Saturday, 13 February 2016

Q&A with Jill Mansell, author of You and Me, Always





For my stop on the blog tour for You and Me, Always, I'm excited firstly to be sharing my interview with Jill Mansell. My review of the book will follow a little later on today - so do look out for it!


Hi, Jill. Can you tell us a bit about your new novel, You and Me, Always?

It's a terrifying thriller about a mass murderer who lies in wait and slices up his victims with a... Oh OK, it's a romantic comedy set in the sunny Cotswolds, and it has some gorgeous men in it!


Did you have a favourite part to write?

The thing is, I can never predict which will be my favourite parts to write. Quite a lot of the time I work slowly, but every now and again the characters really come to life and take over, flirting with each other and being funny and irresistible. Their dialogue is sparky and witty and is a joy to write. Those are my favourite bits by far. (And my least favourite parts to write are descriptions of scenery...eurgghh, how I hate doing those!)


It’s reading a special letter from her mother that inspires and changes Lily’s life. Does written communication still play a part in your life?

Far more for me than for most people, actually, because I have written every one of my books by hand with a fountain pen. I think I'm in love with handwriting. For me, the stories I write flow from my brain down to my fingers and out through my pen - that's just the way it seems to happen. If I try to write fiction on a computer, it really doesn't work at all. (Jackie Collins hand-wrote all her novels too, so I feel I'm in great company.)


The characters in You and Me, Always, as in your other books, are all intricately linked in some way. How much planning do you do for your characters before writing the first draft?

I don't plan the characters themselves, but I do have to work out at least some of those intricate links in advance. It can get complicated sometimes, and feels like trying to squash an escaping octopus into a bottle - I do love interesting relationships though.


How attached to your characters do you get? As a reader, we connect with them and are often sad to see their book end, but do you feel the same?

Not really! It sounds a bit cruel, but by the time I get to the end of a book which has taken me a whole year to write, I'm always quite happy to give those characters their happy endings and move on to the next lot. It's a bit like moving into a new house and looking forward to meeting the neighbours, making a whole new group of friends!


You and Me, Always, is your 27th novel. Do you still feel all the nerves, excitement and anticipation like you did with your earlier books?

I think the nerves get worse because when I first started out, there were no expectations. Now I know there are lots of readers out there and I'm terrified of disappointing them - especially when they can get on the internet, tell the world how rubbish my latest book is and publicly announce that I've lost my touch. (Hopefully this won't happen, though - and I'm glad to say that so far the reviews of my new one have been great!)

Oh, and the excitement and anticipation is definitely still there - that never fades.


Is there anything you can tell us about what’s coming next for you?

Well I'm currently finishing the next book, which is set in St Carys where I set The Unpredictable Consequences of Love. It's in no way a sequel and features a largely different cast of characters who live on the other side of the town, but there'll be a few cameo appearances by some of the last lot...


You and Me, Always is out now.




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