Today’s guest on the Inheritance Books sofa is a regular at the RNA parties – the historical novelist John Jackson.
Hi John. Welcome to Inheritance Books. I’ll go put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.
The history thing got combined with a love of genealogy and a REALLY good mix of ancestors, from the boring and humdrum to the scarily bad! Writing a historical novel, with a strong thread of romance running through it sort of fell into my lap.
After I met some members of the Romantic Novelist Association their siren calls started, and soon the pressure to “give it a go” and try and write something myself became too strong to resist!
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books – Dad spent some years in India as a child; my grandfather was in the Indian Army. I still love the stories, and reread them most years.
Kipling was a writer of his time. Mum and Dad also gave me The Wind in the Willows, and Winnie the Pooh. All still magical favourites!
Dad put me on to Georgette Heyer, and there are three of her books which I have reread many, many times.
Frederica, the complete Regency romance and the longest book she wrote. (I have a first edition)
An Infamous Army, her story of Waterloo. Wonderfully accurate; it was, for many years, in the library at Sandhurst as a textbook!
The Spanish Bride. A fantastic tale of Wellington’s Peninsular campaign, and the story of Harry and Juana Smith (Later the Lady Smith who had the town in South Africa named after her) Also a novel with a stunning, and true, love story running through it.
My Great-great-grandfather had a career very similar to Harry Smith, only without meeting the love of his life on the battlefield. He too joined Wellington’s army as an Ensign, and finished up as a Lt. Colonel at Waterloo. (He will be in book 3 or 4)
I can see you’re having trouble choosing one book. I’ll let you off.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
Swallows and Amazons. We’ve loved them, our children love them, and he was a cousin of mine (Arthur Ransome) Wonderfully evocative for a time gone by. When we lived in the Falkland Islands our girls and their friends had some of the same freedoms that the children of the books enjoyed.
Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materials series. A truly wonderful imagination, and brilliantly told.
Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden continue to turn out wonderful historical novels. I’ve included Azincourt and The Lords of the Bow as representative examples of their work.
Thank you for sharing your favourite books (all of them!) with us, John. All the best with Heart of Stone. Hope is soars up the charts.