This week I’m delighted to feature author Eva Jordan. I first got to read Eva’s books through my Urbane Publications annual subscription (sadly now defunct) and I’ve been happily adding them to my reading pile ever since.
Eva Jordan was born in Kent but has lived most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town. She is both a mum and step mum to four adult children, and although blended family life has been fun at times, she has also found it quite challenging––especially when the children were all teenagers! However, it was those very experiences that provided Eva with the inspiration for her three novels, 183 Times A Year, All The Colours In Between, and Time Will Tell – all family based dramas that take a delightfully funny, but sometimes tragic and poignant look at contemporary family life, and all published by Urbane Publications. She also writes short stories and is a columnist and book reviewer for her local lifestyle magazine The Fens.
So over to Eva,
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Careless Whisper by George Michael was released in July 1984 just as my friends and I were leaving school. Some of us had plans to go to college while others were going straight into work. It was a hot summer and this song, with its amazing saxophone riff, was dominating the airwaves. Feeling both happy and sad, we decided to make the most of those few weeks we had left together… friends forever (we believed at the time) on the precipice of a new adventure!
Everlasting Love by Love Affair because it reminds me of my parents who met and married as teenagers in the 60s. Friends and family said it would never last; yet 53 years later they are still together and still very much in love. Their love story is the inspiration behind a couple of characters in my books and this song is mentioned on a number of occasions.
A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay. Music has played a huge part in my life. I grew up in house filled with it, and books, so it was no surprise to my parents when I became a writer and two of my brothers became singers. This song takes me back to a recent concert at Wembley, when we all went to see Coldplay. The atmosphere was electric and the whole stadium seemed to reverberate with love and pure unadulterated joy. When this song came on towards the end of the evening, I remember looking up to see the sky awash with light and colour. It was a great night and one that, even now, makes me smile when I remember it.
Beethoven’s 5 Secrets by The Piano Guys. I like listening to classical music from time to time, especially film themes. I don’t remember when I first heard this piece but I knew I loved it when I did. It’s very relaxing but also very emotive, which is something I drew on when listening to it while writing a couple of particularly poignant chapters in my books.
All you need is Love by The Beatles… because, right now, I think we all do!
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Music. As you’ve no doubt realised, I love listening to music and it would be hard to imagine a world where that wasn’t possible.
Coffee. I try to stick to just three cups a day, but I love my first cup of the morning. I reckon I’d be a right grump if I couldn’t drink coffee anymore!
Books. Can you imagine a world without them? Doesn’t bear thinking about does it!
Notepad and pens. So I can write… whether it’s my next book, a diary entry or an idea, I need to be able to write.
Walking. Walking is my therapy, and I’m very lucky to be able to access some of the most beautiful nature reserves.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Have more confidence and stop worrying about fitting in. So what if you’re a bit different. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same. Be true to yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Listen to your parents. They’re not nagging; they’ve been there, got the T-Shirt and worn it out!
Don’t listen to your Careers Teacher; he hasn’t got a clue.
Continue being kind to others, but stop letting others see it as a weakness. You’re stronger than you know.
Follow your dreams. That fortune-teller that your friend convinced you to go and see is wrong. You can, and will become a writer – so get on with it!
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
As a child I loved reading and listening to music. If I wasn’t strutting my stuff to Top of the Pops, I was ensconced in some corner of a room with my head in a book. I decided I either wanted to be a singer, work in a library or become a writer. I’m pleased to say I achieved all three, although becoming a published writer is probably my biggest achievement.
When I was 18, I was involved in a serious head on car collision. I lived to tell the tale but my car was a right off. However, when the fireman attending the scene suggested cutting the roof off my car to get me out, I asked them not to as it would “ruin the car.” Unfortunately (or fortunately!) I was suffering from shock, so I didn’t understand the seriousness of the accident at the time. I did see the funny side afterwards.
During my 20’s I joined my brother’s band as backing vocals. I co-wrote most of the band’s original songs, which we recorded in a studio. I think my mum still has the tapes!
That old saying “It’s never too late” is true. During my late 30’s, as a newly divorced, working mum of two small children, I decided to embark on a full-time degree too – I like to make life easy on myself! Although difficult at times, I stuck with it and gained a joint BA Honours Degree in English and History.
I’ve had a number of jobs over the years but one of the most interesting, if not the most emotional, was working, and then later volunteering at a Women’s Refuge. It was a real eye opener. An experience I’ve never forgotten.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
I’d really love to get my daughter back to full health. She’s only 24, so it’s very difficult to see her struggle. However, like the Marcus Tullius Cicero quote suggests, “While there’s life, there’s hope.”
I love to travel and I’ve visited some amazing places over the years – swimming with turtles in Hawaii was one of my all time favourites. But what I’d really love to do, before it’s too late, is go an African Safari.
It would be great to, one day, see my books made into a TV series or a film!
Due to my daughter’s health problems, plus recent healthcare restrictions, including delayed treatments and appointments, I’ve been forced to do some more research and find different ways to help her. This has led me to alternative and complementary therapies like homeopathy, which I’m now thinking about studying professionally, and perhaps eventually practicing. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped believing in traditional medicine but I do believe if you’re unwell, it can be beneficial to practice a combination of both. Whether I follow through with this idea, and if I do, whether I continue to write alongside it, remains to be seen.
Being able to write stories and see them in print is an amazing privilege, especially if it’s been a lifelong dream. However, although (like most things) it takes a lot of time and dedication to write a book, not one everyone that would like to write is given the opportunity to do so. Therefore, although it sounds like a bit of a pipedream, I love the thought of one day being able to open and fund a writing school for victims of domestic abuse, or perhaps underprivileged children – maybe even both.
Thanks so much for joining me today Eva, I’m glad after a few false starts (largely due to my memory) that we finally managed to get together. Lovely to discover more about you. You’ve managed to include one of my OH’s favourite pieces of music (Careless Whisper) and also one of mine (Everlasting Love – I know I don’t look a year over 40 but … ) I’ve also got a bit of an obsession with notebooks and pens, although in my case I have no idea why as I don’t do anything with them apart from covet and acquire! I was also the child strutting her stuff to Top of the Pops or reading, I became a librarian and during one of my incarnations was responsible for buying the CD stock for the area – win/win!! I totally agree you’re never too old to do something, if you want to and you can – do it. We are starting to appear spookily similar as I retrained as an aromatherapist and reflexologist in my early 40’s when I was looking to change careers and was dabbling with complementary therapies. Did I also mention my BA degree was a joint honours – English with History. We diverge on the writing, I’ve never had the urge to write – though my sixth form history essays often bore more similarity to fiction than truth! I’m happy to enjoy the writing fruits of others, but never say never (lol). All the best going forward with achieving some of your dreams and more importantly I sincerely support Cicero’s view, so here’s hoping.
183 Times a Year
Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life.
Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.
16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course.
However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way.
Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.
All the Colours In Between
It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!
Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her. Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem… A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.
Time Will Tell
Writer, Lizzie Lemalf, and her loving but somewhat dysfunctional family are still grieving over the loss of a much-loved family member. Lizzie is doing her best to keep her family together but why does the recent death of a well-known celebrity have them all in a spin? The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another.
Lizzie begins searching for answers only to find herself being dragged back to the past, to 1960’s London to be exact, and to the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets but how can the past hold the key to a present day celebrity death? They say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell…