Please join me for a brew and a slice a bright pink birthday cake* (it really needs to be eaten before the next one comes) as I welcome Jennifer Bohnet onto my blog today, author of I'm Virtually Yours, released last month by Carina (Harlequin UK) for a round of Twenty Questions...
ACT ONE – all about you…
Jennifer is a West Country girl now living in the wilds of rural Brittany, France. She's still not sure how she ended up there! Since living in France she has written hundreds of short stories and several serials all of which have been published internationally.
Allergic to housework and gardening she rarely does either but she does like cooking and entertaining and wandering around vide greniers (the French equivalent of flea markets) looking for a bargain or two.
1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?
I’ve written since I was a teenager and would love to have been a journalist. Freelance writing was something I could do at home when the children were little and that was when I started with lifestyle features for newspapers and magazines.
2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?
I don’t think I have a particular writing style, and as for a ritual the nearest I come to that is I can’t start writing in the morning until I have my expresso in my favourite cup!
3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing? Or perhaps one piece of advice that has stuck with you that you’d like to share?
There’s one piece of advice I have on the wall in my writing room: You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying. I mutter it to myself on the days the rejections come in!
4) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?
I’m tone deaf - which coming from a musical family is not good!
I’m quite shy.
Like Polly in ‘I’m Virtually Yours’ I hate boats too!
5) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?
I’m currently living in fear of my Kenwood mixer blowing up - I use it all the time. The same goes for my Rayburn cooker, I can’t imagine having a kitchen ever again without one! My MacBook is definitely on the list of can’t live without, as is my Kindle - living in France it’s difficult to buy English language books so the Kindle is real life saver in that respect. I was lucky enough to be given a Mont Blanc pen for my birthday a few years ago and it’s something I treasure.
6) With Christmas already behind us, we turn our attention ahead to the year ahead. Did you join in with the madness of choosing New Year’s resolutions for 2014?
I’ve stopped making New Year Resolutions because I know I’ll have broken them all by about - by about now actually. But this year I’m determined to up my writing output and I’ve remembered a phrase that appeared frequently on my long ago school reports, I’ve written it out in bold letters and pinned it on my wall: Must try harder.
ACT TWO – all about your new release…
Need a virtual PA? Then Polly Jones is your girl!
Polly Jones is taken aback when a new client asks her to investigate the Robertson family business in Devon, after all, a ‘virtual assistant’ doesn’t usually leave their home office! But she needs the work – and less proximity to an endless supply of tea and biscuits can only be a good thing right? So she sets off, with energetic puppy Rosie close by her side.
Polly’s new job isn’t quite in her comfort zone… Arriving in the small fishing village where everyone knows everyone’s business, any upsides (all those yummy scones and clotted cream) of course have their downside – she’s completely forgotten to pack her sea legs, and the temptingly handsome Will Robertson is making her job difficult at every turn.
It’s so much easier to keep things strictly professional in the virtual world – but with no e-mail to hide behind Polly must admit that Will’s smile is incredibly, deliciously distracting…
7) Congratulations on your recent release of I'm Virtually Yours; what was your inspiration for writing Polly's story?
I belong to an online journalism forum and somebody there posted about being snowed under with work. Another member offered to be their virtual assistant and the idea grew from there.
8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?
This was one story that was quite quick to write. I wouldn’t say it flowed from my finger tips but I’ve struggled more with my other books.
9) 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?
I’m Virtually Yours is a novella so it didn’t take long from the initial idea, about a month I guess, plus a couple of weeks to edit before I submitted it to Carina UK.
10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
This is Will my hero thinking near the beginning about how he was going to save the family business:
“It was his inheritance – his life – that was at stake here and he wasn’t just going to give it up without a fight. He’d make damn sure, too, that this Polly Jones woman, whoever she was, knew that when she arrived.”
11) Over to you; what can you tell us about I'm Virtually Yours, to make us rush out and buy it?
It’s a fun read set in Devon, with a heroine who’s terrified of boats and a hero who’s determined to make her face up to her fear. Oh, there’s also a bit of a mystery adding suspense as Will and his family battle to save their business.
12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?
I have another book for CarinaUK to finish and the deadline is getting scarily close. I can’t give you any details other to say that this one is set in the South of France. I’m also still working on another longer novel for Robert Hale.
QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…
13) Plotter or pantser?
I’m a panster desperately trying to be more of a plotter!
14) Digital books or print books?
15) Tea or coffee?
Coffee coffee coffee coffee
16) Extrovert or introvert?
17) Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook for personal stuff and Twitter for networking
18) Christmas or birthday?
19) Morning person or night owl?
20) Sweet or savoury?
I can never say no to dessert!
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you so much for taking part, Jennie, I wish you every success with your new release.
To discover even more about Jennifer Bohnet, and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:
Buy it now…
ISBN: 9781472074263Release date: 9th December 2013