Today I am very pleased to welcome best selling author Jill Mansell to the blog. Jill is author of 27 novels, including The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, Three Amazing Things About You and Fast Friends and her latest, You and Me, Always was published by Headline on 28 January 2016. You can read my review of this wonderful, warm and funny read here.
1. Tell us a little about You and Me, Always.
Well it’s my usual mix of drama, romance and comedy, set in a gorgeous village in the Cotswolds, and it features Lily, whose mother died when she was eight. On the morning of Lily’s 25th birthday, she opens the last letter written to her by her beloved mother. And from that day, everything changes, both for Lily and her family and friends.
2. Where did the inspiration come from for the book?
I can’t actually remember, but I know I’ve read in the past about letters written to their loved ones by people who know they are dying, and I’ve always found it a very moving idea.
3. You are famous for writing the first draft of all of your novels long-hand. How long does it take for that first draft to be written and how many notebooks do you work your way through? Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
It takes me a year to write to each book. I couldn’t write straight onto a computer, because I never learned to type and now it just feels all wrong to try and do it that way. I much prefer pen and ink. I normally get through five or six A4 Pukka Pads during the course of each book, because quite a few pages get crumpled up and thrown across the room if the writing all goes horribly wrong!
4. You and Me, Always is your 27th book and you have achieved the best seller list many times. Is there anything that still surprises you about the creative process of writing a novel and publishing it?
The thing that never fails to amaze me is how I manage to write something that other people like to read! When I’m working on each book, I’m always convinced it’s completely boring and unpublishable. It isn’t until it has been published and read by other people who say that they do like it, that I can believe they might be right and I’m wrong. (And I’m not alone in this – most of my writer friends feel the same about their books. Weird, isn’t it!)
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I’m very keen on housework. No, of course that’s not true. I like TV and books and the Internet and holidays and painting and eating in lovely restaurants with friends.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
None! I used to love re-reading books when I was young, but now I can’t bear to do it at all. So the answer to this question is, since I couldn’t bear to only have one book to occupy me for the rest of my life, I guess I’d have to give up reading instead.
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. You must have answered a lot of Q&A/interview questions before. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
No one has ever asked me before if I would like to marry George Clooney. The answer to this question is yes please.
Thanks very much for answering my questions and for appearing on my blog.
About the book:
“It’s Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday. And she’s about to open the very last letter written to her by the beloved mother she loved so much… A warm, poignant and unputdownable novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT and THE UNPREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE
From the bestselling author of THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU and THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT comes a deliciously romantic and poignant read about love, loss and how nothing can stay hidden for ever… If you love the novels of Cathy Kelly and Sophie Kinsella, you won’t want to miss Jill Mansell.
On the morning of Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday, it’s time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.
Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum’s life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions.
Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily’s friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…”