Tuesday, September 11, 2012

50th party blog guest - Jan Jones

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.

Over to Jan:

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 am not so much versatile as a jack-of-all-trades. I write contemporary, Regency, short stories, poems and just now I am concentrating on serials for women’s magazines.

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


Liz Fielding said...

Loved Stage by Stage, Jan and I have one of your Regency rollicks on my tbr pile right now. (Your publisher need to get to grips with ebooks - I read much faster on Kindle!)

I'll be fascinated to see what other writers do to fill the well. I never seem to have the time!

Jan Jones said...

Your well is like the magic porridge pot, Liz - it never seems to dry up at all!

Fortunate Wager is on Kindle, but not the others, sadly.

Carol Warham said...

Hi Jan
I find I need a peaceful place to recharge myself. Sometimes I'll go for a walk and 'breath in' our beautiful scenery or I may just lose myself,for a time, in whichever book I am reading.

Jan Jones said...

Excellent idea, Carol. Peace is in very short supply, these days.

Maria said...

I catch up on my reading, Jan. I get so busy sometimes, there's never enough time for that.

Jan Jones said...

You are so right, Maria!

Unknown said...

Hi Jan. I enjoyed this piece as I love to read about writers.

I move onto another piece, or find inspiration in twitter or Facebook, or wait until I sleep. I have a lot of ideas from dreams and also find solutions to plot problems. I'm sure my conscious mind wouldn't think of these resolutions.

Jan Jones said...

Hi Effie - having heard accounts of some of your dreams, I'm extremely glad you wouldn't think of them in your daylight hours!

But yes, moving on to something else does it for me too.

Julie B. said...

I adore Jan Jones' stories. I loved Stage by Stage, her Regencies are sublime (fingers crossed more are in the pipeline) and I make sure never to miss one of her serials.

If I need to unwind, I take the phone off the hook and indulge in a good book. There's nothing better!

Eli Yanti said...

sometimes i will stop working, playing game or reading my ebook :)

Jan Jones said...

Oh, Julie, how lovely of you to say so :) [I am working on a new Regency at the moment]

Hi Eli, Playing a game is a good way to unwind!

Caroline said...

Great blog Jan. Good to *see* you here! To re-fill the well I read. Nothing beats it IMHO. Take care. Caroline x

Jan Jones said...

Ah yes, Caroline. Reading... I remember it well.

bn100 said...

I like to go for a walk.

Jan Jones said...

...and walking is good exercise too!

Anonymous said...

hi , i refresh myself with read wonderful books;). That's how i can imagine myself somewhere in the distant fantasy land;)arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

Kate Hardy said...

First name drawn from the hat for one of Jan’s serials – Effie Meryl. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details and which serial you’d like, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!

Unknown said...

OOH! Thank you! :)