Only You

Only You

What can you tell us about your new book Only You?


Jane Hollinger has just turned thirty-one and teaches adult education classes. Her self confidence is at an all-time low, as she hadn’t known her ex-husband had been cheating on her with a client. Jane’s sister, Mags, and best friend, Carol, buy her a subscription to an online dating service but little do any of them know that the man of Jane’s dreams is waiting for her in her family history evening class!


Why did you want the character of Jane to be a genealogy teacher?


I am a professional genealogist myself so I wanted to write about what I know. There’s also not enough novels out there with a family history mystery in them!

You have had many jobs including being a tour guide, so how have these experiences affected your writing?


I used to be painfully shy, so people must have thought I was nuts to get jobs where I would have to interact with a lot of people. As a tour guide, I had to speak in front of complete strangers for at least forty five minutes at a time! I wanted to test myself and see if I could do those things. I found that I could do them, and I wanted to test myself with my writing, too, and so I decided to see if I could get one of the novels I’d written published.


This is your debut book, so tell us about your writing background.


I’ve always had an active imagination and when I was little I sent my dolls on lots of adventures, but it took me until I was nineteen to start writing those stories down! A few years later I did a creative writing course which concentrated on short stories. It was interesting, and I was lucky enough to have one published in an Irish women’s magazine, but it made me realise that I prefer to write novels.

Do you have plans for another?


Yes, I do! My current work is called Into The Unknown, it’s an historical novel set in England and Ireland during World War Two.

You were born in England and moved to Ireland when you were young so how did this affect you?


My family moved from a large town to the countryside in Ireland. It was very isolating, as there was no public transport, and I had to rely on my family to bring me everywhere until I learned to drive. Changing schools a lot was hard, too, as it’s not nice being The New Girl again and again. I have no fear of walking alone into a room full of strangers now, though!


What is the most interesting fact you have found out from looking into your own family history?


It was how varied my ancestry is. My Dad was Irish with Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and English ancestors while my Mum is Dutch with Dutch, German, and possibly Scandinavian ancestors. I’d love to get my DNA analysed as who knows what else I might learn!


Where did the inspiration for the story come from?


In today’s celebrity culture everyone, it seems, wants to be famous. Being famous is fantastic, with parties and premiers, and having your picture in the papers and gossip magazines.


But is it? I wanted to explore what it would be really like to be in a relationship with someone famous but you wish they weren’t because you are a private person who likes a quiet life? Could you love that person enough to be able to put up with all the invasions of your privacy?


It’s a predicament and it’s why I created Jane Hollinger so she can try and work it out.


Who are your favourite reads?


When I was little, it was everything Enid Blyton wrote. She’s not very politically correct now, but she knew how to tell a great story. These days it is historical novels by Sharon Penman and the Merrily Watkins mystery series by Phil Rickman. Merrily is a single mum, a Church of England priest but she is also a Diocesan Exorcist, so there is often a paranormal element to the books.

What is next for you?


To keep writing!


Thanks for interviewing me!


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