Let’s get to know each other.
Who am I?
My name’s Jane Groves and I’m a fledgling author. I write YA (Young Adult) fiction and am yet unpublished. I’m currently working on a fantasy adventure novel which I hope will be my first published piece. When I’m not diving into my writing I can be found working in a library, working as an engineer in a hospital, roaming the woods near my house in Dorset UK, or buried in someone else’s story in book/movie/box-set form.
What were my favourite books as a child?
I’m an Enid Blyton girl. I loved being whisked away to the fantastical adventures she created. I adored The Faraway Tree series, The Adventurous Four, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Malory Towers, and St Clare’s. As I grew up in Australia, her references to puffins and war-time rations of tongue sandwiches were as fantastical to me as Moonface was. I loved it all.
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 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. The name helped of course – plus it had dragons in it! 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. What’s not to love?! It always reminds 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.
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 browse Diagon Alley, and of course 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.
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.
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. Yup, I love a bit of Austen. She really made her characters breathe and I love revisiting them to see any nuances (which there are plenty of) that I may have missed. Mansfield Park and Persuasion are the two I revisit the most, followed by Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. Despite the novel of Emma being a masterpiece in English literature, I’m afraid I never really liked the character of Emma so she and Northanger don’t get as much of a look in (sorry!). Like the characters in Harry Potter, I really feel like I know the characters that live inside these books.
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, 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: