We chat to local author Jane Hardstaff who has just published her first book The Executioner’s Daughter. It’s a gripping tale for readers 10+ set in Tudor London.

To win a signed copy of the book, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Q: Where do you live in Tower Hamlets?

A: Columbia Road with my partner Nick and 7-year-old daughter Frea. We love it!

Q: What’s your favourite place to visit In Tower Hamlets?

A: I love the river and I think it is often an overlooked part of London. We like to go to the riverside in Wapping at low tide and explore the debris. You can find all sorts of exciting things buried in the mud like clay pipes and old coins.

I also love the Museum of London and The Tower of London and I think it’s fantastic that Tower Hamlets residents can have access to the tower for just £1 if they show their library cards or other proof of living in the borough.

Q: Favourite Tower Hamlets Green Space?:

A: Well it’s not strictly Tower Hamlets but I love Haggerston Park by Hackney City Farm. There’s lots of areas of woodland and wilderness and a pretty walled garden area which is our favourite spot for picnics.

Q: Top Hidden Gem in Tower Hamlets?:

A: Lee’s seafood on Columbia Road. It’s a tiny little hut that’s only open on Sundays and they do the most delicious fried prawn and calamari.

Q: Favourite Family-Friendly Restaurant?:

A: I love Hackney City Farm café. It always makes for a lively Sunday lunch. The food is delicious and they always a good range of home-cooked food on offer for children. The kids can also pop out to the farm if they get bored of sitting down!

Q: Where did you get your inspiration for The Executioner’s Daughter?

A: The history of the Tower of London is full of fascinating stories and daring escapes. It lead me to thinking about what it would have been like to be an executioner and I was interested in exploring the relationship between and father and daughter around this.

My mother told me a lot of fairy-tales as a child and I think there’s an element of old myths and legends that have lent themselves to the plot as well.

Q: Do you think living in Tower Hamlets played any part in the creation of the novel?

A: I think the borough’s rich and powerful history and certainly the murky river Thames definitely had an influence on the book.


Tower Hmlets author Jane Hardstaff

A: Yes. I have almost finished the sequel, which sees Moss returning to London a year and a half after the first book to unravel a new mystery.

Q: Do you have any advice for busy mums who aspire to becoming a novelist but don’t seem to find the time?:

A: Just write! Don’t be too precious or over critical about your writing. Once you start getting into the habit of writing regularly it will start to become more natural.

Also the great thing about writing is you can do it anywhere, anytime so even if it’s just the odd half an hour when your child is napping or while your waiting to pick you the kids from school you can make that time to spark some inspiration.

Buy Executioner’s Daughter on Amazon.com