Author Spotlight: Jennie Jones…

Today our guest is she of the velvety MC voice of the RWA Conference in Fremantle, the lovely Jennie Jones! Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Jennie, and congratulations on the print release of ‘The House on Burra Burra Lane’.

Thank you! Wow, I’m here on the RWA Author Spotlight blog – can I just say how thrilling it is? Twelve months ago I had no idea I’d have anything more to discuss than how well a little story I’d written was doing in competitions. Now, that little story is with the amazing Escape Publishing and has been taken to trade paperback with Harlequin Australia MIRA.

Can you tell us a little about ‘The House on Burra Burra Lane’? Is it part of a series?

Yes, it’s part of a series, although I didn’t originally intend it to be. I simply wrote a story. Getting Burra Burra Lane published and turning it into a series has slotted me into my ‘brand’. And truthfully, before this, I had no idea what my brand would be. I like to think of it as fate: I wrote a story, the story found a home, and therefore, I found a brand for Jennie Jones – but! I believe there is growth yet to be found, and I hope my style of writing will evolve along with my brand, and that both will eventually find their perfect niche.

BB Print Cover with sparkle 311.475 pixels

You’ve had a very interesting life, pre-author, can you tell us a little about it?

I’m glad it appears interesting J  To me, it’s just been life. Good times, bad times. It’s the small glories that make living worthwhile though. Where would we be if the little triumphs in our lives didn’t outweigh the necessities of working and paying bills and being mum, sister, daughter, wife, cook, cleaner and sex kitten? (Ok – that last one isn’t me, but it might be you!)

I was a professional actor all my life (basically from the age of three) and the artistic side of my nature helps with my writing, but the two are poles apart. Understanding how a character might move, walk, bear herself on stage is a wonderful attribute for understanding that character, but it does not give the writer the skill sets of crafting a story on paper. (But it does help!)

When did you start writing and when did you start doing it with the intention of being published?

I started writing three years before I got published. I think I just jumped in the puddle and splashed around, learning as I went. Writing fiction was truly difficult for me. I made every beginner mistake and probably invented a few.  But once I started getting feedback it was inspiring, and not in the way you might think.  Half of my feedback was positive, the other half excruciatingly painful to read. I realised I had to find a middle line, and that first and foremost, I had to be true to me and the style I was garnering.

What was your path to publication like?

Torturous (read above), then fast, then thrilling. Not a year I’m ever likely to forget. In March 2012 I decided to challenge myself.  I literally secluded myself as much as I was able to, and knuckled down to write and learn.

I took one of seven written manuscripts off my beginner’s shelf and started work on it, and have no idea why I chose the one over the other six.  I did a Savvy Authors boot camp and wrote 50k in one month, adding to the original half-written 30k story of The House on Burra Burra Lane. Whilst doing this, I also did four online courses with Savvy Authors, learning how to craft. I worked my part-time day job too. Looking back, I think I was continually both exhausted and enthused. But, in February 2013 Escape Publishing said Yes. And I found home.

Jennie Jones Hi Res

What are you doing when you’re not writing?

Trying to remember what it’s like to be normal, then remembering that normal isn’t what I want.

Can you describe your writing space?

Sometimes cluttered, sometimes clear, dependant on my housewifely feelings of duty.  But basically, I can’t work on laptops – I need a big PC screen and a proper keyboard. I can type, fast (best thing I ever learned how to do), so my fingers can keep time with the thoughts in my head (mostly).

Your novel has been made into a movie – pick your dream cast.

Oh, easy. In fact for the first time ever in my writing history, I chose photographs of two movie stars as my inspiration.  But I’m not talking about Burra Burra – to this day, I have no idea who I would pick from Hollywood to play Sammy or Ethan, but I can tell you about Charlotte and Daniel from book #2 in the series. Here they are… Ryan Reynolds and Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks Ryan Reynolds

Can you tell us a bit about your works in progress?

Well, I’ve got book #2 of Swallow’s Fall ready to sub to my publisher. I’ve got book #3 started.  After that, I’m taking two other stories off my beginner’s shelf and I’m going to work them into my brand. Both stories are set in Australia and both have the quirky humour within a high romantic element that I love to write.

Can you please give us an excerpt from either Burra or your wip?

I think Burra has been around long enough for a number of people to have read bits – so here’s a section from book #2 in my Swallow’s Fall series.  Working title: The House at the Bottom of the Hill.

Charlotte Simmons pulled her shoulders back and eyed the mob standing in front of her, set on a lynching. Only six people but two of them held high seats of governance on the town committee and had enough community rope to hang her.

        Sweat trickled beneath the collar of her snowy-white linen shirt but she ignored the need to waft the collar and get some cooler air blowing down her spine. She smoothed the palms of her hands over her beige-coloured cotton skirt and raised her chin.

            At least Daniel Bradford had disappeared inside Kookaburra’s. Standing there watching her. Not much a conversationalist, Daniel – well, not with her. Usually showed her his back after one of his off-hand waves. That’s all she’d seen of him. The broad, easy-shouldered pitch of his back. Couldn’t say what he looked like up close.

            He had a great bum though. A fabulous bum. A twelve out of ten rating type of masculine butt. He had the respect of the town too. Something she definitely didn’t possess, but he’d been in town for years, he was practically home grown. She’d been here two weeks…and so far it felt like a life sentence.

Sarah: Thanks so much for joining us today, Jennie, and for the wonderful job you did as part of the fabulous RWA13 Freo team. What an amazing conference! 

Jennie: Thank you so much for having me here. I love RWA so much, and will continue to give RWA the time I can, if they want it.

If you’d like to connect with Jennie, here’s where you can find her: 

Web links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Escape Publishing

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10 Comments

  1. “It’s the small glories that make living worthwhile.”
    Can’t tell you how much I loved this line in your Spotlight, Jennie J.
    xx

    Reply
  2. Hello velvety voiced Jennie, and Sarah,
    This is a lovely interview. Thanks! I like your next excerpt, Jennie. There’s something universal about men’s backs and bums that draw your eye, or mine anyway 🙂

    Cate xo

    Reply
  3. That is one cover I never tire of seeing. And it is still going strong here in Coffs Harbour Big W!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Small glories out-do anything else in life, Lily Malone! I know. x

    Reply
  5. I did get lucky with that cover, didn’t I Jenn J McLeod? Hope the copies in Coffs Harbour Big W dwindle fast … and they ask for more (chancing my luck, but why not?) x

    Reply
  6. Can’t wait to read the 2nd wonderful book in your Swallows Fall series:):)

    Reply
  7. Did someone say ‘Ryan Reynolds’?? *drool* 🙂 A velvety voice and a magic touch, you’re one heck of a woman and a wonderful writer, Jennie Jones! Burra Burra is only the beginning for you on this journey. There’s still the other story I love so much that you need to finish 😉

    Reply
  8. Venetia Green

     /  January 14, 2014

    An absolutely inspiring writer’s journey, Jennie. Congratulations and keep it up! As for me, I’d love to see your story Captivating Ella in print – but one thing at a time, eh?

    Reply
  9. Thank you so much Juanita and Venetia! Captivating Ella? Sigh. One day I’ll get to finish it 🙂 Promise you both.

    Reply

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