Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight with Jane Richardson

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s special guest is friend and fellow Wild Rose author Jane Richardson. Jane is here to chat with us about
A Different Kind of Honesty. But first, here’s a little about Jane, followed by a blurb and excerpt.

I’m a Scots-born girl currently residing on the
usually sunny south-coast of England
with my husband and two children, several felines and a pooch.
You’ll have guessed that chaos is the natural order of things around the
Richardson household. ;-)
I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of great careers in my life before I became
a mum – the first as a management trainer, totally people-oriented and very rewarding,
and the second as a deputy stage manager in the theatre, my first love.
I worked mostly in the world of opera, and loved every single minute of it.
Between stage management jobs I worked with a costumier, and also did a bit of wardrobe
work and ‘dressing’ - I can whip an actor down to his undies before you can say ‘to
be, or not to be,’ or possibly, ‘has the fat lady sung yet?’
Sadly – or possibly happily?? – I can also dress them just as fast – ha!
A few years ago I also trained and qualified as a holistic therapist, so it’s fair
to say I’ve Been About A Bit!

A Different Kind of Honesty, contemporary romance published by The Wild Rose Press
in paperback or e-book, ISBN 1-60154-218-6.
Link -
Always the one who ends relationships before they’ve barely begun, it’s way out of
character for Maggie Lawless to take a risk with a man she hardly knows. But when
she meets a man in a seedy
New York City
diner, she senses a truth about him, a sincerity like no-one she’s ever met before.
Tony Valentino is an FBI agent fresh from a long-term undercover operation that’s
left his life in tatters. His marriage over, separated from his children and with
nowhere to call home, he’s frustrated and angry. All that keeps him going is the
sweet memory of a brief encounter with a beautiful woman, though it wakes him from
crazy dreams that leave his mouth dry and his sheets soaked with sweat. When he meets
her again, it’s obvious the fire that burned so briefly between them never really
went out...but as their affair rekindles, both Tony and Maggie find the very people
they thought they could trust are the first to turn against them.

Maggie had a secret, a naughty, naughty secret....thought she got away with it six
months ago, but she’s been caught out.
Now it’s time to confess all to best friend Danny.
‘Leaning her chin on her hand, Maggie looked at him a moment before she decided to
take the plunge.
“Danny, when I was in New York
, I, um...had a fling. A brief thing, a one-nighter.”
“What?” He looked incredulous. “You told me you were only actually
in New York for one night! Bloody hell, you didn’t hang about, did you?” He started to laugh.
“I thought you gave up one night stands after the college days.”
“I did,” she squirmed. “But this was different. Sort of.”
“Ah.” He nodded in an annoyingly superior, knowing way. “A head over heels, caution
to the wind, never to be repeated special offer, eh?”
She gave a short, embarrassed laugh. “Something like that. Actually, a lot like that.”
“Aw, so sweet, my little chicky!” He reached out a hand and patted hers. “But it’s
not as if it was your first time, or your last, let’s hope. So why all the panting
ingénue stuff?”
She sighed, a mix of wistfulness and longing that surprised her. “Because here’s
the thing,” she said, her thumbnail between her teeth. “And you are not going to
believe this.”
“Try me, girlfriend.” He took a swig of Bud. “There’s something hot about this one,
I can tell.”
“It was him.”
Danny creased his brow as he pretended to think hard. “Nope. I’m going to need a
little more than ‘him’, I’m afraid.”
Maggie cleared her throat, suddenly feeling nervous. “ was the guy we met
today. Valentino. Tony Valentino.”
Danny’s lips wiggled around an ooo. “You are kidding me! Absolutely no way!”
“Yes, way,” she said miserably.
“I don’t believe it! Are you sure?”
“Well, of course
I’m bloody sure! It’s not like I do it every day!”
He opened and closed his mouth in delight. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? You
spend one night in
New York, sleep with the FBI, and you keep that to yourself? You selfish cow! I may never speak to you again!”
She shook her head and kept her voice low. “No, Danny, listen. The reason I didn’t
tell you is because I shouldn’t have done it.”
Danny’s elbows slipped off the table in mock astonishment. “What are you talking
about, you shouldn’t have done it? What, with that hunk?” He curled his lip in disbelief.
“Hell, I’d shag him and I’m straight.”
Picking up her water, she paused with the bottle at her lips. “Somehow, I suspect
you’re not his type. What with not being a girlie and all.”
“For a guy like that, I’d change. And I’ll pump you for the sordid details in a minute,
Lawless. What the hell do you mean you shouldn’t have done it?” He pulled a face.
“C’mon, he’s gorgeous, even more gorgeous than me, if that’s possible. I don’t see
the problem.”
Maggie flopped against her seat and heaved a sigh that came right up from her boots.
“Think about it. I meet this guy called Joey Pescolloni. He won’t tell me what he
does for a living, says he has bits of business here and there. The guys he knows
all have shiny suits and signet rings.”
She peered at him to see if any of this was sinking in. It wasn’t. She tried again.
“Look. He takes me to a place called, oh, I don’t remember, La Speranza or La Gondola
or something. Everybody in the place is flashing big bundles of cash.” She tipped
her head to one side. “Is this waving any flags at you yet?”
Danny did his worst Robert de Niro impression, lifting his shoulders right up to
his ears, his hands open in front of him in supplication. “So whaddya know, he’s
Italian, he likes pasta? Badda boom, badda bing!”
“Exactly! Badda...whatever. That thing you said.”
Danny’s jaw dropped halfway to the table. “Oh, my giddy aunt,” he said, leaning on
each word as realization began to dawn. “You thought he was Mafia! Some wise-assed wiseguy!”
She covered her face with her hands. “Yes, I did, I did...”
”So why the hell didn’t you just walk?” He couldn’t contain his laughter now. “You
know, ‘excuse me while I powder my nose’ and just leg it through the bathroom window?”
Maggie squeaked. She opened her hands a tiny gap and peeked out. “Danny, you know
why, you said it yourself! He’s gorgeous!”
“Ah.” He folded his arms and looked down at her in smug satisfaction. “I get it.
You were already too far gone in lust and Lambrusco. Lawless, you total trollop!”
She slumped onto the table, her head on her arms. “I’m not,” she said in a small
voice. “I’m female and breathing, any woman would have done the same.” She looked
up, trying to retain what little dignity she had left. “And it was a rather nice
pinot grigio, thank you. Not Lambrusco.”
“Whatever. He plied you with booze and had his wicked way. Or you plied him. Stop
kicking me under the table.”
“You deserve it. Anyway, it wasn’t like that. I just fancied him like mad and when
I realized he felt the same, well, you know…”
“There was no stopping you.”
“There was no stopping either of us.” A sudden pang of sweet memory made her gasp.
“Oh, Danny, it was quite a night.”
The waitress arrived with their order and an enthusiasm that had by now tipped over
into dementia. Maggie wondered if she would tell them to be sure and eat up all their
vegetables because it would make them nice and strong. She fired a look at Danny,
telling him in no uncertain terms to shut up until they were done. She smiled her
thanks at the waitress, who beamed beatifically at them one more time and went off
to bestow her blessings on some other lucky customers.
Danny attempted to lift up a burger as big as the plate it sat on without losing
any of it. “So, am I getting the gory details? Coz I want to be sitting somewhere
cozy with another beer in one hand and a ciggie in the other.”
“I’m not telling you anything else, you dirty sod.” She pushed her salad around the
plate with her fork, then stabbed a chunk of tuna and peered at it before she dropped
“Are you going to eat that or just torture it?” he asked, chewing happily. “Anyway,
there is one thing you absolutely do have to tell me.”
She looked at him, eyebrows raised. ”And that would be what?”
“That would be, what are you going to do about it now?”
“What do you mean, now?” She stared at him in horror. “Nothing!”
“Aw, do me a favour.” He licked mayonnaise from the side of his hand. “I twigged
the way he was looking at you when the lights went back on in that room. I thought
it was coz he was looking forward to an introduction. I didn’t know he’d already
had the pleasure.”
Maggie dropped her fork on her plate with a clatter. “You’re making that up.”
“I bloody am not. You think I don’t know how a bloke looks when he’s thinking about
rampant sex? I see it every time I look in a mirror. Trust me, he’s got the same
fond memories of your sordid little adventure as you.” He dipped a French fry the
size of a house brick in some ketchup and munched, speaking with his mouth full.
“Possibly even fonder.”

Sharon: Well, if that’s not enough to get your blood pumping! Let’s give a warm welcome to Jane Richardson!

Jane struts on stage, dancing and snapping her fingers to “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen. Shrouded in a kaleidoscope of neon lights, she grabs the microphone and belts it out for all she’s worth at the top of her lungs.

The song ends and Jane takes a sweeping bow as thunderous applause explodes through cyber space.

Sharon: Still clapping, races to hug Jane. Girl, you weren’t kidding when you said you could belt it out! Welcome. Have a seat. You’re just in time for Happy Hour! How about it, Jane. Bet your pipes are dry after that singing, huh?

Jane: Parched! All that breathing from the diaphragm does a girl no good, you know!

Sharon: Oh, Oliver, do bring us our cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, please.

Oliver struts out, balancing a sterling silver tray above his head. With a wicked wink, he presents a perfectly chilled glass of white wine to Jane, leaving the other on the tray. With great finesse, he unveils his culinary delight, warm crusty bread dribbling with Bleu cheese. Scooping up a piece, he feeds it to Jane. His eyes glaze over. Snatching a crisp white linen napkin, he dabs the crumbs from Jane’s lips. With a sigh, he brings the napkin to his mouth and kisses it. His eyes roll to the back of his head. He clears is throat. Might I be so bold as to request your autograph, Ms. Richardson?

Jane: Oliver, it would be my pleasure. Now, left bicep or right? Left! Okay, there you go!

Sharon: (reaches for her own wine and bread) Ah, that will be all, Oliver. I’ll call when we’re ready for dessert.

Oliver swaggers off, belting out his own version of “I’m on Fire!”

Sharon: Sigh. So Jane, let’s chat a bit about A Different Kind of Honesty. Your excerpt drew me right in. I felt as if I were really there, sharing a secret with a friend while hanging out while having a bite to eat. This is what I consider good writing, the ability to draw the reader in. Does this come natural to you?

Jane: I don’t think that it does, you know! I find it very difficult to hit ‘the groove’ in writing, but when it happens, it’s wonderful. Maggie was a character I had from a while before I began ‘Honesty’ in its final version, but when her best friend Danny (in the excerpt above) came along, the whole thing took off. Danny appeared fully-formed, right there on the page in front of me – a real gift. The relationship between him and Maggie really got ‘the groove’ going for me.
So many people have said how much they love the patter between them, their obvious affection for each other. I think I was writing down some of the ‘best friend’ friendships I’ve had in my life, especially with blokes, where there’s no element of romance, but you love each other to bits. So yes, maybe writing what I know well maybe helps to draw the reader in, because I felt utterly confident with that element of the book.

Sharon: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. Putting bits and pieces of our own lives into a story brings it to life. And I love the name of your hero, Tony Valentino. It conjures up such romantic fantasies. Ooh la la! For me, it makes me think of the Hollywood legend Rudolph Valentino, and his legendary tango dancing. Can you share with us the reason why you chose the name Tony Valentino as your hero?

Jane: Believe it or not, a friend of a friend actually worked with a guy with that name years ago. When I first heard it, I thought it was the most wonderful, evocative name, and I guess it just stuck with me. When I needed an Italian/American hero, a guy who completely swept my heroine off her feet maybe just like the Valentino of the movies would have done, then that name suited him perfectly.

Sharon: I love it! And Tony is an FBI agent. How or where do you do your research?

Jane: The research for this story actually began a long time before the story began to form. I’ve always been interested in the concept of anyone who ‘acts’ for a living – and by that I mean not just actors or singers, but people who have to adopt a persona to the extreme. Undercover police or agents of any kind must be right at the top of that category. The concept of two people in the same skin fascinates me – as Tony says of his time as his alias, Joey Pescolloni,, ‘it was like being both of us, him on the outside, me on the inside.’ I read lots of biographies of those real-life guys, watched a lot of movies, listened to many interviews, to find out how they viewed themselves and the job they did. The internet is invaluable for basic facts, like the training Maggie would have gone through as an officer in the Metropolitan police in London, for example.
I long ago lost any aversion to simply asking people for help, too! For a story I’m working on now, I met some amazingly well-informed people through the internet who’ve given me masses of technical, factual information, coupled with little details the layman might not find out any other way other than actually talking to an expert. I’ve also spent a lot of time getting to know the local history of my own area here in Sussex in the UK, and what happened during WWII. I’ve been visiting volunteer-run museums, where you can actually meet people with direct experience of the thing you’re researching - you just can’t beat first-hand accounts. I’ve talked to guys who re-build WWII fighter planes, and again, I get factual stuff as well as snippets or little gems of info I wouldn’t have got just by reading a book. I’m constantly awed and often humbled by the personal experiences I’ve been privileged to hear.

Sharon: Now that’s what I’d call doing your research and going the extra mile to make it real. Sound advice to all authors. I love the name Maggie Lawless, very original. How did you come up with this name? Also, can you tell us a bit about Maggie?

Jane: Maggie is one of my many middle names, and it started off as a sort of default name until I ‘got’ her better – but it stuck. Lawless – I ran a finger along the spines of the books on my bookshelf hoping for inspiration, and found it! It works nicely with her first name, and I thought there was something quite neat about a police officer with the name ‘Lawless!’
About Maggie….well, professionally, she’s up there with the boys. She’s a Detective Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police, and they have a reputation for, em, shall we say, not messing around! She’s tipped to go all the way to the top – but she’s having second thoughts. Is this what she really wants out of life? Is there something else, maybe something more? I think she goes through what many ‘career women’ go through at different points in their lives, and while the idea of meeting someone, settling down and having kids is the last thing on her conscious mind, I think there’s a part of her just wondering…..’what if I never do?’ When she meets Tony in his undercover role, even though she suspects he’s pretty shady, there’s something about him that awakens a part of her she never knew before. And that kicks off all these ‘what am I doing with my life’ thoughts she’s having when we first meet her.
Maggie’s had a lot of losses in her life, too. Her parents are long dead, and though she has a sister, she lives abroad and Maggie rarely sees her. She sees a lot of hard stuff in her job, and then when she finds out the truth about Tony’s FBI background, his part in breaking up a massive organized crime syndicate and the subsequent fall-out that threatens his safety – well, once upon a time, her first instinct would have been self-preservation. But with this man….things are different. He’s ‘The One.’ He’s the impetus she needed to face the changes she needs to make - as she says, stopping her pattern, the same wheel turning over and over. She takes complete control of her life for the first time ever. Unfortunately, at one point, that means having to forget about Tony….but read the book, and you’ll find out what happens!

Sharon: Again, Jane, you have touched on something so many women battle with. This is why your book draws us in. It’s like reading about ourselves and our dearest friends. A Different Kind of Honesty is contemporary. Is this your favorite kind of genre to read and write in?

Jane: For writing, yes, pretty much, though I’m working on something now with an element of mid- 20th century history. That’s far enough away for me - I don’t think I could go back further than a couple of generations. Reading, yes, it’s usually contemporary or 20th century at a push. I’ll sometimes read historicals, if they’re about time periods that interest me particularly. Having said that, some writers could write any period they liked and I’d still pick them up regardless. One that springs to mind is Tracey Chevalier, of ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’ fame. She’s covered a whole range of historical periods, but her own voice is so strong and perfectly developed that you don’t notice the period she’s writing, in a way. I don’t want to be thinking about the details, I just want to believe the writer has done all that for me! And if their voice is convincing enough, then I’m happy.

Sharon: Now on a different note, I’d like to mention a subject that as you know, is quite near and dear to my heart. Juvenile diabetes. The JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) is fighting hard for a cure. You are donating proceeds of this book to JDRF. As a type 1 diabetic, I would like to take this opportunity to commend you. Thank you, Jane. Thank you for supporting this cause.

Jane: Well, as you know, Sharon, my 11-year old son is also Type 1 diabetic, so this is something I live with through him, every day. I know people do have their own special causes that they support, and I know how hard it is when there are so many causes that desperately need funding for research all the time. But I’d just say to anyone who’s read any of my writing and enjoyed it, or read any of yours too, Sharon – if they’re ever thinking of making a charitable donation, please think of JDRF first.

Sharon: Thank you, Jane. Well said. Now let’s talk about your former career as a deputy stage manager in the theatre. I find this absolutely fascinating! And this was mostly with the opera. Now, Jane, surely you must have met some interesting people along the way. And I’ll just bet you have a ton of exciting stories from these days in theatre. Can you share a favorite or two, something that has special momentum for you?

Jane: Well, it WAS fascinating - though it was also ridiculously hard work, with very silly hours and not much pay! The thing is, none of that matters, because at the end of the day, you’re completely immersed in a world you love, and what on earth could be more wonderful than that?
I was incredibly lucky to work with so many fantastic people, both on the artistic and technical sides. As well as wonderful singers, I’ve worked with some major designers and directors, people who are hugely respected in their fields, and that was something I always loved.
I was also fortunate to work with several companies who existed solely for the purpose of developing young but truly exciting singers, by giving them access to the best guest directors, teachers and coaches, and making sure that they’d been seen by agents from many of the world’s top opera companies. You can imagine what a THRILL it is for me when I see a name I know listed in a production at Glyndebourne or the Royal Opera House, or an international house. And it also makes me giggle when I think of how I ‘shush’d!’ them in the wings, or had to fix awkward bits of costume in equally awkward places, very often in the dark, while trying not to turn a baritone’s burgeoning career into that of a falsetto with one mistimed thrust of a safety pin. Ouch!

I’ve worked in many amazing places, but the most magical would be a whole summer in Umbria in Italy, the venue being an ancient, restored monastery. What an experience that was. We had barely any electricity except what we were able to hook into for the final rehearsals and performances.

All our clothes and dishes were washed by hand, and everyone was expected to pile in and help with food preparation, dishing up, and washing up afterwards – this for around eighty people. Everything and everyone was brought in for the productions – artists, crew, equipment, costume, the orchestras and their instruments, and everyone lived on-site for the summer. The showers were the type with a just a spray head poking out of the wall and nothing but a grating in the floor to drain the water away, but you could shower with the window shutters wide open and look out onto a magical landscape of olives and cypress trees – and if that wasn’t good enough for you, you could go and shower in the garden, as long as you could whistle loud!

We drew our wine and our olive oil from great steel containers lodged in cool cellars, and the man who grew both lunched with us every day. All the food was local, and despite eating breakfast and two huge, cooked meals a day, I don’t think I’ve ever been so healthy – or so slim!

One of the pieces I worked on was a world premier. It was rehearsed with just piano accompaniment, until the first full rehearsal with the singers and the orchestra. It was quite magical to be standing in the silence of the monastery courtyard, then hear the first notes strike up, knowing that you were amongst the first people anywhere, ever, to hear what had been in the composer’s mind when he wrote it. Not even the composer had truly heard what he’d written till that moment, and that was very special.

Opera is intensive – to say it’s a passion is no exaggeration. Everyone who works in opera, from the most emotional singer to the most hardened stagehand gets touched by it, somehow. It’s like no other part of theatre I’ve ever worked in, and it certainly bears no resemblance to any other job I’ve ever done.

Sharon: Bravo! You amaze me, Jane! What life experiences you have to reminisce over and share with others. Let’s hear it for Jane Richardson! Sharon stands up to applaud Jane and the audience follows in glorious exultation!

Sharon: Oh, here comes Oliver with dessert.

Oliver, costumed in his Phantom of the Opera attire, wheels the caddy out, his deep baritone echoing off the walls. In grand continental flair, he presents a decadent tiramisu, rich in cocoa, espresso and a generous dollop of booze. Still singing, his untrained opera voice rises to an ear-splitting crescendo that shatters the wine glasses. Pumping his biceps, Oliver slices the tiramisu, pours the coffee and serves Jane with a sweeping bow.

Jane: Coffee and Tiramisu! Oliver, you buttle beautifully - I can honestly say I’ve never seen such exquisite buttling!

Oliver blushes and passes out, still grinning.

Sharon: That’s enough, Oliver! No need to demonstrate your theatrics for Jane. She’s on to you, I fear. Now go away!! So Jane, you love to cook. Just don’t tell Oliver or he’ll be at your door. LOL Do you have a favorite recipe or cuisine you enjoy cooking?

Jane: I know! His cutsey little nose pressed up against the kitchen window, sniffing away. I don’t know what the neighbors will think! I love to cook pretty much anything. I was 100% vegetarian for years, though now I eat fish but no red meat or poultry. Vegetarian cooking is my favourite because I guess it’s what I’m most familiar with. And yes, I am that odd breed of person who can actually cook with weird stuff like bean curd and lentils and actually enjoy it! I’ll invent things, or substitute veggie or fish options for any recipe that takes my fancy.
Italian food is of course my favourite, and no-one but NO-ONE does desserts like the Italians do!

You want recipes? You want easy-peasy? Okay – for our fish eaters, Smoked Fish Pie is a weeknight staple in the Richardson household. Slice a couple of big tomatoes and make one layer on the bottom of a dish. Season with pepper, but no salt – you don’t want the juices coming out too much. Scatter over a handful of frozen peas. Add a layer of smoked white fish like cod or haddock cut up into one-inch chunks, and use the loin cut if you can get it – fillets are too thin. Top the lot with a layer of mashed potatoes, and bake till you see the fish is cooked when you stick a fork in it, about 30 minutes or so. I serve this up was lovely leafy greens, and it’s a hit every time.

Another one, veggie this time, is called Rosie Red Soup, as it’s my daughter’s favourite! Cook off a chopped onion and as much garlic as you like, three or four cloves wouldn’t be too much, in a little olive oil. Then add any combination of finely diced veg that you like – I go for carrots, celery, leek, peas, and courgette – that’s zucchini to my US friends. Then add a couple of the dark leaves of a Savoy cabbage, finely sliced. Let the veggies soften a while, adding a little water if you need to, then add the chopped celery leaves and a good tablespoon of chopped parsley. Then tip in one 14ox can (or thereabouts!) of drained and rinsed borlotti beans, and the same size can of chopped tomatoes. If you have any good, ripe fresh tomatoes that need using up, chop those and tip ‘em in as well. Add water or vegetable stock – this soup shouldn’t be thick like a stew, but thin like a really fresh summer soup. Simmer the lot gently till the vegetables are tender, then drop in a good amount of chopped fresh basil leaves – a more-than-generous handful. You serve this up in individual bowls, and hand round freshly grated Parmesan cheese for everyone to sprinkle over the soup, together with a drizzle of your very best extra virgin olive oil. Italy in a bowl!

Sharon: Yum! My mouth is watering. Thanks, Jane. I’ll copy those and look forward to trying them. I love to cook, too! Okay then. Just a few more questions. I adore superstitions and traditions. Can you share one or two with me? I love collecting them. Ah, go on, blame it on my romantic heart or Irish heritage. But I’m shamelessly superstitious. Do you have a favorite?

Jane: Well, I’m not at all superstitious on a personal level, but working in the theatre, superstitions abound, and woe betide you if you pooh-pooh them!

Let’s think – one must never mention Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish Play’ in a dressing room if it’s not the play being performed – or some people say you can mention it, but never quote from it. Either way, if you make that dreadful blunder, you must leave the dressing room, close the door, turn around three times and say ‘Angels and ministers of grace defend us!’ then knock to be let back in. Why, I’m not sure exactly, except that there are stories of terrible disasters happening during performances of said play.
What else – oh, you must never whistle in the wings – that brings down an awful wrath on your head! Actually, it’s thought to come from the days when signals were given from backstage to the guys in ‘the flies,’ in other words, the guys who worked on those hidden platforms way above the stage whose job it is to drop those big pieces of scenery and backdrop by means of long ropes. If you whistled and accidentally gave a signal to them, and they let a piece go…..ewwww. You can imagine the possible consequences for the people on stage! Nowadays it’s all done by means of radio headsets, but still – you never, ever whistle in the wings.
Oh, and never wish an actor ‘good luck!’ The malevolent spirits you’d invite…..! It’s ‘break a leg,’ always. With singers, it’s ‘toi-toi,’ but I’ve never had that one explained to me, ever. In theatre, you don’t ask – you just do it!

Sharon: Oh, awesome! So many more to add to my list! And that brings us to my final three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Jane: Where would I live? Oh, so many places come to mind, the most obvious to anyone who knows me being a northern Italian hill town. I love Assisi, and think I could live there quite happily.
Literary fiction, now, oh my gosh, that’s difficult. I’d choose Charlotte Grey, from Sebastian Faulks’ novel and the movie. Charlotte was so in love, she set off to find her missing lover, a British airman, in worn-torn France, and of course, she – well, I won’t spoil the movie or the book for you if you don’t know it yet, but it’s a superb story.
My romantic hero – Oliver, cover your ears - Johnny Depp, no question. No matter what period, no matter what character, he could play it no problem, he has such a great talent. He also seems to take on projects simply because he believes in them, and not just because they’re what’s expected of him or because they bring in the bucks. I respect that so much, so he’d be my guy, every time..

Sharon: Well, Jane, dear friend, that brings us to the end of our interview. It’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back. Thank you for being my guest today. Can you tell readers where they can get in touch with you and where they can purchase your books:

Jane: Sharon, I have LOVED being your guest! It’s such a pleasure to know you, and it means a lot to me to be able to call you a friend. Lots of love and luck to you!
I can be contacted any time at My book A Different Kind of Honesty, and my short story Perfect Strangers are both available from The Wild Rose Press. Oh, and my video trailer for Perfect Strangers is up at You Gotta Read Videos right now too – go to, and if you like it best, you might decide to vote for it! Oops, hang on, who’s this? Oh, my - I think Oliver is after me! Byeeee!

Oliver appears, costumed as Valentino. As I’m on Fire blasts through cyber space, he takes Jane by the hand, doing his most dazzling tango!


Sharon Donovan said...

Hello and welcome, Jane! What a fascinating guest you are! You have so much to share with us today, do grab a seat and Oliver will be right out with refreshments. Let me begin first by saying A Different Kind of Honesty proudly sits in my possession. And after reading that great excerpt, I cannot wait to read it! Now I'm sure the guests will love to chat with you as much as I do. And here comes Oliver, still singing your favorite song I'm on Fire! And he has your perfectly chilled white wine and some warm crusty bread with Blue cheese...and what's this? He's presenting you with a white rose and chocolates!

lastnerve said...

Hi guys! LOL - I can picture Oliver singing I'm on Fire. I can't stay today but just wanted to stop by before school. A different Kind of Honesty looks like a really good book and I can't wait to read it. I am sorry I won't be able to stay and chat but I am taking one of these chocolates with me on my way out.


Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Sharon - hi Jane - oh, er thanks for the chocolate Oliver, - if you could just take your admiring glance away from Jane for a second so I can take it...thanks.

Jane, you know how much I enjoyed this book, I loved all the characters and the plot was full of twists and turns and surprises.
I'm not normally a fan of 'contemporaries' preferring the distant past or the far future, so the fact I enjoyed 'A Different Kind Of Honesty' so much is a tribute to your talent and gift for writing page turners.

Fascinating to hear about your 'showbiz' career too, an I love opera so was fascinated by your 'behind the scenes' snippets.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hi Sharon! It's so lovely to be part of your blog today, not to mention finally meeting Oliver in person at last! Mmm, warm bread, cheese and chilled white wine, I'm happy. Let me tuck that rose behind my ear, and pass the chocolates around!
I do hope you enjoy 'Honesty' when you read it, Sharon. :)

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Val, thanks for swinging by! Nice to see you - enjoy the choccies!

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Lyn, I was DELIGHTED when you tld me how much you'd enjoyed A Different Kind of Honesty. Knowing that you usually read ( and write so beautifully)in other genres, it meant a huge amount to me that you not only waanted to read it, but liked it!
Lovely to see you. :)

Jane x

Sharon Donovan said...

Oh, fabulous, Jane. The guests are already storming in to chat with you! A big hug and hugs to Val and Lyn! Oliver, do bring around some Earl Grey for Lyn and coffee for Val. And a refill for Jane's wine glass. And since it's still rather early in the US, more coffee for me! Chocolates all around! So Jayne, how are you today?

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Sharon, I'm doing great today! I've been running around like a mad thing since 9am, so resorted to takeawy salad for lunch to save time so I could get here!
I'm headed for Scotland in a couple of days, so it's crazy-mad trying to get organised. :) Just off to get a cuppa tea myself - I suspect that naughty Oliver is trying to get me all giggly with his white wine!

J x

Sharon Donovan said...

LOL Jane. Sigh You never know about that Oliver! Oh, how thrilling for you to go home to Scotland. I cannot wait to hear all about it. Did I tell you I have a wee bit of Scotish blood in me along with Irish, Welsh and Polish? Oliverrrr about that coffee if you can stop drooling over my guest!

P.L. Parker said...

Good Morning Ladies, Oliver:

Good post. Jane, you have led such an interesting life. I would have loved to work in theater. Grew up in a family where my dad said you have to have a "real" job. Which is true, but my creative self so craved the other route.

Good luck with sales!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

You did, Sharon, and I have a drop o'the Irish on my mum's side as well. I'm from the east coast of Scotland, and try to get back at least once a year. It's important to me that my kids know Scotland too - after all, they're 50% Scots!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Great to see you, Patsy! I wanted to work in theatre forever, but ended up doing the 'real' job first. getting to theatre eventually was a life's ambition come true. It's hard work, but it was wonderful. An experience like nothing else, and then some!

J x

K.M. Daughters said...

Hi Jane and Sharon! A thoroughly delightful interview between delightful ladies. And talented, too. I loved A Different Kind of Honesty - it graces my library - and I couldn't wait to rate it the 5 stars it deserves. We're devoted JDRF supporters through the years and every day, in Kathie's case, since her husband Tom was diagnosed at age 11. Oliver, we think you should make a donation with your tip money :-)
All the best to you Jane! P.S. I voted.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Oh, it's the lovely Daughters! Always so good to hear from you ladies. Pat, I remember you said you read A Different Kind of Honesty 'in two greedy gulps,' and that made me laugh! Lovely. :)
Hugs to Tom - tell him there's a wee boy this side of the Atlantic just like him, only smaller. And just as handsome!
lots of love to you both, great to see you. :)

Jane x

Celia Yeary said...

JANE--lord, I love your way with words and phrases--about as far from Texas Twang as you can get. You are one talented lady, and I'm thrilled for you to be "back in the saddle again." Keep up the good work! Celia

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy! Always a pleasure to have you on board! Allow Oliver to bring you some coffee or tea or whatever you fancy. He's around here somewhere. Yes, what a talent Jane is and a delightful guest.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Pat and Kathie! Lovely words from the Daughters! After that coin phrase "gulp" I can't wait to read Honesty. And so right you are about Oliver. Did you hear that, Oliver? Dig up a few of those tips for JDRF! Jane and I are both huge supporters and great to know we are joined by you ladies. Here here! Can Oliver bring you refreshments? Jane, did you ever get your tea? Sigh Good help and all that!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hi Celia! Yes, we understand each other on paper, I wonder how we'd cope with out respective 'twangs' face to face?! LOL! Always lovely to hear from you, thanks so much for coming by! :)

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Sharon, I DID get my tea, and much needed it was too! It's non-stop here today, kids' stuff going on, trying to plan for the Scotland trip, and trying to get to the top of a mountain of laundry - if I don't reappear, send out the rescue dogs!
What a great idea about Oliver and his tips - now, any volunteers to stick their hand where he keeps them? What? WHAT?? What did I say??? ;-0

Jane x

Sharon Donovan said...

Snicker snicker Jane! You naughty girl! Oops, don't look now but Oliver is making a bee-line toward you with an evil grin. LOL
Celia, welcome. See if you can catch Oliver.
Jane, you sound too busy for words. Isn't that the truth about getting ready for a trip, so much to do and so little time. But you must be so pumped up with adrenaline, just thinking and dreaming about the green hills of Scotland. I can hear the bagpipes a callin'. I'm just going over your smoked fish recipe. I'm going to give it a whirl this weekend!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Some adrenaline, yes, and some list-induced panic, Sharon! I'll have lists of the lists I've made at this rate!
Hope you enjoy the recipe - it's my kind of dinner, easy as anything and works every time!
Just popping out to take my daughter to Brownies and walk the pooch. Back soon!

Jane x

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hullo Jane and Sharon!
What a fun interview! I always love the energy Jane brings to everything. It's like having a mini-tornado of delight right in the room. She's cleverly a few thoughts ahead of me, nipping in the way the Brits and Scots do, with wry humor that slays me every time. The excerpt you posted is one of my favorite passages from A Different Kind of Honesty. And if I could cook worth a spit, I'd be trying out your recipes myself. However, I'm the queen of carry-out and I have stopped trying to fight my nature. So good to see you out and about, my friend, Jane!!!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Well, Maggie Toussaint, I've been called many things in my time, but never a mini-tornado! How lovely to see you, my dear friend. Hey, I'm pretty keen on the odd takeaway dinner myself, but, yeh, you can't fight nature! Go with the flow. ;-) Maybe you can't cook, but heck, you can't half write, girl!
Just lovely to see you. :)

Jane x

Lindsay Townsend said...

Wow - what an amazing interview, Sharon and Jane!!

I'm envious of you being waited on so wonderfully by Oliver!

Sharon - major kudos to you - you are an amazing person!

Jane - you know I'm a fan of your writing and we both share a love of opera.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hey Lindsay, I’m slipping a note with a West Yorkshire address on it into Oliver’s pocket right now! Double ditto a fan of your writing, my dear, and our shared love of opera is the yummy icing on the cake. Thank you so much for coming over, dear friend, especially as I know how insanely busy you are right now. :)

Jane x

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello Maggie and Lindsay! Thanks so much for dropping in to chat with Jane and me. LOL Maggie, I have to chuckle at your remark about the tornado! Every time I get an email from Jane, the words literally leap off the page with personality! Her bubbly nature shines straight through. And Lindsay, anytime you would like to have Oliver wait on you hand and foot, I'm sure it can be arranged. Just shoot me an email! Hey, Jane. Are you ready for a glass of chilled white yet? Because here comes Oliver with a tray of cocktails and some of that warm bread and Blue cheese you adore so much. Oh, he of fickle heart! He has a whole cup full of white roses and more chocolate truffles!

Mary Ricksen said...

sorry I am late. But early this morning Junior led me to this hole in the ground next to a big ole oak tree. Well we were messing around and he tripped me. I fell into the hole and let me tell you it's been quite an experience.
I couldn't find the bank, they kept pointing out this hill in the distance and saying there's the bank. The post office was just an office you could leave post it note in, and the pharmacy, phew, I watched patrons shrink and grow huge before my eyes, and they didn't have my prevacid. Well here I am. I gave up and came home, Junior is snoring in the corner and Oliver has left fifteen messages telling me to get over there.
Hi Jane great interview. What an interesting career!
Move over Oliver, let me sit next to Jane for a minute. You are so pathetic.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Mary, what a day! How nice to see you, despite your shennanigans so far! Hope you're feeling better soon. Oliver! A lady in some distress over here - do your finest!
Thankos for coming by, Mary!

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Mmm...schnuffle schnuffle...slurp slurp....oh, sorry, what? I was enjoying Oliver's platter of treats so much there, I was quite distracted!
Sharon, thank you SO VERY MUCH for having me here today! It's been a pleasure and an honour, for sure! It's 9pm here in the UK, and while some night-birds will think their evening's just beginning, for me it's almost over - what with kids' bedtimes and preparations for the morning, I'm going to take a graceful leave. Oliver, don't weep! I'll be back in the morning to check you're okay!
Sharon, I can't thank you enougn for this lovely day! And thanks to everyone who came by - it's been fab to see you all!
lots of love, and I'll catch you later! :)

Jane x

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary! You poor thing. Sounds like a trap, girlfriend. What? And Junior didn't dive in to help rescue you. Sharon wags her finger at the pooch. you nasty boy. You must be hanging out with Oliver too long. Oliver, bring Mary her strawberry drink from Duncan Donuts, chop chop! Glad you're here, Mary.

Sharon Donovan said...

Jane, it has been my pleasure. What an entertaining guest you have been. Thank you so much for a delightful day. Give me a big hug! Have a fantastic time in Scotland and enjoy some quality time with family!

Mary Ricksen said...

No he didn't help me at all. Everyone was her with Jane having fun at her party. Junior was with Oliver begging for food. I see Cuddles in the corner, stuffed and snoring. Junior is hiding on me.
Gosh Jane, your book sounds wonderful.
The white roses are so pretty and I see you have eaten a whole box of Godiva chocolates yourself.
How will you sleep after all the caffeine?

Mary Ricksen said...

I hope you have a wonderful time in Scotland and I am sooooo jealous!

Beth Caudill said...

Great interview. Love the excerpt.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello Beth. It seems Jane has left for the hills of Scotland, lucky girl! Well folks, that brings us to the end of another Wednesday Spotlight. Please join me next week when my featured guest will be E.A. West. Until then, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and blessings,
Sharon D.

Sylvie said...

What a fun interview, and Oliver is such a hunk!
Do you lend him out? lol
wishing you many sales, Jane!!


Jane Richardson, writer said...

Beth and Sylvie, thank you both for coming over! Lovely to see you. Now it's back to the laundry folding for me! ;-)

Jane x