Jane was born in England and grew up exploring the history and culture of London and surrounding counties. After some time spent in Germany in the 1990s, she immigrated to Detroit, USA, eventually settling in South West Florida. She returned to England after a fifteen-year absence, to spend six years in the South West of England living on Exmoor. Here, inspired by the atmosphere, beautiful scenery, and the ancient history of the place, she began writing.
Jane is a trained horticulturist and also spent time working and volunteering for Britain’s National Trust at Exmoor’s 1000-year-old Dunster Castle. Gaining more insight into the history and mysteries surrounding these ancient places, and having always been intrigued by the supernatural, inspiration came for her fourth novel, The Beekeeper’s Daughter, a supernatural thriller.
Jane Returned to Florida in 2013 and lives in Sarasota.
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about The Beekeeper’s Daughter, and what compelled you to write it.
Your Name: Jane Jordan – The Beekeeper’s Daughter is my fourth novel. My other books are primarily set in the modern-day, so I liked the idea of writing in a different time period, especially the Victorian era. A time when vast estates were owned and run by aristocrats and society’s elite, and when there was such emphasis on class hierarchy.
I liked the idea of a romance between the higher and lower class. Knowing that in Victorian times any such affair would have been taboo. Although, Exmoor was so far from the big cities of Bath and London, consequently, far away from the rules of polite society. This gave me some creative license to play around with. Even so, the story had to ring true and I needed to address the issues that any such liaison would have presented.
As the story developed I knew exactly how it could work, and why Alex would be drawn to Annabel in the first place. Her beauty was not enough. There had to be another, a more powerful connection, and this becomes startlingly clear as the story concludes.
M.C.: What is your book About?
J.J.: The Beekeeper’s Daughter is a historical romance set in the Victorian period. The location is on Exmoor, in the South West of England. The story explores the relationship between Annabel, ‘The Beekeeper’s Daughter’, and Jevan, the blacksmith’s son. Their relationship is sensual and dangerous, and Annabel’s ability to charm bees is the dark undercurrent in the story.
When Jevan shatters her world by leaving Exmoor, Annabel forms a friendship with Alex, a wealthy landowner, and heir to the foreboding Gothelstone mansion. But all is not as it seems. Evil intentions ensnare her into a dark legacy, which will ultimately threaten the lives of those she loves most.
A devastating love triangle, an ultimate betrayal, and a diabolical intention lead Annabel to uncover a disturbing truth. Then, she is forced to embrace her inherent power and destroy a powerful witch.
M.C.: What themes do you explore in The Beekeeper’s Daughter?
J.J.: I explore the lore regarding bee charming, life on Exmoor in the Victorian era, especially the lives of the cottagers, blacksmiths, and wealthy landowners.
The city of Bath features as well as a Victorian asylum.
The most fascinating aspect for me was the witchcraft element, setting the perfect scene for a witch-burning when the book begins, and later, writing the transcript of an actual witch trial, from the 15th century, which is uncovered towards the end of the book.
M.C.: Why do you write?
J.J.: I love to write. It’s a form of escapism from the real world and from the stress of life. It transports me to another place and into the minds of the characters I write about. Writing keeps me sane when real life is difficult or too stressful.
M.C.: When do you feel the most creative?
J.J.: When I am alone and it is quiet, sometimes in the middle of the night is when I feel most creative.
M.C.: How picky are you with language?
J.J.: I like the wording to be accurate for the time period. The witch trial transcript is in old English. This was important as it gives an authentic feel to this chapter and ultimately the book. Using old-fashioned spelling and grammar helps create the mood of the scene.
M.C.: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
J.J.: No. The stories and ideas come from me. I draw on experiences, old stories that have been handed down, or old legends and folklore indicative of the places I write about.
M.C.: What is your worst time as a writer?
J.J.: When I am roughly halfway through a book, by that time I have the beginning and the end, and know what the story entails, but because my books tend to be complex in detail, I have to make certain they completely make sense. Bringing every aspect together is my biggest challenge. I do not like to leave any questions unanswered.
M.C.: Your best?
J.J.: The moment the book is finished is an amazing feeling of achievement, and knowing that all the hours of writing researching, and editing have been completely worthwhile.
M.C.: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
J.J.: No. As long as I had a piece of paper and a pen, I would write. In fact, sometimes when I feel I have sat in front of a computer too long, I grab a notebook and write longhand. It allows a different level of creativity to emerge. With a computer, everything happens fast, whereas longhand allows your thought process to slow down. Some of the best storylines I have written started off in a notebook.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
J.J.: My first three books were self-published so the best day for me as an author was finally getting a traditional publishing contract for The Beekeeper’s Daughter.
M.C.: Is writing an obsession to you?
J.J.: It can’t be an obsession because I have too many other responsibilities at the moment. But I would say that I need to write.
M.C.: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
J.J.: I draw on personal experiences and my character’s traits are often based on aspects of my personality, or from people I have known.
M.C.: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?
J.J. Yes. Every aspect of life can bring a story out of an author. I have written many short stories just based on a significant moment in time, or a brief encounter with a stranger. Stories are everywhere. Even in the most mundane circumstances, you can create an interesting point of view, which can often develop into a whole plot.
M.C.: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
J.J.: My website: janejordannovelist.com