Thursday 5 September 2013

Twenty Questions with... Jill Steeples

I am delighted to welcome Jill Steeples onto my blog today, author of Desperately Seeking Heaven released on 27 August 2013 by Carina (Harlequin UK).

You must know the drill by now so go make yourself a brew, pull up a seat, and then put your feet up as we get to know Jill that little bit better with a round of twenty questions:

ACT ONE – all about you…

Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

Jill’s been writing short stories for a number of years and her work has appeared in popular women’s magazines around the world and in a number of charity anthologies.

‘Desperately Seeking Heaven’ a magical romantic comedy is her debut novel.

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

It’s something I’ve always done in one way or another. English was the only subject I was remotely good at in school and I always enjoyed the descriptive writing tasks! I kept a diary on and off for years too. It was only when I was approaching one of those scarily significant birthdays that I took the decision to do a creative writing course; that’s when I began taking my writing seriously.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

Well, I’m not sure you’d call it a ritual, but it involves checking of emails and social media, lots of cups of tea, one cup of coffee, ‘proper’ work of invoicing, vat returns etc, which I’m lucky enough to do from home and then I might settle down to some writing. I’m in desperate need of a new, better ritual!

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

Jilly Cooper was a huge influence in my teenage years. I read all her single title romances and loved her engaging characters and her easy accessible style.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

Join a writing group if you can, either online or in person. I was lucky enough to join an online short story group one when I first started out and the help and encouragement they gave me has been invaluable. We’re still all friends today.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

Many moons ago I attended a course at Lucy Clayton’s Charm School. If you need to know how to get out of a low-slung sports car in a short skirt, I’m your girl!

My parents and siblings are all true cockneys born within the sound of Bow Bells. They moved out to Hertfordshire just before I was born which is a bit sad.

I was lucky enough to fly on Concorde.

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My kindle, kettle and laptop, and my hairdryer and straighteners for my serious frizzy hair problem.

ACT TWO – all about your new release…

Love always comes when you least expect it, at least that's what PA Alice Fletcher tells herself as she looks forward to another Friday night of trash telly and wine-for-one.

But what happens when the unexpected is daytime TV crush Jimmy Mack, and he's sitting on your couch watching the news...of the accident that claimed his life?

Soon, Alice finds her ordered life turned upside down by helping Jimmy right the wrongs of his life so he can cross over to the ‘other side.'

But most unexpected of all is Alice's growing realisation that her gorgeous ghost has taken up residence in her heart as well as in her home.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Desperately Seeking Heaven, what was your inspiration for writing Jimmy Mack’s story?

It was originally intended as a short story. I had a very clear image of a sports car coming off the road and someone emerging from the wreckage and the story developed from there.

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

The first draft flowed quite easily. There’s lots of dialogue, a cast of quirky characters and some awkward situations which made it a lot of fun to write.

9) I see Desperately Seeking Heaven is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

Ages! Well from the initial spark to completing the story about six months, but it took a good while longer to find its natural home with Carina UK.

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

Opening paragraph:

I’m not superstitious. Not really. I mean I wouldn’t walk underneath a ladder or anything like that because that would be silly. And if I see a magpie then naturally I’d do a little scout around the area to see if I can find his mate and if not I’ll chirp, ‘Good Morning, Mr Magpie, how are you and your family today?’, but that’s just normal stuff. The sort of thing everyone does, right? And it wasn’t as if Friday 13th held any trepidation for me whatsoever because it’s just a day like any other day. Or at least I thought it was. That was until that strange afternoon. The afternoon of Friday 13th March when the events that unfolded were to change my life and my loves forever.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Desperately Seeking Heaven, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s a funny, magical romantic comedy with a gorgeous ghost as its hero. If you like fun, feel-good romance then this is the story for you!

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

I’m working on a second novel for Carina. It’s about a bride-to-be who makes the bad decision to read her best friend’s diary and what she discovers leads her to re-evaluating everything in her life.

QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…

13) Plotter or pantser?


14) Secret Seven or Famous Five? (please tell me you know them!?)

Famous Five

15) Digital books or print books?

I never thought I’d say this, but digital! I’m a complete Kindle convert.

16) Tea or coffee?


17) Cats or dogs?


18) Extrovert or introvert?


19) Save or spend?

A bit of both.

20) Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter, reluctantly, hiding behind the sofa as I tweet.

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Jill, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Jill Steeples, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:

Website     Facebook     Twitter

Buy it now…

Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472043429

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Aurelia and Jill. Love the sound of your book. I love quirky dialogue. I hope its successful for you. :-)


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