17 February 2012

Author Interview: Jill Mansell

The lovely Jill Mansell, author of new book A Walk In The Park, has kindly agreed to an author interview and to answer my questions about the book, how she manages to think of stories when she's already written 23(!) amazing books, and what she's up to next! My biggest thanks go to Jill for answering my questions.

Q1. Please tell me about your new book 'A Walk In The Park'.

Lara returns to Bath and her friends discover why she disappeared so suddenly, eighteen years before. It's about families and secrets and tangled relationships...ooh dear, sorry, I never know how to describe my books, it's my biggest failing. But this one is allegedly a good read!

Q2. I really liked the character of Lara - she gets on with things despite the bad start she was dealt in life, and has a great relationship with her daughter too. Did you enjoy writing her as a character and her relationship with Gigi too?
Thanks, I love her too. I really enjoy writing happy mother-daughter relationships - my own daughter types up my work for me and may bear some slight resemblance to Gigi in the book, ie she's quite bossy, always knows best and loves telling me off when I make a mistake!

Q3. 'A Walk In The Park' is set in the beautiful city of Bath. Why did you choose to set the book here and is it a place close to your heart?
 I adore Bath - I grew up not far away and we used to visit most weekends. It has a lovely feel to it and the views over the city from the surrounding hills never fail to enthrall me. It's quirky and glamorous.

Q4. Amazingly, this is your 23rd novel - how do you keep managing to produce one novel a year, and how do you keep coming up with these brilliant story-lines?!
Oh crikey, I have no idea - in fact I'm currently struggling to think of ideas for the next book, as everything seems to have been used before. Hopefully I'll overhear a snippet of riveting gossip in a restaurant and that'll be enough to set me off again, like a greyhound after a hare...

Q5. As far as I'm aware, you've never done a sequel to any of your books? Is this something you'd ever consider?
It would probably make my life much easier, but I do kind of feel that once I've tied up the happy endings at the end of a book, those characters are done with. After spending a year with them, it's time to move on to some exciting new ones.

Q6. The cover for "A Walk In The Park" is gorgeous, I adore the green and image of Bath on the front, and it matches your latest few releases. Do you like your book covers, and could you choose one of your book covers as your all-time favourite?

I just ADORE my beautiful book covers and really couldn't choose a favourite.

Q7. Did you always want to be a writer? Can you tell me a bit about your road to being a published author?

I was working in a hospital when I picked up a magazine containing an article about four women whose lives had been transformed by them becoming best-selling novelists. I decided there and then that this was something I could try and do myself. It took a while but I got there in the end, and when I spoke about this at a writers' conference a couple of years ago, another best-selling author told me afterwards that the very same magazine article had inspired him to write too. And all these years later, we still both owned our original copies of the magazine. I do still wonder if that one article changed anyone else's life as well.

Q8. What sort of books do you like to read yourself, when you aren't writing them of course!

All sorts. Really, anything. Well, except for sci-fi. (Bleurgh, really hate sci-fi.)

Q9. I love asking authors what they think of the term "chick lit" - what's your take on it, and how do you feel about people labelling your novels 'chick lit'?

I'm used to it by now, so I don't really mind, but I wouldn't want people to think my books are only about young single girls obsessing about boys and diets and shoes. I have a wide range of characters in my books, all age groups are included and some serious issues are dealt with. As in life, comedy exists alongside tragedy.

Q10. Are you working on your 24th novel yet?! If so, can you tell me anything about it?

I've just finished it and haven't yet received my editor's notes, so am too superstitious to talk about the plot. But, as always, my main aim is to make my readers laugh and cry, so I hope it will end up doing that. Otherwise I shall have failed miserably!

Thank you, Jill!


  1. I just love Jill Mansell, thank you for the interview!

  2. Hey :) Really great interview. I started reading Jill Mansell's novels about two years ago. My sister left for Australia and one night I was going through her old books and stumbled across Solo. After that I was hooked. I look forward to reading her latest. She is always the best summer read and never fails to keep my hooked. Great blog and fantastic reviews. Exactly what I have been looking for!