Today we have Anna Jacobs - author of 50 novels telling us how it feels to be so well published!
ANNA JACOBS AT 50 (NOVELS PUBLISHED, THAT IS)
In 1991, my first novel was accepted after a few years of trying, and published the following year. Thrilled to pieces, and basing my calculations on how long this had taken, I figured I could probably get 10 or 12 novels published before I died. Oh, boy, was I wrong!
In July 2010 my 50th novel ‘Beyond the Sunset’ was published, followed in September by No 51. I’m now writing 3+ novels a year so I plan to write a lot more before I’m through.
In the beginning I was like a child in a toyshop, writing in several genres. I started with historical romance, moved on to write historical sagas, and also fantasy novels as Shannah Jay. (The latter stories are only available as ebooks now.) I then went on to write modern novels. Oh, and there are short stories too, for magazines. What fun it all is!
Currently I write in two genres, for different publishers, historical sagas and modern novels. I used to say I wrote ‘women’s fiction’ but so many men have contacted me to say they love my books that I’ve stopped saying that. It clearly isn’t true.
People ask me how I keep thinking up new ideas. Even my editors ask me that. Ideas are no trouble to me. I have a long list of them in my ideas file that I’m itching to write. It’s choosing which one to work on next for my publisher that is a bit of a problem. I want to write them all!
Perhaps my brain is hard wired to tell stories. I’ve been doing it since I was two. I’m certainly happiest when I can get on with my latest during the day and enjoy my family’s company in the evenings. If something prevents me from writing for more than a day or two, however, I become very twitchy and (shh, don’t tell anyone) grumpy even.
Some of my books are set in the UK, where I was born, and some in Australia, where I’ve lived for over 30 years. It’s great having a two-country background as a resource, and although we’re based mainly in Australia, my husband and I spend time in the UK each year as well.
MY LATEST NOVELS
My 50th novel, ‘Beyond the Sunset’, is part of the Swan River Saga, which began with ‘Farewell to Lancashire’. In the 1860s the American Civil War cut off supplies of cotton to Lancashire, the mills closed and people went hungry.
When I was doing some research I found that they sent 60 starving cotton lasses from Lancashire to Western Australia in 1863 to become maids. I added four more to the group - the Blake sisters, who are the heroines of these tales.
It’s been so interesting to do the research. In 1863, Britain was criss-crossed by railways and everyone used them, locally and nationally. Western Australia didn’t have any passenger railways at all, and no road across Australia west to east. What a change that must have been for emigrants.
And then there was the cart crash in ‘Beyond the Sunset’. I wrote it how I imagined it would be, but found a cart club in the US and they checked it out. Goodness, I was so wrong! It took 3 days of to-ing and fro-ing by email to get it right. I’m very proud of that cart crash now.
Book 3, ‘Destiny’s Path’ comes out in March 2011 in the UK, and was supposed to be the last in the series. But I found myself writing a spin-off novel about a minor character who was too good to banish to oblivion after that story ended. So his tale is the start of a new series. ‘The Trader’s Wife’ comes out in September 2011. I’m not telling anyone the details yet, but it’s something a bit different from my usual historical stories.
My 49th novel was ‘Licence to Dream’ a modern novel set in York, Western Australia and my 51st novel was ‘Cherry Tree Lane’, the first story set in Wiltshire, in the south-west of England. I love the variety.
If you feel like trying one of my books, you can find the first chapter of each on my website.
Your local bookshop keeps my latest books in stock and will be happy to order any other book from my backlist that you fancy reading - the historical novels come and go, getting reprinted regularly.
Now, I have this new story to write, so excuse me if I don’t linger. My characters are raring to go and I’m getting nagged by my regular readers to write faster. Don’t know if I can, but I’ll give it a try.