Jean Gill

Biography

I love hearing from readers so feel free to mail me at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr with comments or questions. You'll find a mix of my work, along with fun trivia about books, at www.jeangill.com If you read one of my books, I'd really appreciate you taking the time to leave a review - thank you.

I'm a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a very big white dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. I taught English in Wales for many years and my claim to fame is that I was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. I'm mother or stepmother to five children so life has been pretty hectic.

I've published all kinds of books, both with conventional publishers and self-published. You'll find everything under my name from prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, to a cookery book on goat cheese. My work with top dog-trainer Michel Hasbrouck has taken me deep into the world of dogs with problems, and inspired one of my novels. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, I can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.

My photo portfolio is at www.istockphoto.com/jeangill and I blog at www.jeangill.blogspot.com I sometimes accept guest bloggers so get in touch.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My father was a soldier and the longest we stayed in any one place was 2.5 years. I lived in Berlin, Hong Kong and different parts of England, always the outsider. I explored this lack of roots in my autobiography 'How Blue is my Valley' as well as the ways in which Wales became my adopted home, followed by a love affair with the south of France, where I now live. Perhaps it's because in compensation for my childhood that places are so important in my books and are real places, usually ones I know intimately.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a tedious novel in school when I was 11 called 'Jill's Stables'. If I'd finished my work before the other children, I was allowed to continue with my masterpiece, which ran to several chapters. The teacher's only comment, preserved in red ink, was 'This would be better with more illustrations'.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jean Gill online


Where to buy in print


Books

This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Jean Gill

  • Bravo's Veil on Dec. 19, 2011

    A classic spy/thriller set mostly in WW2 England, with modern-day investigation to untangle the mystery of what really happened to a young boy evacuated from London to Cornwall.The story development is superb, moving expertly between different times and viewpoints, and teasing the reader with enough clues and mysteries to keep me turning those pages. The ending is satisfying and answers most of the questions raised by the twists of the plot. Period detail is exact and absorbing, from every 'Ruddy' and 'cheerio' in the dialogue to old-fashioned spy codes and surveillance methods. Was there hacking before computers and mobile phones? You bet! Croucher brings the characters to life, especially the young evacuee Paul, the sexy female billeting officer/spy Judith and the dog Jiggs. I love this dog! He is the best incarnation of every child's dream dog since George's Timmy in 'The Famous Five' The motif of 'Bravo's veil' is beautifully woven into the plot and the passages where we discover the nature of Bravo's veil are beautifully written, with an unexpected poetry and philosophy, that lingers in the imagination. Highly recommended.
  • Born of Water on March 30, 2013

    Enjoyable fantasy suitable for young adult audience Four young adults travel by boat, by camel and on foot, to evade the Curse, a winged beast that kills users of forbidden magic and those who use magic outside the rules of ‘the Church’, which is composed of four orders of Elementals. I very much liked the notion of Elemental magic. Niri’s power over water is used imaginatively in the various adventures throughout the journey, and control of air makes for an exciting battle versus the Curse. The story is well-developed and I was genuinely interested in what would happen next. The fantasy world is easy to visualise, with landscapes common to the genre, ranging from tree-dwellings to desert. There are often details that lift the description above the usual; the four temples are well-created and struck me as different. Details of the sea journeys are especially convincing and you get the feeling that this author really knows about ships and sailing. Of course it helps the journey to have a naiad, Niri, changing the tide from time to time. The main characters are under 20 (if you don’t count the tree-being Darag, who is considered young in his own community) and they are full of angst over boyfriend/girlfriend possibilities and over brother/sister arguments and little jealousies. Romance is innocent and starry-eyed, although the cultural difficulties of falling in love with a tree-person add some welcome dilemmas. I think a young adult reader would identify more with these emotions than I did; I find brother Ty’s possessive attitude to sister Lavinia highly irritating. There are times when I would like to remind the group that they are on a mission and that they are wasting time on petty sulks – but that is a reflection on my jaded 57 years. I do think there are way too many significant looks and gestures, and that cutting three-quarters of these out completely would improve the pace without losing any of the emotion. The reader doesn’t need every blink and hand movement described.