Highlighting the best independent publications in fiction and non-fiction. Your new favorite author is right here.

Jane Davis

J DJane Davis is the author of seven novels. Her debut, Half-truths and White Lies, won the Daily Mail First Novel Award and was described by Joanne Harris as ‘A story of secrets, lies, grief and, ultimately, redemption, charmingly handled by this very promising new writer.’ The Bookseller featured her in their ‘One to Watch’ section. Six further novels have earned her a loyal fan base and wide-spread praise. She is regularly compared to more seasoned authors such as Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell. Writing magazine described her work as ‘exemplary’ and named An Unknown Woman their Self-published Book of the Year. Jane’s favourite description of fiction is ‘made-up truth’.

Jane lives in Carshalton, Surrey with her Formula 1 obsessed, beer-brewing partner, surrounded by growing piles of paperbacks, CDs and general chaos. When she is not writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain with a camera in hand.

To learn more about Jane and keep in the loop on her current projects:

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My Counterfeit Self (Historical Fiction/Romance)

counterfeit‘A compelling portrayal of the bohemian life of an activist poet, the men she loves, and the issues she fights for.’ Eleanor Steele

A rose garden. A woman with white hair. An embossed envelope from the palace.

Lucy Forrester, for services to literature, you are nominated for a New Year’s Honour.

Her hands shake. But it’s not excitement. It’s rage.

For five decades, she’s performed angry poems, attacked government policy on everything from Suez to Trident, chained herself to embassy railings, marched, chanted and held placards high.

Lucy knows who she is. Rebel, activist, word-wielder, thorn in the side of the establishment. Not a national bloody treasure.

Whatever this is – a parting gesture, a final act of revenge, or the cruellest of jokes – it can only be the work of one man. Dominic Marchmont, outspoken literary critic and her on/off lover of fifty years, whose funeral begins in under an hour.

Perhaps, suggests husband Ralph, the invitation isn’t the insult it seems? What if Dominic – the man they both loved – has left her an opportunity?

‘Completely gripping, excellently written and skilfully put together, I can’t recommend My Counterfeit Self highly enough’ ~ Isabel Wolff, author of Ghostwritten.

From the award-winning author of Half-truths and White Lies and An Unknown Woman, an emotional story of hidden identities, complicated passions and tangled truths.

More reviews

‘Davis has the knack of evoking atmosphere and place extremely well. This is a novel that deals with serious and thought-provoking subjects. It’s one I recommend if you want a meaty read.’ ~ Harriet Steel

‘A bold book that explores emotional pain as well as political and social issues.’ Margarita Morris

‘A deeply satisfying ending.’ ~ PR

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I Stopped Time (Historical Fiction)

i stopped timeWouldn’t you feel cheated if the woman you’d imagined was the villain of your childhood turned out to be someone rather extraordinary?

Edwardian Brighton. A wide-eyed girl enters Mr Parker’s photographic studio and receives her first lesson about the rising medium that is to shape her life: “Can you think of a really good memory? Perhaps you can see it when you close your eyes. Now think how much better it would be if you could take it out and look at whenever you wanted to!”

2009: Disgraced politician Sir James Hastings has resigned himself to living out his retirement in a secluded Surrey village. He doesn’t react when he learns that the mother who had abandoned him dies at the age of 108: he imagined she had died many years ago. Brought up by his father, a charismatic war-hero turned racing driver, the young James, torn between blaming himself and longing, eventually dismissed her as the ‘villain’ of his childhood. But, when he inherits her life’s work – a photography collection spanning over six decades – he is forced to both confront his past and re-evaluate what he wants from his old age. Assisted by student Jenny Jones, who has recently lost her own mother to cancer, Sir James is persuaded to look at the photographs as if he is seeing through his mother’s eyes, only to discover an extraordinary tale of courage and sacrifice.

“Three. I have three stories,” Lottie Parker tells her solicitor while putting her affairs in order. “But it was Oscar Wilde who said that a story is almost certainly a lie.”

Reviews

‘Touching, exciting, romantic and tender, this novel shines in the deft hands of its author. Fans of Downton Abbey and those who want to travel back to the first half of the 20th century will get a great treat in I Stopped Time.’ Compulsion Reads
‘I could really smell the salty sea air and hear the waves rolling in over the pebbles.’ Jemma Bastable
‘Jane Davis is truly a writer’s writer. She has taken an entire century – a feat in itself worthy of Ken Follett or Gabriel Garcia Marquez – and covered it with the richness of her characterisation, presenting a family that is beautifully flawed, brimming with affection, and inimitably human.’ Book blogger, J Metcalf

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These Fragile Things (Literary Fiction)

JD-TheseFragileThingsJane Davis returns with an intimate portrait of a family deep in crisis

Would you risk ridicule and scorn – knowing others besides yourself will be affected – to voice a seemingly impossible claim?

How would you react if your daughter claimed to be seeing visions?

What if you and your wife couldn’t agree whether to support her or to demand a medical explanation?

What then?

As Streatham, South London, still reels from the riots in neighbouring Brixton, Graham Jones, an ordinary father, grows fearful for his teenage daughter Judy who faces a world where the pace of change appears to be accelerating. But even he cannot predict what will happen next. A series of events is about to be unleashed over which he will have no control, and the lives of his family will change forever. When Judy claims to be seeing visions he will call it a miracle, and, to his wife’s horror, the hungry press will label their daughter The Miracle Girl. Elaine, present when she came close to losing her daughter a first time – knowing it was the paramedics and surgeons who saved her – will demand a medical explanation. But Judy, refusing to become caught in this emotional tug-of-war, is adamant. She must tread her own path, wherever it takes her.

Delusion, deception, diabolic – or is it just possible that Judy’s apparitions are authentic?

˃˃˃ Praise for These Fragile Things

A brilliantly imaginative and quirkily fresh take on the world. Brimful of originality and creativity. (The Literary Consultancy)

Davis is a phenomenal writer whose ability to create well-rounded characters that are easy to relate to felt effortless. (Compulsion Reads)

An elegant and understated prose style with a very satisfying rhythm. This is really very good writing indeed. (Debi Alper)

Leaves one panting to read more. (Jill Foulston)

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A Funeral for an Owl (Commercial Fiction)

Layout 1New Fiction from the award-winning author of Half-truths and White Lies

What kind of a boy would it take to convince two high school teachers to risk their careers?

“Let me tell you what I’m willin’ to do for you. We start a new gang. Very exclusive. You and me.”

Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo – even those that might benefit a student.

“Promise me one thing, Sir. If you decide you gotta pick up that phone, you tell me first so that I can disappear myself. Because I ain’t havin’ none of that.”

What kind of boy would cause Jim to risk his career? A boy who can clothe a word in sarcasm; disguise disdain with respect. So what is it that Jim finds he has in common with 14-year-old Shamayal Thomas as they study a large framed photograph of an owl? Aimee White’s owl, to be specific.

“The wings, all spread out and that? They’re kind of like an angel’s.”

A rule-keeper, Ayisha Emmanuelle believes the best way to avoid trouble is by walking away. But, arriving on the scene of what appears to be a playground fight, that isn’t an option. To her horror she finds her colleague Jim Stevens has been stabbed. In the messy aftermath, when Shamayal discloses that he and Jim are friends, Ayisha’s first duty is to report her colleague. But, not knowing if he will pull through, something makes her hesitate. Now, all she can do is wait to see if her instinct was justified.

˃˃˃ What the early reviewers are saying:

”The dialogue sparkles. This is mature and assured writing.’ Writers’ Workshop

”Davis is a phenomenal writer’ Compulsion Reads

‘Jane has a way of writing that sucks you in to the book, feeling for the characters involved.’ Karen Begg

‘Davis really does bring characters to life, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers are all perfectly described along with their actions and reactions to events.’ Cleo Bannister

Amazon

An Unchoreographed Life (Commercial Fiction)

JDV-AUL2015-CS-02AWMother and daughter: the most precious bond in the world.

At six years old, Belinda Brabbage has amassed a wealth of wisdom and secret worries. She knows all the best hiding places in her Worlds End flat, how to zap monsters with her pig-shaped torch and that strangers will tempt you into their cars with offers of Fizzy Fish. Even so, it’s impossible to know how to behave when you don’t really understand who you are. Mummy doesn’t like to be plagued with questions about her family but, when she isn’t concentrating, she lets small nuggets slip, and Belinda collects them all, knowing they are pieces of a complicated jigsaw.

Exhausted single mother Alison hasn’t been able to picture the future for some time. Struggling from day to day, the ultimatums she sets herself for turning her life around slip by. But there is one clock she cannot simply re-set. Deny it though she may, Belinda is growing up. Having stumbled across Alison’s portfolio that mapped her life as a prima ballerina, her daughter already has a clearer idea of who she once was. Soon she’ll be able to work out for herself who she is – and what she does for a living.

With options running out, Alison travels to London’s suburbs to consult a blind clairvoyant, who transports her to a past she feels exiled from. However unlikely they sound, his visions of pelicans and bookshelves appear to herald change. A chance meeting with an affluent couple affords a glimpse of the life Alison desperately wants for her daughter. But can their offer of friendship be trusted?

More ”What Maisie Knew’ than ‘Belle de Jour,’ Davis’s unflinching new novel of a mother who turns to prostitution is populated with a deeply flawed and inimitably human cast, whose tumultuous lives are shored up by carefully-guarded secrets.

Praise for An Unchoreographed Life

‘I felt it had something of a feel of Joanna Trollope about it and would appeal to a range of readers interested in traditional and non-traditional families and life paths.’ Liz Broomfield

‘Beautifully written and so thought provoking, Alison and Belinda will stay with you long after you reach the final page.’ Louise Voss

‘It is the story of a relationship between a single mother and her daughter, for whom she gave up everything (the chance of being a prima ballerina and endured the alienation of own family) when she found out she was pregnant. She takes up an ‘unconventional profession’ to make money to support herself and her child.’ Karen Begg

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An Unknown Woman (Commercial Fiction)

An Unknown Woman finalAwarded Self-Published Book of the Year 2016 by Writing Magazine and the DST Charitable Trust

Shortlisted for Book Viral’s Book of the Year

‘An intensely human story that feels ripped from the pages of someone’s personal diary.’ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Reviews

If we are what we own, who are we when we own nothing?

Look in the mirror and ask yourself a question.

Who are you?

Do you know the answer?

At the age of forty-six, Anita Hall knows exactly who she is. She has lived with partner Ed for fifteen years and is proud of the life they’ve built. They go out into the world separately: Ed with one eye on the future in the world of finance; Anita with one foot in the past, a curator at Hampton Court Palace. This is the life she has chosen – choices unavailable to her mother’s generation – her dream job, equal partnership, free of children, living in a quirky old house she adores. She is happy. Their foundations are solid and their future seems secure.That was before the fire.

Anita stands in the middle of the road watching her home and everything inside it burn to the ground. She and Ed have nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Fifteen years of memories gone up in smoke.

Before she can come to terms with the magnitude of her loss, hairline cracks begin to appear in her perfect relationship. And returning to her childhood home in search of comfort, she stumbles upon the secret her mother has kept hidden, a taboo so unspeakable it can only be written down.The reflection in the mirror may look the same. But everything has changed. She thought she knew who she was. But not any more.

Authentic and heartbreaking, this intoxicating new novel by award-winner Jane Davis is an exploration of identity, not as a fixed point, but as something fragile, shape-shifting and transient.

Praise for An Unknown Woman

‘A thought-provoking story that examines loss, identity and secrets, An Unknown Woman will have you turning the pages right to the end.’ Bookmuse

‘Simple, elegant and stunning’ – Peter Snell, Bookseller

‘I just adored it!’ Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels

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