Jane Jesmond is today (October 26th, 2021) celebrating the release of her debut novel On The Edge. As part of her promotions for the unique series, she's taking part in Female First's 'seven things' series, opening up for her readers in an exclusive feature. Here's what she had to reveal...
1. I live in France. We came over to France at the beginning of 1991, planning to work here for a couple of years and then go back home. Thirty years, a son, several moves and a painfully acquired knowledge of French bureaucracy later, we're still in France. We currently live at the end of the earth in Finistère, surrounded by the sea. On lucky days I get to see seals and dolphins on my morning walk. On less lucky ones, we're often the first place hit by the winter storms that roll in over the Atlantic.
2. I'm a member of our village's amateur dramatics company. They put up with me despite my English accent, which makes casting me difficult. I've played an English Lady who has inherited a house of ill repute that she thinks is a nunnery, a poisonous journalist and a petty thief. But my favourite role was the Wicked Stepmother, complete with Angelina Jolie style horned headdress, in a version of Snow White set 20 years after the main action when Snow White has divorced the Prince and married Grumpy.
3. I loathe custard. Can't say much more than that except I mean loathe.
4. I run. This is one my biggest achievements. Around 4 years ago I embarked on the NHS Couch to 5K programme. I hadn't run since I was in my teens or possibly before that. And that was a long time ago, by the way. But it felt like the right thing to do. I stuck with it and I still run 3 or 4 times a week. I'd recommend it to anyone who still got some mileage in their joints. It also means I don't feel guilty about spending the rest of my time in front of a computer writing.
5. I'm a vicar's daughter and after a childhood spent in large, draughty and unheated vicarages, I find myself unable to live in a small house (luckily property is a lot cheaper here than in the UK) although I do stay curled up close to the fire in winter.
6. I am completely unlike my protagonist. Jen Shaw is a daredevil free-climber. She is young and strong and addicted to risk, loving nothing more than scaling sheer rocky faces and coastal cliffs. I am none of the above and I am terrified of heights. I had to go up our local lighthouse for research purposes and it required great determination - so maybe I'm not completely unlike Jen after all!
7. My real name is Shufflebotham. I love my name. For those who are interested in such things, it is an old Lancashire name meaning 'dweller at the spring where sheep are washed'. Which I also love. Sadly no one in the publishing industry seems to like it, so I chose to call myself after the place I was born - Jesmond in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Jane Jesmond's debut novel On The Edge is out now!
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