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Jessica Blair
short-listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year 2014

Monday 27th March 2017

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Biography   Bill Spence

Jessica Blair Books:-

The Red Shawl
A Distant Harbour
Storm Bay
The Restless Spirit
The Other Side of
The River

The Seaweed Gatherers
Portrait of Charlotte
The Locket
The Long Way Home
The Restless Heart
Time and Tide
Echoes of the Past
Secrets of the Sea
Yesterdays Dreams
Reach For Tomorrow
Dangerous Shores
Wings of Sorrow
Stay With Me
Sealed Secrets
Secrets of a Whitby Girl
*The Road Beneath Me
In the Silence of the Snow
A Tapestry of Dreams
Just One More Day


Just One More DAy - Jessica Blair
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Jessica Blair at Amazon

Jessica Blair - Country

Whitby harbourThe Yorkshire coast and its hinterland of hills, moors, market towns and villages, all with a fascinating history, has always been of interest to me. It was, therefore, natural for me to use it as the basic background for my Jessica Blair novels.

Whale bone arch on the West cliff at WhitbyOne of my initial interests was the whaling industry out of Whitby in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when it was a leading port in this industry. Out of that arose not only my non-fiction book, Harpooned: The Story of Whaling but also my first and second Jessica Blair books, The Red Shawl and a Distant Harbour.

Although whaling does make an appearance in a lesser role in some of the other Jessica Blair books they use other industries and aspects of life along the Yorkshire coast – what we might call Jessica Blair country, the towering cliffs, sandy beaches, bays and coves of this fascinating coast make perfect backdrops for novels. Couple those with the coastal villages, the towns of Whitby and Scarborough, the industrial complexes of Teesside and Humberside with their adjacent resorts and you have a wealth of material on which to draw. Unite all those with believable characters who react to each other and to the incidents in which they find themselves involved or which they have created and you are on the way to writing an interesting story.

 

 

The Joker entering Whitby harbourWhile Jessica Blair country is basic to all these books, the stories do stray beyond the confines of this coast. So within the close vicinity I visit the heather clad moors, the deep cut valleys, the fertile farmland, and the market towns of Pickering and Helmsley of North Yorkshire.

It was natural with whaling as the background that the Arctic and the Pacific should figure in the narrative as well as Shetland and the American whaling port of New Bedford. The terrible Highland Clearances and the ordeal of the emigrant ships to Nova Scotia, scenes from Revolutionary France, the Art world of London, the Battle of Britain and the Lincolnshire bomber stations all help to form a variety of backgrounds beyond the basic Yorkshire coast. Smuggling at Robin Hood’s Bay, the jet industry in Whitby, the alum works at Ravenscar, the Teesside iron industry and the port of Hull bring variation to the framework of the stories.

A Distant Harbour - Portrait of Charlotte - Storm Bay - The Locket
The Long Way Home - The Other Side of The River - The Restless Spirit - The Red Shawl - Yesterdays Dreams blog

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