Please welcome Jan Ellis, a writer from England to blog today.
It’ll be no surprise to my friends and family why I loved Jan’s book An Unexpected Affair, so allow me to explain…
The story is set in a seaside town, the main character owns a book shop, and there’s a jaunt to France, with the pre-requisite Frenchman, need I say more?
I fell in love with the premise of this book from the get-go. But we’ll quiz Jan for some more details.
Hi Jan, thank you for joining us today!
- Can you share the blurb for An Unexpected Affair?
Jan: You can find the publisher’s blurb on Amazon, but this is what I would say:
- “Newly divorced Eleanor Mace has a bookshop, a campervan, grown-up twins and a widowed mother who has recently rediscovered the joys of sex. As invisible middle age approaches, Eleanor seems destined for a quiet life in a small seaside town enlivened by occasional visits from eccentric authors or her livewire sister, Jenna.
Life takes an unexpected turn when the discovery of an old flame catapults Eleanor back into the past, sending her on a journey across France in search of a love she thought was lost forever. Is she looking in the right place, or is the love she’s looking for closer to home? Read on!”
- Who was your favourite character to write and why?
Jan: That would probably be Eleanor, because of the way she changed as I got to know her better. I expected her to be quite free and easy, because she had gone off to France and had lots of exciting experiences in her youth, but she turns out to be far more sensible than her sister (see below!). I think Eleanor is a happier person by the end of the novella than she was at the beginning.
- If you could pick a character to come to life who would you choose and why?
Jan: Undoubtedly Jenna, my heroine’s sister. She has a very dry sense of humour, gets all the best lines and drinks far more white wine that is good for her!
- What inspired you to write An Unexpected Affair? And I can’t help but ask, is the Frenchman real? Or only in my imagination…(Okay, so I have a thing about fictional French guys.)
Jan: All of the places and most of the characters are based on actual locations and people. You’ll be pleased to hear that the young Christophe is based on someone I knew in my twenties, though he wasn’t French . . . Eleanor’s bookshop is based on a wonderful shop not far from where I live.
- Which genre do you prefer to write?
Jan: I have always written non-fiction – mainly on academic and historical subjects. I have to say that writing fiction is much more fun because the characters pretty much write it for you! I like romantic comedy to have darker tinges, too – that’s why I included Eleanor’s difficult experiences as a new mum, for example.
- If you could choose any author to have lunch with who would you choose?
Jan: Like so many other people, I absolutely loved One Day – it’s the book I would most liked to have written. For that reason, I would have to say David Nicholls.
- What are you working on now?
Jan: Book 2, which is provisionally entitled French Kisses. In it, my heroine Rachel seems to have it made: a wealthy husband, a successful career as an artist, and a to-die-for house in the middle of rural France. That is until the husband hits 40, discovers his inner love-rat and runs off with a younger woman from the village.
Determined to ignore her friends’ advice to up-sticks and move back to England, Rachel decides to turn their home into a bijou guest house. With help – and some hindrance – from her neighbours, Rachel manages to transform the house into a hotel for an eclectic collection of visitors, including the handsome Josh, an American academic. Romance comes in the form of local admirers, guests who are drawn to Rachel’s passion and energy – and ex–husband Michael, who is never far away.
The plan is to get it out in time for Christmas 2013!
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Jan: Go for it! I had no idea that I could write fiction until I was asked to do it by Endeavour Press. My advice would be not to worry too much about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Just write something down – you can always drop or revise it later. Also, once you have one or two characters interacting with each other, the dialogue will follow on quite naturally.
- Where can we find you and your book?
* An Unexpected Affair is an e-book, and you can download it here: http://amzn.to/19bzg6g
* Readers have taken the time to put lots of useful reviews on Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1fuiEu2
* For more about the characters and locations, visit the book page on Shelfari: http://bit.ly/18jZEYR
* To read an extract and find out more about me, check out my website: http://jlravenscroft.wix.com/janelliswriter
* To discover how I came to write the book in the first place, read my guest post for UK blogger Jennifer Joyce: http://bit.ly/15EtjxS
* You can follow me on Twitter @JanEllis_writer
Thanks so much for asking me to take part, Rebecca, and good luck with Mexican Kimono!
Bec- Thanks, Jan! Great answers. I love getting to know more about the making of books I’ve enjoyed! I am really looking forward to Jan’s next book.
My Review: ***** Five stars
What more can you ask for in a novel: a book shop, a seaside town, as dash of French countryside, and a wonderful cast of characters. I felt like they were real and I was deeply involved in their lives. A charming book.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Jan. We wish you every success with your beautiful book!