Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jane Richardson-my UK Theatrical Friend

I have a list of on-line friends I'd love to meet in person. Jane is on that list. Anyone who has a Twitter account called "Gimmeahugyou" is sure to be very special, and she definitely is. She is a unique individual, and from my perspective, funny, emotional, very talented...in more ways than one...and loyal. What more could one ask? I call her my "UK theatrical friend." Now why do I use that term? Because she has worked as a deputy stage manager in the world of opera. How can you top that? Jane is Scots-born but lives in England--perhaps near Edinburgh?

Jane, do I have your place of residence correct? If not, where do you reside?

Hi Celia! I’m not sure I deserve that amazing introduction, but it’s just so lovely of you – and so typical of you – to be so kind.  So, you were asking about where I live, and while you’re a few miles out, I’m sure that’s nothing in Texas terms! I’m about 500 miles away from Edinburgh now.  I live just outside the wonderful, historical town of Hastings in East Sussex – I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous battle of 1066, one of the most significant dates in English history.  It’s a beautiful – quite bohemian and arty but in a great ‘let’s get on with it’ sort of way.  I’m very fond of my adopted home town.

If the area is "bohemian and arty," then I see why you love it so! But why is Edinburgh special enough to place your characters?

You’re referring to a story I wrote called ‘Edinburgh Fog,’ I would think, which is set in a city bar-bistro.  Well, Edinburgh is and always was a very special place.  You’ll know it’s steeped in history, from the days of the ancient Scottish kings, through to the seventeenth-century flowering of art, philosophy and literature in what was called The Age of Enlightenment, right up to its present day incarnation as the home of the Scottish Parliament and a truly European centre of business, finance, fashion and culture.  On top of all that, the people are some of the funniest, kindest and most down-to-earth I’ve ever met – hopefully that’s reflected in the way I’ve written about them and the city itself.  I lived there for about ten years or so, and while I don’t get back as much as I’d like these days, I have so many great memories of my life and work there. 
I'd love to visit that city! See? Your creative writing makes Edinburgh immensely appealing.
You also worked as a "holistic therapist." What in the world is that? Remember, I'm from Texas...I don't know about such things.

Right, holistic therapy….well, anything that’s ‘holistic’ is looking at a person as a whole entity and not just a collection of symptoms.  So for example, a person might be suffering from recurrent headaches.  The holistic approach would take into account everything about that person’s life, from their living and working environments, their medical and psychological history, things that are worrying them or causing them anxiety, anything in their present and their past which might still be affecting them, and so on.  Holistic therapies can work in isolation to help someone, or as something that works in a complimentary way to conventional medicine – for example, many people with long-term medical conditions which are being treated conventionally also find enormous benefit in, say, a regular massage with some deeply soothing aromatherapy oils.  The therapies I’m trained to use are aromatherapy, foot reflexology, Indian head massage and classical Swedish massage.

The process sounds tailor-made for me. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a Swedish massage or a Indian head massage right now. I believe I am now a convert.
Back on track...next question.
What are some of your favorite things in the whole world?

Just some?  Okay!  Roses – big, blousy, old-fashioned roses with incredible scent.  Food!  Cooking it and eating it with family and friends. Oh, and some great wine to go with it.  Walking the dog on our cliff-top country park, and I don’t mind what the weather’s like – wind and rain can be as much fun as sunshine!  Tea and chats with my best girlfriends.  A really good movie or great drama series with an involved and exciting plot, watched with my hubbie, sitting on the edge of our seats.  A Mozart opera aria sung perfectly and full of emotion – bring tissues.  My kids laughing - they have the most contagious laughter!  Comfy sofa, dog on one side, cat on the other and me in the middle. Browsing the antique shops and junk shops in town. Crossing a bridge over the Thames in the sunshine, drinking in the view and watching the people.  The cure for Type 1 diabetes which I know is just around the corner. Early nights with a good book.  Brown paper packages tied up with string…..just a few of my favourite things!

Ahhh, what wonderful favorite things. Makes life an adventure, doesn't it? Since I've known you, I remember you love one particular country in Europe, and travel there often with your family. What is that country and why is it so special?

You’re right.  The country is Italy, and where do I begin to say what’s so special about it….?  The people, the food, the weather, the way of life, the language, the architecture - I love everything about it.  Though I have no Italian blood in me at all, there’s always a sense of something like ‘coming home’ when I visit there.  Why this should be so, I have no idea – but I’ve heard other people from many other countries say the same thing, so there must be something in it.  We’ve experienced so much kindness when we’re there, and of course the children are treated so well, too, by everyone they meet, so it’s the ideal place to visit with young family.  My favourite places are the hilltop towns of the central and northern regions, particularly in Umbria which is called ‘the green heart of Italy,’ and I would live in Assisi tomorrow if I could!  I’m also really fond of the little town of Deruta and have lots of pieces of Deruta ceramics in my home – just looking around now, I can see a plate, a coffee cup, a mirror and my pencil-pot all come from there!  I would urge anyone who’s been thinking about it but never gone yet to just book that flight as soon as you can and go – you wouldn’t regret it, I’m sure.

The sense of "coming home" when you're in Italy is intriguing. I don't recall experiencing such a thing...but who knows?  Maybe you lived there in a previous life.
Within your varied background, when did writing enter the picture?

I remember writing stories as a child, and I know that before I could physically write the words, I would make them up in my head and draw them out in pictures. At school, I loved creative writing, and also writing about the things I loved – an essay about a Shakespeare play was my idea of heaven! In my teens, it dropped away a lot – I had lots of other things to discover in my teens, I think! Then in later years, I worked some very busy jobs – while free-style creative writing wasn’t such a part of them, I did write training materials and video scripts, so I suppose the writing urge was satisfied that way. Then working in the theatre, well, you work such very long hours - especially if you’re working fixed-term contracts, as I did – and I don’t think I gave writing another thought in all those years. It wasn’t until after the birth of both of my children that I started to even think about writing again, for sheer fun at first, and then the way the publishing world has opened up in the last few years made me realize I could take it more seriously and learn as much as I could about it.  As you know, Celia, my kids are both home-educated, so a lot of my time is spent on that, but while I may be a slow writer, I still love it and can’t imagine ever not doing it in some shape or form.

And now, your novella--Edinburgh Fog. I loved this story about Greg Morton who owns and runs a smart bar-bistro in Edinburgh. Even though he has succeeded in making Teller's successful, something is missing from his life. I'd like you to tell us who is missing and why.
Ah, who is missing?  It’s the love of Greg’s life, Julia Brady.  They had a passionate summer romance some years before, then both went their separate ways – Julia remaining in London to pursue her career as an interior designer, and Greg back to Edinburgh to develop what eventually became Tellers’, as you say. Well, silly boy – he’d been apart from Julia just a short while before he realized just how much he really loved her, but he heard on the grapevine that she’d moved on.  He did then what I suppose a lot of us would do, and just let it be, putting it all down to experience and immersing himself in work.  But one day, Julia appears out of the blue in Tellers’ in Edinburgh, and she’s just as beautiful and lovely as Greg remembers her.  It takes him a while to get over the shock of seeing her, and then once he does, it looks like someone else has set their sights on her!  So the question is – will Greg be a major dork for the second time in his life and let her slip away, or is a second chance with her at all possible?

 The chance meeting with his lost love, Julia, in his own bar sets up a series of events that carry the reader along a fast, breathless journey. I read this story in two evenings...faster readers could finish it in one..and I'd love for you, the readers to consider adding this one to your TBR stack. I highly recommend it. You can find it on Amazon for the nice, affordable price of $2.50. Sorry...I don't know the price in the UK.

Jane, where else can we find Edinburgh Fog? 

You can find all the other e-formats at the MuseItUp Bookstore, here’s the link for that: 

Where can we find YOU?

At my blog/website Home Is Where The Heart Is http://janerichardsonhome.blogspot.com  and I’m on Twitter as @Gimmeahugyou.

Here's the blurb for Edinburgh Fog:
When Greg Morton returned to Edinburgh, it was to follow his dream of opening the smartest bar-bistro in town. Now Tellers’ is a huge success—but the truth is, deep inside, it means little without the love of his life.

Four years ago, he left Julia Brady behind in London to realize his business ambitions in his Scottish home town. By the time he’d recognized his mistake and admitted to himself he wanted her back, the grapevine told him Julia had moved on—and Greg had to face the fact that he’d been a fool.

When Julia appears out of the blue in Tellers’, he knows the only thing he should do is walk right up to her and say hello. But it looks like someone else has their sights set on her, and he’s a quick worker.

Is Julia about to disappear from Greg's life a second time - this time, for good?
Thank you, Jane, for visiting "A Little Bit of Texas." Come back anytime...we'll leave the gate open. Love you.  

Thanks so much, Celia! Love you too, and can’t wait to have you visit my blog on December 9!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas  


  1. Celia, I've so enjoyed getting to spend the day with one of my favourite people ever - YOU!!

    Jane x

  2. We share some favorite things Jane. Hubby and I love treasure hunting in junk shops too and all of my family's Christmas gifts are wrapped in brown paper. It makes them more mysterious don't you think? :)
    ~Rose Anderson

  3. It's always lovely reading about you and your work, Jane. I'm with Celia. I'd love to stop in for a cup of tea and a stroll in your countryside. Hugs!


  4. Rose, I agree! Love the idea of mysterious parcels!
    Good to see you. :)

    Jane x

  5. Hi Maggie - the kettle's on!
    Always a joy to see you, chum. :)

    Jane x

  6. Jane, let me know when you're coming to the US. I'm dying for a Sweedish massage. If not, then you'll see me at your doorstep in Edinburgh. Your story is very appealing. Good to see you here.

  7. Mona, that's a deal - and I'll give you 'mates rates!'
    Thanks for coming in, it's so nice to see you. :)

    Jane x

  8. Holistiic medicine - I used it when I was going through infertility treatments. We tried to have a baby for 10 years...now we have four children. Can't say enough good things about it. :o)

    Our presents are wrapped in the comic section of the newspaper. It's fun and colorful. We use it for birthdays too.

    I've ready about your book on other blogs and like I said then, it has moved to the top of my 'to be read' pile. I think it sounds wonderful!

    Author of Concilium, available July 2012
    Concilium: The Departure, November 2012


  9. Hi Michelle, so nice to see you again! I completely hear you about the holistic therapies and fertility treatments, all kinds of experience with that. :)
    I use comics to wrap gifts too - works great for kids and grown-ups alike, and it's almost like an extra gift!
    Hope you enjoy the story. Lovely to see you. :)

    Jane x

    Jane x

  10. Jane, what a nice interview. I'm happy to "meet" you and look forward to reading your book(s).

  11. Jane, I would love right now to pop over to Edinburgh and ask you to join me for a Mozart symphony and then a stop at Teller's ;-) for a blether about art and holistic medicine (more than we have already!). Celia, you have to join us there.

    Loved the interview!

  12. I realised when I started reading this that you are one of the novelists I would like to meet in person, as well. Maybe we'll meet up in Italy some time?

  13. hello Caroline, good to 'meet' you too! Thanks for coming along. :)

    Jane x

  14. Ooh LK wouldn't that be great! Thanks - I'll be in touch really soon. :)

    Jane x

  15. Jenny, that's so nice of you! Ok, I know a few cafes in a few nice Italian squares, lets make that a date!
    Good to see you. :)

    Jane x

  16. Dear Celia, thank you again for letting me visit Texas for a while - so looking forward to your visit to my own log on Dec 9. It'll be such fun!
    Much love,

    Jane x

  17. Hello Jane. It's so nice to see you again and to learn more about you and your life. I made the mistake of checking Celia's blog before breakfast this morning and just couldn't tear myself away from your interview. I'd like you to know it was your fault my husband's breakfast was late. So now I'm come back to add my post in mid-afternoon. A busy day. I still remember how I loved to hear the BBC announcer pronounce Ed-in-bur-o. Best of luck with your new story with that name. Linda