Hi Peter, thanks for coming to chat to us today!
Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?
I’m currently finishing up my third romantic comedy novel. It follows the misfortunes of school teacher Adrian Turner, his American girlfriend Paige, and her fiendish ex-boyfriend, Sebastian Tumbridge. Does Sebastian still love Paige? Does Paige still love Sebastian? Does anyone love Adrian? And can any good come of this situation when all three of them find themselves in Slovenia for a wedding?
Q2. What’s next for the writing?
I’m already planning the fourth novel. After that I guess we’ll see what happens. The sequel to THE GOOD GUY’S GUIDE TO GETTING THE GIRL is still sitting on my desk waiting to be edited, and I’d like to pen a follow up to THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN. There’s the beginnings of another novel lurking on my hard drive, and at some point I might return to non-fiction and write another book on happiness.
Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?
Three or four days a week I’m writing. I’m up and sitting at my desk by 7am. And then I write in five one-hour ‘sprints’, counting my words at the end of each hour. Anything less than 200 words per hour I have to give myself a stern talking to.
Around midday I post the days word count on twitface, along with my excuses, then I have some lunch and spend the afternoons either ploughing through the endless amounts of paperwork I seem to accumulate, or speaking at a local WI, U3A, or similar group.
Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?
Prior to becoming a full-time author I used to work in Credit Card Banking. I know! How could I possibly give that up? Actually I did quite enjoy it. Well, I liked the problem solving aspect. But as the years rolled by though, I became less and less comfortable with the fact I was basically making poor people poorer, and lining the pockets of humourless gentleman who I suspect weren’t even human. Then one day everything changed, and I finally realized that life is too short to spend time doing things that don’t make you happy.
Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?
Not really, though I intrigued by the concept of an elephant ornament. Presumably that’s a slightly different thing from an ornamental elephant? The latter being a ceramic statue of an elephant, and the former being something an elephant might put on its mantelpiece? I liked you before Rachel but that’s just brilliant. J
I stand by my earlier words! Ed.
Q6. Romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?
I know exactly what you mean! I was quite shocked when my first agent told me I wrote women’s contemporary fiction. So far as I was concerned, I was just writing the sort of thing that I myself would like to read. Some nice people said my first book was a bit Nick Hornby-esque… and I was just fine with that. Other people described it as lad-lit which I wasn’t so sure about. When my current agent told me that I was a ‘romance writer’ I was shocked. I even pointed out that my last novel (THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS CHARMING MAN) is more of a comedic heist, than a romance – but she retaliated by telling me that regardless of whether there’s any actual romance in my books, my audience are still, predominantly, romance readers. Basically, the pigeon holing has less to do with me, or my books, an more the intended market. And that I suppose makes sense.
Mind you – I do live in perpetual fear that my next book will be given a predominantly pink cover, with an illustration of a slender woman on the front, a cup cake, a tea shop – possibly all three.
Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?
Science fiction. I’ve always loved sci-fi – though I’d find it hard to keep away from romance and humour… so I’d probably end up writing a romantic comedy set in space.
Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?
Yes. Stop reading this. You haven’t got time. Get back to writing your book. And write like you mean it!
Also, don’t write a novel about a school teacher unless you happen to be one. It’s way more difficult than you think.
Q9. What are you reading currently?
I read whatever anyone recommends to me so bizarrely I’m currently reading COMPLICITY by Iain Banks… which as you’d expect is excellent, though not as good as THE BUSINESS (which is my Iain Banks favourite).
Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?
What you talking about? This is it! I’m living the dream baby! 😉
Elsewhere on facebook: http://facebook.com/peterjonesspeaker