PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "gwill"; married Andy Lewis (a geologist). Education: Attended School of the Art Institute. Hobbies and other interests: Medieval history.
ADDRESSES: Home—IL, and North Wales. Agent—Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates, Inc., 146 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003-2404.
CAREER: Has worked a variety of jobs, including archaeological illustrator, wine label artist, proofreader, postal clerk, cartoonist, jewelry maker, fry cook, and bartender. Exhibitions: Work exhibited at Chicago Cultural Center, Bradley University Museum, Las Vegas Museum of Fine Art, and Bernard Horwich Center.
AWARDS, HONORS: First-place award, for mainstream short fiction, and first-place award, for literary short fiction, Southwest Writers' Conference, both 2000; first-place award for mainstream fiction, Pikes Peak Writers, 2001; Illinois Arts Council literary awards, one in 2003.
Nectar from a Stone (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to literary magazines and anthologies.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Another medieval novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Jane Guill was already an award-winning short-story writer when she published her first novel, Nectar from a Stone, in 2005. "This haunting romantic saga" and "authentically detailed historical adventure," as Margaret Flanagan described it in Booklist, is set in late-medieval Wales. The story fol-lows a young clairvoyant named Elise after she kills her husband Maelgwyn and throws his body into a river. Maelgwyn was a violently abusive man and his death is no great loss, but Elise is still wracked with guilt. The visions she keeps experiencing further upset her as she and her maidservant Annora flee to the city of Conwy. There, where no one knows them, the two hope to find jobs and put Maelgwyn's death behind them. However, along the way they cross paths with Gwydion, a nobleman on a mission to find and punish Sir Nicholas, the man who killed his father and sister—and, conveniently, the same man who also assaults Elise and Annora on their journey. Elise finds herself falling in love with the mysterious Gwydion, but before she can allow herself to express these feelings she must overcome her guilt about her past. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised "the nicely developed chemistry between Elise and Gwydion," as well as "the numerous historical details that create vivid snapshots of life in medieval Wales."
Guill told CA: "When artwork became frustrating, I began to write. Images and words seem so deeply related, but words are a little less slippery sometimes. Obscure historical corners get me excited, particularly medieval corners.
"What surprises me most as a writer is how many little universes of information there are. When I'm researching I find out thousands of new things. Sometimes it's scary and shocking how little I really know. But it's always thrilling to learn something new."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2005, Margaret Flanagan, review of Nectar from a Stone, p. 1060.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Nectar from a Stone, p. 73.
Publishers Weekly, January 24, 2005, Natalie Danford, review of Nectar from a Stone, p. 118; February 14, 2005, review of Nectar from a Stone, p. 53.
Illinois Arts Council Web site, http://www.state.il.us/agency/iac/ (May 27, 2005), "Jane Guill."
Jane Guill Home Page, http://www.janeguill.com (May 27, 2005).