Henley, Jan (S.) 1956- (Anna Cheska)
HENLEY, Jan (S.) 1956- (Anna Cheska)
Born June 30, 1956, in Worthing, West Sussex, England; daughter of Herbert (an optical glazier) and Daphne (Woodward; a secretary) Squires; married Timothy Page (divorced), Keith Henley (separated); children: Luke Page, Alexa Page, Anna Henley. Education: Open University, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Playing tennis and badminton, pilates, listening to Italian opera, watching football, avoiding housework.
Writer. Also works as a creative writing tutor and teacher; developed manuscript appraisal service.
Society of Authors, Romantic Novelists Association.
Other Summers, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1995.
Separate Lives, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1995.
Living Lies, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1996.
Somebody's Lover, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1997.
Family Ties, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1998.
Stepping Aside, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1998.
UNDER PSEUDONYM ANNA CHESKA
Moving to the Country, Piatkus Books (London, England), 2000.
Drop Dead Gorgeous, Piatkus Books (London, England), 2001.
Love-40, Piatkus Books (London, England), 2002.
Also author of short stories in national women's magazines and articles in New Writer and Writer's Forum.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The Secret Structure of Fiction, a self-help book; A Class Act, a contemporary romantic comedy.
Jan Henley is an author of contemporary women's fiction who sometimes writes under the pseudonym Anna Cheska. She began writing short stories while at home with her young children and had her first novel published in 1995.
Henley's first novel to be published in the United States was Moving to the Country. In this "competent tale of marital discord," as a Kirkus Reviews writer described it, Jess and her husband move to the country to re-energize their tired marriage. Their daughter has just left for college and Felix's company has relocated. Even though her husband has been unfaithful for years, Jess hopes the move will bring about a change of heart. Instead, she is the one who changes, prompted by the return of both her vagabond sister who has been traveling Europe for sixteen years, and her daughter, who leaves college after a failed affair with a married man. While her husband quickly finds a new mistress, Jess discovers she has a talent for interior design and begins her own business and friendships in her new home. Danise Hoover of Booklist commented: "Ably portraying an assortment of neighbors and business associates, the story exudes a good deal of subtlety and genuine warmth."
In Drop Dead Gorgeous Henley returns to the theme of a failed marriage. Imogen and Edward West have a stable, but mundane marriage, then Edward dies suddenly. Imogen is not nearly as grieved as she expected, and she begins to uncover some secrets as she sorts through her husband's belongings. She discovers a photograph of a sexy blonde, who turns out to be Edward's grown daughter from a twenty-year affair. Imogen and her friend Jude embark on an investigative adventure that leads them to Edward's daughter and her mother. Surprisingly, Imogen begins a friendship with the very woman who had been her husband's mistress for so many years. Along the way, the two women manage to find love themselves. Margaret Hanes in Library Journal admired the book for "some nice touches of almost laugh-out-loud humor and interesting secondary characters." Danise Hoover of Booklist found Drop Dead Gorgeous to be "an engaging and witty tale."
Henley told CA: "I have written since childhood. It gives me a sense of well-being and creative release to be able to express myself on the page, but I also see myself very much as a working professional.
"I am particularity interested in how the relationships between people work and people's motivation for behaving the way they do.
"My writing has evolved over the years and I now enjoy writing comedy with a dark edge. I am always inspired by the landscape of the coast."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2001, Danise Hoover, review of Moving to the Country, p. 547; May 15, 2002, Danise Hoover, review of Drop Dead Gorgeous, p. 1574.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2001, review of Moving to the Country, p. 1311; May 15, 2002, review of Drop Dead Gorgeous, p. 679.
Library Journal, November 1, 2001, Margaret Hanes Sterling, review of Moving to the Country, p. 132; June 1, 2002, Margaret Hanes, review of Drop Dead Gorgeous, p. 192.
Publishers Weekly, November 5, 2001, review of Moving to the Country, p. 41.
Anna Cheska Web site,http://www.annacheska.co.uk (April 6, 2003).
Jan Henley Web site,http://www.janhenley.co.uk (January 3, 2003).