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Past, Present, & Future with Jenn J McLeod

In celebration of the release of my debut novel, Fast Forward, I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome another debut author, the fabulous Jenn J McLeod!

PAST:

Jenn%20-%20the%20young%20author[3]1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was supposed to be a multi-disciplined musician (like my Dad), study at The Conservatorium (like my Aunt), be a famous opera singer like my cousin (whose sons – Ben and Alexander Lewis – (think Phantom!) are now making their own musical mark internationally). Instead I wrote, my keyboard of choice a computer, leaving the old upright piano to languish in the living room as I followed my labyrinthine road and wrote my own story. (Excuse me while I sing my theme song…“I did it myyyyyyy way!”)

So as the daddy longlegs weave their webs around the piano’s soundboard and strings, I weave stories that give my characters a life and a voice. My stage is country NSW, my tree change many years ago like coming home. I guess it must have been all those hours I spent in my room as a child, riding my bed-end rather than practicing piano! Yep, that’s right: a pillow for a saddle, a dressing gown tie as a bridle and voila! I was National Velvet.

 

2. What did you do before you became a writer?

You mean besides being National Velvet? That answer is a novel in itself. Let’s see (in order): Hairdressing, cosmetic sales, retail security (nabbing shoplifters), hotel security at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel (where I met celebrities and heard stories I can never tell), Event Management, Road Safety Education, Corporate PR & Communications, Intranet Producer, Cafe owner, B&B Operator and finally… Author.

[Juliet – what a wealth of experience to add to your stories!]

 

pam%20and%20me%20001[2]3. What is one of your most treasured memories from the past?

Besides pretending to be National Velvet, you mean? 🙂 Hmm, that would be winning a national road safety award for a young driver education initiative. Here I am accepting the award with my colleague, Pam Leicester. As friends and colleagues we were a formidable team; Pam inspiring me then and more recently. (My House For All Seasons character, Sara, was inspired by Pam who is sadly no longer with us. Creating Sara allowed me to give Pam her happy ever after.)

[ Juliet – Congrats on the award! And what a nice gesture for Pam]

 

PRESENT:

4. What’s your latest release about and/or what are you currently working on?

HFAS front cover workingHouse For All Seasons is now available. It is the story of four estranged school friends forced to return the NSW country town of their youth to claim an unexpected inheritance – the century-old Dandelion House.

As restless teenagers, desperate to forget a tragic end-of-school muck-up day accident, they escape the confines of small town life and never speak to each other again.

Twenty years on, coming home to the country triggers mixed emotions and the women must face their shame and self-doubt if they are to reconcile their past with their present.

Only after spending a season each in the old place – a condition of the will – do they discover the reason for the inheritance and how they are forever tied to the house and to each other.

[Juliet – what are you waiting for readers? Dash to the bookstore now! Well, after you read this interview of course ;)]

 

5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)

A mess! I have no fixed agenda and I need to change that. I need to fit in the networking side of this business without losing entire days! I must write – not Facebook. I must write – not tweet. I must write – not blog. Oops!

[Juliet – sorry about that!]

 

Jenn%20J%20McLeod_fence_web[3]6. Name three things you are grateful for in your life right now:

Right now? As in today?  As in 8 March 2013? Forgive my preoccupation, but as my debut novel has just released (with a couple five-star ratings already) I am a little dizzy (and I feel a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars acceptance speech coming on, so we’d best move on.)

 

FUTURE:

7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?

Fast forward! Crikey, I so wish I could go back. I would love to be doing what I am doing now as a 40 year old!

But, okay, to fast forward it would have to be to the day a book is an interactive hologram. Remember those pop-up storybooks? I loved them. I used to walk my fingers through the pages. Imagine the future: holograms that let you wander through scenes—touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, feeling… ooh la la!

[Juliet – You’re in luck, there just might be a hologram or two in Fast Forward! Great minds huh?]

 

8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?

A George Jetson Winnebago (ie it folds into a briefcase for easy parking).

[Juliet – Patent it NOW!]

 

9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?

That people love my books and want more (so I can keep writing while travelling in that Winnebago.)

 

Thanks for visiting, Jenn, and all the best for HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS!

>>You can visit Jenn at her website/blog, facebook, and twitter. You can buy her book from all good bookstores in Australia or you can order online here at Dymocks, or as an ebook at Amazon.

 

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When wishes come true…

In January 2011 I moved into a new house, in a new town, to start a new life. Somehow, I started a new book too! This book was The January Wish, set in my new town but with a fictional name. And exactly two years later (January 17th, 2013) I got an email with an offer of publication! Yes, I am excited to finally announce that I’ve signed my second publishing contract with Escape Publishing, the digital imprint of Harlequin Australia.

So now, two wishes have come true… my wish to have this story published, and my character Sylvia’s wish to… well, read the blurb to give you an idea 😉

1204463_sxc_loveWhen control-freak doctor, Sylvia Greene, makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, she doesn’t expect it to come true, but a week later her ordered life is thrown into chaos when the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen turns up in town. While dealing with deeply entrenched guilt, small town gossip, and a burgeoning attraction for her emotionally unavailable colleague, she discovers her daughter harbors a secret that could threaten to tear them apart once again.

The genre of this story sits on the border between contemporary romance and women’s fiction, although it will probably be put into the contemporary romance slot because although the story has themes of motherhood, career, and friendships, tying the whole story together is an emotional romance that I hope will have readers aching for the hero and heroine to be together.

The January Wish is the first book in my proposed ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ series, with each book being a stand-alone story but set in the same town with some familiar characters appearing in each book. Each book is also named after one of the calendar months, and I’ll be working on the second book, February or Forever, later this year which I’m really excited about as I’ve been plotting it for months! I’m also creating a ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ website to help bring the town to life for readers. Tarrin’s Bay is called ‘The Town of New Beginnings’ – it’s where people go for a holiday to find they never want to leave. There are beautiful beaches set against a backdrop of lush green rural land, a close-knit community, friendly people, quaint shops – including an old fashioned bookshop, and an historic wishing fountain in the town’s popular meeting spot – Miracle Park.

What makes this book unique is that it has three points of view – the hero, the heroine, and an eighteen year old girl, with each of their lives and stories being linked to each other’s. There’ll be laughter, there’ll be tears, and there’ll be secrets revealed.

Last year, The January Wish was one of the six finalists in the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star contest, and I was completely gobsmacked when I found out! Although I didn’t win, it gave me confidence that readers might enjoy this story, and I can’t wait to share it with you on 1st December 2013. It was going to be released in January to tie in with the title, but by releasing in December instead it allows time to build up some excitement around the upcoming new year, which is what starts off the story – at the Tarrin’s Bay annual Wishing Festival in January.

Here’s a little snippet:

The coin in Sylvia’s pocket cooled her warm fingers as she fiddled with it impatiently. At least this was all for charity. That would be her excuse if anyone asked why she – Dr. Sylvia Greene – sceptic and all round party-pooper, was making a wish. She had a great life; an interesting career, a best friend, good health, a nice house, and even a new boyfriend. What else could she possibly wish for? What was she doing here?

To see some pictures I’ve collected that give you a feel for the story, have a look at my Pinterest page for The January Wish here.

To keep updated on this book and the Tarrin’s Bay series, you can subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address at the top right corner of this page (if you’re on a smartphone, click ‘view full site’ at the bottom, then go to the subscribe form). I look forward to bringing you interesting articles and posts about this upcoming book and series in the lead up to it’s release!

Have you ever made a wish that came true? 😉