Dione Jones attempted to write her first book at aged 10. She was born in England and grew up in countryside where she could ride her pony to explore the surrounding National Trust common land. She achieved a B.A. at Trinity College, Dublin and then spent time selling chocolates in Fortnum and Mason before working in aircraft sales – where she learnt to fly –and then venturing to New Zealand to help set up a laboratory to collect animal blood.
There she met and married Chris and followed his involvement in polo, property and farming. They have two adult children and three grandchildren and live in south Auckland. Apart from her family, dogs and horses, she is interested in the environment we live in, historical changes in society – and, of course, good books and writing. In 2014 she was awarded a Master of Creative Writing from the Auckland University of Technology.
‘The Alexandrite’ has been published by Cloud Ink Press, a New Zealand boutique publisher and was launched in August 2019. She is at present working on the next two books.
WHAT THEY SAY
From Homegrown reviews - October 2020. Reviewer Josie Laird
A mystery within a family saga which stretches across a century, involving an artistocratic family ...
From Historical Novel Society - May 2020. Reviewer Helen Piper
Dione Jones offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the British aristocracy in the early 1900s and the present-day in her debut novel ... an interesting cast of characters and vivid storytelling ...
From NZ Herald - 30 November 2019. Reviewer Maggie Trapp
It is an enthralling mystery that reaches back to Tsarist Russia and World War 1 to end up in contemporary New Zealand. Along the way readers are immersed in a rich story that challenges us to think about race, class, family secrets and family ties.
From Reviewer Theresa Smith
I can highly recommend The Alexandrite to those who enjoy family sagas with an element of mystery and an attention to historical detail. The author’s particular care to draw attention to Maori culture did not go unnoticed and added to the story. I also really enjoyed the commentary on class within England and the struggles of the ‘titled poor’, something I have come across in another novel this year and which held particular interest for me. All in all, there is little I could fault with this novel and much to be enjoyed. Dione Jones writes with flawless precision and I am keen to see what she might have waiting in the wings for us next.
THE ALEXANDRITE by DIONE JONES
A gripping narrative, spanning several generations of English and New Zealand families, lent tension by the iniquities of the British class system and the differing values of its colourful cast. Connected by the intricate networks of empire, the Scawton family becomes caught up in the enigmatic story of a rare precious stone, mined in Tsarist Russia, which changes colour in different lights. The alexandrite stone gives its name to the title of the novel, as well as becoming a metaphor for the changing fortunes of members of the Scawton family as they struggle to come to terms with events of the modern era.
Graeme Lay – author of ‘The Secret Life of James Cook’ and former book editor of North & South magazine
NEWS AND VIEWS
Where can you buy The Alexandrite?
The Book is now available for sale at all good bookshops – they should be able to order it if they do not have it in stock, and please email me if a supplier says he can't!
When it was launched, The Alexandrite was No.3 on the weekly Bestseller List for New Zealand fiction
Lynn Freeman is the host of a Sunday afternoon radio programme called 'Standing Room Only'. The interview was broadcast on Radio New Zealand 29th September 2019. Listen here
Kirsty Powell interviews Dione Jones as part of her Virtual Woolshed Tour, May 2020. Watch here
Dione Jones in lockdown talks about The Alexandrite. April 2020 Watch here
Visits, readings, launches
The South Auckland Writers Group meets monthly in Papakura and it was a great opportunity to share the excitement and success of the launch at the September meeting. The monthly stories we write have been great practice for The Alexandrite
The Going West Festival was held in September 2019, and the publisher Cloud Ink highlighted and held readings of some of the books being published this year, including The Alexandrite. The festival, based in Titirangi in Auckland is becoming an increasingly popular one.
The Clevedon Farmers Market was a great place for a speical launch of The Alexandrite in August 2019. The market is a great day out, and runs from 8am until 1pm each Sunday in Clevedon. Always worth a visit.
The official launch of The Alexandrite was at the Women's Bookshops in August. Lots of friends helped celebrate
The South Auckland Writers took place at Nathan Homestead, Manurewa in July 2019. It was very exciting to be able to introduce The Alexandrite. Congratulations to the organisers of the event.
MAYDAY - read it here
This story won the Auckland Regional award in the National Flash Fiction competition 2016 and was published in Flash Frontier
THE METRONOME - read it here
This story appears in History Write Now, which is a collection of stories written by members of the South Auckland Writers group, each story inspired by an artefact in the Papakura Museum
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