Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Getting to know … Nancy Jardine

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
Defy sub classification is probably more appropriate. My novels tend to straddle genres and sub-genres. The Beltane Choice is a Celtic/ Roman Britain adventure which has been described as having ‘serious historical content’, but since it also has strong romance elements it doesn’t fit the usual historical genre. Topaz Eyes is an ancestral mystery, with elements of romance, crime, danger and suspense.

Take Me Now is also a romance mystery, but what I call my ‘corporate sabotage mystery’. This one sat with the publisher’s editing department for a couple of months pre-publication since it didn’t quite fit The Wild Rose Press ‘suspense’ line. They eventually decided to publish it under their general contemporary line, but for it to fit there it needed revisions to make it more ‘sensual’.

Monogamy Twist is also an ancestral mystery - a sensual contemporary romance on a ‘dilapidated English manor house Dickensian Bequest’ theme. Dabbling With Time- a time-travel adventure for early teens that’s historically based has yet another different target audience but that’s still unpublished.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Each novel has been different. My Dabbling With Time time-travel and my historical The Beltane Choice, were at initial drafts around 2005 and worked on only during school summer holidays. They were then laid aside till around 2009 when more edits were done. The Beltane Choice was submitted to two places and rejected. Major redrafts were made after each rejection before it was accepted by Crooked Cat Publishing in Feb 2012. My debut publication was a romance, Monogamy Twist, was started around October 2010 and was accepted, at first submission, for publication in March 2011. Take Me Now was conceived around September 2011 and was accepted in February 2012, similarly on first submission. I began Topaz Eyes in September 2011 when I gave up teaching and submitted it late spring 2012.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Patchy! My writing flow is interrupted by many things, but mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I take time out to officially child-mind my toddler granddaughter (unpaid because I’m a soft touch). An exuberant 20 month old and a keyboard don’t progress well together so no writing is done on those days. I also have a large garden and jobs out there are very weather dependent- which in north-east Scotland means jump out when it’s not raining!  When not blogging, or social media-ing, during the remainder of my week, I’m writing. I aim to start at around 7.30am and I’m at the keyboard till maybe 11pm give or take meal breaks and an occasional snatch at the news. 

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My historical work stems from loving to teach historical periods to my primary classes of 11 -12 year olds- the Celtic/Roman period a particular favourite. Monogamy Twist evolved from a combination of watching a TV version of a Dickens novel while simultaneously dabbling in my first serious ancestral researches of my own family. I had to create a fictitious family tree for Monogamy Twist and enjoyed the experience so much I decided to create an even more complex family tree for a mystery novel. Topaz Eyes is the result.

The idea for my fun corporate sabotage romance Take Me Now came from a family jaunt in a seaplane. In 2009, along with 8 members of my family, I hopped onto a seaplane in Glasgow and flew up to Oban in the west coast of Scotland.  That was on the Saturday morning, and to extend our fun family weekend we also chartered a catamaran and cruised around the islands for the rest of the day. An excellent evening meal and overnight in Oban was fantastic and we returned to Glasgow on the Sunday. Flying over and sailing around the islands was the trigger for my fun romance Take Me Now.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Technically speaking it was in 1999, I was 47, and my first book Locos 99 was a self-published non-fiction set of photocopiable resources for Aberdeenshire teachers- the topic being the Railway Works at Inverurie which had recently had a centenary celebration. I wrote, edited (some help from my husband) and printed 50 copies of the packs at home (Pack contained 100 sheets, a CD rom version and an audio tape of anecdotal memories of ex workers. My husband also helped me create an interactive website.)  A4 size sheets held by a slide binder were the most convenient printing format at that time for school copiers. The 50 copies were personally delivered to local schools.

However, since it was like worksheets I didn’t consider it my first ‘book’. I’m still sitting on the fence on that one. Maybe your readers can confirm?  Skip to 2005 and I wrote a full-length, non-fiction history of Kintore School (where I taught and the village I live in) which dated back to the early 1500s to the first ever recorded schoolmaster and schoolroom. All profits of the 350 copies sold went to school coffers. Thankfully Aberdeenshire Council had a printing division which printed and designed the cover. Whew! Both ‘Locos 99’ and ‘a squeel at kintore fir monie a year’ took my entire summer holiday to write but even by the summer’s end of 2005 I still didn’t consider I had written a book.

However, I decided to try to write a proper book, i.e. a novel! First one published by a small publisher was Monogamy Twist August 2011- royalties to me at last!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Like and have to do are two different things. I have to do lots of gardening to keep up with my large area, most of which I like doing. Ideally I love to read and wish for more time for that. Since becoming serious about my writing around late 2008 I don’t have much ‘free’ time for anything but researching (some ancestry) and writing.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That a story can evolve from such a small germ of an idea. I’m mostly a ‘pantser’ in that I create as I go after having a very loose start point. That has been the case for most of my novels – except my latest publication Topaz Eyes which needed a lot of advance planning, the start point being the family tree for the mystery. After the tree was created and the world locations chosen for the treasure hunt, I found I was often reverting back to being a ‘pantser’ as I added, chopped, and changed to suit the timeline and the twists in the plot. And, like most new writers, the social media and marketing of my novels came as quite a shock.  

How many books have you written?
Largely answered already but in a nutshell: 2 non-fictions, 2 ancestral mysteries, 1 historical, 1 fun contemporary romance, 1 time-travel for early teens (unpublished).

Which is your favourite and why?
The Beltane Choice holds a big piece of my heart. It was the one that I really wanted published, had worked on it for ages, and Crooked Cat Publishing made me so happy when they accepted it. But then, I could also say I really want my time-travel for early teens published too, and that’s not happened yet. When that is published it will, no doubt, become my favourite. Or, maybe it’s all of them? …just kidding but I do love them all.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a pre-10 year old I wanted to be a ballerina like the ones in my weekly comic ‘Sandra of the Secret Ballet’. As a teenager, I was heavily influenced by some of the excellent teachers at my school but when it came to making university choices my two preferences were to be a librarian or a teacher. I became a teacher.

What are you working on now?
I’m almost finished the sequel/ follow on to my historical novel The Beltane Choice. As with all my other projects I’ve tried to do something a bit different with this one and at the moment it’s less of a romance, and more of an adventure with even more ‘serious historical’ content. The research has been fascinating for it and extremely time consuming since I have been so easily diverted by finding something else I didn’t really know or understand about Celtic/Roman Britain AD 70s and 80s.  I’m also 14 thou+ words into a family saga that’s very loosely based on my own family black sheep.

Thanks for inviting me today, Lorraine!

Titles available:

Amazon UK author page: author page: 
Twitter: @nansjar
An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the castle country of Aberdeenshire – Scotland. Ancestry research is an intermittent hobby: neglecting her large garden in favour of writing is becoming the norm. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing, and child minding her energetic granddaughter every week is an absolute joy.

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; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and Crooked Cat Publishing.

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1 comment:

Nancy Jardine said...

Good morning, Lorraine. Thank you for inviting me here today- it's a pleasure to visit!