Beginners Pluck: Jane Talbot

Daughter of schoolteachers, Jane Talbot has always loved storytelling and folk tales, but she didn’t start writing until she got the idea for her debut.

After university she worked in marketing for four years, then, taking redundancy she trained as a teacher, and taught modern languages. 

In 2009 she was living in Scotland, when she met her husband on a blind date.

“We were free spirits then, and loved climbing. In 2011, I moved to Northern Ireland to be with him, and he became a farmer. That has anchored us.” Jane started writing faerie tales for adults as a way of making herself feel at home in County Antrim.

“The stories were inspired by my surroundings. They just came to me.”

Who is Jane Talbot?

Date/place of birth: 1966/Wiltshire.

Education: School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Manchester University, French, and German. Warwick University.

Home: Northern part of Country Antrim.

Family: Husband Ian, son Odhran, 15, and a Jack Russell, Sparkie.

The Day Job: Coach and trainer. “I train people to use neuro-linguistic programming.”

Interests: Being outside in nature. Running. “In 2010, I ran 203 miles in nine days.”

Favourite Writers: Roald Dahl; Neil Gaiman; Franz Kafka, Russell Hoban; George Mackay-Brown.

Second Novel: “I’ve a few ideas, but no theme yet.”

Top Tip: Sit down for two hours every day. Don’t worry if you don’t feel inspired. Just commit to it.”

Web: janetalbotwriter.com

Twitter: @intrepidjane

The Debut

The Faerie Thorn and other stories; Blackstaff Press, €12.99/Kindle, €5.71.

From the humorous opening story, ‘The Faerie Thorn’, to the darker ‘Seachmall’, all seven stories are inspired by myths. It’s a world of debts, trysts and trials, populated by trolls, kings and faeries. Some are grim; others heart warming.

My favourite, ‘The Story of Amergin’, is a retelling of a story from the ancient Ulster Cycle. It features a púca — an Irish shift-shaping faerie thought to bring good and bad fortune to rural families.

“If there’s a message, it’s that tough times are a part of life; and you can’t resist or deny them. The process of writing the stories has grown my heart. I’ve become more human. I hope readers will feel the same.”

The Verdict: A bewitching set of faery tales for adults. Intriguing. Intelligent, and highly readable.

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