Today I'm excited to have author Jeanette Hewitt on the Sunday's Author Spotlight. Jeanette writes mostly Historical Fiction and she currently has two books published, 'Freedom First, Peace Later', and 'World's Apart'. Learn more about her books and read the interview I did with her.
About 'Freedom First, Peace Later':
Freedom First Peace Later is an insight into the lives of six residents of Crossmaglen and their own private struggles growing up under the restrictions of the Irish Republican Army.Stu is young British soldier on his first operational tour of Northern Ireland. He knows that in Ireland he will face hatred, based purely on his nationality and his career. He has never faced racism or prejudice. As an army soldier he has never yet killed, and the question he is constantly asking himself is, can he? Stu becomes enamored with local girl Bronwyn, but she has problems of her own, namely her boyfriend, Danny, and his not so subtle links to the I.R.A, and her brother Barry's increasingly secretive lifestyle.Bronwyn's best friend, Rosina, is hiding her relationship with her Protestant boyfriend Connor. But when news of their affair breaks, Rosina learns a secret about her past that has tragic consequences.
About 'World's Apart':
Worlds Apart takes the reader on a journey from the sophistication of the South of France, through theAfrican wilderness to the sweeping moors of Yorkshire, on a breath-taking journey of glamour, jealousy, a mysterious murder, love and friendship found in the most unexpected places.
When Kate and Joe meet by chance there is an instant attraction, but whenever their paths cross they seem to be travelling in opposite directions. Can love win out, or are they really worlds apart?
Interview with Jeanette Hewitt:
Tell us a little more about Jeanette Hewitt?
I live in a village near the sea in Suffolk with my fiancé and our dog and cat. When I am not writing I’m reading or researching. To relax or for a change of scene I love gardening, specifically growing vegetables or wildflowers.
Did you always wanted to become an author?
It seemed a natural progression from reading to head towards writing. I clearly remember the day I announced that I would like to become an author, I was around ten years old and from that day on it was my goal.
What do you like most about writing?
Heading off to another place. In writing you can go anywhere, be anyone. You can intertwine fact and fiction and anything is possible.
What do you love most about being an author?
I love that my childhood ambition was realized. It is very easy for life to get in the way of dreams and I’m proud that I stuck at it. I love meeting and interacting with other authors, we are an interesting breed!
What is your favorite book(s)?
My favourite books - ones that I revisit again and again are The Dark Tower books by Stephen King, the three books written by Ffyona Campbell (the first woman to walk around the world) and The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. In recent years I would say that Still Alice and Elizabeth Is Missing are top of my list, plus the novels by Alex Marwood and the Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary.
How did you come to the idea of writing ‘Freedom First, Peace Later’?
The Troubles in Northern Ireland were there throughout my childhood. It was the war that I grew up with and so it stuck with me. When I was sixteen I had a friend stationed in Crossmaglen serving under the British Army and I learned a lot from that experience. I started researching all that I could on the subject and the story flowed from there.
You write historical fiction, how did you come to the idea of writing those stories? And where do you get the inspiration from?
I didn't used to write in one genre, I've tried my hand at them all; chick-lit, horror. But a couple of years ago I was selected as a finalist in the Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor competition and I got called to London to meet Jojo Moyes. I didn't win but she gave me some invaluable advice in finding my own genre, one that has a cohesive thread. I took her advice and Historical fiction seemed the most fitting. With regards to inspiration, probably like a lot of writers, it starts with a "what if..." question. For example my second novel, Worlds Apart, was born out of asking "what if two people kept meeting and seemed to belong together, but life kept on getting in the way? Where does fate eventually step in? Or does fate exist at all?”
Which one of your characters has stayed with you the most? And why?
Probably Bronwyn in Freedom First Peace Later. She is a tough and feisty young lady, she questions the rules, doesn't understand why a protestant being in a relationship with a catholic is such a big deal. She pushes against these boundaries and that's what more of us should do, in an ideal world.
What are your future plans in writing?
My next novel will be based around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which occurred in 1986. I’m fascinated by the idea of a country, or zone that nobody can enter. Of course people do enter it, and some people never left. I also plan to write a novel that involves the Nanking Massacre in 1936. I also believe that there is a sequel to ‘Freedom First, Peace Later’. I love sequels and I’m sure one day that idea will come to fruition.
About the Author:
I have had two novels published independently, Freedom First Peace Later in 2010 and Worlds Apart, in 2013.
I have also worked with Harper Collins' website Authonomy and The Front List and have also written for online fashion magazine, Offers Boutique, and literary magazines, The Jimston Journal and Spike.
The only short story I’ve ever written won an award in the author vs. author competition, supported by the National Literary Trust in 2008. The short story was titled Ellen's Journey and is loosely based on the day that my Grandmother passed away. In July 2012 I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor Award, chosen by Jojo Moyes.
My novels are mostly of the Historical Fiction genre set in the 20th Century. I have just completed a manuscript entitled The Intelligence of Ravens, a book chronicling the life of a Polish Jewish girl and the four years she spent in Ravensbrook Concentration Camp and her life post war in England. I am currently researching the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 as the back drop for my next book.
When I am not writing I can usually be found reading, I read on average about 60 books a year, I have literally read one book after another since I was about 16, there has never been a time when I have not had a book on the go, which means I have been reading non-stop for twenty years. That's around 1300 books!
Last year I was a volunteer at the Felixstowe Book Festival and I shall be there again in June, but this year I have my own event alongside authors Jane Isaac and SJ Holliday where we will be discussing our work and our journeys to becoming independently published authors.