Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 29 - Kate’s 25th party, guest blogger #5 – Jan Jones

I’m delighted to introduce my next guest, author of romantic comedies Jan Jones. Um. You can guess how Jan and I met… actually, I’ll let her tell you that herself. Although we only live an hour or so away from each other, we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like – with me having two small children at home and Jan organising the RNA events and the conference (which is next week, so I really appreciate her doing this blog entry!), there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But it’s one of those friendships where you can just pick up where you left off and it’s as if you only saw each other yesterday. Which makes me feel very privileged. Oh, and she also sends me pictures of gorgeous men, which really helps the inspiration.

So here’s Jan Jones:

Hi, I'm Jan Jones and my claim to fame is that I first met Kate Hardy at an RNA chapter meeting just before she was famous. It was my first chapter meeting (and I'd bought Ladies-Who-Lunch shoes which pinched) and I was a tad nervous, but as soon as Kate and I smiled at each other and opened our mouths (it may have been to say 'Yes, please' to a glass of wine) we clicked. For the rest of the lunch, we talked so non-stop that we may very well have forgotten to eat.

At the time, Kate was in tentative discussion with HM&B about her very first medical romance. That, dear reader, was in October 2001. Yes, you read it correctly, 2001. Since then - this pains me a little but she IS a mate - Kate has had 25 books published. I have had, er, one. But, what the hell, Kate is mega-talented and knows exactly how to make her readers both laugh and cry. A rare gift.

(You can visit Jan's website here or her blog here.)

GIVEAWAY: Jan’s offering a copy of Stage by Stage, her 2005 NWS-award-winning romantic comedy, (or one of the Sexy Shorts compilations in which she have short stories if you've already got a SbS) [edit by Kate: Owen is a hero to die for. And the dialogue had me in hysterics for all the right reasons.]

GIVEAWAY QUESTION : I had great difficulty selling Stage by Stage because I was told over and over again that "theatrical backgrounds don't sell". So let your creative juices flow and invent a really compelling reason that I can use when pitching a stand-alone-sequel, also set in the touring-theatre world. (It may help if I let you know that Viggo Mortenson was the original inspiration for my hero, Owen.)


Jan Jones said...

What a nightmare, Kate. Hats off for the smooth transition at a moment's notice. Move over, Wonderwoman!

I'm cutting-and-pasting yesterday's comments on my post.

I loved Stage by Stage, Jan. And adored Owen. Theatrical backgrounds are a hard sell, no doubt -- I had to take my theatrical family to Scarlet to find a publisher. How about starting with the the fact that Stage by Stage won the RNA New Writers Award? That such a richly observed background lends an "extra" in a book list dominated by "yummy mummires" and weight-obsessed "chicks".

Jan Jones said...

JULIE said:

Hi, Jan!
I've not read Stage by Stage, but as Liz said, the book has won the RNA Prize for New Writers, plus the theatre world is surely a hotbed for lust, secrets and laughter what with its cast of lovable eccentrics, gorgeous leading men with a torrid past to hide and actresses with a secret or two.


Jan Jones said...


I agree that you should play up your award. It is important. And it is not the setting that makes the story, but the actual story, so play up those elements that do sell. For example, a super sexy hero. Or star crossed lovers. You want to get them excited about the story and the unforgettable characters. Why should they care about them? Why is this a page turning read?

Jan Jones said...


The story could be set very firmly in parallel with the themes/plot of the play the theatre company are touring, so you could use this as your selling point. In the same way that Bridget Jones was enormously influential in the whole Pride and Prejudice revival, so Jan Jones could be responsible for bringing a particular stage play back into the spotlight! (I'm struggling to think of a suitable play, but brain has gone on a coffee break....)
It would work as a crossover between classic literature, and something contemporary, accessible, fun and fabulous!

Jan Jones said...

and finally I said:

Hmmm, lots of lovely food-for-thought ideas there. Particularly intrigued by India's idea...

I'll leave it open a little longer before picking a winner, just in case there are any other comments.

Jenny Haddon said...

I don't know why books with a theatrical background are said not to sell. But it's true there aren't many out there.

In fact, the only one I can think of is Clemence Dane's BROOME STAGES - very old, I read it off my grandmother's bookshelf. In that one, she transmutes the Plantagenets into a family of strolling players. Oh, and THE SWISH OF THE CURTAIN, of course.

I'm already a fan of STAGE BY STAGE, as you know. I'd like more of the same- it has fun and humanity and all the conflicts you get between any group of people who work long tnese hours together. And theatrical performance gives you the huge opportunity for someone to tell the truth and still hide, because they do it IN CHARACTER. I always find that moving. Think of poor Viola, diguised as a boy, telling the oblivious Orsino she loves him. Heartbreaking. Bliss.

And happy 25th, Kate.

Jenny Sophie