Jane Jago is a self-described genre-hopping maniac who loves dragons and lives to write. That’s a helluva start to a fun Q&A, so let’s get right to it. She is one-half of a prolific writing team that churns out works faster most people churn out clever anecdotes about churning. (Is that right? I’m thinking that’s right.) But anyway, enough dilly-dallying, let’s learn more about Jane.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Aaspa from Aaspas’s Eyes is a favourite because she is a creature I created out of my own imagination. Also she lives by her own rules. And she is allowed to kill people who piss her off.
Which of your novels best describes you as a person?
I think the Joss and Ben stories have my life at their heart being told from the viewpoint of a woman who loves her husband and her dogs and who is content with her lot.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I guess I just start writing and see where the heck it takes me. I usually have a beginning and an end in mind. But how we get there grows from how the characters develop on the page.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I guess it was about 1960 or so. I was seven. I think. It was called July goes to the Beach. And I couldn’t spell Julie.
Do you write with a pen, typewriter, or computer?
I write on a tablet. No extra keyboard. Anywhere. But typically on the sofa with my feet up. I can’t write if it’s too quiet around me. That weirds me out.
What is your favourite quote?
From where? Because I have many.
“When you get past sixty birthday cards are just prizes for not being dead.”
“It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.”
– Terry Pratchett
“If anything she was a shade too plump, but she knew the ninety-seven ways of making love that the Hindus are supposed to set much store by―though mind you, it is all nonsense, for the seventy-fourth position turns out to be the same as the seventy-third, but with your fingers crossed.”
– George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”
– Edna St. Vincent Millay, A Few Figs from Thistles
“How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!”
– Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
The story. If there is no story there isn’t a book.
Do you think writers have a normal life like others?
Depends on what you mean by ‘normal.’ I think I function pretty well day to day. On a scale of normal to scary I come somewhere close to scary but that’s sarcasm, not authorship. On the other side of the coin I get paid (a little) for telling huge fat juicy fibs – that deffo dents normal.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
I have an English West Country accent, which sorta reads stoopid in the eyes of a lot of folks. Which is hugely amusing. But, I have always fancied east coast Scottish it’s wonderfully musical.
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
OMG. What wouldn’t I do. I’d be an absolute menace. Sneaking up on people and putting cold hands on their necks. Frightening politicians into conniption fits. Eavesdropping. Messing up television programmes with flying objects. And so on. Probably just as well it won’t happen.