwall and walk along cliffs that border the Atlantic. When the water’s calm we take out our Mad River canoe. We have a little electric motor that works off a battery and this removes all the hard labour. Because the motor is silent we often attract attention from people aboard their yachts. There we sit, not a paddle in sight, with the canoe skimming along. In the evenings we might watch a DVD.

What is it about a man that turns you on? The clean version please!
I don’t mind casual, even scruffy, but he must be clean, with a direct gaze and genuine smile. Someone who is comfortable in his own skin whatever shape or colour that might be. But what really matters to me is personality. Kindness, honesty, courtesy and a sense of humour are far more important – and last a lot longer - than mere good looks.

What do you hate about life? I don’t hate anything. Hate takes too much energy, achieves nothing, and only hurts the person who feels it. My life has had its fair share of bad times, but I learned a lot from them and am, I think, a better person for having had those experiences. I dislike dishonest politicians, cruelty to children, intolerance, and bad manners. I try always to treat other people as I’d like to be treated. I look for the best. If someone is unkind or unpleasant I shrug. It’s their problem, not mine. If, as I believe, what you give out is what you get back, I’d rather be upbeat and positive.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know if you have been a success? I have a happy marriage and three happy, well-adjusted successful children who have themselves produced healthy happy well-adjusted offspring. What greater success could I aspire to? To have achieved moderate success doing a job I love, one that allows people to escape for a few hours into a world I have created, is the icing on my cake.

What are you going to write next? I still have several months work ahead on the current book. But once that is completed I plan to write what may turn into a series about a Cornish brewing family.


Flowerpot said...

Great interview Jane! And I so agree about politicians. As for good films - An Education - the story of Lynn Barber's life - is wonderful. So well acted.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Really enjoyed reading this - a rounded and interesting picture of your life and loves.