Jan is the next in the series of authors from Black Velvet Seductions. She’s got a short story in the anthology Mystic Desire.
Jan Selbourne grew up in Melbourne Australia. Her love of literature and history began as soon as she could read and hold a pen. Her career began in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, then a working holiday in the UK and Europe brought the history to life. Marriage and career put her writing career on the backburner, then on the point of retiring she changed direction to work as secretary for a large New South Wales historical society. Now really retired, she has published three historical fiction/romance novels. Jan has two adult children and lives in New South Wales.
Tell us about yourself.
I live in New South Wales, Australia, now retired and have two adult children. My working life was diverse, and I was fortunate to travel to the UK and Europe, giving me wonderful backgrounds for the books I wanted to write. However, it wasn’t until after I retired that I could finally indulge my love of writing. I have three published historical fiction books and currently working on my fourth.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I was at school. I loved literature, writing essays, letters to friends and pen friends, and fun stories to entertain my children.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I like murder mysteries, a good who-dunnit and biographies as well as historical fiction and non fiction.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
What is your current release or project?
My current release Through the Veil is part of the Black Velvet Seductions supernatural anthology, Mystic Desire.
Tell us about the key characters.
Australia – 1875. Helen Finlay, daughter of a wealthy landowner and Marcus Townsend, wool classer, are in love and about to marry when a tragic accident kills Marcus. In 2018, Rachel Finlay, heartbroken over a disastrous love affair, discovers an old family photo album with details of this accident and gets the shock of her life. She knows these people, but she’s never met them. Turning her back on her dismal life she returns to the site of that accident and walks back in time to Helen – and Marcus.
What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
A beautiful March day in 1875 ends in tragedy when the wagon carrying Helen and Marcus plunges down the mountainside. Generations pass before Rachel Finlay finds an old sepia photo of a man and woman. She knows them but she’s never met them and now, for the peace of mind she desperately craves, she goes back to where it began. In time, through the veil, knowing she may never return.
Share an excerpt .
Sandra glanced at her watch. “Ten minutes before we are due at the bank. After that, we’ll have a drink at the club. We deserve it.”
Rachel fingers clenched. “When we’ve signed whatever papers they need signed, I’ll be on my way.”
Sandra stopped walking. “There’s still a lot to do. The Salvation Army is collecting the furniture tomorrow, the estate agent wants the keys after we lock up the house and there’s bound to be something we’ve forgotten.”
Rachel shook her head. “You don’t need me to watch them carry out furniture nor do you need me to take the keys to the agent.”
“This happens every time,’ Sandra snapped angrily. “You drop everything in my lap and walk away. What’s bugging you Rachel? You’ve been edgy and downright rude to Greg.”
“Stuff Greg. Nothing’s bugging me and if I want to leave now I will.”
“For once in your aimless life, this is not about you, this is about Aunt Frances and all she did for us,” Sandra threw back at her.
“I know what Aunt Frances did for us and you love taking charge and basking in the accolades after.”
Sandra’s cheeks burned. “You don’t care about anyone except yourself. You drink too much, you can’t keep a job for more than a year,” she jabbed Rachels’s chest,“It’s no wonder you fall for the arseholes of this world.”
“Shut up Sandra!”
“No, I won’t shut up. Why do you fall for no-hopers with balls as big as their egos then drink yourself stupid when they drop you?”
A lump formed in Rachel’s throat. Because I can’t find what I’m looking for.
Sandra threw her hands in the air. “Forget it, you are hopeless. Greg said last night you’d want to leave as soon as you knew what Aunt Frances was worth.”
Anger dissolved the lump. “I’d rather be hopeless than a chardonnay sipping, social climbing snob without a bank account to match,” Rachel hissed furiously. “I’ll bet my last dollar that the first question Greg asks, after his oozing, ‘how are you, my darling’ will be ‘did you get everything fixed up with the solicitor?’ You can tell Greg– No, I’ll phone him myself to tell him in very plain language where he can get off and never to speak to me again.”
Sandra’s mouth had dropped open in shock.
Rachel’s shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to fight. Let’s get it over with at the bank and then I am driving up the coast.”
Several seconds passed before Sandra found her voice. “Why? What about your job?”
When Rachel didn’t reply Sandra closed her eyes in despair. “Don’t tell me you’ve lost your job.”
“I didn’t lose my job, I quit,” Rachel replied stiffly.
After I recognised the man in the photo. “A few days ago. I’m driving to Grafton and perhaps go up the range to Glen Innes.”
“Glen Innes?” Sandra repeated incredulously. “For God’s sake why and for that matter, what happened to your fear of heights and getting sick on winding roads?”
“That’s for me to worry about,” Rachel replied. “I am sorry Sandra but I’m leaving after the bank.”
Tight lipped, Sandra resumed walking, with Rachel following.
Two long hours later, Rachel re-joined the Pacific Highway. She’d held it together at the bank and the awkward moment on the pavement before their curt goodbyes, but now as the car picked up speed, her throat ached with unshed tears. Their nasty argument and Sandra’s brutal words had cut into her like a knife. And, that horrible rhyme wouldn’t go out of her head. Always the bridesmaid never the bride, loser in love empty inside. That just about sums you up Rachel. Never knowing what you want in life, alone in a crowd, disappointing your family, never good enough. Falling for men who win you over with charm and then wipe their feet on you. What did that psychologist say? “You are harbouring deep insecurity and guilt from your childhood.” When I retorted, ‘What guilt? I had a wonderful, secure childhood,” she’d gone on about looking within myself and finding new interests and friends. Friends? Sandra had been your best friend until she married that patronising, smooth talking “would be if he could be.” Rachel’s eyes blurred with tears. Now you’re driving north without knowing why and–
“Keep your eyes on the road!” a voice ordered as a semi-trailer roared past.
“Oh shit!” Rachel swerved back to the left lane and glanced at the empty passenger seat. “Now I’m going mad!”
“No, you’re not,” the voice said softly. “I will meet you there.”
A mere suggestion of a hand brushing her shoulder made her shiver and it all became clear. She knew where she was going.
Do you have a favorite scene?
Yes, where she arrives at the Mann River Reserve, on the Great Dividing Range, and walks through the veil, to her former life.
What advice would you give a beginner?
Don’t give up, keep writing.
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