Chichester: Debut novel ten years in the making

Memoirs of her time in France have formed the basis of a debut novel for Chichester’s Jacqueline Mason.


After ten years in the making, Jacqueline said she was delighted and relieved that the book –titled Home – has now been published.

“I needed a hobby,” Jacqueline says. “I wanted to write some memoirs because I had lived in France for eight or so years.

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“I was working full time but I wanted to write something. We thought it would be a good thing for me to do. It was all very scary but I had had a fabulous time in France.


“So I wrote it, and I showed it to my husband James. He thought it was good but that it didn’t tell a story. He thought we needed to introduce a story into it to make it interesting.”

And so memoirs became a novel.

“It’s about this young girl that went to France and fell in love with the country and who also fell in love with somebody over there. But life does not work out in the way she was expecting, and it all goes a little bit wrong. I would call it a romantic thriller.”

The book is the tale of Jenny: “She ends up getting married, but her husband is abusive. The book is the story of how she survives the abuse, how she deals with it.”

And for Jacqueline, Chichester born and bred, the achievement is significant.

“Going back to when I was at school, I was a bit of a rebel.

“I didn’t really thrive a lot at school, and I wish I had. I took my English O level three times, and I failed each time. I wanted to prove to myself I could achieve something even though I was not good at O levels or GCSEs.

“I regret it bitterly that I didn’t work harder, but the outcome for me is now good. I have now achieved what I wanted.”

Husband James is similarly delighted.

“Ten years ago, we were looking for a way for Jacqueline to de-stress and find some ‘her’ time.

“I am step dad and I took the kids off her hands. For the first time, she had some spare time, and she didn’t know what to do.

“We both work at the university (of Chichester), and we are surrounded by creative people. We thought about writing.

“Jacqueline isn’t the sort of person that does something for the sake of doing it. It has got have a goal and a purpose. And so she did it.

“I am an avid reader, but I am not creative in that way. I am in awe of anybody that can do it.”

For the book, they went down the self-publishing route, on Amazon Kindle.

“It feels great. It is like a weight being lifted,” Jacqueline said.

“I have got the story out there, and I know that it is good.

“I know it is interesting. I know it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but the feedback so far has been really positive.

“Book two is the next part of the story. Jenny is now back in England.

“I have started writing it, and I am up to about chapter three or four. It is all worked out.

“It is going to be much easier now with the book all properly drafted. I am giving myself two years to do it.”

Jacqueline is curriculum co-ordinator for music at the University of Chichester. James is head of IT operations there.

See for more details about Jacqueline’s writing.

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