Author, Nancy Jardine, has invited a group of British authors, to take part in ‘A Very British Blog Tour’ by visiting and supporting the websites of authors who are involved in the tour, and who are dedicated to turning out some of the finest books available in Britain today. Each author, named at the bottom of the page, has been asked the same questions, but their answers will obviously all be different. Click on the author’s link at the bottom of the page to see how they have answered the same questions.
Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
I was born in Jos, Nigeria, to British parents. I now live in West Sussex.
Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?
I’ve lived in Britain for most of my life having moved here when I was about two years old. I lived in West London through my teenage years.
Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?
I love the West Country: Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, and have really enjoyed holidaying on the Isle of Wight with my family for the last two summers.
Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?
‘Myopia’ is set in Crawley, which is a large new town between London and Brighton. It’s an exciting, vibrant town which is often (and unfairly) maligned. I’ve also written an (unpublished) romantic novel set in Nigeria in the 1960s during the Biafran War.
Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish – about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?
I try to avoid stereotypes. I would imagine the people of Britain are as varied and wonderful as people in any country. Some will be buttoned up and some gushing. My experience of British people is that they are warm, caring and friendly. Of course there are exceptions. My concern is that modern capitalism advocates selfish competition and privacy – but this isn’t just a British problem.
Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?
In ‘Myopia’ Mr Finn, a Deputy-Head teacher, seems initially stiff and formal, but turns out to be a quirky individual. I would hope that my characters go beyond being stereotypes. Being stiff-upper-lipped or bulldoggish wouldn’t occur to me as human-beings are too complex and, as you suggest, unique. I’m not overly concerned about my writing being ‘British’ – but a bit more universal.
Q. Tell us about one of your recent books?
‘Myopia’ is about a teenager called Jerry who is being bullied because he’s short-sighted and wears glasses. He attempts to teach the bully a lesson, but without resorting to violence. He has to be assertive and extremely creative. He discovers a great deal about himself as well as about the boy who is making his life such a misery. He also begins a romance with the lovely Parminder, which allows me to explore another form of prejudice – racism. Jerry starts to imagine himself as the ‘Knight of Myopia’ and even believes he has super-powers; a delusion which leads a very dangerous situation.
Q. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently about half-way through what might be called a ‘slipstream’ or ‘weird’ novel, employing fantasy elements in its narrative and themes. I also have a non-fiction book coming out later in the year which evaluates the works of writer, Michael Moorcock, and I’m putting the finishing touches to that.
Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
I love films and go to the cinema a lot. My favourite movie is probably ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. I also listen to rock, metal and prog music – and even sometimes get to gigs.
I imagine a global audience when I write and have sold stories in America. I even got some articles translated into German a few years ago.
Q. Can you provide links to your work?
My website: www.jeffgardiner.com
Other featured authors:
(more will be added when posted)