Tag Archives: Alderney

Islands of Inspiration (5) Alderney ~ for me the Ultimate Island

Looking out over Braye Beach

Alderney was the island which gave me the original inspiration to write my debut novel Riduna, first published by Pegasus in 2009, then Eventispress in 2012 when its sequel Ancasta was published. How time flies!

I have not been back for eight years due to moving to Fife and increased family commitments. It seemed an awful long way from here. How would we get there? How would a small island community have survived Covid? Would it be in decline or could it have ridden the storms?

What I did know was that I had a burning desire to return; a feeling you should never ignore.

Alderney is an island I have always held dear to my heart; the location of many happy memories of holidays as a teenager; the origins of the Jackson branch of my family and the place of my Great Grandmother Harriet’s birth.

How the island helped me in Mind, Body and Spirit

I am always excited to return. The two plane journeys, first from Edinburgh to Southampton and then on to Alderney seemed a bit daunting at first post Covid, but we took it in our stride and I was filled with an overwhelming joy; a sense of Deja vu of journeys gone by. I was smiling as we were called through at Southampton airport.

Each moment was precious; the first sight of Alderney from the plane; coming into land and into the little airport building, which hadn’t changed a bit, then the taxi drive to our hotel. Oh so very familiar and beautiful.

On our first day we ambled about, first visiting the town St Anne, which appeared to be thriving, relative to some English and Scottish small towns. Then it was down to the harbour and the breakwater and on to Braye Beach. The weather was warm and there was a tiny breeze, which was perfect. The following day we walked to the beautiful bays of Saye and Arch and then got a light lunch in The Old Barn at Longy.

Spiritually I felt so in tune with Alderney and know it is my spiritual home. I always feel a closeness with my Great grandmother there, but I was also aware this time of being extra-specially close to my Mum and Dad.

The sunshine, warmth, exercise and fresh air filled us with life, and my mind cleared of some of the fog of the past couple of years. I could feel a healing power and a setting free. Marvelous!

How I was inspired by the island of Alderney

Alderney, as I said at the beginning, was my initial inspiration to write, as was the story of my Great Grandmother. Walking where she walked and seeing houses and streets much as she would have seen them, with the cobbles and Georgian buildings as well as the tiny stone cottages down at Newtown, I became aware of her footsteps beside me and a whisper of encouragement in my ear.

Alderney Mid 19th Century

This was added to by a visit to Alderney Museum where Guilia, who is in charge of research, spent a couple of hours with me, talking through my projects. She was interested in what I knew of my family history and attempted to untangle fact from imagination, as my talk of my novels wove in and out of Harriet’s true story. (In a nutshell she lost here parents and was sent to Guernsey) Armed with several books to bring home I was tasked with sending her our family tree as we know it, with documental proof wherever possible.

I felt quite light headed as we headed back down to our hotel.

I was not so sad when we took off the next day because I knew I would return soon.

I’ve been inspired to delve into my parent’s family history files, untouched since they passed away.

I’m also inspired to work on Dad’s novella, a prequel to Riduna, in the knowledge that there are experts at hand who will take my work seriously and read the manuscript with a critical eye on its authenticity.

I had reached out and I feel that folks are reaching back over the sea to meet me half way.

It is a wonderful feeling!

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Filed under Alderney, Author Diana Jackson, Channel Islands, Family History, Inspiration, Reading a novel, Research, Riduna

May Book Blogger Hop

Hey, I’m a bit late for last week’s Book Blogger Hop but here’s my answer to:

What book character do you think you are most like and why?

Like Harriet (Hetty) Deveraux, from Sarah Maine’s House Between Tides, I have ancestry from a small island. In my case my great grandmother was Harriet Renier who was born on the island of Alderney.

Hetty is drawn to her ancestral home, as I have always been to Alderney. I now live in Fife where there are so many similarities between here and The Channel Islands, especially to Alderney. The pace of life, sense of community, the seascapes and landscape too. (although not so many forts, castles abound!)

Hetty is inspired and interested in history, as I am. If there is a mystery she wants to discover the truth. I love to research and ‘dig’ into the past, and so Libby from Sarah Maine’s Women of the Dunes also resonates with me.

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What character in a novel you’ve read recently are you most like?

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Filed under Alderney, Blogs, Book reading, Fife

Is your favourite character in a novel always the protagonist?

f03cf68d082763c6d02f2dd29e505a86--s-fashion-edwardian-fashionThis question was posed to me the other day and got me thinking. Even in my own writing my favourite character isn’t always the protagonist.

In ‘Riduna‘ for example, my first novel ~ historical fiction set on the island of Alderney in the Victorian era, Harriet, the protagonist, is key to every part of the story. A quarryman’s daughter, Harriet is the person who binds the others together and, as the author, I know her intimately. I can describe her life from the moment she was born through to adult hood and middle age. I have not killed her off as yet but feel sure that I will know her as an old woman too ~ but is she my favourite character? No, actually she isn’t!

It is Jane who intrigues me most. There is a bit of mystery about her. I only know of Jane’s life as she arrives on Riduna from mainland Britain as a teenager. Having lost her mother she is brought up by her father, who is the island’s doctor. Jane is well educated and intelligent in a mature and thoughtful way. She finds herself in a society where class isn’t as distinctive as back in the UK. As Harriet’s best friend she is a leveler and yet she is also a dreamer. It is she who travels the world in her career as a nurse. She chooses ambition over love, marriage and babies. Is this totally fulfilling for her? At the end of Riduna she begins to take her chosen course, but it is in my second novel Ancasta  that we see her fulfilling her ambitions. We also see her threading back into Harriet’s life. She is always the steady influence, even though their outlook on life is so contrasting.

I am fond of Jane for her loyalty to Harriet and yet she is her own person. A good friend is not one who smothers or submits but is one of mutual respect. A friendship should be supportive but also allow each to be themselves.

Diana Jackson is the author of The Riduna Series which can be found on her Amazon page .Riduna is currently only £1.99 on Kindle.

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Filed under Alderney, Ancasta, Historical Fiction, Riduna, Role of Women