Woods, Janet 1939- (Bryanna Fox)
Woods, Janet 1939- (Bryanna Fox)
Born 1939, in Dorset, England.
Twice awarded the Bronze Quill, Society of Women's Writers, for short fiction; Romantic Book of the Year, 2002, Romance Writers of Australia, for Daughter of Darkness.
(Under pseudonym Bryanna Fox) Thread of Destiny ("Rainbow Romance" series), Robert Hale (London, England), 1992.
Daughter of Darkness, Robert Hale (London, England), 2001.
Angelina, Robert Hale (London, England), 2002.
Pandora's Girl, Robert Hale (London, England), 2002.
From This Day Forth, Robert Hale (London, England), 2002.
Against the Tide, Robert Hale (London, England), 2003.
A Dorset Girl, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2003.
A Grace of Day, Robert Hale (London, England), 2003.
A Fair Pretender, Robert Hale (London, England), 2004.
Beyond the Plough, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.
A Handful of Ashes, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Stonecutter's Daughter (Dorset Saga), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Amaranth Moon, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.
Where Seagulls Soar (Dorset Saga), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Cinnamon Sky, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2006.
More Than a Promise, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2006.
The Convict's Woman, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2007.
Broken Journey, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.
The Coal Gatherer, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.
Contributor of more than fifty short stories to various publications.
Janet Woods was born and raised in Dorset County, England. Though she eventually moved to Western Australia, near the town of Fremantle, she is still heavily influenced by her upbringing, and Dorset serves as the setting for many of her books. Woods is the author of a number of novels, primarily historical romances, as well as short stories and educational tales for children. She has been twice awarded a Bronze Quill for her short fiction by the Society of Women Writers, and her novel Daughter of Darkness, was declared Romantic Book of the Year in the mainstream category by the Romance Writers of Australia.
Young women alone in the world and struggling to improve their circumstances play a role in many of Woods's novels. In A Fair Pretender, she tells the story of Graine Seaton, an illegitimate daughter who serves as companion to her half sister, a rich young woman bound for England and an arranged marriage. When the ship meets with disaster and Graine is the only survivor, she sets out to impersonate her half sister in an attempt to improve her lot in life, a fine plan until she falls in love with a man other than the one she is now obliged to marry. A reviewer for MyShelf.com called the book "an enjoyable and fairly involved tale with plenty of spirit." Amaranth Moon offers readers a Cinderella-like story, in which heroine Geneva Tibbetson is an orphan, living with her aunt and uncle and, in gratitude for their charity, helping to care for their eight sons. When a young earl moves into the house next door, he hires Geneva to help him settle in and search for a wife, as he feels sorry for her circumstances, but their relationship is quick to change into something more personal. Patty Engelmann, writing in Booklist, wrote: "Woods creates a lovely, gentle romance reminiscent of Georgette Heyer." Orphans triumph again in Cinnamon Sky. In this novel, five sisters struggle with their reduced fortune after the deaths of their parents and brother. Again reviewing in Booklist, Engelmann called the book "an extremely entertaining story with wide appeal."
Woods told CA: "I was in [the hospital] recovering from minor surgery. There was one book on the shelf in the lounge, a romance. I thought I might be able to write one too, so when I got back home I had a go at it. It turned out to be entirely dreadful, and it taught me that I had much to learn about writing. However, writing the story gave me such a sense of achievement that I knew the connection was meant to be. Four books later and my first book, Thread of Destiny, under the name of Bryanna Fox was published by Robert Hale in their now defunct ‘Rainbow Romance’ series. It was helped into publication through the New Writer's Scheme, a contest for unpublished writers, which is offered by the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK."
When asked who or what influenced her work, Woods said: "Many things. A love of history, tales from my mother, hardship women suffer. My book The Coal Gatherer was written for my mother's one-hundredth birthday. She was one of eleven children. But historical romance shouldn't just be about the rosy side of history, the privileged lives of earls and viscounts, silk, satin, and lace. There is the other side, too—the hardship of the working classes, our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I think women are, and always have been, immensely strong. They nurture life, and they endure all sorts of hardship.
"Generally I treat [writing] as my job. I spend all day in my office, with appropriate breaks. I pay attention to the research and characterization, especially for the sagas. I write a rough outline of the story before I start as a guide. Usually this goes by the wayside when the characters begin to come to life, because their personalities can change the course of a story considerably."
When asked the most surprising thing she has learned as a writer, Woods said: "That I am one. It's something I'd never aspired to as a child, though I did dream more than my share of daydreams. Learning I was a writer in middle age came as a complete and utter shock. It still does!
"I like most of my books, and for different reasons. If I had to choose just one, it would be one of my modern ones, Pandora's Girl. The book is the fastest I've ever written (ten weeks). The characters just took over the story. In fact, my original hero was sidelined by one of the secondary characters, a Welsh psychiatrist, who took over the lead and the love interest. All the characters were so alive to me and they took me where they wanted to go. I so enjoyed writing it.
"I hope readers will be entertained by the stories in the lighter romances, and form an emotional connection with the characters in my sagas. I get wonderful letters from readers telling me how much they relate to certain characters and enjoyed having a good cry."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2005, Patty Engelmann, review of The Stonecutter's Daughter, p. 944; August 1, 2005, Patty Engelmann, review of Amaranth Moon, p. 2007; March 1, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of More Than a Promise, p. 76; October 15, 2006, Patty Engelmann, review of Cinnamon Sky, p. 35.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Cinnamon Sky, p. 1102.
Library Journal, June 15, 2006, Kristin Ramsdell, review of More Than a Promise, p. 50.
Janet Woods Home Page,http://members.iinet.net.au/~woods (June 27, 2007).
MyShelf.com,http://www.myshelf.com/ (June 27, 2007), review of A Fair Pretender.