Jane Jordan is a British novelist with a taste for the paranormal, macabre and supernatural.
She has many stories to tell and here is the interview she gave Gothic Bite Magazine!
Who is Jane Jordan?
I am originally from Essex in England. In the 1990’s I immigrated to Detroit, USA, eventually settling in South West Florida. I then 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, I began to write in the gothic dark romance, horror genre. I have four published novels, a published collection of short stories, and being a trained horticulturist, I also write for a Florida gardening magazine. I returned to Florida in 2013 and now live in Sarasota.
My writing journey first began in 2004, after I stayed in a remote old house on Exmoor which is located on the South West coast of England. The remote location along with the odd happenings I experienced made a significant impression.
The caretaker’s stories of both the resident ghost and other related visitor reports fuelled my imagination further, and so began the Gothic vampire trilogy that became my first three novels: Ravens Deep, Blood & Ashes and A Memoir of Carl. The Beekeeper’s Daughter was my fourth novel.
In these first three books, I delved into the world of vampire superstition and legend and combined it with a modern and sophisticated love story. In my fourth book, I gave myself the challenge of writing about witchcraft and another period.
The more research I completed, the more fascinated I became to write a historical thriller. It was a story that seemed to have a life of its own, leading me to exciting sub-plots and digressions that took me into realms I could not have imagined.
The Beekeeper’s Daughter tells the tale of an impossible love triangle, a dark legacy, and a dangerous secret stretching back through generations of madness and betrayal. It was challenging to write because the book starts in the year 1698 in England.
Whisht Hall will be my fifth novel and is due to be published in June 2019. It is a multilayered thriller that spans twenty years and two countries. I like to combine locations, Dartmoor is in the South West of England, and my other location in this book is New Orleans, seemingly a world apart from Dartmoor.
What I ended up with was a compelling story of the deep south, combined with the dangerous moors of Dartmoor, and a novel layered with betrayal, deception, and Voodoo.
Although my most recent project has been publishing a collection of short stories, titled Dark Matter, this is a collaboration with my daughter and award-winning illustrator, Sarasota artist, Charlotte Jordan.
Over the years, I’d written several short stories. It was an ambition in the back of my mind to showcase some of them, along with Charlotte’s artistic skills. The stories in Dark Matter are inspired by horror, the supernatural, and the macabre.
I like to draw on real experiences in my work, and many of these stories have a thread of truth running through them.
Alexa Wayne (A.W.): When did you find out you would want to write novels and most specifically, graphic novels?
Jane Jordan: I have always wanted to write, but sometimes other things get in the way. In order to write well, you need to go through some life experiences yourself, research is significant, but will only get you so far.
I think a writer needs some maturity to understand the situations that affect your antagonists and protagonists. Even though, I said, life got in the way, I know I was not ready to begin writing until I experienced something that would change my life.
Staying in an old haunted house on Exmoor in England, allowed me to immerse myself in a different world from the one I knew, the house and location gave me so much inspiration and material to write a story that just had to be written.
My first four novels are standard — not graphics, but ‘Dark Matter’ the collection of short stories have illustrations by my daughter, Charlotte. I felt an illustration would enhance the concept of each story, as pictures can often cement an idea better than words.
A.W.: You mentioned to me your work, all set in paranormal or Gothic settings, would you let our readers know why you are more attracted to that genre?
Jane Jordan: Having grown up in an old country surrounded by ancient castles and houses, there has always been a supernatural element that has attracted me to those places.
I am intrigued by stories of hauntings and weird happenings. However, certain places evoke a gothic atmosphere. Exmoor was an inspirational place to write about, it is one of the least visited English National Parks, so in some ways, it still retains that bygone feel.
Some places are still untouched by modernization. I fell in love with Exmoor and its unique landscape, which contrasts from deep wooded valleys to high moors with purple heather and golden gorse bushes.
Eerie dense mists often creep through the countryside and cover everything in an insubstantial cocoon, while towering cliffs sweep majestically down to the golden sands at the edge of the sea.
With that’ landscape all around, it lures you to write in a certain way. Besides, I have always admired the rich Gothic prose that comes from authors such as Anne Rice.
Labels can put misconceptions on books, there is underlying horror in my work, but that word alone can conjure up very different meanings for different people. I do not use blood and gore unnecessarily, and the dark aspect in my books is more sophisticated, an element that tends to weave through the story rather than a shocking subplot.
The same goes for labeling a book romance. There is such predictability in this genre, which can instantly repel readers who want something more substantial than just a boy meets a girl who falls in love scenario.
I think it’s advantageous to have my book genre merge between Gothic, romance, and horror.
A.W.: When writing about the paranormal, do you do research and if so, how far do you go with your research?
Jane Jordan: I complete much research for all my books. Even fictional stories must be believable, and I often draw on personal experience. I have worked in a 1000-year-old castle, which had many castle ghosts and stories associated.
I have also lived in several old properties. One was a 500-year-old thatched cottage on the edge of Exmoor. This cottage contained a ghostly cat that would run across the fireplace hearth and into a wall.
We discovered that once upon a time that wall was open to a staircase. Later, we did some renovation work and found a walled-up skeleton of a cat. We decided to leave him where he was.
However, I do not believe in the dead coming back to haunt us. Instead, these ghostly things are merely a memory or energy that has been left behind.
For my vampire trilogy, I research vampirism all over the world, and the history was fascinating, but what I uncovered, despite all the folklore and stories, the only consistent thing about vampires was a need to drink blood, everything else from sunlight, silver, crosses, garlic, etc., was regional superstition.
Therefore, I kept my details simple, my vampires needed blood and had an aversion to sunlight as I felt it fitted for the story.
The Beekeeper’s Daughter begins in the year 1698 and portrays a witch being burnt at the stake. For me, this opening scene had to be completely authentic. I completed a lot of internet research and read old books.
I uncovered an old sixteenth-century record of a witch trial in England and visited the witchcraft museum in Boscastle England. This museum gave me all the little details in original documents and implements used in witch trials, as it houses the most comprehensive collection of artifacts.
I am very thorough when it comes to research. I believe if you get your facts 100% accurate then your novel has an air of authenticity and substance about it.
Also, research often uncovers little-known folk stories that always have a touch of the paranormal. Research is always fascinating because you never know just where it will take you.
A.W.: What is most important to you when writing your novels?
Jane Jordan: Authenticity. My readers need to believe that this could happen, despite stretching the supernatural aspect of things a little.
Even my vampires, I did not leave anything unexplained, I wanted my readers to think that it was entirely possible for my vampire to be living on Exmoor, and plausible why he would choose to live there.
In this day and age, cameras are everywhere, so, I had to construct a believable story of how he could exist and endure immortality.
A.W.: Which authors influenced your writing?
Jane Jordan: Daphne Du Maurier has written some of the most creepy and compelling novels, many are set around the Cornish coast of England, which was famous for smuggling, there is an underlying gothic element to her writing, which is very inspiring.
Anne Rice hooked me completely with The Witching Hour one of the best books I have ever read, richly detailed story that was deliciously frightening.
A.W.: Which of your novels is your favorite and why is it your favorite?
Jane Jordan: That is a tough question to answer. My first novel Ravens Deep will always be special because it came from such a real place and experience, even though my writing back then was not as polished as in later books.
However, I still read it several years on and think, this was such a great story. The whole vampire trilogy feels to me like one huge accomplishment. Then again, The Beekeeper’s Daughter was quite monumental as it took me several years to complete, but the story came together perfectly.
Of course, my upcoming novel, Whisht Hall, is mostly on my mind, and because it’s current and to be published in 2019, I am totally into the world I have created in that story. In short, I don’t think it’s possible for me to pick a favorite.
A.W.: Do you believe in the paranormal, by that I mean in hauntings, that there are creatures out in the wild we still don’t know the existence of?
Jane Jordan: I think there are things we do not understand. I have experienced ghostly things, and have listened to many more stories of people who swear they have seen or experienced something supernatural.
Perhaps it’s just an overactive imagination or perhaps other creatures do exist in the shadows.
A.W.: What was your reaction when you learned a publisher wanted you as part of their authors?
Jane Jordan: Ecstatic. My first three books were self-published, but Black Opal Books published my fourth novel.
A.W.: What sets you apart from other paranormal and Gothic authors?
Jane Jordan: All my stories are set in real places, and I often weave local folklore or legend, I have traveled a lot and visited many old Gothic buildings to soak up the atmosphere of those places so that I can infuse that element into my writing.
I grew up playing in old cemeteries where tombstones had been tilted and broken. I believed the people that said the occupants had climbed out.
The stories kids love to hear and be scared by, but more importantly, I learned that people are drawn to the darker aspect of life, and even as adults we are fascinated by darkly charismatic characters.
In my novel Blood & Ashes, I created a dangerous vampire named Kitan, he was an antagonist to be mesmerized by, one of the darkest characters I have created, and still one of the best.
Growing up in England has such an ancient culture and history gave me a love of ancient places, and as a writer, I like to tell stories that lure readers with Gothic tension and richly textured prose.
I like to explore the darker side of human nature, at the same time inject a bit of romance that is both dangerous and seductive.
A.W.: What can readers look forward to from Jane Jordan in 2019?
Whisht Hall is a grand house on the beautiful and wild Dartmoor in the South West of England. The moor is famously remote, filled with great granite outcrops, dense mists, and dangerous mires.
This multilayered thriller spans twenty years and tells the story of the Louyar and Derneville families.
A New Orleans native, Marguerite Louyar is searching for a connection to her Creole heritage, and her fate is sealed the moment she enters The House of Dambellah.
What unfolds in this inconspicuous shop in the French Quarter, sets in motion a chain of events that will affect her family for years to come.
A compelling story of the deep south, combined with the dangerous moors of Dartmoor, a novel of betrayal, deception, and Voodoo.