JEAN GRAINGER: I’VE JUST FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY NEW BOOK
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Jean Grainger released her third book Shadow of Century in July. The Irish author received huge positive feedback averaging with 4.8 Amazon stars from 32 reviews. Our next guest is very interesting person. She is a teacher and works as a tour guide. The latest was her inspiration to write her first book The Tour. It’s a great pleasure to welcome at Land of Books Jean Grainger.
– Jane, what is your book Shadow of a Century about?
– My book is told from two perspectives, the first story is essentially a romance set against the backdrop of Ireland’s struggle for independence from Britain in 1916, and the second story is set in present day New York. The two stories are linked by an old flag.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I’m a history teacher and I’ve always been interested in the complexities of the relationship between Ireland and our neighbor Great Britain. It is coming up to the centenary of the Easter Rising as it is known and I felt now was a good time to write about the period.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Finding time to write! I work full time as a teacher here in Ireland and I have four children so time is always at a premium.
– Tell us something more about your three main characters? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– I can’t say the characters are based on anyone I know as such, my stories don’t really work that way. Scarlett is one of the central characters of the modern story, and as the story opens she’s on the crest of a career wave, everything is going so well but she makes a mistake with catastrophic consequences. Eileen Chiarello is a very old lady and is the link between the 1916 story and the modern one. She proves to be a very stabilizing influence in Scarlett’s life as her own life story is revealed. Finally, Mary is the central character of the story set in Ireland during the events of Easter Week. She is a quiet and humble character, mainly as a result of her upbringing in a convent as an orphan, but she finds herself unexpectedly thrown into the turbulent events of the period and finds strength she never knew she had.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– The whole process takes about a year.
– The Tour is your most successful novel. What was the feeling when you saw it at the top of Amazon rankings?
– It’s a wonderful feeling. Amazon has afforded me the opportunity to reach readers all around the world. The idea that tens of thousands of people have read my books is something I find both exhilarating and very humbling.
– What the readers will find in your book So Much Owed?
– So Much Owed is a family saga based on the Buckley family of West Cork, where I’m from. The era I have chosen is the Second World War as this was my academic specialty. It is a story of intrigue, romance, spies, Nazis, the IRA and there are lots of twists and turns. The action goes from tranquil, neutral Ireland to wartime London, from occupied France, and back to the secret enclaves of the German community in Dublin.
– Who are you?
Who am I? Hmm that’s a tough one! Well I’m a secondary school teacher, I’m a mother of four, my husband is also a teacher and a musician and I come from a big, loud, loving family. Storytelling is part of what we are, we are always telling stories, embellishments and all, and I think that is where I get it.
– What are your writing habits?
– Because I’m a teacher we have long summer holidays so I write a lot then. I’m not very disciplined, sometimes I could write ten thousand words in a day and then not write anything for a few weeks. Inspiration comes for me in waves so when I feel like writing something I do and if I don’t feel it, then it stays on the laptop until I do.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– I am not only satisfied, I’m amazed! Of course there’s always a new promotion to run or a blog post to write, or an interview to do, for me, and I suspect a lot of Indie publishers, the marketing is constant and can be draining. That said, I wouldn’t change a thing.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– Well I have to say in terms of a short boost the very best is Bookbub. They are amazing and I’ve had fantastic success with their promotions. I also avail of the Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions. As I said, marketing is constant and has to be multi-pronged but there are new ways of promotion popping up all the time.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– I’ve just finished the first draft of my new book and I’m very excited about it. It’s set in my home city of Cork during the 1950s and 60s and I hope it appeals to people. It is really a novel about friendship I certainly loved writing it.
– You worked as a tour guide in Ireland. What are the top 5 things that every visitor of the country must see?
– Five? Another tough one. Well we have the most beautiful and rugged coastline called the Wild Atlantic Way which goes all down the Western seaboard and is the longest coastal drive in the world. That’s really breathtaking.
Dublin was the second city of the mighty British Empire, and the theatre of our eventual break for freedom, so the history, architecture and culture of our capital city is a place, of course not to be missed.
The food here is incredible, we are a major producer of very high quality meat and dairy products and the artisan food business is huge here as well. From Bantry Bay mussels, to creamy cheeses, to craft beers, and home made soda bread, well all I can say is very few people go home a few pounds lighter after their holidays!
We have many stately homes, ornate gardens, bogs, mountains, flat plains, stone age ruins, medieval castles, impressive churches, thatched cottages, really an extraordinarily diverse landscape so Ireland is a real feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.
The most important place to visit would have to be my native county of Cork. Known by us Corkonians as the ‘Real Capital’. It is the jewel in the already glittering crown of our country and I love it.
The best advice I can give to anyone is just come and see for yourself, and of course, bring a coat!
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Where does the inspiration for stories come from? Well, for me I believe that I am just a conduit for the stories I write. I don’t know at the outset what is going to happen, which characters will rise to prominence and which will fade into the background. Often, the plot twists and turns are a complete surprise to me as well as hopefully later, to the reader. I think the stories come from somewhere else and I’m just the way they get here.