Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
My pleasure Susanne - it’s good to be the right side of the proscenium arch again!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
People inspire me if I respect them for what they are attempting, achieving, encouraging. That’s the way I like my heroines and heroes to be: aspiring for something. Places definitely inspire me. As an actor, I worked in many of the old British theatres and believe me - the presence of others’ before me was there. I had ghostly experiences both on-stage and off-stage in the dressing rooms and corridors. You can’t ignore that presence. (It’s a bit like walking into a church where you feel the reverence and awe from the thousands of people who have been there before you for christenings, wedding and funerals.)
2. How did you come up with the idea of The House on Burra Burra Lane?
The story was one of my first attempts at writing (three years ago) and I seem to remember sitting down and typing with no idea where it would go. I left it for over a year, half written and wrote another six stories. I don’t even remember why I decided to take this story off my beginners shelf, re-write it, give it a bit of spit and polish - but I’m so glad I did. I’m a great believer in pushing fate along so perhaps Burra Burra chose me.
3. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
They appear - although occasionally I will do a search for baby names etc. or names within history. As I was a family historian (a subject I love), if necessary for the time/place/story relevance, I look into the history of a first name or a surname, to ensure I’ve got it right for the character and any backstory. Other than that, I choose something that has a ‘ring’ to it.
4. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
I’ve only had five reviews so far - and I’ve read them all! (New author syndrome). I believe we write for certain readers, not all readers so I’ll be looking to see what notes I can pick up from further reviews with regard to my style, my voice and storylines. Then I’ll decide what I want to take on board, and what I recognise as not really my style because we can’t please everyone and neither should we attempt to.
5. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
Three (plus six who never answered!). Harlequin Escape Publishing accepted in February this year. After which I was in the unexpected and delirious state of having to kindly refuse two more offers from ePublishers.
6. What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript?
Not relevant to their current imprints. No agent currently accepting this style. And six …nothing’s.
7. Who is your literary hero?
I have answered this question once before, for a workshop I was doing and my answer here has to be the same. I think I’m truly in love with this fictional character.
Jean-Benoit (Ben) Savard, from Sarah Donati’s Queen of Swords.
He’s a sometime solitary, intelligent, capable warrior. Family orientated when he’s needed. Feels no need to control heroine Hannah Bonner (a very capable, independent woman). He allows her to be who she is, and somehow manages to guide her by not demanding; letting her find her own way to him. Doesn’t hold back his love for her, but doesn’t push for her love. Cares for her in times of trouble, saves her, repays horrendous callousness and brutality shown to her with his own stealthy and deadly methods. Feels deeply. Loves deeply, and isn’t afraid of anything, including emotion, although he rarely feels a need to show that. In order to help her, he almost gives his life. In the end, he gives up his passions, his family and lifestyle and takes on hers. With enigmatic, unperturbed confidence.
And now I’m going to have to look this one up!
8. What is your favourite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
I don’t have ‘one’ but I can re-read many of Nora Roberts’ work. Especially the brother sagas like The MacKade Brothers and Chesapeake Bay Saga (the Quinn brothers).
9. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
A clear mind - not one that has gathered a day-load of information regarding household / chores / lists / school stuff / day job requirements or What’s for dinner? responses.
So I write best in the mornings but have been known to burn midnight oil when attempting to stick to deadlines.
10. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
I have a story I’ve written that I want to work on one day. It might be called light paranormal but to me, it’s a modern-day tale of a woman who inherited psychic awareness from her 14th great grandmother. She meets a man from a faraway European place and he takes her to the land and castle where her 14th great grandmother lost her life. My heroine has to bring her grandmother and her grandmother’s lover together so they can rest in peace - oh, and she has to care for the hero’s orphaned niece, and of course, fall in love with the hero!
This intrigues me. I love dual time settings with a twist. Hope you do finish it!
11. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
How long is a piece of string? As long as Jennie’s file entitled: Blurbs - a Baker’s Dozen plus a hundred more.
12. What are you working on now?
Book 2 in the Swallow’s Fall series, Trouble on Main Street. I’m thoroughly enjoying my new characters and their interaction with the established ones from The House on Burra Burra Lane. They’re all getting up to some mischief. ☺
13. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
I’d like to share the blurb for Trouble on Main Street please:
Charlotte Simmons believes the only way she can be free of childhood demons is to search for the truth behind her mother’s death.
She buys a Bed & Breakfast establishment in Swallow’s Fall as a ploy to get close to the man who might have the answers. She plans on staying two months - maximum. Then she’ll be gone from this quaint but gossipmonger town.
Jazzing up the old B&B for a speedy re-sale, she’s faced with opposition by dogmatic and slightly eccentric members of the town council.
And the hotshot owner of Kookaburra’s Bar & Grill and his two-hundred-squats-a-day physique is simply poking his handsome nose into none of his business when he offers to act as mediator between Charlotte and the townspeople.
Easygoing Daniel Bradford knows a fast pace won’t cut it in Swallow’s Fall. He’s about to put his plans into place to upgrade the hotel, and Charlotte is putting a spanner in the works by dredging up resistance to change.
When he notices her interest in his best friend, he thinks the seemingly prim and proper redhead is out to ruin a marriage.
Charlotte’s arrival uncovers more than one secret in Swallow’s Fall. And Dan’s offer of mediation turns into a bigger babysitting deal than he’d anticipated.
14. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
I’m not a cocktail person but I’ll let Daniel (my hero in Trouble on Main Street) share a cocktail recipe for a Rosy Highball. Daniel now runs Kookaburra’s Bar & Grill and he reckons he knows what my heroine, newcomer Charlotte, would ask for (they’re not getting along very well at this point).
He wasn’t interested in her love life but he had her penned for her preference on drinks. He’d set a chilled tumbler with a sugar frosted rim on the bar. He’d pour equal parts of vodka and pomegranate juice and throw in a twist of lemon. It was the pomegranate in the Martini that gave it the aphrodisiac kick but Miss Simmons didn’t inspire improper thoughts. Too much tart in the mix for his liking.
What a great excerpt, Jennie! Love it. and best wishes on its release!
Escape Publishing for all where to buy links:
Jennie Jones Romance webpage: