Please Welcome my guest, Nancy Jardine. An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the fabulous castle country of Aberdeenshire – Scotland. Her husband mans the kitchen, her offspring only an hour’s drive away. When time permits, ancestry research is an intermittent hobby. Neglecting her large garden in favour of writing, she now grows spectacularly giant thistles. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing.
A lover of history, it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; Monogamy Twist, an ancestral mystery; Take Me Now, a light-hearted contemporary romance mystery; and a historical novel, The Beltane Choice, that’s earning a lot of 5 star reviews.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today. I’m really excited to be here since it’s so close to my next release, Topaz Eyes – published by Crooked Cat Publishing- which is launched in two days time on the 7th December 2012.
Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.
To date I’ve not settled on any particular sub-genre, mainly because my story ideas have fitted different genres and sub-genres. My first forays in local publishing were two non- fiction historical related projects some years ago. Since August 2011, I’ve had published one historical for Crooked Cat Publishing, The Beltane Choice, which is garnering a good crop of excellent 4 and 5 star reviews. Although a romance, it also includes a good deal of historical detail. The time period is one not often written about - that of Celtic/Roman Britain of A.D. 71. The Wild Rose Press has published two of my contemporary romances. Monogamy Twist is an ancestral bequest mystery; and Take Me Now is a light-hearted contemporary mystery with a hint of danger.
I also child mind my fourteen month old granddaughter twice a week- long days i.e. 6.30am through 6/7pm - and she’s a very active enquiring little girl. On those days writing takes a back seat, but I absolutely adore being able to be with her. Apart from some leisure reading I don’t often have much time for anything else. I squeeze in an occasional dabbling in my ancestry research and work in my large garden- though I’m definitely a fair-weather gardener. Since I live in Scotland that means not much outside gardening during the late fall and winter- which is great since I do more writing!
Do you have a writing routine? Where do you usually do your writing?
I don’t have a writing routine as such. I tend to check emails first, do promotional tasks, write blog articles, and then write with what is left of the day. My desk is in my dining room right beside the window. That can be excellent on a lovely day, but the view can also remind me of garden chores I’m ignoring!
I write in the dining room as well. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one?
My future plans include getting the time-travel novel (full length at 75k) I’ve written for older children /early teens published in 2013 (It’s been languishing far too long). I’ve plans to make that into a series of three, so I will be departing from writing novels for adults for a while, although being a time –travel series the trio of children go back to historical time periods I love to write and learn about.
Sounds interesting! How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?
I’m sort of in a writer’s block phase just now. Not exactly because my muse won’t hit, but more because I’ve been devoting a lot of time to promoting my recently released novels. My TWRP novel, Take Me Now, was launched on the 3rd Aug 2012. I immediately went into promotions for my Crooked Cat historical, The Beltane Choice, released on 31st Aug 2012 in e-book formats and then the print version came out on the 26th October 2012. I’m now into promotions for my current release, Topaz Eyes, from Crooked Cat. That, along with the weekly breaks for child minding mean I’m finding it difficult to get in stride, and stay in stride, with my main work in progress which is a sequel to The Beltane Choice. I also needed to do a lot of new research on Roman Britain before I started it. Suffice to say it’s still only around 36 k words.
I’m also writing a Family Saga based in Scotland that starts circa 1850 through to probably the 1950s. I’ve good planning for that though little time to write it! If I come unstuck with my historical WIP I find myself adding a tiny little bit to the saga.
Wow, you are busy. It's no wonder you're in a non-writing phase right now. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
I’m not sure I have done anything really strange for new research. Sometimes it’s been the other way around when I’ve used interesting experiences I’ve had in my novels. My novel, Take Me Now, was spawned from a seaplane trip I took with 9 of my family.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
Probably to back up my files regularly so as not to lose anything if my computer fails!
Excellent advice! I've been a victim of the dreaded computer crash myself. Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.
Topaz Eyes is about danger, distrust, greed and death which stalks distant third cousins who are brought together in a quest to find long a lost collection of fabulous family jewels once belonging to a Mughal emperor. The romance which blossoms sparkles as much as the treasures that are uncovered.
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
The sequel to my historical, The Beltane Choice, begins in Celtic/ Roman Britain of A.D. 71. The main characters find themselves under the domination of the Roman Empire, and over some years find ways of supporting the Celts of Northern Britain who resist the Roman yoke. The novel is planned to culminate in one of the bloodiest battles between Celts and Romans in Scotland A.D. 83/84. It is, however, also a romance.
As we coast towards Christmas, I’d like to wish everyone a fantastic holiday season whatever they may be doing!
A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg embroils Keira Drummond in the search for a mysterious collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor; a hoard that was last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910.
Who among the progeny of Geertje – hitherto unfamiliar third cousins brought together for the quest – can Keira rely on? Distrust and suspicion among them is rife.
Which one is greedy, and determined enough, to hire thugs to tail her… and worse… as she travels to Vienna and Minnesota? Can Keira even trust Teun Zeger - a Californian she is becoming very drawn to – as they pair up to unearth the jewellery?
As they follow a trail of clues, will they uncover the full collection before the hired gun kills them? Details remain furtive and undisclosed until danger and death forces their exposure. And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?
Greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust, and love.
“Would you ditch the mystery, Jensen, and just enlighten me as to what you think I have that interests you? And tell me why you couldn’t have asked for it in the letter you sent to me? I came here of my own free will – granted – but I’m not hanging around any longer if you’re going to drag this out, for I’m damned sure I’ve no idea what you’re referring to.”
Jensen’s reply lacked emotion, his face a blank screen, his gaze focused on Teun as Keira regarded the by-play.
“Teun. It may come as a surprise to you, but you actually know more about this invitation than Keira. At least you knew from my letter I had something of family interest you might be glad to take back to the USA with you. Keira had no such suggestion made to her.”
Tension rose in the room, which didn’t only radiate from Teun.
Keira sat uneasy, also unwilling to be in the dark any longer. “Would you please explain why you think I may have something you want, Herr Amsel?” She found herself reluctant to use his first name, considering the antagonism now mounting.
“All in good time, Keira. And please call me Jensen. I don’t set out to be anyone’s enemy. I believe each of you can provide access to items belonging to the collection. All the pieces are likely to vary in monetary value but, viewed as a complete entity, it will make an impressive display. It’s a historic set… and unique.”
Topaz Eyes will be available in print and e-book formats from the 7th December from www.crookedcatbooks.com and amazon.com