I love historical fiction so it gives me great pleasure to welcome Jane Cable, author of Another You, to Linda’s Book Bag today to tell us more about how the past affects and influences the present.
Another You was published by Endeavor on 13th December 2016 and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
Sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself…
Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord. Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son, Jude, turn into a talented artist.
But the 60th anniversary of a D-Day exercise triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change.
First there’s Corbin, the American soldier who she runs into as she’s walking on the cliffs. He is charming and has a quaintness about him, calling her an ‘English rose’.
Then there’s George the war veteran, who comes to dine at the pub, and his son Mark. George fascinates Marie with his first-hand accounts of the war, whilst Mark proves helpful in making sense of the pub’s financial situation.
And there’s Paxton. Another American soldier with an uncanny resemblance to Corbin. Young, fit and very attractive, Marie finds him hard to resist. But little does she know Paxton is also battling some inner demons.
As the heat of the summer intensifies, so do the issues in Marie’s life.
Why is Corbin so elusive? Why is the pub struggling to make ends meet? Why has Jude suddenly become so withdrawn and unhappy?
Can she help Paxton open up and begin to deal with his pain?
Or will she be shackled to the pub and her increasingly spiteful husband forever?
But as events unfold, Marie finally realises that she is not trapped, but stuck, and that it is down to her to get her life moving again.
Perfectly blending the complexities of twenty-first century life with the dramatic history of World War Two, Another You is a charming tale that will warm your heart.
The Past is Never Dead
A Guest Post by Jane cable
How my past influences my writing
As a writer I have a fascination with how the past can reach out and touch the present and it is the one common theme which ties my books together. In The Faerie Tree it is Izzie’s and Robin’s own pasts; in The Cheesemaker’s House the influences come from the early eighteenth century and in Another You from the Second World War.
But being asked to write about how my past influences my writing made me really stop and think. It has to – but how?
I always say that I have writing in my blood. My father was a poet; our cousin Roger Hubank a novelist and his uncle, John Hampson, an author and member of the Bloomsbury Group. It’s even rumoured that John Keats is somewhere back in the family tree. So yes, of course I write.
Jane and her father at his book launch
But where my own past comes into it is far more subliminal. My novels are in set places I love but not (so far) places I’ve lived. I used to think this was a little strange but I went to a talk given by Kate Mosse just after The Taxidermist’s Daughter was launched and she said it had taken her years to be able to write a book based in the place she called home. Her theory was that you identify so closely with it that it’s not an easy thing to do.
She could be right. The places I hold most dear – in South Wales where I grew up – are yet to feature in my writing and I have no plans to do so. I’ve been living under the South Downs for the last twenty years and there is a story here – the local folklore is just too rich to ignore. But by the time I actually write it we will have moved away.
An interest in certain subject matter does come from my past. My father was always very keen on folklore and his enthusiasm was passed onto me. His love of history too – as a child I was taken to castles and historic houses and of course that seeps into my writing as well.
But the direct inspiration for my books comes from my present. I do tend to start with a place, but all three novels are places that were part of my life when I started to write them. Another You is set in Studland in Dorset but the first time I ever visited the beautiful bay was in 2010. I didn’t know then that it would inspire a story, but I went there fairly often with a friend to walk and swim and it became – and remains – a really special place for me.
GIs at Studland
So where does my interest in the spirit world come from? That, I think, goes back far deeper. While I have never knowingly seen a ghost – and neither did my parents – they had both had supernatural experiences and my father and I certainly shared the ability to sense a malign presence in a place. We visited Berkeley Castle independently (I was on a school trip as a teenager) but recognised the same palpable sadness in a tiny sewing room with apparently no history to suggest such a thing.
I see myself primarily as a story teller and naturally the things I see, hear and experience in the present and the past influence what ends up on the page. It’s hard to pick out specifics, only the broadest themes. For me, what matters is taking the reader into a world that is both new and strangely familiar to them, one they can easily become lost in and are reluctant to leave. If I can do that, then I’m happy.
About Jane Cable
Jane has been writing for as long as she can remember but it wasn’t until around 2005 that she actually finished a book. Since then, she’s encountered Alan Titchmarsh in his search for a People’s Novelist and, although she didn’t win, being a finalist led to a whole new writing career.
When she’s not writing Jane runs an accountancy business with her husband, but it’s writing that she loves best of all.
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