Gillian Hamer interviews Jane Dixon-Smith.
Tristan & Iseult
by JD Smith
Paperback, 220 pages
Published April 28th, 2013
In a land of fog and desperate tribes, Tristan fights to protect western Briton from Saxon invaders. In the wake of battle, he returns to Kernow bearing grave news, and the order of power shifts.
As Tristan defends the west, his uncle, King Mark, faces enemies to the east beyond the sea: the Irish Bloodshields. Mark is determined to unite the tribes of Briton and Ireland and forge an alliance that would see an end to war and the beginnings of peace.
Iseult, the daughter of Irish kings and a woman of the blood, resigns herself to her inevitable fate: marriage to Lord Morholt. A bloody duel changes her course, and she finds herself stranded on the coast of Kernow bringing with her the possibility of peace. But when she loses her heart to one man and marries another, her future and that of Briton flutters grey.
Three people and a hope that will never fade, this is a story of promise; the legend of love.
Jane lives and works in the English Lake District. Having worked as a graphic designer for over 12 years, and a booklover to boot, she understands the industry.
The pseudonym JD Smith was adopted as her preferred Editor's title when launching the writing magazine Words with JAM. Jane is also a writer of historical fiction.
Gillian: I've been a fan of your writing for years (we both share a love of Romans!) but wonder why you chose to write historical fiction - and what HF authors do you admire?
Jane: I’ve always had a great love of anything set in the past. I’m drawn to it in so many ways – the dress, the period settings, the way of life. More so than any other genre. I began my venture into novels as an adult by reading Bernard Cornwell. His Arthurian trilogy continues to be my favourite. I read recently Cleopatra’s Daughter my Michelle Moran, which has stayed with me. Conn Iggulden writes brilliant accounts of famous leaders such as Genghis Kahn and Julius Caesar. And I have a great fondness for Jane Austen – I recently designed wallpaper with the entire text from Pride and Prejudice printed on it. But it’s not just historical fiction I love, I enjoy fantasy immensely, although I tend to watch rather than read it.
Gillian: Why did you choose to re-tell the story of Tristan & Iseult? What attracted you to their story?
Jane: All legends appeal to me, particularly those of which we know so little. The story of Tristan and Iseult (or Isolde) first appeared for me in Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian trilogy I have just mentioned. He interwove their tale so believably into a unique take on the history of Briton that I looked them up and discovered the various different accounts of the tale. Then when the film Tristan and Isolde, produced by Ridley Scott, hit the big screen, my interest in the tale was revived. I began writing my version shortly after I began writing the second in my Warrior Queen series, which is based on third century Palymrene Queen Zenobia, the first of which will be released next year. I was hankering after writing something closer to home, about the wet and windy wild that is Britain.
Gillian: Why did you decide to join Triskele Books and what attracts you to indie publishing?
Jane: I was never that interested in writing for a major publisher. I don’t think I could write all day every day. I have too many other creative interests. I design book covers and format other people’s manuscripts, and I enjoy that immensely, so bringing my own book to life has been a great and satisfying process. The reason I chose Triskele is easy – it’s full of not only talented individuals, but headed by Jill they work together as a team incredibly well.
Gillian: You're known as a multi-talented individual (designer, editor of Words with Jam, novelist) - which do you class as work and which do you class as a hobby? And with three children and a house renovation to also cope with, how do you relax?
Jane: Design is work, writing and editing Words with JAM are hobbies. That’s always been clear to me. That said, I’m a pretty slow writer, but as soon as I had a deadline – to finish and prepare for publication a half-finished manuscript in time for a June launch, I treated it like a job. I’m better with deadlines. In the future I see all three aspects working together as one. With regards relaxing, I watch any period drama going. I catch up a lot with friends too, and enjoy eating out. Other than that I don’t have free time as such. I can’t remember what boredom actually is, it’s been so long since I didn’t have a list of things I needed to get done. Right now, as well as the steady stream of work, I have the June launch of Tristan and Iseult coming up, plus we’ll be moving house next month whilst still doing major building works.
Gillian: In your line of work, it's important you keep up with trends and changes. How do you see the future of publishing as it has developed at such a rapid pace in recent years?
Jane: The big publishers will change, they’ll have to, and retailers will begin changing too. The balance has swung very recently so that the focus is on self-publishing, but I can well see the big six pulling it back again, and I think self-publishers need to be aware that the current major players, or perhaps a new one, could tip the balance. Perhaps we’ll see a website exist in the near future which publishes only vetted manuscripts, and with the right marketing and publicity, it could become the main place people will trust to buy from … and then we’ll all be back to square one … submitting … who knows? That’s the exciting part of the publishing world: everything’s changing.
Gillian: Where did the idea come from to start Words with JAM and do you still enjoy heading the magazine?
Jane: It started off as a bit of fun, before ebooks ever really took off and people were still submitting to agents and subsequently mainstream publishers. It was all about being different from other writing magazines and fun. It’s grown and changed over the three and a half years it’s been in existence, and it will see another change in June, with a new, more social-friendly format.
Gillian: Which book from your shelf do you feel demonstrates a strong sense of time/place?
Jane: Just one? Bernard Cornwell’s The Winter King plus so many more …
Tristan and Iseult is available now.
Design and print glossary by JD Smith can be found in the Triskele Toolbox.
For each day of the week, starting 26th May, a different Triskele Books author will be interviewed, and will offer a free e-copy of their book. And on Launch Day - June 1st - it's the Big Giveaway. All seven of the Triskele Books will be on offer for a signed paperback giveaway of whichever book(s) readers choose.
Today... WIN 1 eCopy of Tristain & Iseult by JD Smith.
a Rafflecopter giveaway