Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Author Spotlight: Jane Jazz

Jane Jazz

Hilary Mantel has spoken of ideas circling above her like aeroplanes waiting to land, but mine are silvery moths. They flutter round my head all day and wake me up at night. I have to capture them swiftly and pin them to the page before they dissolve. Over my writing career I have written newspaper articles, magazine features, advertising copy, short stories, poetry and songs. I even wrote greetings card verses for a time (I know) but although ludicrously lucrative, it had to stop. I was starting to think in rhyming couplets.
We recently relocated from wuthering moors to blue remembered hills and I love the gentle Shropshire landscape, but still miss dramatic Yorkshire hills and dales. Tantalus was written in our draughty old Yorkshire vicarage - one of a pair built for neighbouring artists in the late 1800s. The houses had adjacent studios and whenever I walked through our side voices would whisper at me. Loudly. Loud whispers can be hard to ignore, and they didn't give me any peace until I started to write their story.

As a writer and a reader, I find the slightly impossible quite irresistible...


If you could be best friends with another author (past or present), who would it be?

I would like to have befriended Emily Brontë. I loved Wuthering Heights and felt we had a lot in common when I was growing up. It’s such a shame she only lived long enough to write one novel; it would have been fascinating to see her develop as an author. I lived across the valley from their old home - The Haworth Parsonage - for several years and often visited the Brontë museum. It was fascinating to see her tiny dresses and shoes, and walk around the rooms where she and her sisters lived.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t write, and I still have a tattered cardboard box full of all the little stories and poems I penned as a child. My family moved around a lot through my childhood, so I was quite a lonely little girl and spent a lot of time reading. It just seemed natural to start telling stories as soon as I could scribble.

What is the most rewarding part of writing?

That’s easy! I have all these people whispering in my ears all day long, and if I don’t write down their words the whispering turns to shouting. It is quite a luxury to be able to invent my own world and create the people I spend time with there. I get so lost in their lives that it’s sometimes hard to leave…

Do you write every day? Do you set word goals?

I have spent years as a freelance copywriter, so I’m used to writing all day. If I can’t be at my desk I write in my notebook and type it up later. I don’t have set word goals as the words usually come faster than I can type, but I do have a problem with stopping at a reasonable time to make sure I get enough sleep!

Do you have any writing rituals? How about any favorite writing spots?

My ritual is to wake up with strong coffee, then comb through what I wrote the previous day before writing a word – partly to tidy it up, but also to dig myself back down into this other world, after the hours away from my characters.

I usually write at my desk, overlooking  the Shropshire countryside. It’s a lovely, rural view but nothing much happens in it – a lot less distracting than if I overlooked bustling city streets!

Is there any special writing paraphernalia that you’re obsessed with: notebooks, pens, special paper?

I make lots of notes and like to have gorgeous notebooks for this. Currently I’m using a dusky-pink leather book but it’s getting quite full. I’m eyeing the next one already: an embossed, metallic-finish Mucha  design, with a little pocket for loose papers, and a magnetic flap to snap it shut. It might be a bit decadent, but I’m convinced it makes me more creative!

Jane Jazz
316 Pages


Sylvia, a lonely young polio survivor, is fighting hard to be independent, scraping a living as an artist in a neglected old house. In the last moments of the first day of May 1975, she sees something dark stir the shadows in her studio, something that makes her long to be back home and safely tucked up in her childhood bed.

Sylvia is about to discover that the past and future are closer than they seem... separated only by a quicksilver wall of now.

With one foot planted firmly in the Yorkshire hills and the other in the marble mountains of Carrara in Tuscany, Tantalus explores the torment of soulmates forced to live apart.

The anguish and ecstasy are familiar, as is the devastating meltdown when one of them finally snaps, but the plight of Sylvia and Tom is unique and surreal, requiring the reader to undo just the top few buttons of reality.

Learn more about Jane and her books at the links below.

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