Here comes Jane on the magic carpet dropping me down some lovely pictures and info about her new book launch.
Ailsa – it’s me again. Hello Jane, got time for a quick freshly brewed coffee? Lily is saving you a biscuit but I’ve got some pastries too!
I trust you’ve recovered from your book launch last week, and are ready to re-enter the fray when mine hits the market on Thursday 30th March. Yes, fine thanks and raring to get going on your launch.
GRASS SHOOTS is the sequel to “Breath of Africa.” It is a tender inter-racial love triangle which concludes the saga of Caroline’s and Charles’s families.
They climb an erupting volcano, Ol Donyo L’Engai (“The mountain of the gods”), on the Kenya / Tanzania border.
They explore archaeological sites along the coast, and go on safari in Kenya’s exotic game reserves.
The story pivots round the devastation in a highland village caused by violence after the elections of 2007. It touches upon present-day problems with foreign aid, which is beset by politics and corruption. It explores the possibility of alternative ways to help themselves out of the morass, including input from the grass roots – ordinary villagers – and a burgeoning Kenyan middle class.
The name of my fictitious charity, which is founded in the United Kingdom, is Grass Shoots; and a significant part of the action takes place in the make-believe highland village of Amayoni, which – in Swahili – means birds.
There’s not so much magic and superstition this time around, but the “bush telegraph” works with astonishing precision, and there is still the mystery of the ancestral cave, which finally reveals its secret.
Jane lived in Kenya for over half a century, where she brought up her large family. An intermittent freelance journalist and business owner, she has written a cookbook, Museum Mixtures (1989) in aid of the National Museums of Kenya, and a History of her church in Eastbourne (2013).
Her first novel, Breath of Africa (2013) was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. It draws on her experiences growing up in the country she still calls her home. Grass Shoots, the sequel, completes a family saga through to modern day Kenya. The novella, I Lift Up My Eyes, (2015) is set in Sussex.
A world traveller, Jane has bought a bird book in every country she visited. Now living in the UK, she is a business mentor and dressage judge, while indulging her love for choral singing, watching tennis, and playing bridge.