Jill Mansell as a guest on The Book Chick today! I've been reading her books for many years now, and yesterday I reviewed her latest, Rumor Has It (if you missed my review, you can read it here). Now she has taken the opportunity to answer a few of my questions:
The Book Chick: What inspired you to start writing chick lit?
Jill Mansell: I started writing so many years ago now that chick-lit hadn’t even been invented then! I just decided to write the kind of book I would be excited to find in a bookstore, with humour and romance and drama and laughter and tears…and featuring the kind of characters I’d like to have as my own friends. It literally went from there and turned into my first novel. I’d found my natural writing style and it really hasn’t altered very much since. (Plus, I wouldn’t have the first idea how to put together a murder-mystery!)
TBC: I’m a huge fan and own most of your books (14 at last count). If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be Nadia Knows Best, because that’s the book I read that made me fall in love with British chick lit in the first place. If you had to choose a favorite out of all of your books, what would it be?
JM: Such a hard question, because I always strive to make each book my favourite while I’m writing it, but each one has bits I particularly love. In Nadia Knows Best, the idea of being stranded by snow and having to spend the night with strangers was a great starting point. In Rumor Has It, the setting is Roxborough, but it’s based on Tetbury, where I went to school. And the final couple of chapters really did it for me - shades of James Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life…
TBC: You’ve written many books, and all have multiple characters. How do you come up with character names?
JM: Character names are getting more difficult, the more books I write – especially hero names. I use a Baby names book, and various sites on the internet, but I’ll also keep an eye out when the credits roll after movies or TV shows. Good names will be stored in a notebook. Then when I’m starting a new book, I’m careful to choose a new cast of characters whose names all ‘fit’ well together.
TBC: In Rumor Has It the character of Jack Lucas is a real ladies man, with women following him everywhere that he goes. Was he inspired by someone you’ve met in real life?
JM: I didn’t base Jack on anyone, but I may have been slightly inspired by George Clooney. I feel sorry for him - it must be hard work going through life being so irresistible…
TBC: What is your favorite color?
JM: My favourite colour is…diamond! Or black. Or silver.
TBC: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one snack with you, what would it be?
JM: This is SUCH a hard question! OK, if it was only one snack, it would have to be potato chips. (We call them crisps.) Just plain ones though – I hate all those weird fake flavourings. I like my potato chips to taste of potato.
TBC: Do you function best: in the morning or at night?
JM: I’m more a middle-of-the-day person nowadays. When I worked in the hospital I used to write late at night. Some of my writer-friends like to get up at 5am and work flat-out until midday. I prefer 10am-4pm. First thing in the morning is my worst nightmare!
TBC: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JM: I wanted to be an artist – I spent all my time drawing and painting. Art meant everything to me, then I got a bad result in my school art exam and lost my confidence. Just think, maybe if that hadn’t happened, I would never have tried to write books. Fate works in mysterious ways.
TBC: Is there a TV show that you hate to miss?
JM: We never tire of watching Friends in our house. I so wish it would come back. People have compared my books to Friends, so if any TV producers need any inspiration they could try one of my novels…
TBC: What books are on your nightstand right now?
JM: Interestingly, someone on Twitter last week was recommending Nora Ephron’s book Heartburn, which I’d never read before. I ordered it, and am loving it so much – I can’t believe it’s passed me by for so long. It’s truly brilliant and now it’s my turn to recommend it to you!
Thank-you for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m so excited that you decided to be a guest at The Book Chick!
Now, courtesy of Sourcebooks, I have two copies of Rumor Has It to give away! To enter:
1. Tell me if you've ever read a Jill Mansell book before! Please leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win. No e-mail=no entry!
2. *Bonus Entry* Become a follower of this blog, and leave me a seperate comment letting me know that you now follow. Current followers are eligible as well, just leave me a seperate comment letting me know that you already follow!
3. *Bonus Entry* Spread the word about this contest in some way: blog about it, add it to your sidebar, Facebook it, or Twitter it. Leave me a seperate comment letting me know what you did, and how you did it!
This contest will run until June 2, 2010 at midnight. Winners will be chosen after this date and will be notified by e-mail. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only, no PO Boxes please! Good luck!