My next guest hails from Aotearoa. Where's that? I hear you ask.
Well, read on and find out, and say hi to Kiwi author, Jane Beckenham.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Scary thought – especially all that packing, though at the moment we could be considered homeless as we have not found a house to buy yet! Anyone have a room to rent? LOL.
When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?
I started writing in 1998 (I think) when we bought our first PC. I did try a few years earlier, but that was by long hand and basically I’m too lazy to write long handed. I was a massive reader of M&B romances over the years and probably like many thought – hey I could do that – yeah right!
My first one, of course, was rejected by M&B and then I met Ellen Ben-Sefer online and we wrote several time travel romances together which were picked up early on.
What do you think it is about your genre that readers find so fascinating?
Not sure if it is fascinating, but I hope that with romances they find some form of satisfaction that can take them out of their own day to day life, give them relief from whatever is happening. Because in the end as writers we’re trying to entertain the reader.
Are you a pantster, scener, or plotter? Is it your characters or plot that influence you most?
I hate to admit but I’m a conglomeration of everything. Pantser to start with and then I realise I know absolutely bloody nothing about the story and have to settle down and figure it out – hence my graying hair. But my characters are definitely my biggest influence on the story.
Can you tell us about your latest release?
In June Samhian Books are releasing my 3rd book with them – SECRETS AND SEDUCTION. It’s about a widow whose husband was abusive who leaves her nearly bankrupt with a child who calls her mama and who really isn’t hers. It’s about the lengths we will go to, to save what we love the most even when she’s confronted by her dead husband’s brother who is determined to test her to the limit.
What are some fun facts about the geographic locations where your novel takes place?
Oh gosh, don’t know if it’s fun. But SECRETS AND SEDUCTION takes place in an olive grove. I can thank Tessa Radley for that as she wrote a book set on a vineyard and I though..hmmm… where else could it be set.
Also I was wanting my guy Mac to be a rough tough kinda guy and I was reading about Wildcatters, those guys who work on oilrigs. One of the most successful Glenn McCarthy became a multi-millionaire. So he was my road map for my hero Mac.
What’s the worst writing mistake that taught you a valuable lesson?
Not feeling as comfortable as I should with historical facts. While writing HEARTSONG, a time travel set in the time of Henry 8th and Anne Boleyn, it was a very complicated political time and I really struggled with this. I think if I wrote a book again at such a difficult time, I would really try and learn more. It was a real learning curve.
What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
I’ve lived in Israel, been in the Artic Circle, and to Russia and a few other places, but those would be the most ‘different’. Israel I adore, and Russia is very close to my heart. The Artic Circle at midnight on the longest day is really something.
Oh…and I’ve been to a penguin colony in Argentina that had over 5million penguins. That’s a bit different!
Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why?
Oh, easy. All of Sandra Hill’s because of her great humor and strong characters, and Sophia James' Ashblane’s Lady. Fabulous writing, strong and beautifully crafted. Plus I was recently reading some Maureen Childs and I really liked those.
Do you have a pet that keeps you company when you write?
My baby Bingo - a dog we adopted 4 years ago – think that is a thread in this household. He had been an abused puppy that was rescued and we got him when he was about 4 months old. He’s my darling. We’ve also got 2 cats, but I killed all the fish. We went through a few of them over the years.
Are there any particular settings or sorts of characters you’d like to use in a future book?
I would really like to use a character- male or female – who is disabled in some way.
Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished authors?
Don’t give up, even when the times are tough and you wonder what the hell you are doing attached to the keyboard when you could be outside in the sunshine and having fun, but just keep going.
But also remember to relax. It’s got to be enjoyable and I think there are times when it becomes a slog, rather than the pleasure we first had with writing.
So get some balance in your life otherwise it all just gets too hard to keep going.
Jane, it's been great having you here, thanks for visiting.
So, do you now know where Jane lives? The clues were in the opening :-) .
Some of Jane's other books:
If you'd like to know more about Jane, use this website link.