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Frequently Asked Questions

  Jack Sheffield

How did you come to be a writer?
When I was eight years old I had a gifted schoolteacher called Mr Rose at Coldcotes Junior Boys School in Leeds . He read White Fang by Jack London to the class and I asked him how I could become a writer. He said, ‘Go to Compton Road Library and read everything you can.’ So the journey began.
However, it wasn’t until I retired that I found the TIME to give it my best. I had spent a lifetime living my stories - now I have the opportunity to write them.

What is it about writing that you most enjoy?
Creating a world in which truth and happiness reign.

Where is Ragley-on-the-Forest?
Ragley village is based on the beautiful cluster of villages in North Yorkshire at the foot of the Hambleton Hills. In particular, the lovely grass-lined main street of Sutton-on-the-Forest to the north of York was my inspiration for Ragley’s High Street.

Are the characters based on real people?
The characters are largely a figment of my imagination. Although I’m sure many readers will recognise some of the humorous characteristics in people they know.

What is your favourite novel?
Without doubt - Lord of the Rings. I read it every five years as a treat. I lay out the map and follow Frodo’s journey.

Who are your favourite authors?
Apart from J R R Tolkien, I’m also a big fan of Isaac Asimov, Kate Atkinson, Jane Austen, Bill Bryson, Lee Child, Michael Crichton, Charles Dickens, Ben Elton, Thomas Hardy, Joanne Harris, Conn Igglesdun, C S Lewis, Lesley Pearse, Philip Pullman, Manda Scott, Anita Shreve, Sue Townsend and H G Wells . . . so you see I have eclectic tastes!

Do you have any ambitions that you would love to fulfil?
I should like to play just one more game of rugby, ski a blue run without falling down and grow perfect raspberries.

Where is your favourite place?
I have three. York Minster on New Year’s Eve, Headingley Cricket Ground on a summer’s day (when Yorkshire are winning) and Sydney Harbour at dawn on an April morning.

How do you relax?
That’s easy. I read, garden, build walls, go to the theatre, watch cricket and rugby, and visit places of historical interest.