At Home With Jenn J McLeod [Interview & Aussie Giveaway!]

To celebrate my new releases THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER, the first two books in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m running a special interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to fellow small town storyteller, Jenn J McLeod… And just as her stories have lots of secrets, today she has a secret of her own to share! Read on…


Jenn1. Hi Jenn, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I’m from a real life Calingarry Crossing. Locals in my hometown of Bonville/Sawtell certainly recognise a few landmarks in both House for all Seasons and my 2014 release, Simmering Season. A city girl by birth, I did the big sea/tree change in 2004. Lot’s of firsts followed: running a café, setting up a B&B for people who travel with their fur kids, and writing a book a year for Simon & Schuster. It’s said a rolling stone gathers no moss, so soon I will be on the move – literally – and my “new home” (“Hint”) has me feeling a little on edge, like a small pebble perched precariously on a precipice. (Like that?)

[Juliet ~ Isn’t it great to write stories set in a town based on our own? 🙂 ]


2. What do you love about the place you call home?

Right now home is a small acreage, nestled in a rural hamlet south of Coffs Harbour, at the base of the Great Dividing Range, but only a ten minute drive to the beach. Apart from the stars at night, the birds all day, the peace and privacy (should I go on?) my place is like fruit salad – crammed with a dozen different fruit varieties of citrus, custard apple, lychee, mango and persimmon.  Then there’s the vegie surprise patch! I love it when a surprise sprouts out of the compost our vegie scraps produce. It all makes for a very ‘informal’ vegie garden with the most recent sprouting of pumpkin, plus the usual cherry tomato surprise plants and sweet potato!

I love harvest time. Kind of a shame I’ll be in a “new home” and not here to enjoy the winter feast. (“Another hint!” Yes, I have a secret and those who have read my books know I love secrets.)


3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

Our old café, Shimmers in Sawtell, is now called Tree-O, and it is still lovely. Recently, a bunch of local-ish authors and I met at The Old Butter Factory in Bellingen. We may have to do that again.


IMG_16074. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

Strawberry & Daiquiri are little white fluffy rescue dogs of unknown age and origin. They are old, very naughty and spoilt rotten. But you can teach an old dog new tricks. I discovered this when my little muse, Daiquiri, lost an eye to cancer recently. So adaptable – and even more beautiful, don’t you think? [Juliet ~ Definitely. And yellow is the new black.]

I also had two budgies called Sunshine & Blue Skies. I don’t like caged birds really, but Sunshine was a tiny baby, found in the paddock next door. Too young to fly, I brought her home. Not expecting her to live, she gobbled down seed while sitting on my palm and was quite lively the next morning. When I couldn’t track down where she escaped from I had to get a mate because there’s one thing worse than a caged bird … That’s a lonely caged bird. With a loving relocation to a brand new aviary in the nursing home where my mum lived for a while, Sunshine and Blue Skies can now spread their wings – so I can spread mine soon. (“Hint”)

[Juliet ~ Any ideas yet, readers, about Jenn’s secret?]


5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

My sunroom. I could eat, work and sleep in here. I’ve always said I don’t need a big house. One room to eat, write and sleep would be fine. Guess I’m going to get it after all. (“Hint”)


6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

My computer (and associated bits),

My mother’s memory box,

Oh wait! Soon I won’t have to limit myself to three. I’ll just take the whole house and get out of town. (“Hint”)

[Juliet ~ These hints are very cleverly inserted into your answers!]


7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

Maybe I’ll come back in six months from now and answer that question again, Juliet.



8. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I would NEVER have a chef in my kitchen. I’ve seen what they do to appliances and equipment and how they treat food. Sorry, folks, but owning a food business (because I LOVED eating out) has stopped me eating out! Next time you are deciding where to eat, don’t look at the menu, look at the floor!

[Juliet ~ I’ll keep believing that ignorance is bliss 😉 ]


9. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

1. Safe Harbour by Helene Young

2. Losing Kate by Kylie Kaden

3. Season of Shadow and Light – yep! That’s mine. I just received the edits for book three so reading for pleasure must give way to reading to deadline.

And I want to see a book on my TBR pile by a new yet-to-be-pubbed author Louise Allan. You can check her blog out here. Sounds like my kind of story telling.


10. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Too many to mention as I clear out and downsize my pantry (among other things) discovering blasts from the past like a jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers! All the rage about a decade ago with the champagne set. Who remembers them?

[Juliet ~ Though I have never used them, I do recall seeing the odd recipe with Hibiscus Flowers!]


11. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

We are about to find out! So I’d better clear up those “hints”. While my small towns can keep big secrets, I cannot. Time to reveal.

[Juliet ~ DRUMROLL…]

Check out the new home below:


[Juliet ~ Congrats! Looks like you are going to have one hell of an adventure! It might inspire a new story… The Travelling Season? 😉 ]


12. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

My answer: Depending on the friend or relative I might choose: e) hitch up the home and hit the road!


Thanks for sharing all about your home life with us, Jenn! And looking forward to hearing how your new home turns out. 🙂


> Even though Jenn J McLeod would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website/blog : Facebook : Twitter

Or better still, everyone, tell Jenn where in this big brown land you live, especially if you have a flat block that will accommodate a caravan – at the right price! 😉 She could be coming to a town near you in the near future.


> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her new book, Simmering Season, here:

Forget the chef, Jenn says. Petrol money appreciated, though, so she can discover new small towns to inspire more small town stories.

[Juliet ~ You’ll have to pay a visit to my small town down south! I am four minutes walk from a caravan park and beach. Not five minutes, four. Though it’s downhill so it could become three. 😉 ]

*BUY NOW from all good Australian bookstores, or there are lots of options here for purchasing:


Simmering Season Jenn J McLeod lgeSIMMERING SEASON

It’s summer storm season and Calingarry Crossing is sweltering.

Devoted mother, sole breadwinner, and now local publican, Maggie Lindeman is back in Calingarry Crossing with her teenage son to sell the family pub, hoping to turn their lives and finances around. The trouble is, the girl people once called Magpie is so busy protecting everyone else she has no idea the perfect storm is heading her way, until her past and present collide with the unexpected to blow the lid off a lifetime of secrets.



House for all Seasons Jenn J McLeod>> GIVEAWAY! Australian postal addresses only (or perhaps Jenn might deliver the prize in person!)

Prize: A copy of Jenn’s first Calingarry Crossing novel, House for all Seasons, or if you already have it, a copy of Simmering Season.

How to enter: Leave a comment and tell Jenn where you would spend a week in a caravan and why. (Can’t be 4WD-only access and no National Parks as they don’t allow dogs).

*Competition drawn on Wed 16th April and winner notified by email. You’ll have one week to confirm your prize and provide an Australian delivery address or an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck!


About Juliet Madison

Humorous & Heartwarming Fiction ~ Experience the magic of life and love...

Posted on April 11, 2014, in At Home With..., Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Aww, Jenn! Thanks so much with your comment—you’ve just made my day! As well as given me much-needed encouragement. Thanks. I’m feeling all mushy. That’s it, my head is down and my bum is up, and this book will get DONE! 🙂

  2. I was hoping…and then it happened! A caravan. A woman after my own heart. Bill and I love to caravan and so do our dogs. We have travelled with up to 4 dogs, including a labrador and a kelpie. Somehow they secrete themselves in corners and under table or bed, and we fit in just fine. Now, for the prize draw, hint hint, come to Budgewoi, a great stop over. We love it because they always let us have our dogs, there is a great walk beside Lake Munmorah, and the best fish and chips available nearby. I think you can live happily in a caravan. Ours is 22ft and very smart. With a mobile phone and a laptop, it’s definitely a home away from home, without all the housework.

  3. How fabulous Jenn! And what a great post, thanks Juliet and Jenn 🙂 I would go in my caravan for a week to Ipswich…my brother and his family live there, and we don’t see them often enough. With 5 kids, there is no room in the house, so the caravan would do it 🙂 I would LOVE a copy of House for all Seasons Jenn, as I read it from the library so don’t have a copy. I’d love to match it with Simmering Season 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity!

  4. Great post–the book sounds interesting!

  5. What a funny interview – I mean in a good humorous way. You always make me laugh Jenn. I hope you enjoy your new mobile home.
    I love our Winnebago as much. 🙂
    MY Gosh how long is your van Jenn?
    Certainly welcome to pull up out front of our humble abode on the Central Coast any time. (not sure if you’d fit down the side driveway and around the back. Too many of our own toys there hahahha.
    Thanks Juliet 🙂

  6. I’d happily set up “home” in Buderim. My Mother lives in a retirement village & those folks know how to have a GREAT time. The ocean is just down the hill aways. So much to see & do on the Sunshine Coast.

    My Mother belongs to the writing club, so always a lot to talk about.

  7. Hi Jenn,
    In 1999 I drove around Australia in a Ford Transit Motor Home. Not as neat as your unit.
    Best place I found was Perth, before the Cyclones I had to go through.
    I have an enormous block of land here in Soldiers Hill where your unit would fit comfortably.
    My home town has everything from Gold Rush days to medieval times. 3350

  8. That looks fabulous, Jenn!! I hope you’re heading West! Can’t wait to see what stories your new ‘home’ inspires 🙂

  9. Fabulous interview Jenn & I love your new ‘home’. Makes me very envious. All the best with your latest release. Another lovely cover too. There’s a caravan park down at Swansea not far from the lake which is nice and there’s always Myall Lakes and also Halifax Holiday Park at Nelson Bay.

  10. Great interview Jenn … and I LOVE the Gooseneck caravan. Enjoy the adventures ahead. I’m sure there will be many 🙂
    And drop in for a cuppa when you get to this end of the world !

  11. Enjoyed this interview thoroughly! Books sound wonderful, Jenn. I shared on FB & Twitter.

  12. Thanks to everyone for dropping by and to Jenn for taking the time to tell us about her home life and future plans 🙂
    And the winner is…. Margaret Sutherland! Margaret, have sent you an email. 🙂

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