Reflecting Jane is a story of one woman’s struggle to hold onto the past whilst living in the present. Telling the tale of her childhood, her life and her three, very different, husbands (Vash, Kenny and David) this is a touching tale – and poignantly funny at times. Narrated by herself, Jane shows us what it is like to look into a mirror and see an unrecognisable face staring back, trying hard to remember what her life once was – and having to sit and watch an unrecognisable world go by from a window. Jane is a woman who does not suffer fools gladly, and despite the increasing loss of her memories, her acerbic take on life will make you laugh, and then make you cry for her. It is a story of a woman who reminds us all to live our lives to the full – and to make as many memories as we can, whilst we can…
Summarize your story in one sentence.
Jane (lively, aloof, but with a wicked sense of humour) lives in a Home for the Elderly – for whom she has little time for, and has problems relating to suffering as she does from ‘vagueness’ (Dementia) – and so she retreats into relating her life story to her ‘companion’ – her own reflection.
What are the main themes?
The theme of the story is one of loss – loss of liberty and privacy, and ultimately Self. Jane is affected very deeply by this, and being in the place she bewilderingly now finds herself. Particularly her inability to practice her pagan beliefs – which she is aware would be inappropriate somehow – and her mental drift between the worlds of her past and present add to her confusion and the feeling, somehow, that she is losing herself in this house of strangers.
Who or what inspired your story?
The inspiration for Jane came from my time working as an Elderly Care Nurse in a rather exclusive Residential Home. I went in with the usual raft of opinions, but quickly began to see the residents with different eyes and found their characters, viewpoints and life stories to be absolutely fascinating – gold dust to a writer! Jane is a mixture of two of the ladies I became especially fond of.
What do you like best about your main character, Jane?
I have to say, I really enjoy Jane’s wicked sense of humour, coupled with her inability to see the blindingly obvious – especially when it’s not what she wants to see! She would gaily announce black was white if it suited her, then pointedly ignore all the open mouths around her. If you can’t do that when you’re in your eighties, when can you?!
How is she flawed?
It’s difficult to determine Jane’s flaws (though probably the above!) because so much relates to her condition and her feelings of vulnerability at finding herself so lost. She can be insensitive, boorish even, and often has an utter disregard for the other residents in the home. And this is something that will have such sad consequences later in the tale.
What’s the biggest obstacle Jane faces?
The biggest obstacle Jane can ever face is the loss of her ‘Self’. She is acutely aware that something in her life is not right but each time she tries to put her finger on it her thoughts slip away and she returns to her mirror to try and focus herself by relating her diminishing memories to her ‘companion’.
How does Jane grow and change?
It’s difficult for Jane to become stronger, as her life is now all about diminishing – but somehow she manages it. Her character still fights to become an important part of the house – to make a difference. She shows this, in particular, as she sits in the large kitchen, weaving a stillness into the frantic activity with her gently spoken memories of her childhood…she still has power, and this sustains her. Sadly, the changes become more evident as the tale progresses, in her increasing vulnerability and naivety…
What’s the principal message you want to send to your audience?
My principle message has to be – please look beyond the wrinkles and the vagueness, beyond the annoying quirks and blank looks of the older person you know to be ‘losing it’. The real person is still in there, trying hard to find their ‘self’ again. None of us feel the age we are in numbers. Dementia can seep into our psyches, and one day we may find ourselves in front of a mirror…wondering.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about your book?
I think the nicest thing ever said about ‘Reflecting Jane’ was written in my first Review on Amazon: “… I found myself thinking about the story for quite a while afterwards.” ….and that absolutely thrilled me.
Where can we purchase it?
‘Reflecting Jane’ by Sue Tame, can be purchased for Kindle at Amazon.co.uk for a whole 99p!
It’s published under the banner of ‘Broomstick Books’.
Sue spent most of her 50’s childhood amongst – and in – the ponds, woods and meadows of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. This coloured her take on life and she quickly became a Pagan and a lover of both the nature around her, and the nature of people. Just as quickly she began to write, and her first novel -‘Blackie the Forest Pony by Susan Aged 5 and 3/4’ was met with critical acclaim by her mother. Her second piece was published in ‘Young Soldior’ and the £5 paid was a huge sum to the young Sue. She followed this up with a cynical poem on sexist men (controversial!) which was published in ‘Spare Rib’. Over the years Sue has settled into writing books for children, and also writing Flash Fiction (published on www.paragraphplanet.com). ‘Reflecting Jane’ is her first adult novel and developed as the result of taking part in National Novel Writing Month. Two years of editing was completed in April, and ‘Reflecting Jane’ is now available on Kindle. On a personal level, Sue has suffered with M.E. for twenty years and each day is a struggle – as it is for many others stricken with this awful illness that has – as yet – no cure. Sue is married with three fledged children, two granddaughters, and three cats. She also has a broomstick.
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