Jane Duncan lived from 10 March 1910 to 20 October 1976. Jane Duncan was the pseudonym of the author Elizabeth Jane Cameron, best known for her "Reachfar" series of semi-autobiographical novels, all with titles beginning with "My Friends..." She also wrote some children's books, and four novels under the name of Janet Sandison, the heroine in the "Reachfar" series. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Duncan/Cameron was born in Renton in West Dunbartonshire, the daughter of a police officer. She spent much of her childhood on her grandparents croft in Easter Ross in the Highlands, on which she later based the location of the croft at "Reachfar". Duncan later graduated in English from Glasgow University before serving as an intelligence officer in the RAF during World War II.
After the war she moved with her husband to Jamaica. In the 1950s he fell seriously ill and, in the face of the prospect of widowhood, Jane Duncan submitted the manuscript of a novel to the London publishers, Macmillans. When the novel was accepted by them, she revealed that she had completed six more while living in Jamaica, and in 1959 Macmillans published the first seven of her "Reachfar" books. By now, Jane's husband had died and she had returned to live at Jemimaville, on the Black Isle, not far from her grandparent's croft.
The "Reachfar" series ran to 17 novels and the last was published in 1976, the year Janet Duncan died. The series traced the life of her heroine Janet Sandison, which in turn often had similarities with Jane's own life. The similarity even extended to Janet Sandison becoming an author: and between 1969 and 1975 Jane Duncan published four books under the pseudonym Janet Sandison which revolved around the life of her heroine, Jean Robertson, a maid living in Balloch.
Duncan also wrote nine children's books, some using the location of "Reachfar" and others based around the characters of her nieces and nephews. Elizabeth Jane Cameron/Jane Duncan/Janet Sandison died at Jemimaville in October 1976.