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Interview with Jill Mansell

As everyone knows, my go-to author for hilarious fun in the Britain is Jill Mansell.  Her books never fail to make me laugh, cry, or just have a great time as her heroines go on adventures that change their lives — whether its a new career, like in Rumor Has It, or finding the Mr. Right, like in Take a Chance on Me.  Her characters are always fresh and quirky, generally naive about themselves and where they are going, and always fun to have at a party.

Her latest U.S. release is A Walk in the Park, in which Lara Carson returns home to Bath after leaving her boyfriend Flynn and her family 18 years ago without a word.  You can bet their will be secrets to uncover and blundering around, making Lara’s return a little less smooth than she might expect.  There is a reason that I am a self-proclaimed Mansell junkie, and these story lines are just one reason.  To find out more about why I adore this author and her books, check out the interview:

If there were one genre that you would write other than your current women’s fiction, what would it be and why?  Have you ever tried to write in it before?  How did it go?

Do you know, I never have tried any other genre. Sometimes we just have an instinct for what we’re good at and it seems to make sense to stick to it. When I first started writing I did try category romance (Harlequin) because I thought they might be easy. Needless to say, they weren’t! I sent off a few and the reasons for rejection were always that there was too much humour in them and not enough sustained emotional depth. In the end I gave up and wrote the kind of books I would like to read myself…and that’s how I got my first publishing contract. The term chicklit hadn’t been invented back then!

You’re forthcoming release in the United States is A Walk in the Park.  How does the publishing process in the U.S. differ from others?  How did you go about getting books published in other countries?  What’s the lag time between when a book comes out in England to when it comes out elsewhere?

The time lag varies according to the publisher but Sourcebooks is aiming to catch up with the UK next year and also bring out another of my older books in the US. It’s always entertaining, receiving a long list of British words from my editor that need to be ‘translated’ into American before the book can go to press. We definitely speak a different language! Getting published in other countries is all down to my agent and her sub-agents around the world. It’s brilliant going along to the London Book Fair each year and meeting some of the other agents and publishers from all over.

Who are some up-and-coming writers that readers should be on the look out for?

I’m not reading much fiction, but two books this year by writers new to me have absolutely blown me away.

John Green is a YA author, but this is a book for everyone — The Fault in Our Stars. Astonishing and emotional.

I adored this one too, Wonder by RJ Palacio. Just an amazing, incredible book.

I also loved The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne, which is great fun and a real feel-good read. I always love Hester Browne’s books.

Many writers these days are being told to market their own books through Websites and social media. What’s been your experience? Do you have any tips for others?

Well, it’s entirely my UK publisher’s fault that I’m on Twitter – they asked me to give it a try and I told them I would HATE it. But they insisted, so I gave it a go and within a couple of days I was hooked. I love it so much I’d far rather chat away on Twitter than write my books, which probably wasn’t what they had in mind…

But I think the reason it is working for me is because I do enjoy it and I’m not just endlessly plugging my own work. I very rarely do, in fact. I find relentless self-promotion from others a huge turn-off and it actually makes me LESS inclined to try a new author’s work. I would far rather think for myself how interesting/fun/nice they are, then quietly buy their book.

So the moral of the story is…just have fun and enjoy yourself. The ability to cyber-meet people all over the world is such a magical gift, why spoil it?

Just for fun, what television shows or music are you enjoying or find inspirational?

Well, inspiration can come from anywhere so I feel it’s my duty to watch lots of TV, all in the name of research. I’m getting into Strictly Come Dancing – our version of Dancing With the Stars. Still watching American Idol and UK’s X Factor but maybe starting to get a teeny bit bored with them now. The revelation this year for us in the UK has been the Olympics followed by the even more amazing Paralympics. We had masses of TV coverage and beforehand many people wondered if the Paralympics would be able to match up. Well, I know there was very little coverage of it in the US but let me tell you, it was BRILLIANT, completely life-enhancing and even MORE enthralling and inspirational than the Olympics. It has genuinely changed the view of the nation with regard to physical disability. The paralympic athletes have become superstars and we love every last one of them – our Superhumans. Inspiration-wise, who could ask for more?

Thanks, Jill, for answering my questions.  Your books are always a blast.

Past reviews:

If you’d like to win a copy of A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell, please leave a comment here.  Deadline is Nov. 20, 2012 at 11:59PM EST  (US/Canada residents Only)

  • Great interview! So happy to hear that more of her previous books will be released in the U.S. No need to enter me, as I already have a copy and can’t wait to read it!
    Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)´s last blog post ..Mailbox Monday — November 19

  • I discovered Jill’s books through blogger recommendations this year and LOVE them! Can’t get enough. Wonderful interview. Don’t enter me as I have A Walk In The Park.

  • Na S.

    Lara sounds like a character I will want to root on. I like second chance stories and it seems that after eighteen-years and secrets, it’s about time. I wonder what they are… 🙂

  • Nice interview. I enjoy women’s fiction, especially fun stories, but I haven’t read anything by Jill Mansell. Thanks for hosting a giveaway.
    Leslie´s last blog post ..Review: Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You by Marty Makary, MD

    • I wish you good luck.

  • Ti

    Excellent interview! I enjoyed her responses, especially the genre question. I think it’s interesting that she hasn’t really stepped out of her genre but I guess it makes sense, too. I’ve never read any of her books before but I am familiar with the name.
    Ti´s last blog post ..The Sunday Salon: Finally Feeling Like Fall

    • I really had a great time interviewing her.

  • karenk

    thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel 😉