My grandfather was Irish and his parents had come across from Ireland in the 1850s and settled in the south of England. As we have travelled around the world we have met so many people who tell a similar story about their Irish ancestry and it is, I have to say, claimed with pride. The Irish are renowned for their story telling and so it is not surprising that my guest today, Jane Dougherty, whose ancestral roots and clearly her heart are in Ireland, has carried on that tradition.
Jane was brought up in Yorkshire and completed her education in Manchester and then in London. Work took her to France to the wine trade and she spent fourteen years in Paris where she married and began her family. Whilst in Paris she studied Gaelic at the Irish College and also taught herself Italian. The family moved to Laon in Picardy before settling with her family, a Spanish greyhound and a posse of cats.
Before we place Jane in the hot seat for the interview let’s take a look at some of her books.
The Green Woman Series
Jane has just published the three books in The Green Woman Series, The Dark Citadel, The Subtle Fiend and Beyond The Realm of Light, in one omnibus edition.
About the series.
She is the light in the darkness, the fiery beacon, but the world’s fate seems such a little thing when the light in her heart is dead.
Among the ashes of the world, a lone city cowers in fear and ignorance. A light breaks the darkness, the spark that will kindle the greening of the world. This is the story of how Deborah carries the spark of memory from the grey oppression of Providence to a green place, where its fire will spread to cover the whole of the earth.
The darkest, oldest of evils vows to quench her light, but the Green Girl is filling the world with heroes, courage blazes in the desolation of Providence, and love is waiting in the desert.
Abaddon’s grip tightens on the earthly realm he has promised himself and his followers, but he reckons without Deborah, who marches with the banner of her fiery hair, and a burning passion for freedom, justice…and vengeance.
Review for the first book in The Green Woman Series The Dark Citadel.
5.0 out of 5.0 Jonathan Swift may have met his match. October 31, 2013 by Charlene Leatherman Format:Kindle Edition
The apocalypse has happened. The Earth is a wasteland. The survivors, the known survivors, live inside a crystal dome where life is controlled.
There are other survivors, though. Demons, angels, old gods, or the radiation mutated. Their names depend on who tells the story. They all want what’s inside the dome. They want Her. Deborah. Problem is, no one inside the dome wants her. Father is in prison. Mother is gone. Deborah is unruly and outspoken, something that is forbidden in a society that is ruled with cruelty and an iron fist.
The most horrible thing of all is that she keeps seeing things – like green grass, singing birds, people laughing and caring for one another. Those are things forbidden as well.There is only one solution for Deborah. Go outside the dome.
The Dark Citadel (The Green Woman) Part One of Three is, by the age of the protagonists, a young adult novel. Teenagers and Adults are the audience. Jane Dougherty creates a multi-dimensional world layered with suspense, danger and most surprisingly, a social commentary that not only entertains but provokes thought as well.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift was and is a social commentary that became a children’s book. Perhaps, The Dark Citadel trilogy by Jane Dougherty will be this generation’s young adult’s book that becomes a social commentary.
It is well written and absorbing. Anyone who reads The Green Woman, which is part one, will be anxious to continue the saga with the rest of the trilogy
In the Beginning
A collection of three stories intended for readers of The Dark Citadel curious to know more about the dark world of Providence and the harsh desert wastes surrounding it.
Of Dreams and Horses tells how Rachel discovers the magic and the burden of the Memory. Plucked from the clutches of the Protector, she is set on a path of discovery and creation that leads to a bittersweet destiny.
Fathers and Brothers is about Hector, his childhood introduction to cruelty and loss at the hands of his father, and how Abaddon’s choice falls upon this small, broken creature to be his instrument.
Jonah’s Story tells of another child with a tragic childhood, but unlike Hector, Jonah’s humanity is not snatched from him: it matures and grows in the solitude of the desert, until the time comes to fulfil his destiny—helping another to fulfil hers.
Lupa one of the short stories associated with The Green Woman series.
In Providence, a woman is no more than a vessel, to be filled and emptied. She expects no more, never to feel emotion, never to love or be loved, never to care. This was Lupa’s destiny too. But Lupa has two bright stars in her existence—her small daughter Elina and the doctor who made sure she was born.
When Lupa learns that her parents are about to be ended, she finds the courage to break the chains of convention and resolves to bring together all those she cares about—her parents, her daughter, and the young doctor—to defy the cold laws of Providence with a barrage of love.
The ending ceremony marks the end of a citizen’s useful life. For all except the High Castes there is no exception, no appeal.
In the Holy City State of Providence, the Elders’ regime shows no mercy to the newborn, allows no love, no grieving, no emotional attachment. It would be surprising if it treated its older citizens with respect. There are no surprises in Providence.
Enders is the story of a couple in their forties who have reached the end of their usefulness. Joshua and Antu are a typical couple who have lived all their adult lives together and still barely know one another. But even in Providence it is never too late to learn to love. And sometimes, even in Providence, the ending might not be exactly what everyone expects.
Gra Mo Chroi a collaboration with Ali Isaac
Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.
I have read Gra Mo Chroi and can recommend it as a slice of ancient Ireland served up with grace.
You will find some wonderful poetry on Jane’s blog and I have chosen the one to illustrate how beautiful they are.
It takes so little,
A mere gesture on your part,
A shrug of the shoulders,
Your face that turns away,
Tight-lipped with annoyance
Or only bland indifference.
The colours bleach,
The monochrome world holds its breath,
And love slips
With a plaintive sigh,
Into the endless dark,
Between one dawn and the next.
Now time to meet Jane in person and find out a little more about her life and also what she is working on currently.
Welcome Jane and perhaps before we look at the central theme of the Sunday Show ..A funny thing happened to me on the way to….. We might explore your life in France
As we found out you are great at languages including French, Italian and Irish but even though you have been living in France for many years now, do you still find that there are cultural differences that still catch you by surprise from time to time and what are they?
You know, Sally, I came to France more or less straight from university and I’ve lived here longer than I lived in England, and most of the big things in life, like getting married, having children and seeing them through school and into university, learning to drive, getting run over by a lorry, I’ve done in French. I rarely go back to England and when I do, it’s the cultural differences with France that I have problems with!
The food in France is wonderful but have you converted your friends to any Yorkshire inspired dishes in return and what would they be?
Yorkshire pudding. And I rue the day I ever decided to reveal its secret. Everybody adores it! Problem is that French roast beef is just the meat tied up without the bone and it takes hardly any time to cook. Only makes about a teaspoon of fat too. If you want to cook the pudding in the fat from the beef (as you must), you have to be prepared to let the meat go cold while you’re waiting for the pudding to cook. It’s a lot of hassle and juggling of hot plates. I’d rather eat out J
How did a Spanish greyhound come into your lives?
I was talking to a friend one day about dogs. She had just adopted one, a six-year-old, because, she said, she was coming up to sixty and didn’t want to die before her dog. It set me thinking about all the things I wanted to do, the daft things on my bucket list, and getting a dog was one of them. Ever since I was little I’d wanted a dog and was never allowed to have one. Now that we were settled in Bordeaux in a house with a garden, and the children were old enough for me not to worry about them getting eaten by the family pet, I decided it was time. I’d have loved a Lurcher, but they don’t have them in France. There is, however, a very active movement to rescue Spanish Greyhounds from the canine killing fields in southern Spain. The details are horrible, and once I became aware of what was going on just over the border, I decided we had to rescue one of these beautiful creatures. Finbar is a lovely dog to look at, and he thinks I am God. But his verdict on the rest of the human race is that they are untrustworthy, unpredictable and best left well alone.
You have created fantastical places and stories and whilst I can clearly see the link to Irish myths and legends have you also infused the stories with historical influences from your adopted home?
I tried to use references to all the very oldest mythologies, the ones that didn’t reduce women to simpletons whose only function was to reproduce. Many European mythologies seem to have run up against the buffers when they came into contact with Christianity. It’s perhaps in the countries like Ireland and Scandinavia that weren’t overrun by invaders that kept their mythologies intact. Modern England and France are both made up of different groups representing successive waves of invasions—Gauls, Franks, Norse, not to mention the Romans—each lot bringing its own stories. In the end, the Church sorted them out by imposing Christian myth. The Norse and the Irish kept their beliefs longer, possibly because they were not invaded by Christians, simply proselytized, and they were picky about the bits they would accept.
Deborah sounds a fascinating woman. If someone had never read your books how would you describe her to them?
Deborah is a girl I am very fond of. She had a miserable childhood, and the sense of destiny that was necessary to make sure she didn’t become one of the supine masses made her pretty insufferable. But she grows and matures as she learns about the nature of good and evil and individual responsibility. By the end of The Green Woman she has become a young woman older than her years, marked by loss and suffering but not scarred by it. She is the kind of woman who will make a wise leader if she finds happiness. But that’s another story.
Your covers are amazing. Do you design yourself or do you collaborate on them?
I’m glad you like the covers, Sally; apart from advice from sensible friends, I take full responsibility for them. I’m not at all techy and can’t work out how to use more than the most basic graphics programs which is why they are so simple. But I do have an arty background, and I’m one of those people who knows what she likes. I’ve been told that they don’t look like YA book covers. I agree, they don’t.
Your first book The Dark Citadel was published less than two years ago but you have been very prolific in such a short time. Can you tell us something about your writing process?
It does look as though I’ve been pretty prolific, but part of the explanation is that The Green Woman was originally written as a single volume. When I read up a bit about what publishers expected of YA novels, I realised it was far too long and divided it into three volumes. So the bones of the three volumes were already there before The Dark Citadel was even published. The short stories just flowed naturally from the world that I had created. The story had grown in the telling, and the world had become more complex. There were a lot of aspects of it I still wanted to write about. I have another set of stories ready, but one which I would like to include is to be published by Dragon Knight Chronicles sometime this year, so I will probably wait to get that one back before publishing.
What are you working on currently?
The short answer is: lots of things. But if you want the complete list…
Revising the second part of Wormholes, a YA urban apocalyptic fantasy duology.
Writing (on and off) the second volume of a historical fantasy.
Writing a second Selkie story.
Revising the second volume of Angelhaven, the follow-on series to The Green Woman.
Querying Wormholes, the first Selkie story, the first volume of Angelhaven, and the first volume of my epic historical fantasy.
Writing poetry and short fiction.
Now to the central theme of The Sunday Show….
I would imagine that at some point in your time in France that you have found yourself in an unusual situation either travelling or perhaps with language in the early days. Or when travelling further afield. Perhaps you could share your ‘A funny thing happened to me on the way to……
A funny thing happened to me on my first day at work, and it kept happening until Patrick disappeared for the last time.
After my boss, the first person I met in Paris was Patrick, the man in the white suit—he always dressed entirely in white, not especially practical when your job involves heaving wine cases about. Patrick spoke excellent if idiosyncratic English, which was just as well because I didn’t speak a word of French. Patrick introduced himself as a magician. At the time, I thought he was joking. I was entrusted to his tender care, I can only assume as a malicious joke on the part of my boss.
My first evening, Patrick dragged me round every night club in the Latin Quarter, drinking, popping, smoking whatever came to hand in each venue, until he could hardly see straight. The highlight of the night was when we stumbled into a jazz club and Patrick took over the controls on the piano. Maybe Patrick could play the piano when he was sober/not completely stoned, but that evening, what came to mind was Chopsticks as performed by Eric Morecambe. Two of his friends carried him home when the customers, sick of Chopsticks, started to get noisy, which was lucky because I was staying at his place until my flat share was free, and I hadn’t a clue where he lived.
As a special newbie treat, I was sent on the trip (special wine trade) to visit the cellars at Veuve Cliquot—the most gigantic piss-up I have ever been on before or since. Patrick was sent to keep an eye on me. There were a few wine merchants on this particular trip, but most of the guests were bar owners with their wives/girlfriends/mistresses (yes, French men do have mistresses). The Veuve Cliquot started to flow on the coach around 7.30 am. By the time we got to Reims, the crew on the back seats were completely legless and only partially clothed. The big cheese at Veuve Cliquot, a marquis or a baron I forget which, tried to give a welcome speech but was shouted down by our party demanding that he shut up and get them bottles opened. It was on the way back, glass of champagne in hand, that Patrick explained to me how he was able to make himself disappear and promised to give me practical demonstrations at work.
Patrick did a lot of disappearing after that. One minute he’d be there, you’d ask him to bring up something from the cellar, and you wouldn’t see him again until the following day. He also disappeared quite a lot of stock from the shop where we worked. One day he disappeared altogether with a van full of wines and spirits he was supposed to be delivering to another shop. Nobody to my knowledge has ever seen him since.
My thanks to Jane for sharing her work and some of her experiences.. champagne all round I think. You can buy Jane’s books and also connect to her here.
Buy Jane’s books.
Amazon author page : http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U
Amazon .co.uk page
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneDoughertyWriter
Thanks for dropping by today and it would be great if you could share Jane’s interview in any way possible.
My guest next week is the hugely supportive author and blogger Judith Barrow and I hope that you will join us again.