In the next few weeks I’ll be introducing some of my fellow graduates from the excellent New Writers’ Scheme run by the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association. Today I’m welcoming the lovely Jennifer Young!
And what a lovely day it is, too. My daffs are out in all their golden glory, along with my crocuses, and the camellia I planted a couple of years ago is about to flower for the first time. I’m so excited by this I’ve had to show Jennifer before we get down to chatting :)
Whereabouts do you live, Jennifer? I’m lucky enough to live in Edinburgh – one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And inspiring, too — it’s hard to walk around places frequented by Burns and Scott (and more recently the likes of Ian Rankin and JK Rowling) and not feel compelled to go away and write something.
Oh, it really is a beautiful place! And absolutely stacked with history on every street and alleyway.
Where is your favourite place in the world? Ah, now. Do I have to tell you? You might all go there…
Well, all right then. It’s Glen Affric in the Highlands. The mountains, the river, the hills, the heather. I’ve shivered in the snow there and paddled in a loch on a hot summer day and every time I go, no matter how the weather and the seasons vary, it’s still extraordinarily beautiful.
That sounds gorgeous!
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I’ve never had a truly bad job. My first ever paid employment might have been horrendous; I was a cleaner with special responsibility for some temporary toilets. But the toilets in question were the ladies’ loos in the car park at the Ryder Cup. They only needed to be cleaned twice, first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. The rest of the time I got to watch the golf!
There speaks a true fan! Is it OK to say I’d sooner clean the toilets than watch golf??
What book do you wish you’d written? The list is long, but I have to go with Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, by Peter Hoeg. It’s deeply disturbing at some levels (like all good thrillers, I suppose) but it’s also very different to anything else I’ve read, before or since. I love its setting, I love its heroine and I found the ending totally haunting.
I was so struck by that book when I first read it. Such an original idea, and beautifully written. Great choice.
What’s your favourite song? No question – the Waterboys’ Whole of the Moon. I loved it when I was a student and although other songs take over temporarily, this is the one that’s always on my Desert Island Discs list, even after thirty years.
I love The Waterboys. That song’s in my head now!
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer. Shackleton is largely overshadowed by Captain Scott though some would argue (including me) that he was actually more successful. Although he never made it to the South Pole he might have done if, like Scott, he had been prepared to die in the attempt. And some of his adventures, especially when he and his men lost their ship in the middle of the Antarctic winter with no chance of a rescue attempt, are almost completely unbelievable.
I don’t know if I’d dare to ask him anything if I were to meet him, though – I’d be too much in awe. But perhaps (if he didn’t consider it impertinent) I’d like to ask about what drove him to leave his family behind to go exploring. And I’d like to hear Lady Shackleton’s take on that one too!
That’s an interesting answer, and unusual choice. I’d love to meet any one of those Antartic explorers, especially since reading The Worst Journey in the world, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (one of Scott’s companions). His experience, too, is almost unbelievable, and his book stayed in my mind for a long time after I finished it.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? I don’t have many memories of my childhood and the few that I have tend to be unhappy ones — I suspect because they were unusual (the very vague impression of my early years, as distinct from individual memories, is of a comfy, happy time).
One thing that stands out is that I know I loved car journeys, even from an early age. I loved looking out of the windows at all the places we went through. I have a particular memory of a trip to Wales when we took the scenic route and drove along Bala Lake in a beautiful day. It was gorgeous, and I felt completely content.
What a lovely moment to remain with you :)
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be?
Ah… now. Let’s see. Can you have everything? Handsome, well-connected, witty, educated, rich. Someone who knows how to treat a woman, how to be passionate without being overpowering, has suffered trauma and not only overcome it but learned from it. Someone who uses all his good luck and undoubted talents to do good things. And of course he has a dash of heroism.
As I can’t think anyone who fulfils all those criteria I’m prepared to forgo the good looks and settle for Lord Peter Wimsey. He did marry a novelist, after all, so he’d understand me.
I was in love with Peter Wimsey, too! I must re-read those novels – thanks for reminding me of him!
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? There’s no point in worrying about things that are out of your control. Not that that stops me, of course.
Thank You For The Music is my first published novel (from Tirgearr Publishing) and it’s available as an ebook from both Amazon and Smashwords. Abby Mortimer is dumped by her boyfriend, Edward, just days after her father’s funeral and flees to Majorca to recover. Just as her flirtation with handsome pianist, Rafa, is becoming more serious Edward returns, determined to win her back. But Edward has a secret and it’s one that puts Abby’s happiness at risk…
My website is very much in beta mode at the moment, but you can follow me on my author page on Facebook or as @JYnovelist on Twitter.
I loved the premise of your novel, Jennifer. It makes me want to read on, and now it’s calling to me from my Kindle! Thanks for coming down from Scotland, and I hope you have a safe journey home!
If you’ve enjoyed Jennifer’s interview, and have any questions or comments, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!