THE TYNESIDE SAGAS are a hit with UK readers!

9781908359391‘Brilliant set of books, gripping’

Kindle readers are giving the thumbs up to a box-set of Janet’s North-East historical novels – and have pushed the compilation up to Number 4 in Historical Romance!

‘Excellent. Well written. Keeps the reader interested.’

‘Very true to life on Tyneside – loved them – all three.’

They helped one reader pass the time when laid up – while another went early to bed to read them!

This is what they are about:

3 dramatic tales of passionate women: pretty Clara fighting her way out of ’30s poverty falls for bad boy Vinnie [A Handful of Stars]; Millie escaping a shameful past, dreams of riches [Chasing the Dream]; fun loving Joe uncovers dark family secrets and makes sacrifices for love [For Love and Glory]. Set in momentous mid 20th century Britain with heartwarming heroines, the stories stir all the emotions.

‘I’ve given 5 stars because I enjoyed reading all three books. Nicely written and very interesting story lines. I will definitely look for other books by this writer.’

‘Couldn’t put down – will look for more like this – great value.’

The box-set is available on Amazon UK at: http://amzn.to/1DlDoxS (as well as all other Amazon sites and on Kobo)

For Love&Glory cover - Copy9781908359308cover - Copy9781908359186cover - Copy

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Tea, tigers and tennis! The true story that inspired THE PLANTER’S BRIDE novel

Invitation to the paperback launch of my new novel THE PLANTER’S BRIDE

9781908359360
If anyone is in Morpeth, Northumberland on SATURDAY 7th JUNE then come along to The Chantry Museum at 3pm for a trip back in time to 1920’s India!

 

Unique cine footage that my forester grandfather filmed in the foothills of the Himalayas and never before shown in public will provide the backdrop to readings from the novel. Take a look at the taster clip showing my mum and uncle being transported in a basket on top of a mule along narrow mountain tracks!

 

 

Tales of tigers, tennis and tea parties …. I’ll be talking about the real life experience of my grandparents in India who trekked into remote parts of the Himalayas – and how this inspired the latest novel in my India Tea Series.

 

The event is free but to book a place please email: morpeth.tic@northumberland.gov.uk

or telephone: 01670 623455

http://bit.ly/1gxfs1Q

 

 

Cakes & Books At The Lit & Phil

Earlier this month at Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society we had the official launch of the paperback edition of my new book, The Haunting of Kulah.

The Lit & Phil is a special place for me – it’s where I do a lot of the background research for my books. I also do a lot of the actual writing there, in the cosy “silence room” on the ground floor:

We held the book launch itself up in the main library – it was great to have so many people come along to see my holiday slides that’d inspired ‘Kulah, and to hear the various passages from the book read out. (And a big thank you to my husband Graeme and son Charlie for helping out with the characters for this!)

We even had souvenir cakes made for the event… though I’m not sure if any of these survived the evening – they were very good to eat!

And of course, I did my duty (can you call it that when it’s so enjoyable?) as an author, signing books – the profits from all the sales on the night went to the Lit & Phil’s appeal – thanks to daughter Amy for handling the sales!

Where Did This Tea Fixation Come From?

For me it started in 2006 – I was struggling with the bones of a story about itinerant travellers in late Victorian times. It was to be set in the North East, or maybe the borders, but I just couldn’t get to grips with it. For some reason I just couldn’t find the story to tell.

Then one evening I had a life-changing experience when I went to speak to the Mens’ Fellowship at the Methodist Chapel in Stakeford. My husband, Graeme got chatting to the grandfather of one of our son’s friends. It turned out that he’d started his working life as a driver for Ringtons tea company. Not just any driver though – he drove the company’s last horse and cart van around Blyth.

Tea, I thought. I like tea. I buy it in boxes from supermarket shelves now. But where did it come from a hundred years ago? Was it the same as we drink now, or different? What about the supply chain and logistics – both things that we take for granted now, but surely at the turn of the 19th century things were a little different? I had fuzzy images of tea clippers and refined tea rooms, and the feeling that there was a story to be told.

I needed to look into this tea business! So as usual, I started my research deep in the bowels of Newcastle’s Lit & Phil. Society Library to see what the archives could tell me.

I discovered a world of Victorian tea rooms such as Miss Cranston’s of Glasgow (as in, the famous Art Nouveau Willow Tea Rooms): glamorous places of potted palms and aspidistras, starched linen and waitress service that offered an alternative to the pub and dazzling gin palace. Certainly, Catherine Cranston herself was a firm supporter of the Temperance movement.

Then there were the tea merchants: the Star Tea Company, the London and Newcastle, Andrew Melrose of Leith (whose original salesforce all boarded together). In London there was Mincing Lane, where huge amounts of tea were auctioned. It was a world of brokers and bonded warehouses, of agents and lead-sealed chests, of tea tasters and spittoons. I poured over Edwardian government reports into the tea industry, and was astonished at its scale – 4,264 plantations producing over 345 million lbs  weight in exports a year. And I found myself pouring increasing numbers of cups of tea to aid my digestion of this huge storehouse of information.

Britain, it appeared, had gone bonkers for tea in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We simply couldn’t drink enough of it.

Whereas it had once been the preserve of the upper classes, who drank China tea that was so expensive they kept it under lock and key, now tea was being bought and drunk by everyone.

How was this possible, and where was all this tea coming from?