All of my blogging dreams came true when I was given the opportunity to quiz the wonderful Jill Mansell as part of the blog tour for her latest fantastic novel, You And Me, Always (released 28th January). Jill has been one of my favourite authors for years and years now. Her novels never disappoint and are always such gorgeous reads. Now it’s over to Jill as we talk favourite characters, song titles and coming up with new ideas…
Hi Jill, welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! I’m absolutely thrilled to have you on my blog, thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Well hello, Holly – I’m so thrilled to be here on your gorgeous blog! I’m Jill, I grew up in the Cotswolds and now live in Bristol, and I’m very happy to be chatting to you today about my 27th book!
Can you tell us a bit about your new book, You And Me, Always (released 28th January 2015 with Headline Review)?
Haha, this is always the part I find hardest! The book is set in a fabulous Cotswold village and has some gorgeous characters in it. Lily lost her mum to cancer when she was eight, and on the morning of her 25th birthday Lily reads the final letter her mother wrote to her before she died. It contains information that will change all their lives. As always, I aim to make my readers laugh and cry…
You are the ultimate QUEEN of romantic fiction for me and I absolutely adore your books. Having written over 25 brilliant novels how do you keep coming up with new, fresh ideas?
The answer to that is, I really don’t know how I managed without the Internet before it was invented! Nowadays I just trawl through endless blogs, online magazines and websites in search of interesting plot ideas that I haven’t used before. I’m like a magpie – I’ll steal anything that catches my eye!
Are the characters in You and Me, Always entirely fictional or are they based on anyone in real life?
I never base my characters on real people for the simple reason that it’s much easier to just make them up. Otherwise I’d have to wonder how the real people would react to certain situations in the book. I prefer to be in charge of my fictional characters!
I don’t normally use photographs of real people either, but this book was different in that respect, because the entire storyline sprang from a photograph I saw on Brandon Stanton’s wonderful Humans of New York website. Here it is – I have no idea who this person is, but he inspired my book!
I love how some of your later books share the title with some well known songs. (Don’t Want to Miss a Thing is my favourite – it always gets stuck in my head!) Is this coincidental or did you intend for your books to share the same title as some classic songs?
It’s not coincidental, it’s because I find it very difficult to think up titles for my books! I end up trawling through thousands of album tracks on Amazon until I find a great song title that might fit my book. (I usually submit very many potential titles to my publisher and they reject all the ones they don’t like!)
Now I’m going to ask an evil question…Do you have a favourite book that you’ve written?
Three Amazing Things About You has to be my favourite of all of mine, simply because it resulted in so many people adding their names to the organ donor register after reading it. That means the absolute world to me – I’m so proud of the message this one conveyed.
…Or how about a favourite character from any of your books?
My favourites tend to be the good looking naughty boys with a bad reputation but a good heart, like Caspar in Perfect Timing, Miles in Miranda’s Big Mistake and Riley in Unpredictable Consequences.
And now we can add Dan from this new book to the list. He’s wicked and funny and gorgeous!
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a writer?
I’d still be working in the hospital in the field of clinical neurophysiology, testing people’s brains. It’s the job I did for 18 years and I absolutely loved it.
Who are your favourite authors and which type of books do you enjoy reading?
I don’t read chick-lit any more, sadly – I think I just overdosed on it after reading so many thousands of them over the years. When I do have time to read now, I tend to go for crime thrillers instead. I like Paula Daly’s books and interestingly, when we chatted about it, she told me she’s read too much crime to enjoy it any more, so nowadays prefers lighter romantic comedy. I suppose we all need a rest from our day-jobs!
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment?
I’m currently finishing my next novel, which is set in the same fictional Cornish seaside town of St Carys that featured in The Unpredictable Consequences of Love. It’s great fun being back there with a whole new cast of characters, as well as occasional cameo appearances from people who appeared in the first book!
I am delighted to be able to offer readers the chance to win a copy of You And Me, Always. Click the link below to be taken to the giveaway. (UK only. Ends 10/02/16) Good Luck!
The biggest thank you to Jill Mansell and to Lizzie at Headline Review. ♥