Jane Jordan grew up in Essex, England and spent six years in the South West of England living on Exmoor. A trained horticulturist, Jane worked and volunteered for Britain’s National Trust at Exmoor’s 1000-year-old Dunster Castle. The atmosphere, beautiful scenery, and ancient history of the place inspired Jane’s first novel, Ravens Deep, the debut release in her gothic vampire trilogy, which also included Blood & Ashes and A Memoir of Carl. Jane Jordan lives in Southwest Florida.
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What’s inside the mind of a Dark Romance author?
J.J.: All sorts of dark and delicious things. That is the simple answer, although, if someone ever logged into my search engine history they would think they were dealing with a deranged individual. My list would include poisoning, dead body facts, bodysnatching, vampires, witches, or how long someone takes to die from a bee sting, and so on.
Research is a large part of writing a novel, and my research is not for the faint hearted. It is necessary to produce a believable and accurate story.
My stories have varying aspects. Dark romance lends itself to horror and gothic imagery, and a typical dark romance revolves around conflict and a dark secret. Stories of local myth and legend are perhaps a writer’s dream. I enjoy incorporating the supernatural into my work. On Exmoor there are many accounts of ghosts and headless horseman, or mysterious creatures that roam the moorlands. When I first wrote about London, I discovered the vast hidden underworld beneath the city streets that many people don’t know or have forgotten still exist. That sort of thing fascinates me. It lets my imagination run wild.
You never stop learning or discovering new things as a writer and that’s a wonderful thing.
What is so great about being an author?
J.J.: Being able to write is the best thing, that feeling of telling a story that no-one else has heard before because it is unique. It is challenging, but a rewarding part of being an author. Completing the manuscript is hugely satisfying and gives me a great sense of achievement.
Getting that first publishing contract is even better, it makes the whole writing journey, however long or painful, worthwhile.
One of the best things for me was receiving my first fan mail, after I wrote my first book. A lady took the time to send me a lovely letter telling me how much she liked my book and thought it was the best romance she had ever read. High praise for my first book, indeed! But it made me feel that I actually did have some talent, and confirmed there was an audience for my stories. That meant more to me than selling a book.
That’s not to say money isn’t important, we all want to reap the rewards of our hard labor, but I never started writing for that reason.
When do you hate it?
J.J.: When I can’t find the time to write properly because too many other things are going on in my life. When I immigrated back to the USA in 2013, I had months where I could not write, as other priorities got in the way. I started to worry that I actually wouldn’t be able to write anymore. Of course, when my life settled down and I was able to focus again, I finished, The Beekeeper’s Daughter.
What is a regular writing day like for you?
J.J.: I cannot write everyday as I have other commitments, but I believe there are no rules to being a good author. Some people have to write every day, I don’t. You have to do what is right for you and your life.
I typically write in the afternoons, sometimes in the middle of the night, when I wake up with a great idea and I know it has to be written down right away, or else I will lose the plot.
Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?
J.J.: Having an ego is a necessary part of being a writer. On some level I want the world to recognize me and my work. I want people to tell me they love my book and cannot wait to read the next one. If someone told me that hated my work, that of course is not so good, and I would not expect them to ever read another.
Criticism is part of life, but it cannot be a blow to my ego, and it’s a well-known fact that writers have to develop thick skin. There is no author out there that can write a book and please everyone.
Individual opinion is so subjective, and even though a critic has the right to condemn a book, they do not have the right to say his/her point of view is correct.
How do you handle negative reviews?
J.J.: To date, I have received far more positive reviews than negative ones. With negative reviewers I always feel that someone is just trying to be mean, and they don’t really have the first clue about writing. Most writers I know would never treat anyone this disrespectfully. We all know how difficult it is to get a break in this industry.
Writers tend to encourage, not condemn. I have been asked to review a few stories in the past, and with a couple I had thought to myself, this is awful and this person cannot write, but I would never say that. I know how hurtful that would be for that writer. Instead, I have focused on the positive parts and encouraged them to improve the less than perfect aspects.
A writer once told me never to read a review with less than three stars, and I believe she was correct, there is enough negativity in the world without reading more. I only read the good reviews about my work. I am always reminded by the old saying that if you can’t say something nice, then, don’t say anything at all.
How do you handle positive reviews?
J.J.: A positive review is the best way to make an author’s day, and I share them with anyone I can think of.
What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?
J.J.: For me it’s always been a positive thing. Of course, I often get people telling me that are going to write a book too. Or they have this great idea for a story, but just haven’t got around to starting it yet. I normally just smile politely and try not to disillusion them with how harsh and difficult the publishing industry can be.
What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
J.J.: I take a break, there is no point in forcing yourself to write. If I am not enjoying writing, or finding something too difficult to continues with, then, it’s better that I wait until I am in a better frame of mind.
Any writing quirks?
J.J.: I like writing scenes by hand. Being able to step away from the computer and pick up a pen can often lead to some very creative writing. I think it’s because you have to slow your mind down. I am a trained typist so I type really fast, but writing long hand allows my thought process to slow down a bit, and allow other thoughts to emerge.
I use a notebook to write weird facts, creative sentences that I think up, or names, anything unusual that I might later want to use or research more for a future story.
I often write the first two to three chapters over and over before I can move on, even if I have the entire story in my head, or I will write the first and last chapter so I can see what I am heading for.
What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
J.J.: Sometimes people use that word out of jealously. They want to put you down in some way, this is where having a thick skin is all so important. I actually hate the word hobby. Writing has never been a hobby for me it’s always been a serious endeavor.
The word hobby is defined by doing something in your leisure time for pleasure. But in pursuit of my writing dream, I have given myself many painful headaches after hours spent researching obscure facts, and trying to ensure every detail it correct. I have sat for hours of editing and re-editing, which have caused anguish, and bouts of insomnia. And sat at my computer with tears rolling down my face when I wrote a truly emotional scene, none of this could really be defined as pleasure.
Too many people define success by money alone, and if you are not earning thousands, then, it must be a hobby. I disagree. When my first book was completed that became a defining moment in my life. It was a major achievement, and a meaningful transition from wanting to write to actually being able to write. I have been perfecting my craft ever since.
It does not matter if people don’t take my writing seriously, what is important is that I do.
Ultimately writing is not about other people, it’s about me and my work.
Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
J.J.: Not really. I love to write, but at no point have I ever hated it. I have hated a situation where I have not been able to write, but that was because there were other more important priorities happening in my life.
Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?
J.J.: No. Money is of course a welcome result of any successful author, but success can be measured in so many other ways.
Writing enriches my life, I never started writing thinking that I could make money. I started writing because I had a story that needed to be written, and that one developed into many others.
I would hope that my writing also enriches my readers lives, after all, we read novels to escape from the real world and immerse ourselves into another. Success for me is when my readers finish reading my novel and ask the question: When is Jane Jordan’s next book going to be released?
What had writing taught you?
J.J.: To read and write as much as I can. Not to listen to critics as everybody is a critic. Always work with a good editor, even when I think I have perfected my work, an editor will polish the words and make them shine.
Leave us with some words of wisdom.
J.J.: The world still needs good writers, and there are no rules to being a writer, people that tell you there are, but they have set their own restrictions and cannot see beyond them.
Everyone’s writing experience is unique, I cannot tell anyone how they should write or become published. Some authors are lucky, they are able to get their manuscript to the right publisher at the right time, but for most of us it’s a long upward struggle that may take years.
I believe the key to success is to believe in your work, make it the best it can be and don’t give up.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Beekeeper’s Daughter
Author: Jane Jordan
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Beekeeper’s daughter Annabel Taylor grows up wild and carefree on the moors of England in the late 1860s. A child of nature and grace with an unusual ability to charm bees, Annabel follows in the footstep of her mother Lilith, a beautiful witch. With her closest friend and soulmate Jevan Wenham by her side, Annabel’s life is a life filled with wonder and curiosity. But Jevan, the son of a blacksmith, lives his life on the verge of destruction, and his devotion to Annabel probes the boundaries between brutality and deep desire, passion and pleasure. When Jevan leaves Exmoor to pursue an education in London, Annabel’s world shatters. Devastated without Jevan, Annabel is sure her life is ending. But everything changes when she crosses paths with Alexander Saltonstall. The heir to the Saltonstall legacy and son of Cerberus Saltonstall, the wealthy landowner of the foreboding Gothelstone Manor, Alex is arrogant and self-assured—and enamored of the outspoken Annabel. Even though the two are socially worlds apart, that doesn’t stop Alex from asking, or rather demanding, Annabel’s hand in marriage. But when Annabel refuses, she is forced into an impossible situation. To further complicate matters, Jevan is back—and so are those same desires, that same passion and intensity. But nothing is as it seems, and Annabel and Jevan are in grave danger. At risk of being ensnared into the dark legacy of the Saltonstall family, Annabel faces the ultimate test. Will her fledgling powers be enough to save those she loves most? Can she even save herself?