A second #TenThings this week as I feature a favourite author of mine, Jane Lovering. Jane’s newest book, Living In The Past, is published today. She has #TenThings she would like you to know about her so read on to find out what they are then after that, you can read my thoughts on her latest book.
Ten things (you probably never wanted to know) about Me
- I am a cat AND dog person. I’ve got four cats and two dogs (at present, but open to offers…) and they have very different roles in my life. Cats are independent, so you can say you have a pet without really having to do very much, other than spoon enormous amounts of stuff into bowls a couple of times a day, and say ‘hello’ to a tail as it dashes out of a doorway. Although they do teleport into regions of the house you’d never imagine (one night I heard noises in my wardrobe, thought I’d got a poltergeist, discovered small black cat had crept in there (when? No idea) and been asleep) and can sense when you’ve put the butter dish down without the cover on… Dogs are more like toddlers. Well, my terriers are. They are small, noisy, make an inordinate amount of mess and have to comment on Every. Single. Thing. Plus they follow me to the toilet. Although I never had a toddler that licked my ears…
- I like my steaks as nearly raw as is possible. People look at me eating a steak and say ‘a good vet could get that back on its feet.’
- I live in a house with no heating. Well, that’s not quite true, I have an open fire, but that’s all. So I wear a lot of clothes, am best friends with my electric blanket, and I am an absolute whizz at getting a blaze going at very short notice.
- I read very fast. In fact, when the last Harry Potter book came out, we bought it on the day it was released. My eldest daughter read it in the morning and I read it in the afternoon, and we drove the rest of the family mad by discussing it in a kind of coded way until they caught up. It’s an ability that stands me in good stead when it comes to my critiquing business – I can turn a book around pretty quickly!
- I am allergic to mussels and snails. Proper, anaphylactic shock allergic. Fortunately neither mussels nor snails are the sort of foods that crop up in everyday things, although it’s a terrible shame because I LOVE both of them. I’m also allergic to guinea pigs, although not to eat, just the fur. Actually, I’ve never eaten a guinea pig, so I don’t know, I might be massively allergic to eating them too. But they’ve got adorable faces, and we used to keep them when the children were young, so I don’t think I could bring myself to eat one to find out.
- My desert island book would be Lord of the Rings. I have it in audible format, in print format, on DVD, if they could format it to screen directly to my eyeballs I’d have that too. I was in love with Aragorn when Anduril was still an ingot, and I’ve been re-reading it ever since I discovered it at the formative age of twelve.
- I wrote Living in the Past because I wanted to write a timeslip novel featuring a period in time that doesn’t very often get an airing. I love British history, particularly that period between the Neolithic and the Roman invasion, when humankind was moving from hunter-gathering into a more settled lifestyle. And I love conjecturing and imagining how life must have been for people living in those times. Plus I am madly in love with Tony Robinson and have watched every episode of Time Team several times over, and it might as well come in useful for something …
- Apart from the aforementioned Time Team, I’m not a great television watcher. However, I do make an exception for the Netflix version of Dirk Gently. If you haven’t seen it, do, there’s only two series but Samuel Barnett (who plays Dirk) is an absolute genius. And, if anyone takes note of my opinion in these matters, he should be playing Doctor Who next time round. Besides, he’s from about twenty miles up the road, and we have to stick together …
- … talking of which … I live in the most beautiful part of North Yorkshire, right beside the North York Moors, which is one of the reasons why many of my books are set in the area. The region encompasses moorland, farmland and coast, plus the incredibly beautiful city of York, and there’s a lot of inspiration for stories of all kinds there. Which means I don’t really need to do a lot of research, I can just walk about outside, and there it all is!
- I’m really not very interesting, I’m afraid. I think people imagine that authors spend a lot of time mingling at parties with celebrities or doing heavy duty research in historic libraries or other august institutions. The reality is that we are mostly just very ordinary people. In fact, we are so ordinary that we sort of blend in to the surroundings, it’s part of the secret of being a writer – we are there in the background taking notes whilst others get on with the business of doing interesting things …
Buy your copy online here:
Kindle UK: Living In the Past
Kindle US: Living In the Past
Kobo: Living In the Past
iBooks: Living In the Past
About the book…
Do you ever wish you could turn back time?
Grace Nicholls has a few reasons for wanting to turn back the clock … although an archaeological dig at a Bronze Age settlement on the Yorkshire moors is not what she had in mind. But encouraged by her best friend Tabitha, that’s exactly where she finds herself.
Professor Duncan McDonald is the site director and his earnest pursuit of digging up the past makes him appear distant and unreachable. But when a woman on the site goes missing, it seems that his own past might be coming back to haunt him once again.
As they dig deeper, Duncan and Grace get more than they bargained for and come to realise that the past is much closer than either of them ever imagined …
I really loved this book. Grace has been persuaded by her friend Tabitha to join an archaeological dig for a couple of weeks. Duncan is the gruff Scots professor in charge of the dig. The two make a connection and both seem to be able to understand the other really well. Alongside the contemporary story, we are transported back to 2000BC and the lives of the people who lived on the site where the dig is taking place.
The author has brilliantly conveyed the emotions in this book particularly in Grace’s case as she copes with the death of someone close. There was such sadness as we hear about how much Grace loved this person and how awful it was when they were ill. It’s not a massive part of the book but made quite an impression on me, probably as I was thinking what it would be like to go through that. I was also moved reading about Grace’s growing friendship with Duncan and her realisation that she could perhaps love and be loved once again.
Duncan was also an interesting character. You start to see as the story goes on why he is quite so reserved. He has been badly hurt when his girlfriend literally vanished. No trace was ever found and he was suspected of being involved in her disappearance. Again, it was good to see that Grace could reach through the defensive shield he had built around himself as he begins to thaw a little too. I do like a hero who seems unlovable at first but turns out to have a heart of gold! Duncan fitted that criteria perfectly.
There’s more than a hint of the mystical in the story as well, as the two storylines overlap and it turns out there is quite a connection between past and present. I’m not usually into stories with paranormal goings on but I do like a bit of time-slip and it worked perfectly here for me.
For more on Jane:
Follow her on Twitter @janelovering
Like her on Facebook: Jane Lovering Author
Read her blog: http://www.janelovering.co.uk/