I’m Nancy Jardine, an ex-primary teacher who lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The fascinating thing now about being an author is that everyone’s journey to production is so different, and publishing successes don’t all transpire in a consecutive pathway.
I’ve always loved all historical periods and have been an avid reader from a very early age, my reading fairly eclectic, but I never had any inclination to be a writer except for the work needed for my primary classes. I taught 11-12 year olds during most of my 25 teaching years, so the researching and writing of classroom materials was reasonably detailed and took up a lot of my time. In retrospect, I was writing but never considered it as such.
It was only when a colleague persuaded me (the arm twist was excruciating 😉 I was the best person for the job that I ventured into published non-fiction. I voluntarily (silly me) wrote a historical-based teaching resource pack during my school summer break, back in 1999, for a special local millennium project, and totally loved the challenge. A few years later, in 2005, I wrote a full length history of my Aberdeenshire village school, which dates back to the early 1500s, and adored the research almost as much as compiling the book. The print run went to 350 copies; all were sold at a special school open day to mark the move from a Victorian built school to a brand new school building. That was also a voluntary labour of love and all profits went to the school coffers, yet at the back of my mind it did make me wonder what it might be like to sell 350 copies of a book in one day and get the cash! (A bit of mercenary me creeping in)
However, I didn’t think of those books as ‘proper’ writing since they weren’t novels, so I set to during my holiday break in 2006 and wrote a time-travel for early teens. It’s still not published but might hit the shelves sometime in the future.
I dabbled over the ensuing summers but only got serious about my writing when I cut back on teaching days in late 2008. An early draft for Book 1 of my Celtic Fervour Series of Historical Romantic Adventures, The Beltane Choice, set in northern Roman Britain AD 71, was submitted to a traditional publisher who didn’t reply for 14 months. Eventually the standard ‘no thank you’ note came back saying it was well written but didn’t fit their publishing schedules of the time. Not helpful at all. Most authors know that story.
During that long wait, I wrote a contemporary romance mystery, Monogamy Twist, which has a Dickensian-style bequest of a dilapidated house plot. It’s no real surprise that it transpired as a result of me watching the latest BBC Charles Dickens production on TV at time when I was beginning my own Ancestry research. I decided to try e-publishers for it since I’d read they accepted unsolicited manuscript submissions. I discovered that New York publisher –The Wild Rose Press – was accepting submissions for many different sub-genres of romance, including historicals. That little light bulb sign is so appropriate here! I sent off a reworked, more romantic version ofThe Beltane Choice. They responded after ONLY 3 weeks, told me it still needed to be worked on as it was not romantic enough and too heavy on the historical, but they gave me suggestions for improvement. That was so brilliant I was jumping around in glee! No contract, but great advice on what to do. I set to work on their suggestions and sent off my manuscript for Monogamy Twist which they accepted immediately. The edits for Monogamy Twist were quite brutal, though, and showed me many pitfalls a writer can make even when you think your work is perfect. The Wild Rose Press published Monogamy Twist in Aug 2011, followed by another contemporary romance mystery Take Me Now in July 2012.
In the beginning paragraph of this post, I mentioned not all things happen consecutively and although for a while I’d concentrated on my successful contemporary romance mysteries, I hadn’t forgotten about my historical that was still hovering around. It had had two rejections, but I still loved the story. During the editing time for Take Me Now, I heard that Crooked Cat Publishing, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, had been started and were accepting submissions. I sent off a different extremely well-revised version of my historical adventure, The Beltane Choice, which they accepted and published in Aug 2012, which became Book 1 of my Celtic Fervour Series. It had been such a long haul to production, but well worthwhile since my historical writing was very dear to me.
Crooked Cat then published Topaz Eyes,a contemporary ancestral/dynasty based mystery thriller in Dec 2012. Book 2 of my historical Celtic Fervour Series,After Whorl: Bran Reborn, followed in Dec 2013. Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks was published on the 25th March 2014.
My years of experience with publishers (2010-2014) have taught me that no matter how much you might think you can write well, you still need the services of an editor to point out the strengths and weaknesses of your work. I also learned that publishing in the UK can be different from publishing in the US and ‘house rules’ need to be observed. I now work through a check-list before I declare any manuscript ready for submission. I’m glad to say that my edits for everything after Monogamy Twist have been very light since I check and re-check a lot before submission, to try to have an error free manuscript.
Does writing take up all of my time? The answer would be sort of, meaning that actual new writing is limited just now since the marketing of my six published novels takes up a lot of my time. My other main time stealers are my large garden, though calling me a ‘fair-weather’ gardener’ is very appropriate- working outside on cold and rainy Scottish days doesn’t appeal. I dabble in ancestry research and love spending regular childminding time with my grandchildren.
I’m totally obsessed by the Celtic/Roman era in Britain of the first century AD, but I’ve also enjoyed the challenges that contemporary writing gives me. My historical writing allows me to include accurate details that plunge my readers into the era and the circumstances, political and domestic, in which my characters are living. My contemporary mysteries allow me to include fabulous cities and locations I’ve been fortunate to visit over the years. Another little quirky thing is that I love to include something about my native Scotland in my novels where appropriate.
On my writing table are Book 4 of my Celtic Fervour Series and a family saga (probably a trilogy) which is loosely based on my researches- you know those black sheep are to be found in every family. I’ve not yet got beyond the planning stages and first ten thousand words, but my saga allows me to begin in Victorian times which are also a fascinating time to research. Oh, and that first novel for teens is going to hit the shelves …sometime. I’m determined about that!
Celtic Fervour Series Book 1 The Beltane Choice; Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn; Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks. The series is set in northern Britannia AD 71- 84 and follow the adventures of Celtic Brigantian warriors, originally from the hillfort of Garrigill, as they stave off the inevitable surge of Roman expansion in the north of Britannia.
Topaz Eyes– a complex contemporary mystery where newly-met third generation cousins are brought together to find a collection of fabulous jewellery, once owned by a Mughal Emperor, which was scattered amongst family members in 1910. Being family does not always equate to being nice as the family members search in the beautiful European locations of Heidelberg, Vienna, Amsterdam, and Edinburgh and ever further off in the USA in Minnesota, and New York.
Monogamy Twist- a ‘family –tree’ mystery based on the strange bequest of a slightly dilapidated house and estate in Yorkshire, England. Sensual and romantic, it’s the tale of how Rhia, a family historian, finds the link to Amelia Greywood being Luke’s benefactor.
Take Me Now – a corporate sabotage mystery where Nairn, owner of an Extreme Sporting Adventure business, becomes the target of malicious incidences. He employs the help of Aela, a competent general factotum, to help him find out who is the culprit as they ensure his business continues to operate; Aela flying an injured Nairn to many beautiful locations- London, Barcelona, Oman, Paris, and Tallinn- from his Scottish island castle base. A fun and sensual romp, this is also a contemporary almost ‘tongue-in-cheek’ version of ‘The Highland Hero’ with some noticeable differences.
Nancy Jardine’s books are available in print and ebook formats at:
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