Deb: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jill: I worked for almost twenty years in a neurological hospital, testing people's brains, and left there twenty years ago in order to raise a family and write books instead. I miss the work and the people but love my replacement career. I get to sit down a lot more now!
Deb: What was your inspiration for this title?
Jill: I stole lots of little plot ideas from newspaper features and swirled them all together to make a book - it's how I always do it. This novel has one of my all-time favourite heroes, who is gorgeous but flawed and gradually redeems himself. I love it when men do that!
Deb: It is a single title or part of a series?
Jill: Single title. I've never considered doing a series - I appear to have an attention span that lasts a year and no more. Happily, this is how long it takes me to write a novel. By the time I reach the end of a book and all the endings are neatly tied up, I'm ready to let those characters go and excited to find a whole new set to keep me company during the next year.
Deb: What are the differences in writing women's fiction as opposed to mainstream fiction?
Jill: Gosh, I didn't know there was a difference! I think I write both. More women than men read my books (although plenty of men love them and learn from them!) but I still consider them to be mainstream. I write romantic comedy, feel-good fiction. Anyone's allowed to read it.
Deb: What comes first a good character or a good story idea?
Jill: I always start with the story ideas then fit the characters around them, although I do enjoy making sure my characters are likeable and interesting. Once they get into their stride as the story progresses, they're more likely to twist the unfolding plot to suit themselves - they're funny like that.
Deb: What was your first experience with publishing like?
Jill: It was great really - I was so excited to have had my book bought by a huge publisher. The differences between my day job in the hospital and the glamorous world of publishing was incredible. I probably take it for granted now, twenty three years later, but back then I remember being SO enthralled by it all! Having a career like mine has truly been a dream come true.
Deb: Do you have advice for new writers?
Jill: Love your characters, even the bad ones who don't know they're bad. Try not to create clichés. If writing gets boring, I like to throw in a new character to act like a little bomb and jolt the plot back to life. And I don't write in chapters - I'll wait until the book is written, then go back through it and divide it up where there are natural breaks. This saves me HOURS of faffing around trying to squish bits of story into prearranged sections. Try it - it really helps.
Deb: Do you have a favorite author or genre that you prefer to read for pleasure?
Jill: I used to read a huge amount but in the last few years I've cut right down without meaning to. Maybe the writing is just taking up more time. Or it could be because I'm spending hours chatting to other writers and readers on Twitter...
Deb: Tell us something about you that readers may not know.
Jill: I don't own a single pair of shoes. In the summer I wear glittery flipflops, in winter I wear boots. (And yes, switchover-time is always fraught with danger.)
Deb: What are you working on right now?
Jill: My best book yet, of course!
Check out my review of Jill's book, Don't Want to Miss a Thing, later today!
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