Today I have the lovely Jenn Mcleod visiting Flying Pony, sharing with us her reading habits and loves. Jenn is the author of A House For All Seasons and the soon to be released follow up The Simmering Season. Jenn’s stories are set in gorgeous country towns and are about women facing real life problems and dilemmas.
Simmering Season … when a school reunion brings home more than memories.
Back in Calingarry Crossing to sell the family pub, Maggie Lindeman has no idea a perfect storm is heading her way until her past and present collide with the unexpected.
Maggie once had a crush on Dan Ireland, now a work-weary police crash investigator, still hell-bent on punishing himself for his misspent youth. Dan has ample reason for not going home to Calingarry Crossing for the school reunion, but one very good reason why he should.
Maggie is dealing with a restless seventeen-year-old son, a father with dementia, a fame-obsessed musician husband, a dwindling bank account and a country pub that just won’t sell.
The last thing she needs is a surprise houseguest for the summer. Fiona Bailey-Blair, daughter of an old friend and spoilt with everything but the truth, whips up a maelstroml of gossip when she blows into town.
This storm season, when a school reunion brings home more than memories, Maggie Lindeman will discover … there’s no keeping a lid on some secrets.
And on to the interview …
- Which books do you most vividly remember from your childhood?
All I remember really is, as the last of three children, I had LOTS of second-hand books. With siblings five and seven years older, those books came out of storage with missing covers, torn pages – sometimes even the last pages were missing. Perhaps making up my own endings was my earliest attempts at storytelling. Things haven’t changed much. I will still make up my own ending to stories when I don’t like the one provided (especially sad movies, like Message in a Bottle when Kevin Costner … . Okay, no spoilers here!) The Horse Whisper was the one time I liked Hollywood rewriting the ending.
- Who are your three most favourite fiction characters? Tell us what you love about each of them.
I love a good popular fiction character. Picking favourites is not something I do well, but there were a couple of recent standouts.
Most recently I’ve enjoyed Liane Moriaty’s Cecilia (The Husband’s Secret). I nicknamed her Tupperware Woman and I thought Liane awfully clever to use the Tupperware analogy for a character. Dianne Blacklock’s The Best Man characters – yes, all of them – were fabulous. I don’t think I’ve read a book that made me love and care about every character the way I cared for these one – yes, even the not-so-nice one! Then, because the females portrayed are just the way I like them – real and relatable and fabulously flawed – P.A. O’Reilly’s Loretta Boskovic in The Fine Colour of Rust and Eve from Blackwattle Lake were memorable for all the right reasons. (Pamela, I like that our stories show everyday women – warts and all – who don’t always win and work things out.)
- If you could invite any five writers to a cosy dinner party who would you ask and why?
I would never have ‘just a dinner party’ that limited me to five guests. Like picking favourites is something I am not good at, I am also a bad decision maker. The occasion would have to be a BYO plate and drink affair so I could squeeze as many fabulous writers as possible into the same room. Good food, good wine, good company. Bliss!
- What book has made you laugh out loud?
The Rosie Project – only because I know an Aspie in real life and the author really nailed the Don Tillman character. I also laughed out loud at Loretta’s maternal instincts in The Fine Colour of Rust.
- What book, or scene from a book, has made you cry?
I saw an author posting on Facebook the other day, asking if it is weird to cry over your own books? “Completely normal” according to the responses! So, I am loud and proud of the fact that I cry over my own stories, especially towards the final editing phases. (Perhaps that has something to do with me reading the same lines over and over and over. A case of “Oh, no, please, I can’t read this again.”) Hopefully the reason I cry is more to do with my stories. They tackle contemporary human issues that can be emotionally charged and I will often put myself in my character’s shoes. Speaking of shoes … Maggie (in Simmering Season) has a glass slipper/Cinderella moment at the school reunion which gets to me every time. *sniff*
- Is there a genre of book you’d never read? Why?
Lots! I have ventured into new genres occasionally. Most recently I confess to losing my erotic fiction virginity by reading (and loving) Kate Belle’s The Yearning. Brilliant writer!
I’ve always read the genre I like to write in – mostly – until I was asked: “How do you know what you like to write if you don’t read other genres?” Good point, I thought! (Note to self: Must try harder.) If only I could find a few more hours in every day so I can fit in more reading time.
- What are the top three books in your TBR pile?
Fairway to Heaven by Lily Malone (maybe a little out of my genre – see above – but the cover is just too good to ignore and Lily is lovely, with the kind of wicked sense of humour I enjoy!)
Safe Harbour -Helene Young’s new release (also out April 1)
An untitled work-in-progress by Shannon Garner – a young local writer I’ve been mentoring. I get immense pleasure from seeing her grow as a writer and I like to give back by help an aspiring author in ways I would have loved someone to help me. (Shannon, I want that next draft in my hands ASAP!)
It’s been great chatting to Jenn this week. You can connect with her here:
Goodreads giveaway running until 22 March, 2014