Today I am welcoming the lovely Jane Jackson back to my site. On this visit Jane is chatting about her latest book, The Loner, which was written by the ‘other her’- Rachel Ennis!
Over to you Jane (or should that be Rachel?)…
For the past fifteen years I have been writing historical romantic fiction. I’m fascinated by life in the past, especially my chosen period of 1795 – 1905. Momentous changes were taking place in every aspect of life: the Napoleonic wars with France, railways that spread like tentacles across the length and breadth of the country, physician Edward Jenner’s development of a smallpox vaccine saving thousands of lives, the Falmouth-based packet service transporting mail all over the world, dispatches to theatres of war, and bringing back gold bullion from the sugar plantations of Jamaica.
Society was changing too. The industrial revolution brought a massive exodus from countryside to cities and jobs in the new factories whose prosperous owners were the basis of a new middle class.
The fun and frivolity of the Regency was crushed beneath the repression and hypocrisy of Victoria’s reign. I’d need another lifetime to write all the books I have ideas for.
Then in November 2014 I was offered the chance to contribute to an anthology of Christmas stories published by Accent Press entitled ‘Wishing on a Star.’
This was a great opportunity to write a contemporary story. But as I was stepping outside my comfort zone I decided to set it in a location familiar to me – a Cornish coastal village. I named it Polvellan (translation from Cornish is top – or head – of the mill, because there is an old mill at the back of the quay) and the story featured the birth of a baby during a carol concert, but with a very contemporary twist.
I loved writing it. My editor enjoyed it and suggested a series. That was how ‘Polvellan Cornish Mysteries’ and my new name of Rachel Ennis came into being.
Several authors published, like me, by Accent Press write murder mysteries and they are excellent. But this wasn’t a direction I wanted to take. Then I had my lightbulb moment. I would make Jess Trevanion – my main character – an amateur genealogist. Asked to find people’s ancestors she makes unexpected, shocking, remarkable, and occasionally tragic discoveries. And I get to explore more recent history!
Born and brought up in Polvellan, Jess returned to live there after her husband’s unexpected death left her in desperate financial straits. Because she is known and trusted, people confide in her.
Each of Jess’s friends: Annie, Gill, Morwenna and Viv, has their own story gradually revealed throughout the series, as are Jess’s past and current problems. She and childhood sweetheart, Tom Peters, are rebuilding their romance but both carry baggage from the past.
I never take people from real life as characters. Yet the villagers in Polvellan are as real to me as my family. In some ways I know them better, because in each story they reveal more about their secrets, fears and hopes.
As Jess’s reputation spreads she is asked to undertake more investigations. But some people aren’t happy, afraid of what might come out.
‘The Loner’ is the third in the series. Calling at the cottage of recluse John Preece to give him some tomato plants, Jess finds him dead on the floor.
Police and Coroner deem it an accident: he tripped on the rug and hit his head on the granite hearth.
When talk turns to the funeral arrangements Jess’s sadness becomes resolve when she realises that, like herself, very few people knew the real John Preece. Though he lived in the village for many years, his background is a mystery. Using her investigative skills to research John’s family, she is surprised and horrified by what she finds out.
Meanwhile, she is also investigating the history of Marigold’s, a famous local venue recently inherited by the new heir to the Chenhall estate. Who was Marigold and what was her claim to fame?
You can buy ‘The Loner’ 3rd of the Polvellan Cornish Mysteries as an Ebook Pub. for 99p from- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loner-Polvellan-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01613GQNO/ and all good eBook retailers.
You can find more about the work of Jane Jackson (aka Rachel Ennis) at-
Many thanks for a great blog Jane.
Happy reading everyone,