Friday, 16 September 2011

Sadly Missed

I was dismayed to read in October's issue of Writing Magazine that Jean Saunders passed away in August.

Jean was a prolific writer, both of short stories and novels and wrote under several names including Rowena Summers, Rachel Moore, Jean Innes, Sally Blake and Jodi Nicol.

She was also a regular contributor to Writing Magazine as well as teaching creative writing courses.

Her advice through the magazine has been invaluable to me over the years and in 2005 I was fortunate to attend one of her weekend courses at the Writers' News House Party in Harrogate.

The weekend itself was blissful. At the time I had a very young family and to be able to indulge in a whole weekend of writing was a dream come true (still would be in fact).  I met so many lovely people including Deric Longden, a favourite author, who was guest speaker on the Saturday evening.

But the highlight was Jean herself.  I found her to be a wonderful, warm person who gave me so much insight into the world of writing for women's magazines.  She was a natural born teacher and inspired everyone of us in the room that weekend. 

When reading a piece of my writing out to the class I remember her asking, "Have you been published?" and when I admitted that I hadn't her answer was "Well, you should be."

Since then, whenever I have been in doubt about my ability, and there have been many times, those four words have inspired me to keep going.

So thank you Jean, wherever you are, you have been an inspiration to my writing life, and you will be sadly missed.



  1. It was very sad news indeed. I never met Jean, but from what I'd heard of her and seen of her work she sounds such a lovely person. And those four words she gave you, what a wonderful gift.

    Deric Longden is one of my favourite authors too.

  2. I too was shocked to hear of her death, and had a conversation with my husband, whilst trying to explain who she was. It sounds like she really was as nice as she sounds.

  3. Hi Teresa,

    She was indeed a lovely person and I will never forget those words. Deric was lovely too. My mum bought me the first book I read of his. "The Cat Who Came In From the Cold". I was living in London at the time and was reading it on the tube. I was laughing so much that a woman seated nearby tapped me on the shoulder and asked me what I was reading. Bearing in mind the usual unfriendliness on the tube this was a real breakthrough. Deric was thrilled when I told him.

    Hi Rachel. I had the same conversation with my husband. Sadly, we seem to be loosing someone we know most weeks at the moment. Perhaps it just comes with getting older!