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Tag Archives: Jane Wenham-Jones

 

RLF Gems.
The top bloggers (by page load) for the month of June
resulted in a tie for third place in the top five. This month was unusual in
that the blog was closed for a period due to my illness. The good news is that
I did not have a heart attack. The bad news is that I learned my heart did have
a slight weakness that needed medication. I’ve been on the mend and taking
better care of myself as a result.
In June, we had a few character interviews, which were well
received, and every day that we had a posting saw top numbers. The article I
wrote for the Marketing for Romance Writers blog tour (in preparation for
Marketing Summer Camp) scored nearly twice as many hits as the next in line.
That was gratifying, and a surprise. Model and photographer Cherif Fortin and his
business partner Lynn Sanders hit it out of the park with their interview this
month. I had them on twice because their article was so unique. They helped
pioneer a new media that combines film, ebooks, audio books, and images to make
a new media. You can learn more about it at this URL. http://is.gd/a3oh1m
Top Post – MFRW

Here are the top bloggers for June 2012:

1. Kayelle Allen – Why I Created Marketing for Romance
Writers
2. Cherif Fortin, Lynn
Sanders – New Media for Authors
3. K. D. Grace – Character Interview
3. Lynn Cahoon – Character Interview
4. Jane Wenham-Jones – Author Interview
5. S. A. Garcia – Not Only Angels Fall from the Heavens
My thanks to everyone who took part this month. Guests this
month included (in alpha order by first name, not including myself): Alexandra Stewart, Berengaria
Brown, Cherif Fortin, Cinsearae S, Danita Minnis,
Jane Wenham-Jones, Juliette
Springs,
K. D. Grace, Lynn Cahoon, Lynn Sanders, S. A.
Garcia.

Jane, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Tell us about your latest book, including its
genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?

Prime Time is billed
as a romantic comedy but it does have its dark corners. It is the story of
Laura who has shocking PMT and is – ill-advisedly as it turns out – encouraged
to go onto a daytime tv programme to talk about it. What happens next will
change her life…
How do you come up with ideas?
I pretty much write
down everything that ever happens to me…
What is the single most important part of writing
for you?
That wonderful moment
when you can type “the end”.
What is the most important thing you do for your
career?
I’ll give anything a
try. I’ve been on radio and TV, worked as a presenter and interviewer, written
short stories and articles, features and columns, fiction and non-fiction. I
could probably do with being a bit more focussed on just the one or two areas
instead of trying to do it all, but it’s been a lot of fun.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being able to
“have my say” I suppose.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Variety. I am not one
of these writers who can be pinned to the computer for a 16 hour stretch. I
like to go out and do lots of different things. But I always consider that to
be part of the process. If you never leave your study how you have anything to
say?
Where do you start when writing? Research,
plotting, outline, or…?
A basic idea. My first
novel was: the buy-to-let market, my second, infidelity, my third – running a
wine bar… and so on.
What did you learn from writing your first
book? 
That it’s not as easy
as it looks…
How many hours a day to you spend writing?
On theory 6 hours a
day. In practice? Sometimes I don’t write at all – too busy fiddling with
emails and tidying the kitchen. But when deadlines loom I’ve been known to
write all night. I finished wannabe a writer in a 36 hours stint with no sleep
at all.
If you could give the younger version of yourself
advice what would it be?
Get on with it!
What are some jobs you’ve done that would end up
in a book?
I’ve been a barmaid,
bought and sold property, worked as a secretary and a copywriter – all these
have come in useful in books various.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which
one would you recommend I start with and why?
When I am reading a
new author I like to start with their first one. Mine  was  –
Raising the Roof. But I’ve developed a lot since then. So I would say now –
read the blurbs and see which one appeals to you most and I’ll just hope you
like it SO much you can’t wait to read the others :-)
What do you hope readers take with them after
reading your work?
A smile and a dollop
of empathy
List two authors we would find you reading when
taking a break from your own writing.
Joanna Trollope and
Fay Weldon
What’s your next writing ambition?
I want to be an agony
aunt on a national newspaper – editors please note! :-)
A biography has been written about you. What do
you think the title would be in six words or less?
Jacqueline of all
trades.
If money were not an object, where would you most
like to live?
By the sea plus a flat
in London
If you were a tool, what would people use you to
do?
Open wine bottles.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about
school?
Reading my way through
maths
If you came with a warning label, what would it
say?
Take in small doses
Please
Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with fresh
basil.
I’m always ready for a
glass of champagne.
When I’m alone, I relish
it.
You’d never be able to
tell, but I was once a model.
If I had a halo it would be constantly falling off.
If I could play the
guitar, speak fluent French, sing like an angel, and only weighed seven stone,

I’d consider it a good result.
I can never get to
the end of my to-do list
because I keep adding to it.
My
Booklist
Raising the Roof
Wannabe a Writer
Wannabe a Writer We’ve
Heard Of
Perfect Alibis
One Glass is Never
Enough
Prime Time
Find
Me Here
Jane Wenham-Jones is a novelist, journalist and presenter and the author of the Wannabe Books – two how-to manuals on getting published and becoming well-known. Below is an extract from Wannabe a Writer? available on Amazon or through all good bookshops. For more on Jane see http://www.janewenham-jones.com
Research — Do You or Don’t You?
Frederick Forsyth carries out what he calls “relentless research,” spending an entire year at it. Minette Walters is also extremely thorough and painstaking — consulting forensic scientists and attending post-mortems as well as the usual background reading.
While I’m writing this, Jilly Cooper is working on a new racing book. “I have about a hundred books to read,” she told me. “Biographies of jockeys and autobiographies of trainers and biographies of horses…”
I, on the other hand, err on the idle side when it comes to research and tend to proceed on a need-to-know basis rather than mugging up for months in advance.
Lynne Barrett-Lees works in similar way. “It’s all too easy to spend precious writing time jotting down facts, facts, facts, and to put off the hard bit,” she says. Research for her “happens organically as a by-product of writing, definitely not the other way around.” She says: “I don’t allow myself to sweat the small stuff until I reach a point where I need to. As long as I’ve established there’s a patient soul or two who’ll fill me in on any detail I need, I simply call them, as and when, while I’m writing.”
All of which shows that there is no right or wrong answer to how much research you should do as long as, whether it takes six months holed up in the British Library or six minutes on the phone to a friend, you do enough.
Even if you are writing “what you know” you’re still bound to have to check something, and check it you must for as we’ve said already, your novel will only work if it rings true and you won’t achieve that if your facts are wonky.
It is also worth remembering that what we know can only ever be just that — what WE know. By talking to others we can gain different insights or whole new angles on what we thought was familiar territory. Hilary Lloyd, the author of A Necessary Killing (UKA Press), is an ex-farmer who drew on her own experiences of living through the foot and mouth crisis for her novel.
Despite her first-hand knowledge, there were still things she needed to investigate. She says: “My experience of the epidemic was traumatic but a novel demands much more than reminiscences and feelings. I needed facts, and details of procedures employed by government and other official departments. I also needed to confirm that my own trauma wasn’t unique so I read through dozens of bewildered, distraught or angry messages on internet forums used by rural people at the time, and downloaded enough articles and comment from newspapers to wallpaper the whole of the house! The reading and absorbing of this material gave me a much wider view and helped flesh the bones of my plot.”
I did a similar thing when I was writing my second novel, Perfect Alibis, by talking to lots of different women who’d had affairs — or as many I could find who would admit to it!
Interestingly, for the same book I asked several friends who’d had appendicitis what it felt like, and was surprised by just how different their accounts were, and how entirely varied their symptoms.
It was a lesson on the importance of getting more than one version of anything one’s not been through oneself. Make sure you’ve got the majority experience down rather than a one-off.
For if you are asking a reader to suspend their disbelief and get totally absorbed in the world you’ve created, then you owe it to them to make sure that world is as authentic as possible.
I usually do this in one of two simple ways — go on Google or ask someone who might know.
Google is a wonderful tool. There isn’t much you can’t find out on the internet these days though a word of warning: do always check more than one source.
I have just spent a sobering half hour trying to find out how many grams of carbohydrate are in a large glass of wine (hoping to shed ten pounds on a crash Atkins-type diet while still getting pissed every night). The answers have been variously 3g, 1.8g, 5g, and almost 7g (with the only consensus the dispiriting news that to lose weight you have to give up the booze).
Asking an expert on the given subject is usually a safe bet — although again, two is better than one. During the writing of my last book, I checked facts with a GP, a gynecologist, a dog-owner, two wine-writers (who contradicted each other), an ex-policeman, a nurse, and a solicitor.
I also pored over the London A-Z, studied different models of answer-machines, and, since the novel is entitled One Glass Is Never Enough — suffered several near-terminal hangovers.
And I still missed something. I never want my husband to read anything until after it’s published but this time I wished he had. He instantly spotted an irregularity that I had totally overlooked (a bottle of champagne to the first reader to write and tell me what it is. Clue: it will help to be a gardener) and which I’ve been kicking myself for ever since.
I always think that if you have a scene that is heavily dependent on some specialist knowledge — let’s say a scene in the operating theatre in a hospital — then it is a good idea to let someone with first-hand experience — say a surgeon or a nurse – to have a quick read through and check for any dodgy bits.
Even if you have that sort of experience yourself make sure your knowledge is up-to-date. Police procedures, for example, have changed a lot over the years, as have the job-descriptions of teachers. Find someone who is doing the job right now rather than speaking to the old duffer next door who retired in 1976.
If you are lucky enough to get a publishing deal the copy editor will pick up things that need checking, too, but be professional and make sure everything in your manuscript is as accurate as you can make it before you submit it. There’s an old adage about keeping going through a first draft, that says: “Don’t get it right, get it written.” It’s excellent advice. As long as once you have got it written, you make sure you’ve also got it right.
Buy links:
Amazon UK (paperback)
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (paperback)
Amazon US (Kindle)
The Book Depository
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