Category Archives: Bedfordshire

Noah Enterprise Luton, Bedfordshire ~ Such Great Need and an Inspiration for my novel

NOAH ONE SHOULD BE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD

The wonderful slogan of Noah Enterprise Soup Kitchen in Luton, Bedfordshire.

Many years ago when I was going through a breakdown of my marriage I began to volunteer at Noah Enterprise Soup Kitchen in Luton. What impressed me most about this welfare centre was that it was so much more than a soup kitchen. At the time, back in 2003, the kitchen was run like clockwork by two Irish sisters. They were wonderfully understanding that I was quite fragile and so at first I only washed up in the background. Then, as my confidence grew, I began to serve at the hatch, enjoying the banter with the clients, and finally I was trusted to go and clear the tables alongside and intermingling with everyone.

The sisters were probably in their late fifties at the time but their sense of humour and their efficiency running the kitchen lived with me over the years and in MISSING Past and Present, the two Irish sisters who ran The Ark, a centre in an imaginary town of Drumford had similarities to my memories, only Orla and Laura had just left college. It was Dorothy, my protagonist, who was homeless, but she still had her pride as this extract shows:

Her sister’s name was Orla. It was easy to tell the difference because, although both had gingery blonde hair, Laura’s was cropped short around her oval face whereas Orla’s locks were long and plaited. The overall effect was similar with their delicately freckled features shining through.

‘What would you like today?’ winked Laura. How about this sexy black number?’ she asked as she held a sturdy black sweatshirt towards me. ‘There’s even some glamorous troos to match.’ The twinkle in her eyes rested on the leggings in her other hand.

I smiled, my eyes drifting to the floor. It was touching the way they were both sensitive to my shyness. Given an hour or so I would open up a little, but I found company a trifle hard to handle these days, after my imposed solitude.”

As at Noah, my fictional welfare centre provides far more than hot food; there’s a place of shelter to stay too. It is a place for the lost and vulnerable; for the homeless to take refuge, even if for a short period of time.

If you’d like to donate or volunteer at Noah in Luton, and I can assure you that the organisation and the place, not to mention the need are real, and not figments of my imagination, then please click on this link.

As the website says, you can donate more than just money ~ food, furniture and clothes are also vital for their work.

You could always volunteer at a place near you if you are able to, even during the pandemic. I know that in my short experience of a couple of years I gained far more than I gave. It was a pleasure!

 

 

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Events, MISSING Past and Present, Planning a novel

MISSING, Past and Present ~Cover Reveal

Drummmm rollllll!

I’m proud to present the cover for my new mystery inspired by history

MISSING, Past and Present

Available at the end of February 2020 in time for leap year!

On-line launch on 28th.

What do you think of the cover?

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Bedfordshire, Events, Mystery inspired by history series, Writing

Can you have a pleasant but misguided protagonist in a Murder Mystery?

I read a great deal of crime, although my choice of reading is an eclectic mix, including historical fiction, humour and even romance to a lesser degree. I prefer romance as a part of life rather than per se.

Sometimes I find the harsh world in much crime fiction difficult to read; the graphic, gory descriptions, the hard language – a world where swearing is in every sentence. My writing isn’t like that, not out of choice but because I can’t be true to myself and be absorbed in a world that is inherently evil at every turn. To write a novel you have to ‘live’ the world you are imagining for months. I could not do that.

So, what inspired me to write a murder mystery?

Ordinary people can be murderers – right or wrong?

I was inspired by an unsolved murder of a young lass from  the island of Jersey back in 1919 in the village nearby where I lived in Bedfordshire. The mystery surrounding her death intrigued me and the more I researched the stronger the ideas formed in my mind of ordinary people being accused of murder ~ how a murderer might be your spouse, your child, your friend or neighbour. They just need a strong enough motive, which may be triggered at any time in life, or it may be a spontaneous act – unpremeditated.

Suspects may have no obvious motive

The next thing that caught my imagination was that people may become suspects even though they have no obvious motive – being in the wrong place at the wrong time or leaving traces at the scene of the crime.

Proving yourself innocent has always been difficult 

It was fun writing two parallel murder mysteries in 1919 and 2019. Weaving the suspects into the plot and linking those from the twentieth century murder to the one in 2019 led to a few sleepless nights ~ although I did solve a few plot twists and turns in my sleep! My interest in family history came into play here.

The sins of the fathers …

Is it difficult for families to shed the shame of a member accused of murder. Is it likely or even possible that the gene which leads a person to murder can be passed on through the generations? I didn’t answer this one, but it was in my mind when writing.

Evil has a way of being found out

Even a century later evil can be uncovered ~ or can it?

Many are hooked on Family Intrigues 

However hard a family may try to suppress its secrets, this intrigue feeds on the curiosity of an individual to find out the truth. This in turn may become an unhealthy obsession.

Now you know what triggered my Murder Mystery. You also know what my writing is not like. If you’d like to find out more then:

MURDER, NOW AND THEN on Kindle

Available on Kindle

‘Murder Now and Then’ will be free on Kindle

from Monday 10th July to Friday 14th July

If you do read it and enjoy it, I would be grateful of you could leave an honest review.

Amazon.co.uk       Amazon.com

Much appreciated,  Diana

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Murder Now and Then, Planning a novel, Research, Writing a novel