A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “Romantic Novelists’ Association”

Interview with Jane Lovering

Author Picture

Last week I took part in a cover reveal post for Jane Lovering’s new book, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ which is out at the end of this month.  I now have for you all an interview I did with Jane recently in which I asked her about her novel, ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’, published last month.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’ please?

The main character is Winter Gregory, who has come to a small North Yorkshire town to write her ‘difficult second book’, and also to avoid her ex- boyfriend (also her editor), Daniel. They split up when he tried to drive a wedge between Winter and her identical twin sister Daisy. Whilst in Yorkshire, Winter befriends Scarlet, an eight year old girl, and Alex, the uncle who is bringing her up after the death of her mother. The book also stars a guinea pig called Bobso and Scarlet’s hobby horse, Light Bulb.


Is it part of a series and if so can your novels be read as standalones? 

My books are listed as ‘The Yorkshire Series’, but that’s more a convenience than anything.  They are all absolute standalones, with not so much as a character in common.  In fact, the only thing that runs through all of them (and therefore makes them a ‘series’) is the North Yorkshire countryside, although that does play a significant part in quite a few of the books, so might be termed a character in its own right, I suppose.


How long did it take you to write?

Well, I have a day job too, so can’t dedicate every second of my time to writing (although I suspect that, even if I could I’d spend most of the day on Facebook or Twitter, or websites with pictures of kittens, so it’s probably just as well).  So, it took me somewhere between six and nine months to write (I say ‘somewhere between’ because I am easily distracted by shiny things and kittens, so it was more like six months of constant writing, with three months built-in for kitten-staring).


Can you relate to any of your characters?

I’d have to say that I relate most closely to Scarlet, the eight year old.  I was an inveterate owner of guinea pigs and rider of hobby horses when I was young, so I understand that desire to have a pony and pets.  I can also relate to Winter, because it wouldn’t be much good me writing a main character that I basically didn’t understand, would it? Although it might be a good plot for a future book…


Do you jot down ideas as they come to you? 

Gosh, no, I am the world’s worst ever planner-in-advance, so if I ever had an idea I wanted to jot down, first I’d have to find a pen (and I have a puppy who’s eaten every Biro in the house, so it’s quite difficult to find anything that writes.  And there’s never a pencil. Ever.  I keep buying them and they keep disappearing, I’ve no idea where but I am looking quite hard at said puppy right now).  Then I’d have to find a notebook, of which there are thousands dotted around the place.  Having written the note I’d probably forget which notebook I’d written it in anyway.  Rubbish at forward planning, as I said.


How many books have you written in total?

Let’s discount the three full-length (and really really bad) books that I wrote when I was starting out, which I have now destroyed anyway for the good of mankind.  So I’ve written nine published novels, one of which is about to be re-released after a bit of a titivation, and two more which are hopefully coming out in due course. So that’s a grand total of fourteen books written, three which will never see the light of day (and quite right too. Let it be a lesson to everyone, just because you’ve written 85,000 consecutive words, does not mean it’s a book).


Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I’m currently getting my ideas sorted out (for which read looking at astonishingly large numbers of pictures of kittens and eating biscuits) for my Christmas novella, and I’ve made a start on a new book, which is essentially a ghost story. Plus blogging (I blog every week, usually on a Sunday, unless kittens or biscuits have intervened).


Was it easy for you to get published?

<falls off chair, laughing>.  Er.  No.  My first UK published book (which, incidentally won Romantic Novel of the Year in 2012) was turned down by just about everyone, before Choc Lit picked it up and published it.  I’d been beginning to think I had whatever the literary equivalent of typhoid is.


What’s the best piece of advice you have been given about writing?

It’s read.  Read everything you can find, in every genre.  So many people think they will write hugely successful novels without having read anything since they were forced to read Lord of the Flies in Year 10.  Honestly.  Read.  Then read more.  If you don’t have time to read (seriously?  What else are you doing? Apart from kittens and biscuits, obviously) then there are audio books.


If you had the chance to live life all over again would you still write books?

I don’t think I have much choice, it’s all I’m any good at.  Apart from dressage riding, and I’m pretty rubbish at that too, come to think of it.


Who are your favourite authors?

The greatest of them all, Terry Pratchett, of course.  Jenny Colgan, Marian Keyes, Jim Butcher (I love the Dresden Files), Jane Austen, Kate Atkinson.  Also all my mates at Choc Lit, who consistently turn out books that become ‘new favourites’. For non-fiction I love Francis Pryor (he writes about the Bronze/Iron Age a lot) and Bill Bryson.


If you were only allowed to keep three items what would they be?

My suitcase full of photos of my children, my Kindle and some flipping Biros!


Book Cover

Book Blurb

What if the one person you wanted to talk to wouldn’t listen?

Winter Gregory and her twin sister Daisy live oceans apart but they still have the twin thing going on. Daisy is Winter’s port in the storm, the first person she calls when things go wrong …

And things are wrong. Winter has travelled to a remote Yorkshire village to write her new book, and to escape her ex-boyfriend Dan Bekener. Dan never liked her reliance on Daisy and made her choose but Winter’s twin will always be her first choice.

She soon finds herself immersed in village life after meeting the troubled Hill family; horse-loving eight-year-old Scarlet and damaged, yet temptingly gorgeous, Alex. The distraction is welcome and, when Winter needs to talk, Daisy is always there.

But Dan can’t stay away and remains intent on driving the sisters apart because Dan knows something about Daisy …

I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Jane Lovering is now available to buy in paperback from all good book stockists and retailers.


About Jane Lovering

Jane was born in Devon and now lives in Yorkshire. She has five children, four cats and two dogs! She works in a local school and also teaches creative writing. Jane is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has a first class honours degree in creative writing.

Jane writes romantic comedies which are often described  as ‘quirky’.

Her debut Please Don’t Stop the Music won the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and the Best Romantic Comedy Novel award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.


Guest Post by PJ Whiteley + Competition

Close of Play

‘Close of Play’ is PJ Whiteley’s first novel.  Below is an interesting guest post from the author.


Men don’t ‘do’ romantic drama. Or do we?

Recently, I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. As expected, there are rather more women than men. I thought that the ratio might be 85-15 or 90-10. In fact, it’s more like 99-1, and a few of the male card-carrying members use female pseudonyms. There is a similar story in the readership profile. The extent to which the cover and other aspects of marketing of my first novel Close of Play, a romantic comedy, have been tilted towards the expected female audience has been a fascinating learning experience, as my publisher applies the finishing touches.

If you read the mini-biographies on the Romantic Novelists Association’s site, many relate how they grew up as bookworms, typically devoted to fantasy tales and romantic melodrama. My CV is very different. I didn’t read Jane Austen or Jean Plaidy as a boy. I played sport, read about sport, made Airfix kits and watched war movies. The books I enjoyed usually had a male lead figure and a fair amount of sport or danger. So it was a long and very indirect route by which I came to pen a romantic novel in my early 50s. My childhood influences can hardly have had any impact at all.

Or so it would seem. But if one uses an expanded definition of romantic drama, my early years were filled with the most heart-rending, achingly emotional tales, often rendered by alpha males. Their names included Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and John Lennon. There were a lot of tears and much insecurity; probably more direct soul-baring than any female scribe would dare, until Alanis Morrissette came along. Above all, these and other singers expressed an intense longing; this desire really to know a woman as well as love her.

So what is it about songs that gives blokes permission to get in touch with our inner feelings (or any other feelings, for that matter)? And why do we struggle when it’s on the printed page or at the pictures?

I’m afraid I can’t provide definitive answers, only a few observations. There is something about the ‘will they/won’t they’ drama that struggles to hold the male attention as the main or sole story arc; especially in a movie featuring Kate Hudson or Reese Witherspoon because, of course, we know they will in the end, after a break-up 20 minutes from full time as she discovers the secret that he had kept hidden (I still enjoy them, mind – guilty pleasure).

Humour helps. I might not have struggled with Far From the Madding Crowd at O-Level if Gabriel Oak hadn’t been so dour and earnest. Or a bit of political intrigue or philosophical depth. Or at least a car chase. Somehow, the question: ‘Is he The One for me?’ is not enough to hold our interest for 90 minutes or 288 pages. But for three and a half minutes, with a soaring chorus, and a macho guitar solo to come, we can give our passion a full-throated roar. We do have a romantic heartbeat, but it’s detected in different ways.

Close of Play has many ‘romcom’ features. I make no apology. It has a slightly different slant in that it’s from the man’s point of view. The two main male characters have been a bit sniffy towards love n romance n girly stuff in their early adult years. They prefer playing cricket and drinking beer. But each of them aches for the woman they really, really want, and fear that it might all be too late. I hope the female readers will be touched by their longing and forgive them their mistakes. And maybe, just maybe, the occasional bloke will read it, disguised inside GQ magazine, as he listens to Blood on the Tracks via his headphones.

PJ Whiteley, March 2015.


About PJ Whiteley


PJ Whiteley, who writes non-fiction as Philip Whiteley, is an experienced author, principally about management. He has written extensively about how low wages are bad for business, as part of a bid to try to convince economists that society consists of people. Taking a break from this Quixotic task, he has turned his hand to romantic comedy, seizing on the potential of men preferring to play or watch sport than talk about their feelings and stuff.

Close of Play is the first novel, centring on perennial themes of the human condition: love, loss, hope, life choices and that nagging feeling in the back of the mind that you may not fully be up to date with how your team is doing.

PJ Whiteley’s boyhood ambition was to represent Yorkshire Cricket Club. He gave up playing as an amateur a few years ago when facing the quicker bowlers became a bit too tricky, but still plays five-a-side football. He works from home full time as an author and is married to a sex therapist, so things could have turned out worse.



To celebrate the publication of ‘Close of Play’ I am running a competition in which 10 lucky people will win a paperback copy of this book.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think is romantic.


Terms and Conditions 

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 16th April 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Urbane Publications Limited who will send out the prizes.


Good luck! 🙂


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