Published by Accent Press. July 2014.
Santo Innis is developing a revolutionary new engine to counter the lethal effects of high-pressure steam. His backer is Richard Vaughan, heir to Frederick Tregarron, owner of Gillyvean estate.
Following the tragic deaths of his wife and baby son, Richard immersed himself in work. But his world is turned upside down by the unexpected arrival at Gillyvean of Melanie Tregarron, a talented artist and Frederick’s illegitimate youngest daughter.
Desperate to prove the viability of his invention, Santo persuades Richard to let him fit one at Gillyvean’s brewhouse. But when Bronnen Jewell – worried about her mother’s suffering at her father’s hands – arrives to brew the harvest beer she’s horrified, fearing loss of the income on which she depends.
As the lives of these four become entwined, a shocking revelation shatters Bronnen’s world; desperate for money Santo makes a choice that costs him everything; Melanie fears she will never be free of her past; and Richard has to face his deepest fear.
Jane Jackson has been a professional writer for over thirty years, and twice shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Crosscurrents is her twenty-eighth published novel.
Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall most of her life, finding inspiration for her books in the county’s magnificent scenery and fascinating history.
She enjoys reading, research, long walks, baking, and visiting Cornish agricultural shows where her husband displays his collection of 28 (and counting) restored vintage rotavators.
1. How did your life as a writer begin?
I’ve created stories for as long as I can remember. When I was small I used to share a bedroom with my younger sister. When we couldn’t sleep or were ill I made up tales of adventure featuring danger and rescue and horses. Learning to read opened up a wonderful world for me. I still read three to five books a week, alternating hardcover and paperbacks with my Kindle.
2. What makes you feel inspired to write?
I always have more ideas buzzing than time available. Ideas can come from anywhere. A couple of weeks ago I was reading a microfiche copy of a local newspaper from 1830 and saw this: It is the established practice amongst the frail sisterhood at Penzance when one finds herself expecting to become a mother, to extort money from all who are likely to be intimidated by the threat of being brought before the public as the father of the expected child. One woman lately obtained no less a sum than £100 by this.
Immediately my mind started working: How did this woman come to be in her current position? What was her background? How many of those men were pillars of the community? Which of them paid her the largest sum – presumably having most to lose should she make her accusation public? What if she took the money then revealed his name anyway. Why? Out of revenge? For what?
Writing is not simply what I do; it is part of who I am.
3. Do you outline, or are you a seat-of-the-pants type of writer?
I started out as a ‘pantster.’ I would have an idea – often triggered by a location or event – decide on names and jobs for my main characters. Then, like Don Quixote, I jumped on my horse and galloped off in all directions. Strangely enough it worked. My books were accepted and published. But I regularly ran into walls and had to do a huge amount of rewriting: a direct result of not thinking ahead. Clearly this non-method was costing me valuable time. So I decided to have a go at planning. Now my characters have greater depth because I know who they are and what they want. I know what they fear and what they yearn for. I know their reactions will change as the story progresses because they are changed by their experiences. Having a plan means I can make the story more complex by creating unexpected twists, and springing surprises that test the characters to breaking point. A plan doesn’t smother creativity, it sets it free. Knowing the story’s starting point and the desired outcome means I can create the most dramatic and emotionally-gripping route from one to the other.
4. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to get into writing?
Writers write. Professional is an attitude of mind. So apply bottom to chair and get on with it. Learn all you can about the craft, via the many ‘How To’ books or by attending courses. Read widely and voraciously. Study the work of writers you admire. How do they make their characters ‘real’? How do they engage your emotions, make you laugh, cry, hurt, care? Epublishing means anyone can write a book and self-publish. But competition at the top is fierce. If this is the route you choose to take, maximise your chances of attracting readers and good reviews by first writing the best book you can. Then invest in professional editing and quality cover design. Be open to advice. Learn from those who have made it. They were beginners once. But most important of all, believe in yourself.
5. How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favourite place to go and unwind?
I love walking by the sea. But Cornwall in summer is crowded and as I don’t like hot weather (I know, shame on me!) I keep that pleasure for autumn and winter. From May to September I walk in the woods near my home where leafy trees keep the air cool and shady. When autumn comes and the visitors have gone we drive ‘down west’ beyond Penzance to Chapel Carn Brea, a gorse and heather-covered hill overlooking Land’s End airport. Leaving the car we walk across the moors, past old quarries and mine shafts, to Carn Euny holy well where there is a very old and gnarled hawthorn tree covered with ribbons, crystals, beads, shoelaces – whatever people have on them to tie to the tree after touching the water and making a wish. Some of the offerings are so old they are covered with lichen and appear to be part of the tree.
6. Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I was a police cadet on the first course at the new Outward Bound School for women at Rhowniar in Wales. I won a silver medal for flamenco dancing. My favourite dessert (when strawberries are out of season) is apple and blackberry crumble – apples from our garden, and blackberries picked from the field hedges behind our house – with Cornish cream.
7. What do you have in store next for your readers?
Six more short contemporary romances written as Dana James will be published by Accent Amour over the next twelve months. I have files containing background research, character biogs and story ideas for four longer historical romances. Each of them has something that gives me a buzz, so it’s going to be really hard deciding which to write first. I may have to resort to closed eyes and a pin!