About Us

About Briar Ridge Books
Have you ever wondered where fantasy and reality meet, where mystery and imagination merge with the real world? Welcome to the world of Briar Ridge Books, the publishing house for the work of poet and writer Hilary Jane Jones and photographer Tracey Swain.

Briar Ridge Books came about purely by chance, when Hilary and Tracey met on a windswept Shropshire ridge. Hilary is a poet who loves to write in rhyme, and Tracey is a photographer - a true "painter of light". They discovered a shared love and respect for the beauty of nature, coupled with a fascination for fantasy and mystery, both of which abound in the landscapes, history and folklore of the Welsh Borderlands where they live and the many other places where they have travelled.

Hilary and Tracey bring their world to life through words and photographs, often capturing more than first meets the eye. Tracey's evocative images tease the imagination and often have hidden secrets, whilst Hilary is able to play with words that complement the images and fire the imagination even more.

Hilary's verse and Tracey's photographs have been described as "fusing together in artistic brilliance". Whether taking you on a fantasy journey through real places, or bringing out often-unseen aspects of a particular view, they work side by side in perfect harmony to produce books that will live in your memory long after you have turned the final page.

Hilary and Tracey both live in Shropshire, England. Many of the images in their books are taken in their stunning home county and along the Welsh borders. Occasionally, called by some mystical adventure, they travel beyond these boundaries: they may wander wherever mystery and magic dwell side by side with stunning landscapes, discovering hidden wonders and magical gems.

Briar Ridge Books will publish every photographic poetry book as a beautiful, collectable hardback that will grace any coffee table or bookshelf.

Briar Ridge
Briar Ridge Books takes its name from the enchanting ridge that lies between Hilary's and Tracey's homes ... but you won't find it on any map because that's not quite its true name. Like everything else about their work, it is partly real, partly fantasy, born from the fusion of truth with imagination (not to mention Hilary mis-reading the local OS Map!)

The children's author, Malcolm Saville, stayed at a house on 'Briar Ridge', and it is close to the fictional Witchend where he set many of his Lone Pine stories.

Hilary Jane Jones

Is a writer and poet, born and bred in Shropshire. From an early age she was inspired by its wild and beautiful landscapes and fascinated by the many myths and legends that surrounded the Shropshire Hills. She loved to hear tales of ancient ghosts and spirits, and has even encountered the odd ghost or two herself.

A love of reading coupled with a very fertile imagination drew Hilary into her own fantasy world which soon led to writing short stories and poems. She beat thousands of other entries to win the Sunday Express Children's Christmas Story Competition when she was just 14. Other prizes and commendations followed, but it was not until many years later, after successful careers in financial services and personal development training, that Hilary returned to her creative roots and took up writing again.

She had two self-help books published before returning to the world of poetry. A meeting with internationally-renowned fantasy artist Peter Andrew Jones led to Hilary writing the words to accompany Peter's paintings in his limited edition handmade book 'Paintings of the Stiperstones'. On hearing some of this poetry, local photographer Tracey Swain asked Hilary if she was interested in collaborating with her on a book that brought photographic images and poetry together. Thus Briar Ridge Books was born.

When she is not writing Hilary works part time in Burway Books, a popular independent book shop in Church Stretton. She loves walking her two dogs for miles around the Shropshire countryside where she regularly finds fresh inspiration for her poetry. She also enjoys gardening/DIY, eating out and reading: her favourite authors include Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Keats, Longfellow, Phil Rickman and Patrick Gale. Hilary's music tastes reflect her growing up in the '70s and '80s: Elton John, Roxy Music, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Meatloaf, Eagles, Tamla Motown. She is an avid Shrewsbury Town and Liverpool fan.

Tracey Swain

Is a photographer and reprographics artist who moved to Shropshire after falling in love with the scenery on a 3 day calendar shoot in February 2007. She was given her first SLR camera at a young age by an Uncle and has followed in her father's footsteps in seeing the shot before she takes it. A huge love of Simon Marsden's gothic Infra-Red work and Ansel Adams' black and white masterpieces of Yosemite brought her to love the mystery of the landscapes hidden from sight, and ruins that haunt and taunt the shivers from you. She has been involved with photographic images and colour print since her schooldays, teaching black and white printing with her chemistry teacher. She holds degree in photography, photographic darkroom techniques and photo-lithography, and when working on images she remembers the motto of her old tutor, "To thine eyes be true", therefore 90% of her work is as it was captured in camera, using only traditional darkroom techniques, applied digitally, to bring her photographic art to print. Although techniques like Sepia and Infra-Red are now digitally achieved, she tries not to enhance an image beyond what she sees with her eyes when dealing with naturally-lit colour landscapes. Her whole working life has been spent in media advertising, print, either photographically painting with light, or on litho press painting with ink.

Tracey was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia/ME in 2006 after a spinal injury following an accident at work, and as a result was advised to give up her career in London and the South East. She was unable to work for several months, and having been advised to "slow down or else", in January 2007 decided to become self employed with the help of a very good friend. She is still working in print and design, with photography being a part of her life as often as she can manage. This helps her to keep a sense of normality whilst still maintaining a strong work ethic for professional photography and good quality print.

Tracey says, "I am still discovering the beauty of this wonderful part of the world and I hope to continue to do so for a long time to come".

In her rare moments of spare time she enjoys photography obviously, is a fan of motor racing and loves being in the pits on race day (again thanks to her Dad), theatre, reading: Alan Garner, Dennis Wheatley, Enid Blyton, Edgar Allan Poe, Tolkien, Longfellow and Marion Zimmer Bradley Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Bram Stoker are amongst her many favoured authors. She is a huge music fan who loves a wide selection from folk to metal, and loves to curl up watching a film, either black and white classics or modern day action dramas.

It was her interest in the paranormal that bought her to Burway Books one night for an evening of 'Ghost Hunting'! During the evening some of Hilary's poetry was read aloud and this sparked an idea that had been kindling within for many years. That night being to busy it was a couple of weeks later that Tracey approached Hilary with her idea of bringing a photographic poetry book of landscapes to life in vision and verse. A book that would reconnect folk with the magic of Mother Nature.