Author. Publisher. Your basic control freak.
Hailed by The Bookseller as ‘One to Watch’, Jane Davis is the author of nine thought-provoking novels.
Jane spent her twenties and the first half of her thirties chasing promotions in the business world, but when she achieved what she’d set out to do, she discovered that it wasn’t what she wanted after all. It was then that she turned to writing.
After her first novel, Half-Truths and White Lies, won an award which was established with the aim of finding ‘the next Joanne Harris’, it took Jane a little while to work out that all she really wanted to be was a slightly shinier version of herself.
Eight further novels, which straddle contemporary, historical, literary and women’s fiction genres, have earned her comparisons to authors such as Kate Atkinson, Maggie O’Farrell and Jodi Picoult. An Unknown Woman, was Writing Magazine’s Self-Published Book of the Year 2016. Most recently, Smash all the Windows was the winner of The Selfies Award for Best Self-published work of Fiction 2019, awarded at the London Book Fair. Jane's favourite description of fiction is ‘made-up truth’.
Jane lives in Carshalton, Surrey, in what she describes as ‘a totally impractical money-pit of a house’, with her Formula 1 obsessed, beer-brewing partner, who would be considerably happier if she hadn’t turned the dining room table into a writing desk.
When she isn’t writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain in the Lake District with a camera in hand.
I Stopped Time
Wouldn't you feel cheated if the woman you'd imagined was the villain of your childhood turned out to be someone rather extraordinary?
Edwardian Brighton. A wide-eyed girl enters Mr Parker's photographic studio and receives her first lesson about the rising medium that is to shape her life: "Can you think of a really good memory? Perhaps you can see it when you close your eyes. Now think how much better it would be if you could take it out and look at whenever you wanted to!"
2009: Disgraced politician Sir James Hastings has resigned himself to living out his retirement in a secluded Surrey village. He doesn't react when he learns that the mother who had abandoned him dies at the age of 108: he imagined she had died many years ago. Brought up by his father, a charismatic war-hero turned racing driver, the young James, torn between blaming himself and longing, eventually dismissed her as the 'villain' of his childhood. But, when he inherits her life's work - a photography collection spanning over six decades - he is forced to both confront his past and re-evaluate what he wants from his old age. Assisted by student Jenny Jones, who has recently lost her own mother to cancer, Sir James is persuaded to look at the photographs as if he is seeing through his mother's eyes, only to discover an extraordinary tale of courage and sacrifice.
"Three. I have three stories," Lottie Parker tells her solicitor while putting her affairs in order. "But it was Oscar Wilde who said that a story is almost certainly a lie."
These Fragile Things
Parents: Ask yourselves how would you react if your 14-year old daughter claimed to be seeing visions?
Teenagers: would you risk ridicule and scorn - knowing others besides yourself will be affected - to voice a seemingly impossible claim?
As Streatham, South London, still reels from the riots in neighbouring Brixton, Graham Jones, an ordinary father, grows fearful for his teenage daughter Judy who faces a world where the pace of change appears to be accelerating. But even he cannot predict what will happen next. A series of events is about to be unleashed over which he will have no control, and the lives of his family will be turned upside-down.
Judy Jones knows what it means to survive. Having already defied medical predictions, not only surviving after she was buried when a wall collapsed, but learning to walk again. She understands that she is changed. She has even learned to love her scars. But when Judy claims to be seeing visions, her father will call it a miracle, and, the headline-hungry press will label her The Miracle Girl.
Horrified that her only child is becoming public property, Elaine’s claim on her daughter seems to be diminishing. Present when she came close to losing Judy a first time - knowing it was the paramedics and surgeons who saved her - she demands a medical explanation.
But Judy, refusing to become caught up in her parents’ emotional tug-of-war, is adamant. She must tread her own path, wherever it takes her.
Delusion, deception, diabolic - or is it just possible that Judy’s apparitions are authentic?
These Fragile Things Chapter sample Book Reviews
A Funeral for an Owl
What kind of a boy would it take to convince two high school teachers to risk their careers?
“Let me tell you what I’m willin’ to do for you. We start a new gang. Very exclusive. You and me.”
Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo - even those that might benefit a student.
“Promise me one thing, Sir. If you decide you gotta pick up that phone, you tell me first so that I can disappear myself. Because I ain’t havin’ none of that.”
What kind of boy would cause Jim to risk his career? A boy who can clothe a word in sarcasm; disguise disdain with respect. So what is it that Jim finds he has in common with 14-year-old Shamayal Thomas as they study the large framed photograph of an owl that hangs above the fireplace? It is Aimee White’s owl, to be specific. At least, that's how Jim thinks of it.
“The wings, all spread out and that? They’re kind of like an angel’s.”
A rule-keeper, Ayisha Emmanuelle believes the best way to avoid trouble is by walking away. But, arriving on the scene of what appears to be a playground fight, that isn’t an option. To her horror she finds her colleague Jim Stevens has been stabbed. In the messy aftermath, when Shamayal discloses that he and Jim are friends, Ayisha’s first duty is to report her colleague. But, not knowing if he will pull through, something makes her hesitate. Now, all she can do is wait to see if her instinct was justified. And waiting is something Ayisha has never been very good at.
A Funeral for an Owl Chapter sample Book Reviews
An Unchoreographed Life
At six years old, Belinda Brabbage has amassed a wealth of wisdom and secret worries. She knows all the best hiding places in her Worlds End flat, how to zap monsters with her pig-shaped torch and that strangers will tempt you into their cars with offers of Fizzy Fish. Even so, it’s impossible to know how to behave when you don’t really understand who you are. Mummy doesn’t like to be plagued with questions about her family but, when she isn’t concentrating, she lets small nuggets slip, and Belinda collects them all, knowing they are pieces of a complicated jigsaw.
Exhausted single mother Alison hasn’t been able to picture the future for some time. Struggling from day to day, the ultimatums she sets herself for turning her life around slip by. But there is one clock she cannot simply re-set. Deny it though she may, Belinda is growing up. Having stumbled across Alison’s portfolio that mapped her life as a prima ballerina, her daughter already has a clearer idea of who she once was. Soon she’ll be able to work out for herself who she is - and what she does for a living.
With options running out, Alison travels to London’s suburbs to consult a blind clairvoyant, who transports her to a past she feels exiled from. However unlikely they sound, his visions of pelicans and bookshelves appear to herald change. A chance meeting with an affluent couple affords a glimpse of the life Alison desperately wants for her daughter. But can their offer of friendship be trusted?
An Unchoreographed Life Chapter sample Book Reviews
Half Truths and White Lies
When Tom Fellows proclaims that a Venn diagram is a far better way of illustrating modern family ties than a traditional tree, his young daughter Andrea has no idea that he is referring to their own situation. It is only when she loses both parents in a shocking car accident that she takes an interest in her own genealogy and begins to realise that her perfect upbringing was not all that it seemed…
Half-truths & White Lies is a beautifully crafted, thought-provoking novel that questions the influence of the people who are missing from our lives. It examines the thin line between love and friendship, looking at our complex emotional needs. It also explores how one woman’s life is dictated by her desire for children, whilst another’s is shaped by her decision not to have them.
Winner of the 2008 Daily Mail First Novel Award Book Reviews
An Unknown Woman
‘If we are what we own, who are we when we have nothing?’
When you look in the mirror and ask the person staring back, Who are you? do you know the answer?
At the age of forty-six, Anita Hall knows exactly who she is. She has lived with partner Ed for fifteen years and is proud of all they’ve achieved. They go out into the world separately: Ed with one eye on the future in the world of finance; Anita with one foot the past, a curator at Hampton Court Palace. This is the life she has chosen – choices that weren’t open to her mother’s generation – her dream job, equal partnership, freedom from the monotony of parenthood, living mortgage-free in a quirky old house she adores. The future seems knowable and secure.
But then Anita finds herself standing in the middle of the road watching her home and everything inside it burn to the ground. Before she can come to terms with the magnitude of her loss, hairline cracks begin to appear in her perfect relationship. And returning to her childhood home in search of comfort, she stumbles upon the secret that her mother has kept hidden, a taboo so unspeakable it can only be written about.
The reflection in the mirror may look the same. But everything has changed.
An Unknown Woman Chapter sample Book Reviews
Second Chapter, the box-set
A collection of three novels from an award winning author
‘Jane Davis crafts imaginative ideas into beautiful prose. Each book is a jewel so this box set is a trove of treasures.’ J J Marsh, Founder of Triskele Books and Author of the Beatrice Stubbs Series
Like Margaret Atwood, Davis seems to be able to conjour a fresh, new voice and style for every story, be it a man’s rediscovery of his mother through her photographs, the taboo of pupil/teacher relationships outside the classroom or a haunting tale of a young girl and her visions. But what do the featured novels have in common? Says Davis: ‘It took me some time to work out that the common theme running through my novels is the influence that missing persons have in our lives. In my experience, that influence can actually be greater than that of those who are present. In I Stopped Time, it was an estranged mother. I addressed the theme head-on in A Funeral for an Owl which considers teenage runaways. And in These Fragile Things mother Elaine is obsessed by the child she lost, almost to the exclusion of the child she has. Fiction is never going to provide a complete answer, but it does force both writer and reader to walk in another person’s shoes. And, in many ways, it is the exploration and not the answer that is important.’
My Counterfeit Self
From the award-winning author of Half-truths and White Lies, comes an emotional story of hidden identities, complicated passions and tangled truths.
‘A compelling portrayal of the bohemian life of an activist poet, the men she loves, and the issues she fights for.’ Eleanor Steele, author
A rose garden. A woman with white hair. An embossed envelope from the palace.
Lucy Forrester, for services to literature, you are nominated for a New Year’s Honour.
Her hands shake. But it’s not excitement. It’s rage.
For five decades, she’s performed angry poems, attacked government policy on everything from Suez to Trident, chained herself to embassy railings, marched, chanted and held placards high.
Lucy knows who she is. Rebel, activist, word-wielder, thorn in the side of the establishment. Not a national bloody treasure.
Whatever this is – a parting gesture, a final act of revenge, or the cruellest of jokes – it can only be the work of one man. Dominic Marchmont, outspoken literary critic and her on/off lover of fifty years, whose funeral begins in under an hour.
Perhaps, suggests husband Ralph, the invitation isn’t the insult it seems? What if Dominic – the man they both loved – has left her an opportunity?
‘Completely gripping, excellently written and skilfully put together, I can't recommend My Counterfeit Self highly enough.’ ~ Isabel Wolff, author of Ghostwritten