Today we are finding out #TenThings about author Jan Baynham. Jan has written three novels published by Ruby Fiction and the most recent is Her Nanny’s Secret. The book is available now and you’ll find buying links for various retailers on the Ruby Fiction website here: Her Nanny’s Secret
- When I retired, I looked for something I hadn’t done before and tried my hand at writing fiction. First, I joined a small writing group at a local library; very soon I was hooked. Wanting to learn everything I could about the craft of writing, I took a short-story course at Cardiff university. When my stories started becoming became longer and longer, this was followed by a novel writing course. I began to write my first full-length story.
- Although I now live in a village outside Cardiff, I’m originally from beautiful rural mid-Wales. I draw on the landscape that was my playground when I was growing up for the Welsh settings in my novels and hope it adds authenticity and a sense of place to my writing. The towns and villages are fictional but based on the area around Newbridge, Llandrindod and nearby Abbeycwmhir.
- When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me with him to watch motorbike scrambling at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire. Even now I can still smell the fumes of the bikes’ engines. These days, I’m sure I would have my own bike and taken part in the sport.
- At sixteen, I spent the summer holidays before my A levels as an au pair in Cassis, near the port of Marseilles. The family were friends of my Greek uncle and I spent a wonderful summer with them. The whole experience began my love of France and the French way of life. After years of family holidays and hosting French children and adults, I was also able to draw on those times when writing the parts of my latest novel, Her Nanny’s Secret, that are set in France.
- In college, I studied art and specialised in ceramics. A visit to a gallery or a craft fair always makes me want to start again and create something beautiful from a lump of clay. Holding a silky, smooth pot in my hands straight from the kiln was something I never failed to marvel at, especially when the mystery of how the glaze would turn out had just been revealed. I hope the readers felt Alexandra’s same excitement in the short story, Christmas Surprises on Péfka, in Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction’s anthology, Cosy Christmas Treats.
- I collect thimbles and now have well over two hundred of them. Each one is a memento of a place visited or holds a memory of someone who has bought it for me. I have learned the word for ‘thimble’ in a lot of languages!
- I am an official Eddie Stobart fan and have my own spotter’s handbook where I record all the trucks I see on our roads and motorways. On our visits to see family living in Manchester, the M5 and M6 is a haven for spotting trucks and recording all the girls’ names and truck numbers on the driver’s door as we pass. In 2019, I found out that a truck with my name on it had joined the fleet. Janet Eleanor H8529 is based in Gravesend and may be spotted on the M25.
- I adore chocolate! Boxes of it, bars of it, chocolate desserts, cakes, sauce… Once someone bought me a chocolate smelling candle in a tin and on one occasion, we planted a chocolate perfumed flower, Cosmos Astrosanguineus, in the garden.
- I’m a big fan of Welsh rugby. Even though it’s usually on the Big Screen I enjoy watching the national team play especially in the Six Nations’ tournaments. Cardiff comes alive on international day! Being part of a huge crowd in front of Cardiff’s City Hall when Wales won the Grand Slam in 2005 will always remain with me. In 2018, we took our grandsons to the Principality stadium for an Autumn international against South Africa and seeing their excitement was wonderful. And Wales won!
- I associate flowers with people. The smell of summer jasmine with its tiny pink-white and star-shaped flowers reminds me of when we visited my aunt for the first time in Spetses in the Peloponnese, southern Greece. As we walked back from the Dapia each evening, the balmy air was heavy with its sweet scent.
About the book
How far would you go to save the person you loved the most? It’s 1941, and Annie Beynon has just become the first stable girl for the most powerful family in her Welsh village. Whilst her gift for working with horses is clear, there are some who are willing to make her life very difficult on the Pryce estate, simply for being a girl.
There are other – secret – ways Annie is defying conventions, too. As the war rages, and when Edmund, the heir to the Pryce fortune, leaves to join the RAF, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s secret is exposed. That is, until she makes a shocking decision.
It’s 1963 before Annie is able to face up to the secret she chose to keep over twenty years before. Justifying that decision takes her to Normandy in France, and an outcome she could never have expected …
Available as an eBook and audiobook on all platforms. Paperback available from Amazon.
About the Author
After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction and from then on, she was hooked! She soon went on to take a writing class at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience. Her stories and flash fiction pieces have been longlisted and shortlisted in competitions and several appear in anthologies both online and in print. In October 2019, her first collection of stories was published. Her stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, she began to write her first full-length novel. She loves being able to explore her characters in further depth and delve into their stories. Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren, with another little one expected in the summer. Having joined the Romantic Novelists Association in 2016, she values the friendship and support from other members and regularly attends conferences, workshops, talks and get togethers. She is co-organiser of her local RNA Chapter.