Tag Archives: Southampton

Author Spotlight no.335 – historical novelist Diana Jackson

Many thanks to Morgen Bailey for this on line interview! Hope to see some of you on Thursday 3rd in Waterstones Hitchin, Saturday 5th at the Luton Book Festival or on 12th back down in Southampton Waterstones West Quay!

Morgen 'with an E' Bailey

Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and thirty-fifth, is of historical novelist Diana Jackson. See below for Diana’s book signing events! If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.

DianaDiana Jackson has spent most of her career teaching English in the heart of England, but she has been writing all her life. Lucky to have an inspirational English teacher in her teens, a person who would continue to be a perfect role model in later life, Diana was encouraged to write poems and short stories. She graduated with a degree in education before training as a middle school teacher, where she motivated youngsters with her enthusiasm in the power of language.

Next Diana gained experience teaching English as a Second Language both in the UK and abroad, giving her a rich experience of life and cultures…

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Diana Jackson’s Centenary Tour ~ October Events!

I’m excited to announce that my events to celebrate three centenaries continue this October.

RNAS Calshot March 1913

The First Schneider Trophy Contest April 1913

The birth of Supermarine in Woolston Southampton October 1913

I will be talking about my novels and my unusual interest in Supermarine and early flight, especially, flying boats and the role of women in WW1:

1. Thursday 3rd October 7pm

Waterstones Hitchin, Herts

 2. Saturday 5th October

Luton Book Festival 2013

11 am ’til  12 noon

Conference Room, Luton Town Centre Library

Then you can meet me, come and have a chat and even buy a signed copy of Ancasta for that special Christmas gift on

3. Saturday 12th October

Waterstones West Quay Southampton

11 am ’til 1 pm

I look forward to seeing you at one of these events!

If you’d like more details then please drop me a line diana@dianamaryjackson.co.uk

I’d love to hear from you.

 

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Filed under Ancasta, Book reading, Events, Family History, Flying Boats and Sea Planes, Southampton

Virtual Tour of the Solent ~ The Story so far and where to next?

Solent map googleCalshot

I began this virtual tour to show that a sense of place is important in my writing. I need to describe the areas in my novel enough to help the reader to feel that ‘sense of place,’ but I thought it might be helpful to give a little more background information and description. I have written ten posts around the Solent area so far, but before I leave the shores of mainland England I thought a summary would be helpful:

1 ~ At the beginning of this year I began my virtual tour at Gilkicker Fort on the strategic peninsula guarding the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. It was there that one of my main characters, Harriet’s daughter Sarah, was stationed  with the husband, at the newly refurbished married quarters, back in 1910. It was a life that Sarah found hard to come to terms with but then came the war which changed everything.

2 ~ Close by was Fort Grange, still enclosed in the Naval Station today, where early pilots were trained for combat and reconnaissance missions in WW1 including Anthony, Sarah’s husband.

3 ~ A short distance along the coast is Lee on Solent, not strictly speaking in Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home, but it may be in the no, 3 in the series. Lee was important at that time though, since it was one of the earliest Flying Boat Stations on the south coast.

4 ~ Just up the estuary takes you to the sheltered inlet into Hamble, which is an unspoilt haven for sailing boats. Anthony’s family lived there, with its cobbled streets and a small ferry over to Warsash, much the same today as it was at the turn of the last century, I should imagine.

5 ~ Further up Southampton Water is The Royal Victoria Park, once the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, with only the tall chapel remaining as a signal to the grandeur of the original building which had corridors a quarter of a mile long. It is still a lovely place to visit, go for a stroll, have a picnic and find out about its interesting history. Jane, one of my characters, well known to those who have read Riduna, was stationed there, close enough to Harriet for them to remain friends although Jane had little time to spare for social calls, especially during the war.

6 ~ Visiting the ghostly remains of Netley Abbey en-route, popular with the Victorians, we reach Weston Shore, important in both of my novels as a place to feel the sea and watch those on their journeys too and from Southampton Docks. It could be a place you might overlook, but if you make the efffort and stop and have a walk along its shores, it’s a haven for wildlife and it’s a wonderful place to watch the world go by. It’s here that the name of my novel seemed so apt. ‘Ancasta’ ~ ‘The Swift One.’ Many folks have stood, as Harriet did, on these shores and prayed for the swift and safe return of their loved ones, but for Harriet it was more than that. It was here she watched the Channel Island Ferries as they journeyed to the place of her birth. It was a direct channel to Guernsey (Sarnia in my novel) and Alderney (Riduna in my novel) which she loved but had left behind so long ago.

7 ~ Woolston. The Newton family grew up in the heart of Woolston, working in the local industry, initially as boat builders but subsequently early flying boats. (Supermarine) Harriet ran a popular guest house mainly for travellers. One of her son’s worked in a bicycle shop too. Each of her family played their part in WW1, Sarah returning home for the duration of the war with her little son Timothy.

8~ Southampton. Across the Floating Bridge is Southampton itself, still a thriving port and the window to the world to many of my characters including Edward, also well known to many of you from Riduna, Harriet’s childhood sweetheart from the island of Riduna. Their lives took very different paths but they continue to cross at times and Edward’s occasional visits still have a positive impact on the lives of the Newton family, especially Timothy and Sarah.

9~ Over the Hotspur to Hythe is where Edward lives, when he’s on land, with his more than housekeeper Marie. She’s a larger than life character and I’m quite fond of her, even though I feel a bit disloyal to Harriet for doing so.

10 ~ Just a few miles up to the peninsula we reach Cashot, at the mouth of Southampton Water, and if you want a place to ‘ship watch’ this is it. One of Harriet’s son’s Jack was stationed here before and at the start of WW1, where he was an engineer at the new RNAS flying boat station back in 1913.  He continued to travel home to his young family in Woolston, that was until he joined up and travelled to join the HMS Ben my Chree, one of the earliest sea plane carriers which went out to Turkey.

So, where does my virtual tour go to next? We reach the point when we now travel beyond the Solent, and we’re heading across the sea to The Channel Islands as from Monday. In fact that’s where the original story  of Riduna began.

Meanwhile I’m continuing my real centenary tour

at Waterstones in St Neots this Saturday on 23rd March from 11am.

I look forward to meeting some more of you then.

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Filed under Alderney, Ancasta, Early Flight, Events, Flying Boats and Sea Planes, Riduna, Southampton, Virtual Tour of the Solent and Beyond, Weston Shore, Woolston