Allergic to housework and gardening Jennifer rarely does either but she does enjoy having friends to lunch and also wandering around vide greniers (the French equivalent of flea markets) looking for a bargain or two. Her children currently live in fear of her turning into an ageing hippy and moving to Totnes, Devon.
I’ve always loved reading and scribbled my own stories in notebooks from a young age. It took a long time for me to realise I could actually be this thing called a writer. I eventually did a correspondence course and started writing and selling features and lifestyle pieces to various newspapers and magazines. Since living in France I’ve written and had published hundreds of short stories and I’ve just finished writing my tenth book.
2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
Switching off the internet and actually getting down to writing. I try to be very strict with myself - write for an hour = 5 minutes on social media. I often fail and the process is reversed!
3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
When everything begins to flow and the characters come to life.
4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
Gosh that’s a hard question. I think it has to be one of Jill Mansell’s early books, Staying at Daisy’s. She is brilliant at weaving different characters and plots into one easy to read storyline - and we all know ‘easy reading’ is the result of difficult writing.
5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
I think Eliosa from You Had Me At Bonjour. She’s an older secondary character in that book who’d had some tough times but came through smiling in the end when she got another unexpected chance at love.
6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
I’m not sure I have a favourite literary character but I would love to be able to chat to F.Scott-Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway about the time they spent down on the Riviera. We’d have champagne and cake in the infamous Hotel de Provence in Juan-les-Pins and they’d tell me all about the parties and the scandals that happened there in the 1930s’ - the so called golden era down there.
7. What can we expect next from you?
My tenth book is with my publishers at the moment - I’m waiting with fingers crossed to hear if they like it. I’ve already started the next book. I’m also writing my 6th serial for The People’s Friend magazine.
8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
Dreams come true if you work at them. Also, never give up.
9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
I’m lucky in that I now write full time. So first thing, I switch the computer on, have a quick check to see if anything urgent or interesting has landed in my e-mail over night and then get breakfast while my husband walks the dog and lets the chickens out. I’m also lucky that my husband likes to cook and has virtually taken over the kitchen so that’s my time done in the kitchen for the day! If it’s a day at home I spend the morning working in my office and after a two hour lunch break (well I do live in France so...) A couple of hours in the office in the afternoon and then we take the dog for a longish walk. A lot of social media surfing also takes place - especially when I hit a block! Housework tends to get left until we have visitors.
10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson - another writer who can write easy to read books with intricate plots. Recommended.
Meet Sabine, desperately fighting to save her little kiosk from closure whilst turning down her friend Owen’s proposals, time and time again.
Cue Harriet, returning to Dartmouth after thirty years, haunted by the scandal that drove her away and shocked by a legacy that threatens her relationship with her journalist daughter.
Enter Rachel, the mysterious newcomer who has an unexpected chemistry with a local widower, and who sets in motion a chain of events she could never have predicted…
One thing’s for sure, as the autumn tide turns, there’ll be more than one secret laid bare!