Today I'm delighted to welcome my dear friend and fellow-author Nancy Jardine, whose amazing novel The Beltane Choice is the Ocelot Press Book of the Month for May. Read on to find out more about Nancy, her amazing books, a wonderful special offer and a great competition.
Welcome back to Broad Thoughts, Nancy!
Hello Sue, thank you for inviting me to your blog. It’s really lovely to be visiting again.
10 Questions – 10 Answers from Nancy Jardine
What do you think makes the best historical fiction?
It needs to be a compelling tale that draws the reader in to the world depicted where they can feel, hear and can almost touch the protagonists. The plot needs to keep them engrossed. The settings, the dialogue and the narrative need to be seamlessly intertwined and entirely realistic to entertain throughout. And last but definitely not least, the tale needs to be well-written and well-edited.
What does your family think of your writing?
My daughters have always been very supportive of my writing and can be critical beta readers. They’ve helped at a couple of my local book launches and since they both look very decorative that’s a great thing! My husband reads mostly non-fiction and had never read any of my novels till my latest – Beathan The Brigante – was launched in August 2020. He totally surprised me by getting himself a copy which he ‘critically reviewed’ afterwards, claiming it an entertaining read, and that he would probably read the rest of the series from the beginning. Book 1 is of course The Beltane Choice, Book of the Month (May) at Ocelot Press.
What are the most surprising things you’ve learned about yourself as an author?
From very young, I’ve always been an avid reader and love the escapism that fiction can bring me. When I re-read some of my earliest published work from 2012, I’ve difficulty believing that I really was author who wrote it. I don’t have great recall, never have, so I can surprise myself by the historical depth I managed to convey back then. I’ve learned so much more about Roman Britain during the last ten years that I’m almost tempted to re-write some archaeological aspects that I included, which are maybe now slightly out-of-date. However, life is about learning and, to me, so is the writing process.
How much research do you do?
Loads. I can never stop researching once started. I’m a book magpie and my Roman Empire bookshelf continues to spill over.
How do you relax?
I’m not great at that, but I love watching historical series that are made for TV. A nice glass of red wine helps with that relaxation.
As a self-published author, how do you promote your books?
Without a doubt, this is the toughest aspect to writing! I relatively recently became a member of a couple of retweet groups on Twitter and do daily ‘shares’. I’ve also dabbled my toes, of late, in the Amazon Advertising waters. I’m hoping my cold feet will warm up soon. I occasionally try paid promotion sites to boost sales of my novels, and have done a few Blog Tours for my books. I’m on Facebook and other Social Media places but posting there doesn’t sell my novels.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I try not to get downhearted when a poor review comes to my attention. It happens occasionally, but it’s best to accept that readers who review often read things differently. I try to find ‘quotes’ that I can use in positive promotion from most reviews I’ve received.
What makes your books stand out from the crowd?
I like to think that the strengths of my Celtic Fervour Series are in the relatively underused locations of northern Roman Britain (north England and Scotland) and that my stories are about relatively average displaced tribespeople rather than ‘Celtic’/Iron Age kings or queens. My stories are adventures; however, they’re not about Roman legionaries and the battles they’re involved in, which is what a lot of Roman Empire novels are about.
Plotter or Pantser?
Mostly pantser. The final plots for my Celtic Fervour Series have mostly grown organically, though I have a rough idea of what the book will entail at the beginning. I create timelines as I progress and check them constantly to make sure plot events work, since I try to keep to what is known about documented historical events if I’ve included them. As the series has progressed to five books and a short-story about my Garrigill warrior clan, I also have an expanding family tree which I sometimes refer to if I’ve forgotten details from an earlier book.
What’s in your future writing plan?
A great question. And probably the same as it would have been last year since my writing progress has taken a little sabbatical. I can blame the pandemic, or just admit that I’ve been less motivated.
I’m presently working on a prequel to the Celtic Fervour Series. I started this after a couple of reviewers commented that they would have preferred more specific historical background references in Book 1, The Beltane Choice. I’m hoping that the prequel will give a more detailed setting to an era that actually is very vague in pure historical terms. What is known about 1st Century northern Roman Britain comes more from archaeological interpretation than from historical sources, so it truly is a challenge that I’ve set myself.
I anticipate getting more progress made on my story that begins in Victorian Scotland during the summer. This is intended to develop into a 3-book series. And someday soon, I’ll get back to my time travel trio who will go on other adventures – they’re currently in limbo after being whizzed back to the Roman Aberdeenshire of AD 210.
Given that the Covid 19 global pandemic has curtailed most travel plans during this early part of 2021, where would your ideal location be if you got the go-ahead to have a holiday?
Melrose, to re-visit the Trimontium Roman Museum (see the photo above) and to visit the Vindolanda Fort on Hadrian’s Wall (and some other forts along the wall while I’m in the vicinity). I missed out on a visit to York last year, to sell my novels alongside other historical authors at the Eboracum Festival, and would love to get down there if they plan another one. I’m not quite ready to fly off anywhere exotic, but destinations that I can drive to, or take a train to, sound like a great plan! My husband might like the idea of doing another cruise, but not just yet for me.
Don’t miss out on the bargains!
During the whole month of May, as the Ocelot Press Book of the Month, Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour Series of historical adventures will be on special prices.
The Beltane Choice will be 99p http://getbook.at/findhere
The other 4 novels in the series will be reduced to £1.99 (equivalent prices across the Amazon network) https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/kindle/series/B08GCW51G5
Nancy has a couple of competitions on the Ocelot Press Readers page on Facebook during May 2021 where you can win 1) a beautiful Celtic Keyring 2) a signed copy of The Beltane Choice. Join us there and enter the competitions https://www.facebook.com/groups/ocelotpressreaders.
Nancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She creates her fictional characters for her historical; time travel historical; and contemporary mystery/ thriller novels at her usually messy desk. When not writing, researching (a total obsession), reading or gardening, her young grandchildren will probably be entertaining her. Or, she’ll be binge-watching historical series’ made for TV.
Signing/ selling her novels at local events is great fun, as is giving author presentations – on her novels or on Ancient Roman Scotland – to groups large and small. Both are a fabulous excuse to get away from the keyboard and meet new readers. Zoom sessions have lately been an entertaining alternative to face-to-face events till Covid 19 pandemic rules permit local events to restart.
Current memberships are with the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland, Romantic Novelists Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She’s self-published with the author co-operative Ocelot Press.
You can find her at these places:
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere