My visitor today comes from Down Under – my first author visit from Australia, and I’m very excited! I’ve made us the usual brew and would have loved to get Jennie Jones some Tim Tams (a delicious Australian biscuit which some friends once brought me back from Brisbane) but sadly they’re not available in the UK. So instead, I’ve bought us a packet of Penguins and hope Jennie Jones will find them a good substitute :) (The rival merits of these two biscuits are discussed in depth on the brilliantly named website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down.)
I hope you’re not suffering from jet-lag, Jennie. Welcome to the northern hemisphere!
Whereabouts in Australia do you live, Jennie? I live in Perth, Western Australia (but I was born and brought up in Wrexham, North Wales then moved to London where I went to drama school, then met a rugby loving New Zealander in a pub in Hammersmith, and eventually moved to NZ and then on to Australia – phew!)
My daughter’s working in NZ at the moment, with her rugby-loving boyfriend. A great country for rugby. They’ve had many a trip to watch the Wellington Warriors!
Where is your favourite place in the world? Wales. Probably because I miss it and always will.
I love Wales, too, Jennie, and holidayed every year on the Lleyn peninsula. Great memories, and a beautiful country.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I’m laughing as I recall the most memorable of two of the worst jobs I had. I was at drama school and in between term times had to get a job. One was as a washer-upper in a small take-away café. I was up to my elbows in suds all day but got to sample their hamburgers, so it really wasn’t half bad. The other was as a department store demonstrator for a new quirky toy (remember, we’re talking years ago!) called George. George was a yellow, voice-activated car. It was the most embarrassing of jobs. “Come on, George, turn left. Turn right. Stop George.” I’m sure everyone working in the department store wanted me to give up and go home. But I couldn’t afford to, so I kept George the yellow car motivated and moving for two weeks. I hope I never see him again … even in my nightmares.
That’s made me laugh as well – but I bet it wasn’t funny at the time!
What book do you wish you’d written? Tied to the Tracks by Sara Donati (of the Into The Wilderness historical series fame – but this is one of her modern-day stories).
What an interesting choice! I’ve never read any Sara Donati, but will check out her books :)
What’s your favourite song? Totally depends on my mood. At the moment of answering your questions, let’s say … “I’ll go my way by myself” sung by Fred Astaire in the movie The Bandwagon.
Oh I just love Fred Astaire!
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? I’d dearly love to sit with my Nan again and ask her so many questions. I took her name, Jennie Jones, and hope she’s proud of what I’ve done in my writing life but I have so many memories of her taking me around the town I grew up in and wish I could speak to her now, as a woman to a woman.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? Christmas. I loved the whole Christmas Eve thing. Having to walk into town in the snow to shop for the forgotten cream, or cucumber that was needed for lunch or late afternoon tea. Watching all the Christmas movies on the television. The black and white ones and the colour ones. Waking up early on Christmas morning and creeping downstairs to see what Santa had left for us. And opening the wrapped presents. I loved the tree, the lights, the feel of Christmas. Everything.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? Paul Newman. As a teenager I just loved him to bits and pieces even though he was older than I was. Today, I’d say Channing Tatum or Ryan Reynolds (and I’m older than them – by yards! So I’m dreaming … but hey, I write romantic fiction so who’s to say I can’t dream?)
I love Paul Newman. *sigh* What a great guy.
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? Work for it and you might just get it.
My debut novel is The House on Burra Burra Lane. I was given a brilliant Report by the RNA New Writers Scheme and after I’d adhered to everything in the report and made my changes to the manuscript it finaled in two competitions, including Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star competition and was accepted for publication by Harlequin Australia’s digital-first imprint Escape Publishing for a June 2013 release. It would not have seen the light of day if not for my NWS report. I will be forever grateful to RNA and my ‘reader’. In January 2014 Harlequin Mira (Australia) sent my novel to paperback. I now have four more stories in this series to go. Two are written and I’m hoping will be out by the end of 2014, and the other two are underway.
(I’m afraid the paperback is only on sale in Australia and New Zealand but if anyone would like to purchase the paperback, I’m happy to send you one via mail. Contact me via my website.)