Tag Archives: Guernsey

Islands of Inspiration (6) Guernsey and Jersey

This is my penultimate post on my series of islands of inspiration this year; a quick hop from one to the other to explain what these beautiful islands mean to me and my writing.

In order to travel on from Alderney to France it isn’t impossible to take a ferry direct, which would make sense since it is the nearest Channel Island to the Normandy, but it is certainly not easy. The only alternative is to fly. On the day we were leaving Alderney there were no ferries direct from Guernsey to St Malo, our chosen destination, either, and the ones from Guernsey to Alderney had been cancelled due to rough weather.

Thus, we hopped over to Guernsey (about 15 minutes) and had several hours on the island before hopping over to Jersey. What could we do? We knew there were buses to the Fermaine Bay Hotel where we knew we could get a light lunch on their patio overlooking the sea to Herm and Sark through a canopy of trees. We had lunched there several years ago, but I also stayed there on a family when I was a child. At the time we still had relations alive on the island with whom my parents were still in touch. I was very young, five or six maybe, but the island made a lasting impression on me; the birth place of my Great Grandfather. I made a memorable trip on my own years later whilst carrying out research. Here’s a link the the blog post. What I had not remembered, however, was the very steep hill to the hotel, fine walking down, but one hell of a trek back up with all our luggage!

How the island helped me in Mind, Body and Spirit

As we sat eating lunch memories flooded back of my parents, holidays on Guernsey, family; a sense of shared history. My roots! It is on the Channel Islands, especially on Alderney and Guernsey, that I understand fully the concept of a family tree. Of feeling rooted to your past. I wanted to move a small Erica which had found itself hidden by other dominant plants in my garden yesterday. The roots were deep; seeking water from the blue spoot which flows under our garden I believe, but there was one root I had to sever and it was long and tougher than the rest. My links with Alderney and Guernsey are like that. I have a long root forever searching for my past; unseen but real; deep within me. It may be severed but it’s still there.

How I was inspired by the islands of Guernsey and Jersey

Later that day we travelled on, the 15 minutes flight to Jersey. Yet again it was frustrating that we could not take a ferry at that time. A storm was brewing. The sky was black. Lightning flashed across the sky. I gripped the arms of my seat as the little plane rose, fell and jerked akin to the Space Mountain ride at Disney! The thoughts flitted by, ‘Was this the end of my life’s journey?’ ‘I still have so much to accomplish.’

Thankfully we landed safely.

Greeted with the Queen’s Jubilee Flags at Jersey Airport

We spent a day and a night on Jersey around St Helier. (I apologize to Heidi and also to other writing friends who might be reading this and live on Jersey, that I did not contact you, but it was only one day)

St Helier Indoor Market

Jersey was my inspiration for MURDER, Now and Then; a Jersey lass in the QMAAC (Queen Mary Army Auxiliary Corps) who was murdered in Haynes Bedfordshire in 1919. I had a wonderful holiday on this beautiful island researching for the book back in 2012, as well as many visits as a child.

Guernsey is almost as important in the story of Harriet, in Riduna, as Alderney is to me. It was where Harriet was shipped when she became too much for her grandparents to handle at 15 years old, exiled from her island home. It was also where Harriet (and my Great Grandmother Harriet) met and married her husband.

Yes, these islands have played a huge part in my writing life and I am thankful!

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Filed under Alderney, Author Diana Jackson, Channel Islands, Family History

Diana’s Book Review ~ The Girl From the Island by Lorna Cook

I’m still following the theme running through many books I choose to review:

  • They tell a tale linked to history
  • The books are often set in two time periods
  • The location is a place either I have an affection for, or one I would dearly love to visit.

Why did I choose this book?

The Girl from the Island was set on Guernsey, the island where Grandpa and Great Grandfather were born. They moved to Woolston Southampton when Grandpa was a toddler but Great Grandfather eventually returned, but died there during WW2. This book is set in modern times, but also on the island during WW2. I know this history well, but was intrigued to see if another novel could be written to grip my attention. It did!

Did you feel empathy for any particular character?

Where can I start? Of the two sisters during WW2 it was Persephone I was drawn to most; her willingness to put her life on the line for the cause; her tug of emotions as she tried to distance herself from the man she had fallen in love with ten years before, but who had arrived at her house, a Nazi who was taking over her late mother’s bedroom. What a complex but wonderful character.

Is there a lasting thought or memory of the book which remains with you?

One scene I just cannot share with you, because it would be a spoiler but it was poignant, tragic, full of tension ~ everything really to draw me closer to Persy and like her even more intensely. You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Available on Amazon

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Channel Islands

Anne Allen ~ 2nd Summer Special of Successful Indie Authors

I’m especially pleased to have this interview with Anne Allen; a successful Indie Author of ‘The Guernsey Novels’. Being a lover of The Channel Islands I have read several of Anne’s books.

I hope this will appeal to writers, fans and potential readers alike…

Welcome on my blog Anne! 

Thank you, Diana, I appreciate you inviting me!

Firstly do you mind me asking was the success in your writing career gradual or sudden?

Definitely gradual! I enjoyed reasonable sales of my first book, Dangerous Waters, which was fortunate as I had ordered a 1000 copy print run. Ever the optimist! It took over a year to sell them all, mainly through Amazon and the lovely Guernsey bookshops and I also had decent sales with the e-books. The sales had declined by the time my second book came out a year later and from then on each new book gave the series a boost. The last few years it has been harder to keep the sales figures up as competition grows. An indie author has to  spend as much time marketing as they do writing, something I’m not keen on. I went ‘wide’ in 2018 meaning my books are available worldwide in all e-book formats as well as in paperback.

Are you single minded in your writing? Do you treat it as your main work and plan your day accordingly or write when the mood takes you?

I retired from my work as a psychotherapist a few years ago so writing is now my only work. In theory I could spend all day writing, but I am not always in the mood and tend to pace myself – a benefit of being an Indie author. And there is always marketing/promotion/social media which eats into the day. My last few books have involved a great deal of research, which I love, and I can happily spend a day or two reading textbooks or surfing online.

Would you describe your main genre is Women’s Mystery? How would you describe your writing style to potential readers?

I’ve never been able to quite pinpoint my genre as it’s changed slightly over the series. Romantic cosy mystery probably covered the first four titles, but the latter ones are more family drama/historical/touch of romance. I think it’s a shame books and authors have to fit into categories, don’t you? I just want to write the story! As regards style, my writing has been compared by readers to Maeve Binchy and Nora Roberts. I am happy with either!

I agree with you so much on this one Anne. I always find it extremely hard to categorize mine in one genre too.

Can you give any writers any marketing tips?

The world of marketing is constantly changing which makes it hard to be specific. Personally, I have always loved and relied on bloggers (bless you!) to help with book launches and general posts about my writing. You need to keep your name out there, and eventually the penny drops and people actually check out your books. It is also helps to give radio interviews and write articles for glossy magazines, either national or local. And at the end of the day, price promotions play a huge part in e-book sales and spreading the word about your books.

Don’t forget you were a speaker at the Guernsey Society weren’t you? I am a member and so I saw your name advertised in their booklet!

Have you one annoying habit you can share with us?

As an ex-therapist, I tend to analyse people and their ‘problems’ and give ‘advice’ when it’s not necessarily wanted!

What pastimes keep your feet on the ground, or maybe not, when you are not writing?

I used to love travel, but with the current situation with the pandemic am not sure if I will consider it even if and when it seems safe. I also love museums, the theatre and cinema which are on hold at the moment. Fortunately I can still read books and watch good drama on television. In the past I have sculpted, painted furniture and dabbled with mosaics, but now all my creativity goes into my writing.

Was there a single moment in your writing life when you thought ‘YES, THIS IS IT’? Can you describe that moment for us?

Two years ago I received, out of the blue, an email from a well-known publisher, asking if I’d like to meet up to discuss books. She complimented me on my Guernsey books, indicating she had read at least one of them. Immediately, I thought, ‘Yes, this is it!’ I naturally replied saying yes and although she did write again nothing was ever arranged. I later heard she had commissioned another writer who wrote in a similar genre. So near, yet so far! I continue to be an Indie author and enjoy my modest success ☺

And finally, do you see yourself writing in five years time and have you ever been tempted to write in a different genre to surprise your readers?

I can’t guarantee I’ll be writing in five years’ time, but at the moment I’d like to think I could be, brain cells permitting. Looking back, I wish I had picked up my pen years before I did. Recently I have been thinking about writing in a new genre, though not sure which. My current series will probably end with the book I’m writing now, and I’ll be free to experiment. Will see what happens!

I’ve enjoyed three books in your series and I love the covers Anne. I have yet to read your latest and seventh ‘Inheritance’ but look forward to reviewing it shortly.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog.

 

 

 

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