As you may have seen on social media I've been off on my travels this week and dropping in on the fabulous Radio Tamworth Book Club with Jenni Keer and Christie Barlow. I've added a link below if you'd like to listen to us chatting about all things book related and yes, I can confirm there were baked goods aplenty to keep our sugar levels topped up!
Today I am absolutely delighted to welcome my very dear friend and Norfolk RNA Chapter chum, Jenni Keer to the blog. Jenni is a commercial fiction author for Avon / HC. Her cracking debut, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is out now and her much anticipated second book, TheUnlikely Life of Maisie Meadows will be published in July. Today Jenni is chatting about writing 'all the feels' as well as revealing her fabulous cover for Maisie!
All The Feels
Thank you so much twinkly Heidi for inviting me over to your
blog to natter about emotions. Excuse the above expression but I’m in a house
full of teenagers and these modern phrases rub off. (I recently learned that
“fresh crepes” means a lovely, nice new pair of trainers – who knew?) So what
do I mean when I say “all the feels”?
As an author I want you to experience a whole gamut of
emotions as you read my books (make ‘em, cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em wait...)
but some of them are harder to achieve through the written word than others.
Let’s look at each one in turn…
Humour. All my books all have a humorous element. I
think it’s my voice. I write like I talk and I do say a lot of random things.
Writing humour is hard though, partly because it is subjective. What makes one
person laugh, doesn’t so much as elicit the merest upturn of another’s mouth.
With “Lucy Baker”, it is interesting to learn what people found funny – not
always what I anticipated was my funniest line.
Also, humour takes time to write. I had the luxury of this
with my debut. It was written in about 7 months, but I’d played about with it
for nearly two years by the time it was published. Funny lines came to me after
the nine hundredth read through, or I found tweaking a single word would give a
greater impact. (It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Hobnob is
funnier than practically every other biscuit on the planet.) There are very few
authors who make me laugh out loud – Sophie Kinsella being the first one that
springs to mind – but I still secretly aspire to make someone spit out their
tea (in a good way).
Love. I write romance so of course I want you to fall
in love with my hero, along with my heroine. And I want you to feel
love. When the romance ramps up, I hope your heart is beating slightly faster,
as you urge the couple on, that there is an “ahhh” moment, and perhaps a tingle
running up your spine as they kiss.
But I also want you to fall in love with my often eclectic
cast of characters. I work very hard at making each one unique and special. In
“Lucy Baker”, it is equally important to me that you are in love with Brenda,
Lucy's elderly neighbour, as you are with Lucy and George. We must care about
the people we read about or why would we want to read the story?
Sadness. So here’s an odd one. Why on earth would I
want to make you cry when I’m writing a humorous uplit book? This is where all
the feels really kicks in. I can still distinctly remember the impression Four
Wedding and a Funeral had on me the first time I saw it. ***Spoiler alert – if
there really is still anyone out there who hasn’t seen the film, I apologise***
One of the main characters dies – slap bang in the middle of the story. It came
out of nowhere and was a total shocker. One minute I was laughing at the capers
of the cast, the next, hot stinging tears were falling down my cheeks and my
mouth was agape. So when the laughs returned, and the ending tied everything
up, I felt I had been through an emotional wringer. If you can make the reader
experience those highs and lows, both are so much more powerful. And, as hard
as humour is to write, to make someone cry actual, real, drippy tears is
equally difficult. (A nod to Ruth Hogan for making me sob in The Keeper of Lost
Things. Nicely done.)
Surprise. I do like a twist – and not just the ones I
perform at my dance classes. This definitely comes from my love of twisty,
turny films and books. The Sixth Sense is a prime example. So in my books there
are often some red herrings and hopefully an “oh my goodness – didn’t see that
coming” moment. But you can’t cheat the reader and whip things out of nowhere.
So I try to pop a few subtle clues in along the way. And if there are some
clever sausages out there who work it out, I don’t mind at all. I know how
empowering it is to think you’ve second guessed the author, so good on you.
Closure and therefore Satisfaction. I’m talking about
the ending. It need to be satisfying and I want readers to feel content when
they put down my book. I like a happy ever after, but that doesn’t always mean everything
is completely tied up. The boy will get the girl but perhaps there will be some
elements that the reader will have to surmise. Sometimes, this can lead to
another book – something you do very well, Heidi. But also, to tie
everything up would feel fake. Everyone knows that “happy ever afters” are
actually only “happy for nows” and that’s fine. We all know how life works –
everyone ends up dead – so let’s leave it at the good bit.
I hope when you read “The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker”
that it will give you all the feels. And I have worked very hard with my
next release, “The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows” (out July in eBook) to
ensure that it gives you all the feels too. I love it when readers let me know
that I’ve made them laugh or cry, so Tweet me @JenniKeer and make my day.
Thanks for letting me rabbit on, Heidi. Always a pleasure to
sit on your virtual sofa today – and I’ll be over to perch on your real one
Meet Lucy Baker...
aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.
Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at
home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying
79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice,
but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her
memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to
see Lucy happy.
Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own
true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But
is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world?
It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…
Maisie Meadows finds herself single and jobless on New Year’s Day, she resolves
that this will be the year she focuses on bringing her scattered family back
together. Romance is all very well, but it’s the people you grew up with that
matter the most.
But a new job working at an auction house puts her in the
path of Theo, a gorgeous but unattainable man who she can’t help but be
distracted by. As their bond begins to grow, Maisie finds herself struggling to
fulfil the promise she made to herself – but the universe has other ideas, and
it’s not long before the Meadows family are thrown back together in the most
unlikely of circumstances…
Can dealing with
other people’s treasures help Maisie to let go of the past, and teach her who
she ought to treasure the most?
I can't even begin to tell you what a relief it is to finally be well enough to head back to the keyboard tomorrow and what an even BIGGER relief it is to be excited about it!
As you probably know my dental debacle should have kept me out of the loop for a week at most back in February, but thanks to some pretty horrendous complications it has actually been nearer eleven. I can't deny it has been really tough and there were even moments when I was at my lowest when I wondered whether I would ever want to read another book, let alone write one.
Fortunately the healing I so badly need is finally happening and that, timed with my darling daughter coming back from uni for the Easter hols, has made all the difference. Not only am I back in the reading groove but I'm very much looking forward to the Poppy's Recipe for Life publication celebrations and starting the second draft of The Christmas Wish List!
Today I've set up my writing space again, filling it with some of my favourite things...
Early tomorrow morning there'll be piles of notes and mugs of tea and I'll be good to go!
As well as things I love, I have also printed out and pinned up some wonderful words of encouragement from a very lovely reader, just in case I have a wobble and need some help to push me on. This is what she wrote after I announced that I would be heading back to the second draft of The Christmas Wish List...
Lots of you have been in touch over the last few months and you have all been extremely kind and supportive. Thank you all so very much. It has been a real boost knowing that you are following my progress and are excited to read the brand new titles. I know lots of you are planning to come to the events I have coming up and I'm looking forward to seeing you, but in the meantime, I hope I can write you a book full of festive feeling and worthy of a place under your Christmas tree!
It's not long now until the Poppy's Recipe for Life publication celebrations begin and what better way to get in the mood for what's coming up than with a Nightingale Square bookish giveaway!
As with all of my other books, the new release is a standalone however, if you've already visited Nightingale Square in Sunshine and Sweet Peas then you'll know a whole lot more about the wonderful neighbours and the community garden at Prosperous Place.
So, with this in mind, I'm giving one lucky reader a chance to win a signed copy of Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square, some seeds to get you sowing and growing and some spring treats to munch on as you read!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply tell me which is your favourite flower in the comments below along with your Twitter name or wherever else I can find you so I can get in touch if you've won. The winner will be picked at random. The competition runs until midday on April 20th and is UK only.