I was delighted to make contact with author, Jane Risdon, recently, and I’m thrilled that she agreed to be on my blog today. Welcome to ‘Why I Write’, Jane…
Why I write: Jane Risdon
Thanks so much Jo Fenton, for inviting me to contribute to your fabulous blog.
The first person to praise my writing was my English literature master at senior school. His name was Mr. Kilner, and he had been an actor before becoming a teacher. He made English literature and language lessons a joy. He also taught drama and introduced us to all manner of plays and scripts to read. This was the mid-1960s and although he was very smart, he had long hair and outraged our parents.
We read some fabulously naughty books, bringing parents to the school to complain about the subject matter we were being exposed to. Cider with Rosie, To Sir with Love, A Taste of Honey, The Girl with Green Eyes, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, to name a few. I loved it.
He used to read our compositions (stories and poems) out loud and would dramatise our characters’ voices, bringing them alive. We adored him.
One assignment was to write a story about a firework display, and I remember the excitement of listening to him read my story out loud and watching my classmates, spell-bound by his rendition. When he finished, they all clapped, and I felt so exhilarated and proud. He clapped too.
Some while later I was awarded the English literature and English language prize at our school prize-giving. I was overcome with joy. I received book vouchers to the value of about £50, a small fortune. I had a wonderful time choosing books from WH Smith’s in the nearby town. My joy was short-lived, however.
When I presented my choices to the school so they could put a sticker in each one stating it was an award, I came across shock and disapproval at my choices. I had picked several detective novels: Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Earle Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie, and others, plus Return to Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious.
They probably expected me to have chosen classic novels from Charles Dickins, I am sure. Mr. Kilner argued in my defence when they wanted to confiscate the books. I got to keep them, much to my mother’s disgust. Suffice to say that some time later she admitted reading it, she was already a huge fan of the TV series, as I recall.
I caught the reading bug at a very early age. Enid Blyton, Robert Louis Stevenson and boys’ adventure books were my favourites. Their adventures made me want to write and I used to scribble little stories in the red, lined 6 penny notebooks that were for sale in the local post office. I hid the stories, I felt embarrassed.
All throughout my adult life I’ve wanted to write, but my career working in the Civil Service, and later in the International Music Business, got in the way. In 2011 I began a marathon writing episode which has not stopped. I’d ‘retired,’ from music and my time was my own. I wrote over one hundred short stories and five novels.
Eighteen short stories have been published to date in various anthologies, including two for my publisher, Headline Accent. One of my novels, co-written with Christina Jones, Only One Woman, has been published by Headline Accent, and I’m writing the sequel now. I’ve published a collection of short stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, which is being used by Western Kentucky University in an Intro to Lit Class for second year students this Autumn.
My crime/mystery series, Ms. Birdsong Investigates, is in with my agent and we hope she will find a home for the former MI5 Intelligent Officer very soon.
Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.
Undercover: Crime Shorts which is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Intro to Lit Class for second year students this Autumn. Jane will be doing a Zoom Q&A session with the student in October 2021.
She is the Lead Panelist next March (2022) for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.
Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series.
In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langton’s Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA. You can contact Jane via Linda at: www.langtonsinternational.com
The Author’s Show:
Undercover: Crime Shorts https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/4/…
Only One Woman https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/6/
13 thoughts on “Why I Write – Jane Risdon”
Jo, thanks so much for hosting me, I hope your readers enjoy my contribution. Have a fab day xx
Great post and a few echoes of my own reading habits as a kid. It was Sister Columba that I had to keep some of my more controversial titles from!
Angela, thanks for popping in. I know what you mean about nuns, I have also been taught by them, and the things that can offend are manifold. We had great books when we were young, I am sure you agree. Thanks for being here. Have a fab weekend. x
Thanks, and you, too
Angela great to see you here. xx
Lovely blog and fascinaging insight. Thank you both.
Kit, thanks for joining us. I am glad you enjoyed it. Amazing how a teacher can have so much influence. My history master is another, he was a former ballet dance, never used notes or the blackboard and peered out from behind a pot plant as he spoke to us. Never any homework either. Mr. Anger, I can see him now. The other stand out master was Mr. Harvey-Day, A former Olympic long distance runner, my maths teacher. Poor man had his time cut out with me! Have a fab weekend x
Yes, I can thank my English Language and English Literature teachers for my love of writing and reading. Enjoy your weekend too!
Thanks, and you too. Comes around too fast for my liking.
Very interesting! I remember Mother Aloysius looking slightly pink as we studied The Canterbury tales for GCE!
We had another teacher, Mrs Wood to take the Canterbury Tales lessons!
I wonder if these teachers realise that decades later they are being remembered and talked about. Quite an impact they may be unaware of.
LOL Trish, that makes me giggle. The nuns I had at school were quite young, apart from Mother Superior who was almost 100. They used to hang their washing behind sheets in the gardens in case anyone could see their long knickerbockers. We used to go into fits at the sight of them.