Available to come to book groups? Yes
Available to give talks? Yes
Available for school visits? Yes
My earlier career was a somewhat haphazard one, including stints as foreign newsdesk secretary at The Observer, cook on an outback cattle station, production assistant at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, TEFL teacher in Jakarta and French-speaking interpreter on expedition in Cameroon. I had no interest in being a writer, but after a number of years spent working and travelling around the world in search of wide horizons, I decided (for reasons that are still unclear to me) that I wanted to do a PhD in medieval history.
I then had to find a way of funding a return to university. Like many before me, I lit upon the notion that writing for Mills & Boon would be an easy way to make money. I soon learnt my mistake, and was promptly rejected, but after two more rejections my first book was published in 1991. As Jessica Hart, I have been writing romances ever since, and my 59th is out in February 2013. Please see my Jessica Hart page for more details.
At the time, I had no idea how uncertain the life of a writer could be, but as things turned out I was able to fund first an M.A., and then a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of York through my writing. My thesis, on the street and the perception of public space in later medieval and early modern York, was completed in 2004, and I am continuing to work (very slowly) on a scholarly edition of the wardmote court records which formed the basis of my research.
The more I learn about the history of York, the more fascinating I find it. The relationship between the past and the present is an endlessly intriguing one, and is the core theme of any ‘time slip’. Writing Time’s Echo was an opportunity to combine everything I’d learnt about the 16th-century city with everything I’d learnt about writing over the past 20 years. Time’s Echo was launched with a party in the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in Fossgate in September 2012, and The Memory of Midnight will be released later in 2013. Both novels are set partly in the present and partly in Elizabethan York and are part ghost story, part historical novel, with an element of psychological thriller and a seasoning of romance.
I live in York, with the city walls and the Minster at the end of the street. In addition to writing (fiction and non-fiction) and research, I teach occasional writing courses and am a freelance project editor for high quality illustrated books, including York Minster: A Living Legacy, Lincoln Cathedral: A Journey from Past to Present, and The York Merchant Adventurers and their Hall.
The Memory of Midnight
Pan Macmillan, 2013. Paperback
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Set in York? Yes
Description: Returning to York in an attempt to put her disastrous marriage behind her, Tess finds memories of a past that is not her own surfacing with disturbing effect. Torn between two worlds, she must unlock the secrets of the past before she can free herself once and for all.
Reviews: ‘a terrific novel’ Elizabeth Buchan
‘A brilliant and bristling spine-chiller’ Pendle Today
‘a rattling good read’ The Press
Find out more and buy from: Author’s Website l Amazon
Pan Macmillan, 2012. Paperback, e-book
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction
Set in York? Yes
Description: Set in present day and Elizabethan York, Time’s Echo is part ghost story, part historical novel, with a dash of psychological thriller and seasoning of romance – a tale of obsession and jealousy, of love and hate and warped desire.
Reviews: ‘A superbly haunting time-tripping story…’ Evening Telegraph (Peterborough)
‘York author Hartshorne weaves her own bit of magic with this bewitching tale.’ Northern Echo
Awards: Finalist, Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for Best Novel with a Strong Romantic Element 2013 and shortlisted for the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romantic Novel 2013.
Find out more from: Author’s website l Publisher’s website
Buy from: Amazon