Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prolific Spunky Senior Author, Anna Jacobs, Leads A Double Life


By Anna Jacobs

My husband and I live a double life. We spend half the year in Australia, to which we emigrated years ago when our children were small, and half the year in England, where we were born and to which we’ve now partly returned.

I’m a novelist, producing three books a year, alternating modern and historical stories, set in both countries, so this lifestyle is part work, but part pleasure too.

Nobody handed this life to us on a plate. We’re at an age where many people have retired, but we’re both working harder than ever. I’m never going to retire from writing novels if I can help it. Why would I? I love telling stories.

Our main home is in Australia, on a marina development where dolphins swim past our jetty. We live at a watery T junction, where the main canal meets another, so have 180 degree water views.

My office looks out on to the canal. Idyllic? Yes, in a way. But I don’t actually spend much time on the view, because I’m usually busy writing - I produce three novels a year. And when I write I’m wherever my heroine is - whether it’s in 1860s Australia and Singapore (at the moment) or modern England (next book). I save my canal watching for early mornings when the water is still, no one is around and I feel as if I own all that gleaming water.

We have another home in England, this time in a golf course leisure village, where we look down a slope to a tiny lake about a hundred yards long, fringed by willow trees. That’s lovely too. My husband enjoys the golf but I’m pitiful at any sport. Besides, I’m still writing while we’re there.

I do take time out for other things, seeing family above all. We have two daughters and a grandson in Australia, siblings in England. And I enjoy being with friends. But I confess to being so addicted to my story-telling that I get twitchy if I have to spend more than a few days away from it.

‘You’re so lucky having this lifestyle,’ people tell me. Hmm. Not much luck about it. I had a dream of becoming a novelist. For many years, I got up at 4am before I went out to work, learning how to write. That’s how I learned my craft and got my first novel published. As far as I’m concerned what my granddad used to say is right: the harder I work, the luckier I get.

Not only do I work long hours, but I employ my husband as my business manager (no sinecure, that) and he works part-time for me. So I keep him busy too.

Living in two countries takes a lot of organizing. Two houses to maintain, security concerns - though actually, anyone burgling our house would be extremely disappointed. We both love reading and spend most of our fun money on books. I buy and read at least three a week. I’m not interested in jewellery or fancy electronic gadgets, either. Being rich to me is being able to buy any book I want any time I feel like it.

Nowhere on earth is perfect, but each of our countries has its pluses and the differences enrich our lives. I hope I can continue enjoying a double life - and my writing - for a long time to come.

Please try one of my books sometime. I’ve had 57 published now and over half of them are still in print. You can try before you buy and read the first chapters on my website at  Each book has its own page with links to buying them on line. And of course they’re available as ebooks as well as in paper.

THE TRADER’S SISTER. My latest historical novel is part of a series set in Ireland, Australia and Singapore in the 1860s. It was fascinating to research. Each book can be read on its own as they focus on a different member of the Deagan family each time. Two published, two more to come.

Ismay Deagan has one wish in the world – to leave Ireland and join her brother, Bram, in Australia. But her father has other ideas and orders her to marry their vicious neighbour Rory Flynn. After Rory brutally attacks her, Ismay runs away. When she meets Adam Tregear on the ship, she finally starts to believe her dreams of future happiness may come true.

Before she reaches Australia, however, she’s flung into adventures in Suez, Ceylon and Singapore. Dare she tell Adam the truth about who she really is? Does he have secrets of his own? Or will her past catch up with her and ruin her new-found happiness?

WINDS OF CHANGE. My latest modern novel is set in Australia and England.
When her elderly father dies, 47 year old Miranda Fox is free at last. He’s promised an inheritance that will give her independence. But her domineering half-brother controls the money and has very different ideas as to how she should live her life
A new friend helps Miranda take the first steps towards freedom, but her actions uncover painful secrets from the past which still have the power to hurt. Her sister escaped the family by leaving Australia. Can Miranda do the same?

In England an old friend reappears in her life and brings further turmoil. She must make difficult choices if she’s to be free. Will she have the courage to stand up for herself this time? Or will her family still control her life?

Anna Jacobs: Historical: 'Destiny's Path', 'Cherry Tree Lane', ‘Elm Tree Road’, ‘The Trader’s Wife’, 'The Trader's Sister' (4/12) Modern:  'Moving On', ‘Short and Sweet’, 'Winds of Change' (3/12)

Anna's Author Page on Amazon:

Please leave a comment to welcome Anna Jacobs to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents.


  1. Great piece, Anna - and how right your dear Grandad was - hard work brings its own reward - like you, our house is full of books, and I am adding to them with my own writing! Also, we have in common, we get rstless if we can't write every day!
    Back to 1863 now, Emma's wedding day and her new home in Marylebone Passage by the Fire Station...


  2. Welcome to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents, Anna! Love your dual lifestyle. One way not to get bored!

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Sheila, I'm glad I'm not the only writing addict. Enjoy your visit to 1863!

  4. I love what your grandfather said about luck - so true. It's inspiring to read about how your hard work has made you so lucky - I'm hoping it will inspire me to be "luckier"!

  5. So nice to meet you and learn about your books, Anna. I, too, love what your grandfather had to say. Wise words from a wise man.

  6. Welcome to Spunky Seniors! I'm impressed that you are producing three books a year ... I will put a post-it note on my laptop's desktop reminding me that it can be done!

  7. Anna, Thanks for sharing your story. Your output is impressive, and the two books featured here sound interesting.

  8. I've known Anna for many years. Our first meeting was when she conducted a workshop on electronic books. Whatever she does, she is always well prepared with good research (including her lovely historical books), and is an inspiring writer and speaker.
    I enjoy reading Anna's books, particularly admiring the characterization. However, that's nothing compared to my wife, who is ADDICTED to them. She keeps a constant eye open for the next one.

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  10. What a lovely lot of comments! Thank you so much, everyone, for taking the time.

    I see my grandfather's words struck the right chord. I've always remembered them.

    Terry, I couldn't have done three books a year when I started out, though after the first two or three learning years, I did manage two. Writing is my favourite activity - apart from spending time with my lovely husband. Not writing, so much as telling stories - that's what I do.

  11. Bob Rich, thank you so much for your comments. I enjoy giving the occasional workshop.

    And clearly, your wife is a very intelligent woman.

    As for characterisation - they're people to me and after they wander around my life for a few months, as I write their stories, they feel like friends - well, the good ones do, not the villains.

    If anyone wants to try my books, the first chapters are up on my website, and the Book Depository in the UK sends them out postage free across the world. I spend a lot of money at the BD, because I like to read three books a week.

    What me, addicted to stories? Sure am.

  12. Like Bob, I've known Anna for many years after interviewing her for a magazine article and am privileged now to consider her among my dearest friends. She's been a wonderful inspiration to me as a writer and I am learning so much about the craft of creating stories from reading her books.
    Anna, I keep hoping some of your dedication and focus will rub off on me ... if it isn't too late! And I could follow your grandfather's advice and work harder to create more luck.

  13. Aw, Teena, I'm covered in blushes! Thank you for your kind words.


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