Today on my blog I am delighted to welcome the lovely Jan Baynham.
Welcome to my blog today, thank you for sparing the time to come and chat to your main character.
Jan came to writing after a career in education when she joined a small writing group at her local library. Hooked, from the outset, she went on to take a writing course at the local university and in 2019 published a collection of short stories “Smashing the Mask and Other Stories”.
In 2020 “Her Mother’s Secret” was published by Ruby Fiction, and takes us to glorious sun-drenched Greece, that I am reliably informed is one of Jan’s favourite destinations.
Later that year-2020 “Her Sister’s Secret” was published by Ruby Fiction. It follows Jennifer Howell’s journey of discovery which takes us from Wales, where Jan, herself, is from, to Sicily. Jan has a lovely knack of telling family stories, uncovering their secrets and exploring their relationships.
Jan’s characters are such fascinating individuals that I am delighted she has agreed to interview Annie Beynon for me. Annie is one of the main characters in “Her Nanny’s Secret”, Jan’s third novel, published on the 7th September 2021. A dual narrative which takes us from beautiful mid Wales to Normandy, in northern France.
Before I hand you over to Jan – a little about her book:
How far would you go to save the person you loved the most?
It’s 1941 and Annie Beynon has just become the first stable girl for the most powerful family in her Welsh village. Whilst her gift for working with horses is clear, there are some who are willing to make her life very difficult on the Pryce estate, simply for being a girl.
There are other-secret-ways Annie is defying conventions too…
I’m going to leave it there, if you want to know more you’ll have to read Jan’s book! The links are below.
Hello Jan, what a lovely cover.
Isn’t it. It’s perfect for this story and gives a flavour of what is contained inside.
Over to you for the questions.
Hello, Annie. Can you please tell me a little about yourself—who you are and where you’re from?
My full name is Mary-Ann Beynon. My friends all call me Annie. I live in a little village called Brynderi, about five miles from Pen-y-rhos.
Where is Pen-y-rhos? I don’t think I’ve heard of it.
Right in the middle of Radnorshire. You must have heard of all those posh hotels where the people come to take the waters. I tried it once. Aargh! It was awful. There’s a boating lake there, too. Perhaps you’ve heard of that.
Ah, yes, I’ve heard of the lake. Who do you live with in Brynderi?
It’s just me and my father now. Mam died five years ago having a baby. It was another boy. He died, too. Jimmy, my eldest brother, is somewhere in France. The telegram said Missing in action, presumed dead and my other brother Alf went and got himself killed in the first battle of the war. Then last week, my youngest brother, Reggie, signed up. No wonder Dada is so upset and scared. He’s convinced he’ll lose another son… and so am I.
I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry. Tell me about Reggie. I understand you two were very close.
Yes, I’m going to miss him a lot. Being the closest in age we were inseparable when we were growing up. Reggie always looked out for me at Young Farmers’ socials and especially when the boys from Pen-Bryn farm got a bit … you know, over familiar. He’s a groom at the Cefn Court stables.
It’s a big country manor house just outside the village owned by the Pryce family. They’ve got loads of money. Like most of the people in the village, my father works on the estate. The Pryces own our tied cottage. They could evict us at any time if they needed the cottage for someone else.
Who is your closest friend?
Gwennie Probert. We’ve been best friends since the Infants and tell each other everything.
I think you spent a lot of time at the stables with Reggie and the horses. Is that why you wanted to be a stable girl?
I used to call there on my way home from school and whenever I could when I started work. Horses are such beautiful animals. My favourite is Kenna, the chestnut mare belonging to the son of Sir Charles and Lady Delia. That’s why I applied to take Reggie’s place.
That’s an unusual job for a girl, isn’t it?
My father was dead against it. And Sir Charles, but in the end, it was Mr Edmund who persuaded them. He said I could keep the job open for my brother until he returned from the war. The other stable lads are not happy about it, though.
What is Edmund Pryce like to work for? (Silence.) Annie?
He’s…umm, a perfect gentleman. (Pause.) Such a good employer.
I wish you luck in your new job. What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Firstly, I want this awful war to end, for Reggie to return in one piece. I’d like to continue as a groom alongside him if I could. Once they start again after the war is over, I’d like to compete in horse events and win rosettes on Kenna for Mr Edmund. Then, perhaps I could go back to studying and become a teacher as I’ve always wanted. And I’d like to travel. I’ve never been farther than Aberystwyth on a Sunday school outing. Yes, travel abroad.
No mention of getting married and having a family?
I would only marry for love. (Pause.) And the one I love can’t marry me…
Thank you, Annie. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today. Good luck in your new job at the Court and I hope your dreams for the future come true.
And thank you Jan, for your time too. It was a real pleasure to meet you and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
‘”Her Nanny’s Secret” tells Annie’s story, so you’ll be wanting to know – did any of her hopes and dreams come true?
Click on one of the buying links below to find out:
Twitter: @JanBaynham https://twitter.com/JanBaynham
Facebook: Jan Baynham Writer https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit
Blog: Jan’s Journey into Writing https://janbaynham.blogspot.com