Featured Interview With Jan Hurst-Nicholson
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in the UK on the Wirral, across the Mersey from Liverpool where I went to college (so technically I could claim to be a Scouser). In 1972 I moved to Durban, South Africa and I used this experience (and those of fellow expats) in my first humorous novel – But Can You Drink The Water? I met and married my husband a year after my arrival and I am still living in Durban – the holiday city where the sun and fun never set.
I am doorman to two dogs that are forever on the wrong side of the door, and personal chef to an elderly picky cat who likes to stretch lazily over my work as I write. I also entertain a visiting troop of vervet monkeys with my fruitless efforts to try to outsmart them stealing my bananas and mangoes.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
As a child my favourite time of the year was Christmas Day when I was given Beatrix Potter books, an ‘annual’, and an over-abundance of sweets and chocolates. I would soon be curled up by the fire lost in a book while secretly munching on sweets, well out of the way of my mother and grandmother ricocheting round the small kitchen preparing the Christmas lunch.
One of my favourite games was ‘libraries’ and I would line up all the books on the windowsill and make cards for them and invite the family to ‘borrow’ them.
I enjoyed writing stories when I was at school and even had one published in a school magazine, sadly now lost.
My first published articles were the humorous type usually found in the back pages of magazines, and one of them was published in Cosmopolitan Magazine.
I then started writing short stories and gradually progressed to novels and children’s books.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favourite author is Monica Dickens, who takes after her ancestor with her wonderful characterisation. When I first began writing I was advised “If you want to learn about characterisation read Monica Dickens.” She is also my inspiration and I’ve been gratified that some of my reviewers have commented on the characterisation in my books.
I enjoy Jeffrey Archer for his page-turning appeal, and Catherine Cookson for her stories and characters. I also enjoy Jane Austen.
My favourite fiction genre would probably be family sagas, and non-fiction biographies, autobiographies and natural health.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
WITH THE HEADMASTER’S APPROVAL explores the changes in group dynamics that take place when a man is introduced into a community of women. Women seem to be more guarded in what they do or say when a man is around. I would class the book as either general fiction with a romance element, or women’s fiction. It took me about eight months to write and then another couple of months of beta reading before the final editing.
I find it useful to have pictures of the main characters pinned up close to my computer and I happened to be watching old re-runs of the original Hawaii 5-O series so I used Jack Lord as my inspiration for the main character, Adam Wild.
This is the blurb for the book.
Restoring discipline at a girls’ academy should have been easy for a former US Naval Officer. It wasn’t, nor was it easy dealing with an all-female staff.
Adam Wild, controversially appointed as Head of St Mary’s Academy in northern England, considers himself well equipped to bring order back to the school – and he’s not about to take No for an answer. Still in love with his late wife, he believes himself immune to the temptations of the female staff.
Fiercely independent Jenna Murray has learned that she does not need a man in her life; especially the arrogant Adam Wild who has stolen the headship she feels should have been hers. She undermines his authority at every turn, until even the girls recognise the underlying emotion in their constant sparring. Determined to bring him down, an allegation by a troubled girl is just the ammunition she needs – so why does she hesitate to use it?
But then Nicole, Adam’s late wife’s tearaway kid sister returns from Africa with a life-threatening condition and a startling request, one that Adam is unsure he can fulfil, forcing both Adam and Jenna to re-evaluate their feelings about love.
Lust shouts. Love whispers. Only the heart knows the difference.
Intrigue, scandal, suspense, and romance peppered with humour tell how one man’s influence on a school of wayward girls and their teachers changes their lives in ways none of them would imagine – and eventually his own.
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