Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Faerie Tree - Jane Cable

About the book...
How can a memory so vivid be wrong? 

I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
"Why do people do this?" Izzie asked.
I winked at her. "To say thank you to the fairies."

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart. 

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right? 

With strong themes of paganism, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cable’s first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

About the author...
Perhaps writing is in my blood. My father, Mercer Simpson, was a poet; my cousin, Roger Hubank, a novelist; Roger’s uncle, John Hampson was also a novelist and fringe member of the Bloomsbury Group. And it’s even rumoured that John Keats is somewhere back there in the family tree.

No wonder that I have always scribbled. But it took me until I was in my forties to complete a full length manuscript. And then another, and another... Writing stories became a compulsive hobby. I could lose myself in my characters, almost live their lives, and I started to long for readers other than my mother and a few close friends to be able to do the same.

It was reaching the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition in 2011 which made me take my writing seriously. The Cheesemaker’s House, a gripping romance-suspense, saw the light of day in September 2013 and I was delighted when it received great reviews from book bloggers and, just as importantly, from the people who bought and read it. My second novel, The Faerie Tree, is due out in March 2015 and is a suspenseful romance about the tricks memory plays.

Author interview...

Welcome to Crooks on Books Jane.

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself?
If I didn’t write I think I’d be pretty ordinary; married, no kids, running my own business with my husband and starting to dream about early retirement.
  • How and why did you get into writing?
I have always written. I had poems published when I was in junior school. My father always wrote too and ended up with several volume of poetry published, so I guess writing is in my blood. I started novel after novel but never managed to actually finish one until I was in my forties. That’s when everything changed for me.
  • If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?
I am lucky because, even outside of writing, I have my dream job. I’m a Chartered Accountant and work with family-owned businesses making the numbers make sense for them so that they can perform better. It’s so much more about people than figures and I love being able to make a difference.
  • Describe a typical day in the life of Jane Cable the author.
On a writing day I’ll get up as usual at 5.30, shower and make coffee then I will write for a couple of hours. This will be new work, fresh words on a page, and it’s absolutely the best part of being a novelist. What happens next depends on where I am in the life-cycle of a book; at the moment it’s very much focused on marketing The Faerie Tree but when I have another finished manuscript I will spend much of the day editing that.
  • Do you read and write in the same genre?
Although everyone says that writers need to read a lot I don’t have as much time as I’d like with my head in a book. It’s a real treat to be able to sit down and read for pleasure so I pick them as widely as possible. However sometimes I’ll read for research, for example Kate Mosse or Helen Dunmore ghost stories, because I’m interested in how other writers tackle things.
  • Tell us a little bit about your current book The Faerie Tree.
In 1986 Robin and Izzie are just beginning to fall in love when it all goes horribly wrong. They meet again twenty years later and try to grab a second chance, but very soon they realise that their memories of the time before are completely different. 
  • The Faerie Tree has folklore/pagan links as did your previous novel The Cheesemakers House - what is your connection to folklore?
My father was fascinated by folklore and a great deal of it rubbed off on me. When I was researching the historical aspects of The Cheesemaker’s House I found it really hard to find out anything about how ordinary people lived at the beginning of the eighteenth century so I turned to his folklore library instead. So many folkloric beliefs and practices are lost to us, but when I saw the faerie tree on the banks of the River Hamble I knew that some of them were surviving, albeit in a modern form.
  • How much research into the locations and the narrative of the story lines was required to give realism to the novel?

I think that if you are asking people to suspend belief – or at least stretch the boundaries of their imaginations – you need to have absolutely cast iron settings and characters for it to come off. It’s therefore really important to me to research locations well. For the faerie tree this was easy because I work close to the places where the book is set. What was harder was going back to 1986 because I didn’t come to Hampshire to live until the mid 1990s.
  • The story is told by both of the main characters Izzie and Robin.  This was the first time you used this writing style so why now?

I work with the point of view that best builds suspense. With The Cheesemaker’s House it had to be all first person narrative because if the reader – or Alice – had known what was in Owen’s mind there would have been far less of a story. The Faerie Tree hinges on the differences between Robin’s and Izzie’s memories so it needed to be told from both their points of view.
  • If The Faerie Tree was to be made into a film would you want to be on the casting couch and if so who would you put into the key roles?
When I found myself googling ‘tall actors in their 40s’ I knew I was far from qualified to answer this question!
  • Is there a message for your readers in your book and what do you hope they take from them?
If there is a message, it is that broken people can mend. When people are in the depths of despair they never believe it, but the fact of the matter is that most can – and do.
  • Describe the feeling when you held your first finished novel in your hands.
Bittersweet. The books were waiting for me when I returned home after my mother’s funeral. She has been a massive supporter of my writing over the years and missed seeing the finished version by so very few days. But she’d read early drafts and approved the cover design so still had a great deal of input.
  • Do all of your friends now expect free copies of your book and was having a novel published a bit like winning the lottery all your friends and acquaintances suddenly wanting to become your best friend?
My close girlfriends did get free copies of The Cheesemaker’s House and rewarded me by loving the book, recommending it to everyone they knew and buying it as a gift at every possible turn. So it will be The Faerie Tree rather than an Easter egg this year.
  • What can we expect from you in the future?

I am currently working on a novel set in Studland Bay in Dorset where a World War 2 tragedy comes back to haunt a mother and son.

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse 
at the real Jane Cable:-

What’s your favourite tipple?
A mojito made with Mount Gay white rum and mint from our own garden.

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things?
I have an unfortunately sweet tooth…

Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away?
Cook – but I always cheat on one course and buy something ready made. And cheat on the others because my husband is fabulous in the kitchen.

Do you prefer hot or cold climates?
Hot… although I have to say a holiday in Iceland in January was one of my most memorable experiences.

Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break?
Beach if we can snorkel. Otherwise just somewhere quiet we can chill with a bit of sight-seeing thrown in.

Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class?
I tend to throw up on boats so a cruise would be wasted on me.

Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre?
To be honest we don’t tend to do either that often but the theatre is definitely more of a treat.

Which do you prefer comedy or true stories when watching a film?
Comedy – preferably British, like The Full Monty or Notting Hill.

Do you have any pets?
Our neighbours have four cats and characterful as they are that’s probably quite enough for one terrace!

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
When I was a freelance cricket writer I was involved with Cricket on Five – and despite his grumpy reputation I really enjoyed working with Geoffrey Boycott. He’s a true professional and absolutely charming.

Thanks for visiting my blog Jane :)

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