Huge thanks to Jan Foster for stopping by today to talk about Disrupting Destiny.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey, please?
After having children, once they had started school I was wrestling with what to about going back to work. My former job was simply not practical – long hours and my husband was away with business a lot, so our family would have been the ones to suffer. I was already doing smaller bits of business consultancy roles on the side, but I needed something more. I realised, after an old contact of mine commissioned me to adapt some short stories into a screenplay, that what I missed about my job was actually the writing! So, because I was volunteering in our local school reading with children, it seemed natural to start with writing children’s books. Whilst I was waiting for the illustrations to be completed on Mitch and Mooch Try Swimming, I just started writing a novel – Disrupting Destiny. I wanted to explore themes that interested me, like love and loss, religion and belief, and of course, history. The historical fantasy genre is one I love, as well as my favourite period of time being the Tudors, so that is where I started!
How do you decide who to dedicate your books to?
I don’t actually do a dedication per se, rather, I am very happy to acknowledge significant people in my life and my career in an acknowledgements section.
What was the inspiration behind your latest release?
Book 2 in my Naturae series was largely influenced by two things – the rapid succession of historical events of 1553/54 – where England went through three monarchs and swapped ‘official’ religions yet again, and the desire to write a morally grey character. I wanted to explore the question of heirs, because it had so obsessed Henry VIII, and it’s a question that I think has relevance today to all families who have built something which they are proud of and want to pass onto their children. What is the legacy we leave to our children and is it something they can be proud of or want to continue? As we look to the end of our current Queen’s reign, and the prospect of a new King, I’ve been thinking a lot about how that might look, how the differences in a leader shape the way which ordinary people behave.
Do you find it hard to let your characters go when you finish writing the book?
That’s the joy of writing a series! I have a core group of characters who I have blessed with either immortality or very long lives and thus I hope they will continue through the century of my planned series. There are some however, I have been very glad to bring a timely end to!
What was your favourite read of 2022?
It was actually a non-fiction book about a secret agent for the SOE who co-ordinated great parts of the French Resistance in WWII. I found her to be a fascinating woman, driven to do extraordinary things in extraordinary times. The book is called ‘A Woman of No Importance’ by Sonia Purnell. Reading her adventures definitely inspired me in a book which I am currently writing with a co-author, historical thriller.
Who is your favourite author?
There are simply too many to list! I adore anything set in the Tudor times – SJ Parris, CJ Sansom, Hilary Mantel for example, but my comfort read is Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series.
Was there a point in your life that a book helped you get through, and which one?
When I’m low, I tend to lean towards easy reading thrillers – Scott Mariani’s Ben Hope series is always great escapism. I have read them from the beginning and have the entire series. I also love legal thrillers like John Grisham, and my father and I have a ‘share scheme’ where we regularly swap them and discuss them, which is a lovely shared connection between us.
Is there anyone that you would like to mention and thank for their support of your writing?
I am very fortunate to have an incredibly understanding husband who financially supports our family so that I can give my time to writing when not ‘childrening’. I wish though, that I could entice him to read the works he enables me to write, but alas, he is very short on time. I once got a bit upset about this and asked him why he hadn’t read my books because he is a big fantasy fan. His answer was (sadly) that he couldn’t remember the last time he read any book! Doesn’t explain why our house is literally full to bursting with book cases…
If you had the power to give everyone in the world one book, what would it be and why?
The Beekeeper of Aleppo. What an incredibly powerful and moving story! I truly believe that if more people had an understanding of why refugees are forced to move their entire lives to another country, and the journey they feel compelled to take, we would all be more compassionate about how we welcome these desperate people into our care. It saddens me on a daily basis that we in the West can so easily turn a blind eye to the suffering which is inflicted upon so many millions of people, often without recourse. How narrow minded religious extremism can be, and how disparaging and dismissive we are of those who have left everything in the hope of a better life. This book offers us the chance to walk in another man’s shoes, and I wish that more people would read it.
What are you working on now?
I am currently on the first draft of a historical thriller set before, during and after WWII, which follows a girl with big dreams who has to fight for who she is, and chase those dreams across the world to find answers. Hopefully, the book will hit shelves this spring! It is called Madison Avenue, and I am privileged to be co-writing it with an award-winning author.
Lastly, do you have any questions for your readers?
I love to hear from my readers, and would like to know which character of mine they feel they identify with the most? Is it Aioffe – reluctant Queen of the Fae, part Viking warrior with a wanderlust that prevents her from settling down to rule? Joshua – homebody, hero, knight and former human? Nemis – a se’er witch who struggles to balance her powers with her family? Spenser – flamboyant fae ambassador, caught between two Queendoms, constantly questioning where his loyalty should lie. Fairfax – charismatic demon; spy; chaotic. Jeffries – healing is his power, Protestantism his passion. Or, in Anarchic Destiny (book 2) we need Henry Fitzroy – morally grey, a great leader but is he the right king?
By day, Jan juggles consultancy work with her family, but by night she sneaks off, into the past. Her penchant for sprinkling history with magic is fueled by coffee and Cadburys. When not writing, Jan takes her dogs and small monsters into the countryside, especially if there is a castle or historic building there with a cosy coffee shop in which to escape the rain of Manchester, England.
Disrupting Destiny by Jan Foster
She thought she was safe. Hidden. Happy.
She was wrong.
And now her life, her race and her heart will pay the price for trying to disrupt destiny.
Once a mortal, when homebody Joshua is torn apart from his wife, only his belief in her innocence and the kindness of strangers keeps him alive. In a dangerous quest through the turbulence of Reformation England to find his lover, he finds himself questioning his own faith as much as being a fae.
Heartbroken and alone, Annabella refuses to comply with the future envisaged for her until a darker secret threatens to destroy the realm and fae immortality.
The fate of an entire race rests on their shoulders, but can destiny be changed?
Rebellion, danger and intrigue threaten the future in a thrilling journey, weaving Tudor times with magical fantasy.
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