England. I grew up in what is now classed as East London rather than Essex. Technical School education – did well but not interested in further study beyond what was then O Levels. In those days (1969) leaving with eight meant the world of work was wide open. It was wide open and I made the most of it with interesting jobs in London including TV advertising, agency advertising and a well know travel company. In between I was a waitress, a chambermaid and in nanny in Italy and Greece before meeting my husband and having more settled jobs.
My husband and I brought up our two daughters in Ilford then relocated to sunny Eastbourne by the sea in Sussex just as one went to Uni and the other to college. Got my degree through the Open University whilst here and worked at the local college supporting students with additional needs. When my husband died suddenly, I moved to where I am now – at the foot of the South Downs.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Outside my back door is a path to the South Downs National Park. I can walk for miles from here. Within fifteen minutes drive I can be not only at the beach (pebbly, but the odd patch of sand) but also to Seven Sisters Country Park. The iconic views of the white cliffs, Cuckmere Haven and their nearby neighbour Beachy Head Lighthouse are recognised all over. It takes one and a half hours on the train to London and Gatwick Airport is fifty minutes by train direct. Sea, lovely countryside and accessibility; what is there not to love!
What turns you on creatively?
Can’t think of one thing. Little sparks from any number of directions can hit and send me scurrying for my pen and scruffy notebook. I cannot write directly onto a computer as mind and scribbly fingers work quicker than keys. One single word or random selection or words can, and often does, trigger a story. Sometimes real events can morph into a story and a seed of truth can often make a fictional tale more believable. My Novel ‘A Resolute Child’ however was created and inspired by living close to Barnardos HQ in Ilford.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
Favourite word, now that’s a hard one. Favourites change with moods I think. Anyway, my stories are an eclectic mix of comedic, uplifting, tragic and dark. I like the variety that word conveys so will go for eclectic.
Everything about you is eclectic – your clothes, your home, your moods and it would take me a hundred years to know you but even that may not be enough – my love.
What is your pet peeve?
People who tell me what I want. I have been told – you don’t want to move yet, it’s too soon; you will want to get another dog; oh no, you don’t want to do that!
This is not advice, which I am willing to listen to – but purely prescriptive. I would never tell anyone else what they want. We all have our reasons for wanting what we do and they are not all the same. We all have different perspectives which colour what we want – and the world would be a pretty dull place if we didn’t.
What defines Jackie Harvey?
We only have one shot and life, as I know from experience, can be very fragile. I aim to be someone who makes the most of life I can; someone who tries, hopefully learns and isn’t dreary. Hence my poem Seize the Day. Pragmatism is important. Deal with stuff as it is. You can’t change what others think or do or certain situations – what you have control over is how you deal with these.
Regrets are usually for what we haven’t done – what we have missed out on – rather than what we have done. Of course, we all make mistakes but hopefully learn from them. You can’t learn from something you don’t do. NB not talking about anything illegal here!
Did ask a good friend what she thinks defines me and she said ‘A scatty blonde with a superior intellect.’ I can live with that.
I have been writing flash fiction and short stories for many years but only last year published my first collection called 'Never Know... and other stories'. I also published 'A Resolute Child', a historical tale of a girl on a mission in the 19th century. Currently I am compiling another set of stories which will include 'A Witchy Woman' and working on a prequel to my first novel entitled 'An Enigmatic Woman'. My home is in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England.