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Interview with Jan Selbourne

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. I grew up in Melbourne Australia, and after graduating from business college I worked in the dry world of ledgers and accounting. At 21 I joined the tide of Aussies traveling to the UK for a working holiday. There in front of me was the history I’d learned at school. I was hooked and it’s probably the reason why I write historical fiction. Marriage and children came next and on the point of retiring, I joined a large New South Wales historical society as committee secretary. Now really retired I can indulge my love of writing - and when I can afford it - travel.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
A. No, I’ve just finished my fourth historical fiction book, The Woman Behind the Mirror, published 17th February.  I’m enjoying a bit of ‘me’ time before thinking of another story.

Q.3 When and why did you begin writing?
A. I think the urge to write began as soon as I could read and hold a pen, but a career, marriage, and children kept that urge firmly on the backburner. When I retired, it was time to put fingers to the keyboard. My first book, Behind the Clouds, was published by Black Velvet Seductions in 2015.

Q.4 Among all the protagonists of your titles, who’s your favorite, and why?
A. That’s hard, I like all my protagonists, but thinking more, I’d have to say Adrian Bryce in my first book, Behind the Clouds, which was later retitled, Perilous Love.

Q.5 What about the supporting characters? Who does think is dearest to you?
A. Adrian’s wife, Gabrielle Bryce. A product of her class in Victorian/Edwardian England, she was a neglected, unhappy woman until she and Adrian were trapped in Belgium at the beginning of WW1. Her incredible courage and language skills got them to safety.

Q.6 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite among them?
A. Four books. Heck, another toughie, that’s like asking who is my favorite child.  Truly, they are all special.

Q.7 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. Trying to get into a man’s head - and definitely the sex scenes. 

Q.8 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
A. No, I start with an idea and the story goes from there. However, I do have my characters firmly in place from the beginning.

Q.9 How do you select the name of your characters?
A. I like strong names. I visualize the character and think of a name to fit. The woman in my first book was Gabrielle right from the start. Half Belgian, half English, it was right for her. 

Q.10 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. My two adult daughters - and next - my books.

Q.11 Outside of your family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author?
A. I was a bit secretive about my writing career.  I didn’t tell anyone until my first book was accepted by Black Velvet Seductions. Ric Savage was incredibly supportive. When my book was published, my family and friends have been great.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
A. Yes definitely. I used to angrily tell myself to get on with it, now I take a complete break for a day or two.

Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
A. Yes, I read my reviews, and I am so very fortunate, to date all have been wonderful.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Not that I know of.

Q.15 Do you hide any secrets in your book that only a few people will find?
A. Hah! No, but now you mention it, I might in my next book.

Q.16 Who designed your book covers?
A. The publishers’ graphic artists.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
A. Edit your work, ask someone else to read it as another pair of eyes is invaluable. Don’t give up.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. Nancy Wake, an Australian named The White Mouse by the Gestapo. She joined the French resistance during WW2, helping hundreds of allied servicemen escape occupied France.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. So many good books. One from childhood - The Wind in The Willows, and one of my adult favorites - For The Term of His Natural Life.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. Holding a copy of my first book was an incredible feeling. It also gave me the confidence to write my second, and third, and fourth. However, I find writing a walk in the park compared to promoting and marketing. Then, a lovely comment from someone we don’t know, or a fantastic review makes it all worthwhile.

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  1. Great interview, Jan, with some fun answers! Who is your favourite child? lol

  2. Jan Selbourne is a great historical romance author. Read her books!

  3. Great interview. Jan is a wonderful writer. Loved Lies Of Gold.

  4. This was a wonderful interview for a fantastic award-winning author.

  5. I enjoyed reading this. Now I'm going to have to reread Wind in the Willows. Great author!

  6. I enjoyed reading this interview. Perilous Love is a book I keep coming back to, being a both a romance and history fan.

  7. It was great to get to know a little bit more about a fantastic author, Jan Selbourne.

  8. I have always loved Jan's stories, she is a very talented writer and proud to have had our longstanding professional relationship. I hope it continues for many years to come.