“Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …”
It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.
But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no common drunkard, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.
Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn …
Like so many other people – probably everyone who read it, really! – I loved Jane Lovering’s Please Don’t Stop The Music. It won the 2012 RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and thoroughly deserved it. I’m quite ashamed that I haven’t read any of her later books, but I’m delighted to try and make up for that by featuring Jane in a guest post. Her latest book, How I Wonder What You Are, was released in paperback yesterday (7th May) by Choc Lit.
Welcome Jane – so what’s it like writing a book?
‘What’s it like, writing a book?’ I hear you ask. Well, I think that’s what you’re asking. You could just be eating a jam tart for all I know…but I’m going to tell you anyway.
Writing a book is like… it’s like deciding to decorate your living room. First, the planning stage, where you buy all those test pots of paint and try them in nice, orderly rows on each wall. In book terms, this is where you do little biographies of your characters, sort out your storyline and plan your chapters. At least, I assume this is what people do, I just throw paint at the walls until something looks nice, which is how I go about my writing too – there are some people in my head and they want to tell me a story, so I pour myself a gin and let them.
Next, the preparation. Washing walls, sanding, covering furniture – you get the picture. This is when writers draw up timelines, write scenes on cards and move them about until the story forms a coherent shape with the right kind of movement and conflict in the right places. I might sweep some cobwebs down, but that’s pretty much my preparation done. There is quite often gin involved here too, and sometimes HobNobs. I have heard the saying ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ but I reckon that if I fail to prepare, then I’m quite simply not prepared to fail.
The next bit is the hard work. There’s mess everywhere, nobody gets fed and the dog does something unspeakable under the table that nobody finds for a week. This applies both to decorating and to writing, except for the fact that nobody puts a foot in your writing and leaves prints all up the stairs.
After this comes the contemplation phase, also known as the ‘you missed a bit’ part. In decorating, everyone will willingly point out the bits you managed not to see, in your manuscript you have to find them for yourself. which is harder but doesn’t have another person pointing at the end of it.
Finally, it’s done. You stand back with your hands on your hips and drink a cup of lukewarm tea (I know you can’t do this with your hands on your hips, but you know what I mean), enjoying the pleasant sensation of having completed the job. It may not be perfect, but it’s as close as you are going to get. Everything is clean and bright and, although your writing doesn’t smell of emulsion, it’s like a newly painted room in your head. You breathe a sigh of relief and begin shoving the furniture back where it belongs.
And at this point, you realise you’d rather have wallpaper, and you start all over again. Just remember to keep an eye on the dog this time …
Thank you Jane – I’m now deciding whether to get hold of your book, or make a start on decorating the living room…!
Jane was, presumably, born, although everyone concerned denies all knowledge. However there is evidence that her early years were spent in Devon (she can still talk like a pirate under the right conditions) and of her subsequent removal to Yorkshire under a sack and sedation.
She now lives in North Yorkshire, where she writes romantic comedies and labours under the tragic misapprehension that Johnny Depp is coming for her any day now. Owing to a terrible outbreak of insanity she is now the minder of five cats and three dogs – just as the five kids showed signs of leaving home, and she has to spend considerable amounts of time in a darkened room as a result (of the animals, not the kids leaving home).
Jane’s likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers and the understairs cupboard, words beginning with B, and Doctor Who. She writes with her laptop balanced on her knees whilst lying on her bed, and her children have been brought up to believe that real food has a high carbon content. And a kind of amorphous shape. Not unlike Jane herself, come to think of it.
You can find out more about Jane ( should you wish to, of course) from her blog and website, her Facebook author page, or follow her on Twitter.