About Jan Foster:
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.
What inspires you to write?
I think my curiosity – I often visit historic places and find myself wanting to know more about what life was really like them, or about the people who lived there. Then that leads into the what if questions – what if you didn't fit into the norm, what if you wanted something different for your life… And, of course, what if you had wings!
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I read quite a lot of history – both non fiction and fiction, so Phillipa Gregory, Bernard Cornwall, SJ Parris, CJ Sansom and Jodi Taylor for example. I love historical fantasy also – my favourite is Deborah Harkness – All Souls Trilogy. For a complete escape though I'm a fan of thrillers – from medical ones like Patricia Cornwall, to Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, and possibly my all time curl-up-and-lose-time author is Scott Mariani. I want to marry Ben Hope… not sure what my husband would make of that but, meh!
Tell us about your writing process.
I am what I believe is referred to as a 'plantster' – I do have a plot outline and character sketches, and a rough idea of the storyline arc, but I prefer to let the characters run a bit wild and tell me what their reaction to events is! I enjoy getting into their heads so quite a bit of background work goes on which never even makes it's way into the storyline but affects they way they view the world. In terms of software, I use Scrivener and I have to write in peace and quiet. I've tried being a coffee shop writer or listening to music but I find it quite difficult to transport my mind back to the 16th Century with modern-day distractions!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Is it sad to say both? I find dialogue quite easy – many years of acting I suppose, so my characters quite often chat to me faster than I can type. I get a bit cross with one of them sometimes when they do something a bit silly, but then, that's the nature of daemons – unpredictable!
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is a journey – you never stop learning. But it doesn't have to be a lonely one – there are so many ways you can meet other authors, in your genre or local area, that will help motivate you when things are rough and you lose the will to keep going. Reach out, join groups and don't fall into the mistaken belief that it's all on you to make it happen. Support systems are invaluable!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self publish because my stories are cross genre's and I was doubtful about whether any of the big publishing houses would even entertain my works. I also am a bit of a control freak and prefer to set my own deadlines. Turned out to be a good thing as COVID hit and homeschooling turned my fledgling writing pattern upside down! The downside is that you have to have the confidence that you can do it all – but, that was a challenge I wanted to take on – to learn! I taught myself website building, the actual technical/legal aspects of publishing a book and am still learning how best to market. There's lots of resources out there and you learn pretty quickly which ones are worth the time and investment.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I'm quite cautiously optimistic for self publishing. I think the industry grows in strength and numbers and is proving that there is not ONE way of being a success. I've recently met authors who earn as much as big name traditional published ones who are making the bookshelves through volume of sales alone. I'd love to see more people using physical bookstores but there is a convenience of e-readers which is inevitable. I still prefer an actual book though!
What genres do you write?: historical fantasy & children's
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.