Grace Wynne-Jones is the author of four highly intimate soulful novels that have received critical acclaim and an enthusiastic response from many readers. Two of them have got into the bestsellers charts and, as an article in The Sunday Independent said, they are often about 'older women looking for fulfillment and, yes love, in a complicated world'. She lives in Ireland and has a deep interest in psychology, spirituality and healing and she also loves to celebrate the strangeness and wonders of ordinary life and love. She has frequently been praised for the warm belly-laugh humour and tender observations in her writing and has been described as as a novelist who tells the truth about the human heart.
"One of my biggest pleasures is when a reader says they have felt understood by a novel" she says. "This is often because a character has admitted to feelings they themselves have never been able to share. For example a number of readers of 'Ordinary Miracles' told me they felt I had somehow been spying on their marriages. Jasmine, the main character, has just turned forty and reads books like 'No Need To Panic: Courageous Acts Of Change In Women's Lives'. She discovers that her husband has been having an affair, but long before that she was wondering what had happened to her dreams. She confides in her daughter's teddy and has torrid fantasies about a famous actor. Desperation eventually sends her on a quirky journey of self-discovery and there are tears and epiphanies and adventures and, importantly, laughter. I love writing humour. I like my novels to contain many notes and contrasts, like in music. But as the saying goes, certain chords always reach the heart in the same way.'
Grace wrote her first book when she was about eleven. It was called 'Stories For Everyone' and she described it in a newspaper article:
'A self-published work with a print run of one copy, it featured a woman, a horse and a puppy on the cardboard cover, and the singer John Paul Jones on the back. It contained two stories. One was about my pony Merrylegs and another was about the joys of nature, so it didn't quite live up to its title. Though I still adore ponies and nature these days I have extended my subject-matter. For example women's lives fascinate me. And writing about them helps me to make sense of my own experiences. What's more, I make all sorts of new friends as I type the chapters. Characters sometimes just seem to turn up, and I greet them hoping that they will share their hopes and disappointments, their fears and dreams and perplexities. I love intimacy in ordinary life...people who seem to understand. People I don't have to pretend with. And that's what the characters in my novels ask of my friendship with them. They want to take off their masks and tell it how it truly is. Sometimes male characters do this too and I almost fall in love with them. For example I find Charlie in 'Ordinary Miracles' deeply fanciable. And Nathaniel in 'The Truth Club' would make a most wonderful confidant.'
Grace's first novel 'Ordinary Miracles' (Accent Press) received rave reviews and she also received a number of heartfelt letters from readers. "Some of them had been through painful marriages like Jasmine, the heroine in the book, who finds a fake diamond hairgrip in her marriage bed...and it isn't hers!" Grace reveals. "But lots more just enjoyed the novel's humorous honesty about, say, trying to get your partner to do some ironing or finding that sex is now below 'defrost mince' on the list of household chores. There is a spiritual theme in the book because Jasmine is on a quest to understand herself more, and she also yearns to at least glimpse some of the greater truths about life and love and forgiveness. She misses things and sometimes she even misses herself...the person she thought she would be."
"Though she is the kind of person who tries to eat well she finds herself lusting after the most fibreless soft white mass-produced bread she can find! She longs to 'transcend' difficult situations. And she wants to learn how to be more 'authentic' though she sometimes gets fed up about it. She becomes a rebel on an alternative holiday in Ibiza and stomps off to have a drink during 'The Inner Dance - An Exploration' workshop." Grace herself has enjoyed many an alternative holiday. "In many ways I'm a middle-aged hippy" she admits. "I love workshops - but sometimes I do giggle during them. And if someone mentions that there's home made apple pie for pudding that will become a very important part of the day's experience for me!"
Ordinary Miracles, Wise Follies, Ready Or Not? (which was described as 'one of the best Irish novels this year' when it was first published) and The Truth Club are now available from Accent Press and are also available on Kindle. Sample chapters are available on www.gracewynnejones.com The novels received critical acclaim. For example:
'She has an assured style and a wonderful insight into the separated
lady's lot...I couldn't put it down. I literally read it from cover to
cover.' Muriel Bolger, 'No Jacket Required' RTE RADIO ONE re Ordinary Miracles
'Grace Wynne-Jones has a wicked sense of humour which enlivens every
page...Alice and her friends, and her hilarious magazine assignments, at
times leave the reader rocking with laughter.' THE IRISH TIMES re Wise Follies
'...this is one of the best Irish novels this year...The trip to Greece is steeped in olives and jasmine, cicadas and sunshine...readers will love the local gigolo, Dimitri. Grace writes with great humour...On a more serious note, her portrayal of friendship, commitment and the complexity of relationships is very real and most enjoyable.' Evening Herald re Ready Or Not?
'.....Grace Wynne-Jones has written an entertaining, intelligent and genuinely funny story....this is a great read, especially for commuters...guaranteed to shorten any journey.' The Irish Times re The Truth Club
Grace was born and brought up in Ireland and her early years were spent in a big rambling rectory in the Irish countryside. Her father was a Church of Ireland clergyman and, since there weren't many Protestants in the area, he sometimes played LPs featuring hymns sung by the choir of St. Martin in the Fields in the local church. Passers by who did not know about the recordings must have been amazed by the choral grandeur...given that there were usually just a few cars and the odd bicycle outside the church during the services. She has a great love of the countryside. Her first big love was a pony called Merrylegs. "I love animals and they are often important characters in my novels. For example Ordinary Miracles features an adorable pig and Wise Follies has a rather rude but impressive budgie and a cat and terrapins. Ready Or Not? has a lovely Cocker Spaniel And The Truth Club features a nice dog too!"
Grace has also lived in Africa, the US and England. Her feature articles have appeared in many magazines and national papers in Ireland and in England and her radio play Ebb Tide was broadcast on RTE 1. Her short stories have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and Australia and have also been broadcast on RTE and BBC Radio 4. She has produced and presented a radio documentary about the land, legends, and legacy of the Hill of Tara which was broadcast on Newstalk in 2008. Her radio documentary 'Lights, Stop Messin', Action!' (about young film-makers) was broadcast on Newstalk in Febrary 2011.
Her novel Ordinary Miracles has been praised in articles that explore the literary merits of women's popular fiction. These articles appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Writing Magazine and The Sunday Independent. Some of her novels are also available in German, Indonesian and Russian. When she was based in London she worked in book publishing.
'To be young, really young, takes a very long time.' Picasso