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 soon.
Meet Lucy Baker...
Meet Lucy, 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 and socialising.
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…
When 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?