Hello and welcome to my little space on the internet. I’m a Professional Imaginist in training. I write Young Adult novels in my spare time and hope to use this space for my future publishing journey. If you’d like to chat with me then you’ll find me hopping in and out of my twitter and instagram accounts. For now, I’ll use this space to let you know a little more about me.
Who am I?
I’m Jane Groves and I grew up in an Australian town with kangaroos peering in my bedroom window. I’ve worked as an engineer – a job I was told I couldn’t do because I’m a girl – but my heart belonged to stories. I now work in a library and use writing as my excuse to ignore housework.
What were my favourite books as a child?
Even in the 1980s I could ignore laundry by diving into a good book.
Enid Blyton regularly whisked me away to fantastical adventures. I adored The Faraway Tree series, The Adventure Series, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Malory Towers, and St Clare’s. Growing up in Australia made her references to puffins & war-time rations of tongue sandwiches as fantastical to me as Moonface was. I loved it all. These books aren’t without their problems of racism, classism, and such, but they still took me on wonderful adventures and gave me a love of reading.
I was also a Nancy Drew girl. A young, red-headed girl who solved mysteries was exactly the type of friend I wanted, so I had great fun joining her in her escapades. I’ve recently re-read a couple of Nancy Drew books and they have definitely dated, but they still gave me immense joy as a child and added to my taste for mystery and adventure.
I loved the 1980’s picture book by Martin Baynton called Jane and the Dragon. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s the story of Jane who is a maid-in-waiting who wants to be a knight, but is laughed at for her dreams because she’s a girl. Eventually she lives her dream anyway, saves the silly little prince and befriends a dragon. It’s still on my shelf to remind me to follow my dreams no matter what others think and how scary it might be.
The final book to add to this list wasn’t part of a series, it wasn’t by a big name author, in fact I can’t even remember the name of the book. It was an old battered book in my school’s library that I found when I was around 10 years old. It was a British war-time book where two girls were sent to Dorset to live on a farm while London wasn’t safe. I just remember a general feel about the girls, their love of the dairy cows on the farm, and how it made me feel like I was drinking a warm drink for my soul. It was lovely and I wish I could remember what it was called.
A few books from this generation that I would have loved to have as a child are Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis, The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike, The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Elsewhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie, and The Uncommoners by Jennifer Bell.
What are some of my favourite books on my bookshelf now?
I don’t really believe that a story lover can have only one favourite book. There are different books for different moods and different parts of your life. I have loved many books but a few of my standouts are:
The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling with my standout book being The Order of the Phoenix. When I fall in love with a story I enjoy re-reading them. The books in the Harry Potter series have been re-read more than anything else I own. When I’m in need of comfort, these are the books I will usually turn to. They are books of amazing world building and characters who have come to life in my imagination. My favourite fictional house is the Burrow; I would love to spend hours browsing Diagon Alley; and I’d crash out in one of the Hogwarts common rooms (I’m a Ravenclaw when Pottermore last sorted me). I can’t think of another book/series where I have loved so many of the characters either. I loved Harry, Hermione and Ron of course but there are so many other characters that I have have true affection for and I really feel that I know them that I can’t list them all here. I didn’t start reading them until the early 2000s (The Order of the Phoenix was the first book in the series that I queued for) but I’ve never looked back since. Like many people, recent events have made me question my allegiance to these stories. Personally I can separate the author from the books, so I will continue to enjoy and re-read these stories. Not everyone can or wants to. I hope you find other things to enjoy.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is the book that I would most compare to the experience of being at the theatre. The world was so immersive that it breathed to life with scents of caramel and magic. It was strange reading it the first time with it’s ringed structure, but if a sign appeared advertising Le Cirque des Reves -The Circus of Dreams, I would be running to join the other réveurs with my red scarf flowing behind me. I recently read The Starless Sea which is Morgenstern’s second book and it’s equally wonderful. I’m sure I will buy whatever come next from her too.
The Thursday Next series starting with The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. A ludicrous detective series in the vein of Douglas Adams based in a parallel universe where being a literary detective is a real (if not lucrative) job. I read most of the books while commuting in London and would always get strange looks while I laughed along. Perfect for when life is too serious.
Jane Austen’s novels. Fascinating worlds and characters are what I really enjoy in a book, and Austen’s books are overflowing with both. These books are so much more than just the romantic element that all the novels have. They’ve made me laugh, they’ve made me think, and I’ll happily argue in support of the unloved characters like Fanny Price. Just don’t get me started on how they ended the Sanditon tv adaption though.
A couple of other standouts which are begging to be listed are – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, One Day by David Nicholls, The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill, Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden, and The 13 ½ lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moérs. There are many, many more but that probably gives you an idea of what I enjoy.
I’d love to get to know you more. Please do get in contact with me here: