Luanne: I'm thrilled that Sourcebooks is releasing your titles in North America! With twenty titles, is there one that is your personal favourite or that holds a special place for a reason?
Jill: Hi Luanne, I’m thrilled too! I love all my books of course, but I have to confess I do have an extra-soft spot for Big Mistake, and I’m not just saying that because it’s the one just coming out. The scenes outside Wimbledon tennis tournament are my favourite. I’ve never camped outside there on the pavement, but never say never. Who knows, I may get to give it a go this year!
Luanne: I've heard about the Harley Davidson pen (not sure if everyone has!) - but are there other routines you follow when writing? Same time? Same place? Or can you write anywhere?
Jill: I only really write in two places – in my bedroom, in bed, with a great view over the sports fields behind our house (Lovely sportsmen…). Or downstairs in our living room, with the TV on and lots of snacks to keep me going. I’ve just discovered the Ellen de Generes show and watch it every afternoon on cable while I’m working. I still write by hand, with my gorgeous H-D fountain pen, and my seventeen year old daughter types up my work for me, in between studying for her school exams.
Luanne: How do you plan your novels? Do you map out the entire plot at the beginning or does the book evolve as it progresses?
Jill:A bit of each. I’ll start off with one plot idea, then basically keep adding to it as the characters come to life and start doing things for themselves. I usually know what’s going to happen in the next twenty or thirty pages- after that it all gets a bit of a blur, although we do of course know that there will eventually be happy endings for those who deserve them!
Luanne: Your characters and plots are warm, witty and very funny. Where do you get your ideas/inspirations? Are any of the situations drawn from your life or those close to you?
Jill: My daughter tells me that my characters sound exactly like me and say the things I say – she finds it quite surreal! Some situations are made up, but others come from my own experiences, such as the paintballing scenario in the book. Do you have paintballing in the States? It was something I’d never done before and it left a big impression on me, so it would have been a big shame not to use it.
Luanne: What was the inspiration for Miranda's Big Mistake?
Jill: I think hair salons are fab places to spend time. The secrets! The gossip! The things people say that they wouldn’t say anywhere else! If it wasn’t for all those things, I’d never go – I’d just stay home and cut my hair myself!
Luanne: Can you give us a sneak peek into you're working on now?
Jill: I’ve just finished my next book, which is about a female limo driver and a gorgeous male sculptor who creates larger than life wire sculptures. And as it’s my birthday soon, I’ve commissioned a wire-sculptor to create me a piece for our garden! America-wise, my next book to be released is called Millie’s Fling. It’s set in Cornwall and features a best-selling author with a catastrophic love-life and a roller-skating Gorilla-gram…
Luanne: I would love to visit Great Britain some day. I'm a Canadian - have you ever been to Canada? Or any plans to come on a book tour?
Jill: I’ve never been to Canada, but would love to. It’s always a possibility, depending on how well my books sell.
Luanne: Many, many Canadians are die hard Corrie fans. (It's on 6 days a week on the CBC) What's your favourite television program? Or do you watch at all?
Jill: I watch heaps of TV and I love Corrie – I had no idea it was popular over there too! I also love ER, Oprah, America’s Got Talent and American Idol…if it moves, I’ll watch it!
Luanne: Any encouraging words for aspiring authors?
Jill: Never give up – it seems like such a cliché but it’s so true. I nearly gave up after my first book was rejected by agents. I’m so glad I didn’t. Also, write about characters you care about. Try and end each chapter with a bit of a cliffhanger. Oh yes, and never give up…
Luanne: What do you do to relax and have fun? Hobbies?
Jill: Eating out at nice restaurants is one of my favourite things. And shopping. And reading, of course.
Luanne: What's on your nightstand? (We're talking books here...)
Jill: Sarah Addison Allen’s Sugar Queen – I bought it yesterday and will start it tonight. Loved Garden Spells. I just finished Adriana Trigiani’s Very Valentine – good, but I preferred the Big Stone gap trilogy. There are so many Americanisms in VV that sometimes it’s hard to understand the story.
Luanne: I'm a nibbler when I'm blogging. What do you munch on for snacks?
Jill:Fruit gums. Crisps. (That’s potato chips.) Dried pineapple and mango. Fruit sticks. Coffee. Cheerios, straight from the packet.
Luanne: Do you have input into the cover art?
Jill: No, I leave that to the experts. I love my covers to bits.
Luanne: And this is a question that I'm hoping there is a short negative answer to - you have no plans to stop writing, do you!?
Jill: Never never never!
Luanne: Thanks so very much for stopping by! Can't wait to read Millie's Fling and find out what that gorilla-gram is all about!
Jill: Thanks Luanne. You have a great blog. I’m so happy you like my books. Love Jill x
And courtesy of Sourcebooks I have a copy of Jill Mansell's Miranda's Big Mistake to giveaway to one lucky reader! Leave a comment to be entered. Open to both US and Canada. Ends Thursday, June 25 at 6 pm EST.