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Image of Roman temple

Our summer-house and July hanging baskets

Our summer-house in summer   

Our two spaniels, Copper and Rosie

Copper (red) and Rosie (black) playing,
which they do a lot

Our garden in May
  Our garden in May

Richard's pond

Richard's pond

Richard with our dog Copper

Richard and Copper

"Write something about yourself," they said, and I thought wow, at last I can tell the world how brilliant, charming and beautiful I am. Then they spoilt it all by saying, "But stick to the truth." Boring...

I was born in Britain, in God's Own County - Yorkshire, as if there could be any doubt. I've been fascinated by the past ever since as a child I walked along the straight Roman roads of East Yorkshire, and discovered that York's mediaeval Minister was built over something even older, a Roman fortress. At school I got completely hooked on Roman history when I read those two masterpieces by Robert Graves, "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God". I studied history at London University, and then stayed in London and worked for some years in radio, mostly as a freelance broadcaster for the BBC. I've done various other jobs too, including computer programming (which I wasn't very good at) and shopkeeping, when my husband and I ran a flourishing craft shop at Aysgarth in North Yorkshire. All the while I never lost my interest in the Roman era, and when I finally got time to write mysteries, it never occurred to me to set the stories in any other period of history.

Now I'm settled in Yorkshire not far from the coast, with my husband Richard, and I spend much of my time reading and writing. For me, the research I need to do into all things Roman is as much fun as the writing itself, and just as important - if you're doing historical mysteries, you've got to get the history right. A writer's life beats doing a proper job, but just to keep respectable, I sometimes do a tiny bit of broadcasting, under my married name, Jane Copsey. I also like travelling, gardening, reading (including mysteries of course,) and playing my guitar.

We both enjoy the company of our two cocker spaniels: red Copper, aged eight, and black Rosie, who's five.They take us out for walks and have got us pretty well trained. They are both cocker spaniels, but Copper is a traditional show type, handsome (and knows it!) and with a dramatic temperament; Rosie is from a working strain of cocker, (they've been used as gun-dogs for centuries,) so she's less glamorous in appearance, but has a calmer, more laid-back outlook on life. Just as well; two drama dogs would be something of a handful. The pair get on well together, and Copper has taken to his role of "senior dog" with great panache. They make a very good team.

Our only other pets, if you can call them that, are the fish in Richard's pond, and there are frogs there too, which come out to play on sunny days and climb all over the small rockery behind the pond. Our flowers attract some beautiful butterflies, and Richard enjoys photographing all the different creatures - since he knows his way around both cameras and computers, the results are great. Birds of all sorts visit us as well - woodland ones like blackbirds, thrushes, chaffinches, and robins, swallows, a cuckoo, pigeons (too many!) and also gulls, as we're not far from the sea.

I still mess about with computers, and am glad they are quite unlike the huge room-sized mainframe beasts I worked on when I started as a programmer. I use a desktop machine to write with, as I think most writers do, and I wouldn't be without emails and the Internet for all the fish sauce in Ancient Rome. I'm partially sighted and tend to have trouble reading the screen, so I have special software on my PC which can "talk" whatever is showing on the monitor, and speak out keys as I type. It's called Thunder, and it's free; no longer do visually impaired people have to pay an arm and a leg to make their computers usable. Its speech sounds a bit robotic sometimes, but it is a terrific help, and even manages Latin words quite well. The Romans would have loved computers; if they'd managed to invent them, we'd all be speaking Latin to this day!

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