I’ve known Jan Jones from before my M&B days, and I met her at an RNA chapter lunch. She still had kids at school then (that’s how long ago it was!) and my eldest must’ve been a toddler. I don’t remember a huge amount about that lunch (apart from a fangirl moment when I met Judith Lennox – one of my fave writers) but I do remember talking and talking and talking to Jan. I’ve also dragged her on a research trip before now (Ely – the stained glass museum). She organizes conferences for the RNA, and does them BRILLIANTLY; and she also writes wonderful serials and the most rollicking Regency romps, with great villains and adventurous heroines and gorgeous heroes.
First of all, congratulations on hitting the big 50, Kate! Not only does it not seem very long since we first met - just as you were submitting your original M&B title, as I recall - it really doesn’t seem that long since I was writing this very same congratulations sentence for your 25th release! Go you!
One of the factors which must have help you (apart from being a VERY good writer) is that you are versatile. So if a novel isn’t working for some reason, you can let it simmer and get on with one of your non-fiction projects instead.
(Bear with me, this is a tenuous link, but it’s getting there)
I write two sorts of serial: quirky mysteries set in the Lake District for People’s Friend featuring my heroine Penny Plain and her journalist friend Leo Williams, and serials with a slight supernatural slant (try saying that fast) for Woman’s Weekly.
I like writing serials because they are a challenge. Mine are all quite short - only four episodes - but each of those episodes must be able to be enjoyed for itself, even if the reader doesn’t have the rest of the issues. So each part must have highs and lows, changes of pace, a building mystery. The main characters must grow each week, and any minor characters I try to deal with in an individual issue rather than have them suddenly pop up in a disconnected fashion two episodes later when the reader has no clue who they are.
It is a process that frequently has me tearing my hair out into the far reaches of the night, but oh, the satisfaction when I finally get it right!
I’m not quite sure what to offer as a giveaway. None of my serials are on Kindle yet, but I could print out the complete typescript of one and put it in a nice binder? Choose from:
The Penny Plain Mysteries 1: The Jigsaw Puzzle & Rogues Gallery
The Penny Plain Mysteries 2: Just Desserts & Jam and Jerusalem Artichokes
An Ordinary Gift - time-shift mystery set in Ely
Written on the Wind - a Celtic tree mystery set on the North Yorks moors.
All I want to know is - when the job in hand isn’t working, what do you do to refresh yourself? How do you refill the well?
You can find out more about Jan at her website http://www.jan-jones.co.uk or on her blog at http://jan-jones.blogspot.co.uk
Or talk to her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jan.jones.7545
Or follow her on Twitter @janjonesauthor