This is the first of a series of author interviews. I decided to hold them interactively rather than sending authors a list of questions. That way, my questions can relate more to previous answers. I hope this will produce some interesting interviews.
My “guineapig” is Sarah Louise Smith whose new novel, Independent Jenny, was published by Crooked Cat Publishing last month.
Hello Miriam and thank you so much for having me!
Independent Jenny is about a woman who has just found out her husband cheated on her. While she’s trying to process this and figure out whether to forgive him, she finds out her brother-in-law has always had a thing for her. Confused and unsure which brother sh wants, she goes on holiday with her friend Hayley to clear her head… but Hayley has an ulterior motive which leaves Jenny to spend time with her ex-boyfriend; who is now married. It’s about love, lust, relationships, forgiveness and figuring out what you want.
This is the third novel you’ve had published by Crooked Cat. What do you think stands out in your novels? Why did Crooked Cat choose Amy and Zach – your first novel – over the many others it must have rejected?
Wow, that’s an interesting question and only Crooked Cat could tell you the real answer. I think I have quite a clear voice in my novels, they’re all written in the first person and the characters really talk to the reader. I also try to keep them fast-paced, and although there are sad moments, they have a bit of humour and light-heartedness which perhaps made the Cat smile on occasion 😉
I also think humour is important – even in novels that are basically serious or sad.
How important is setting in your novels? Do you have real or fictional settings? (Sorry I haven’t had a chance to read them yet.)
The setting is very important, and I tend to use real places. In my first novel, Amy & Zach, it’s all about a girl who travels from the UK to live in Boston, Massachusetts… in Izzy’s Cold Feet, Izzy goes on a bit of a trip … and as for Independent Jenny, the novel is set in two of my favourite places in the UK: Bath (Jenny’s hometown) which has so much character, I adore it … and the Isle of Skye in Scotland – I went there on holiday last year and found much of my inspiration for the novel while I was there…
I spent a holiday on the Isle of Skye several years ago. It is a beautiful place. I’ve never been to Bath, so I look forward to reading about it.
Do you think it’s possible to set a novel in a place you’ve never been to?
I think that very much depends on how much of that place features in the novel. In all of my books, the places are described quite a lot so I think I would find it tricky to set a novel somewhere I had never been without a lot of Internet research; but that isn’t quite the same as being in that place and soaking up the atmosphere…
How do you create your characters? Are they based on people you know?
My characters are completely fictional although the female lead in each one has some similar traits to myself. For example Jenny has a golden retriever, loves walking and taking photos – as do I! Each time I start a new novel I think about the central characters and what their personality traits might be, so I can (hopefully) give them some depth and make them feel more real.
I like walking, too. Perhaps we could go for a walk together – if the golden retriever doesn’t get too close!
My golden retriever likes to run out ahead if possible 🙂
Have you ever created a character with mental health issues?
No, chick lit is quite light and easy-going so it isn’t something I’ve really considered. My characters usually have emotional issues, but nothing as serious as that. I’ve thought about writing about a character with severe depression, but it doesn’t lend itself so easy to the fun-ness of my genre.
Do you think it’s important for authors to stick to one genre? Have you ever thought of writing in a different genre?
I think it’s different for everyone. But I have tried to build up a readership and brand for myself. If your reader expects a certain style or genre and you change, it may mean that your usual readers are disappointed and new readers are harder to find… I enjoy romantic comedy a lot anyhow so I have no plans to try anything else.
To finish off, what are your plans for the future?
I am currently writing my fourth novel, and hope to finish that very soon. It’s about a girl who has a fling and lies to the man she meets as she thinks she’ll never see him again. But things get serious and then it’s too late to tell him the truth…
Thank you so much for interviewing me, it’s been a lot of fun 🙂
Thank you for agreeing to be my first interviewee. I wish you lots of success.
About Independent Jenny:
“I slept with someone else.”
Those five words changed everything.
After her husband Ross drops a bombshell, Jenny’s emotions go hay-wire. Things are made even more complex when his brother Aiden makes a confession of his own…
A holiday escape with her friend Hayley seems the perfect way to figure out what – and who – she wants. But Hayley has a hidden motive that results in Jenny spending time with her ex-boyfriend Will, who is now married.
Should Jenny forgive Ross? Can she ignore her feelings for romantic Aiden? And why can’t she get Will out of her head?
One thing is for sure: Jenny doesn’t want to be alone. Surely any man is better than no man, right?
About Sarah Louise Smith:
Sarah Louise Smith lives in Milton Keynes, UK, with her husband, a cute cat and a loopy golden retriever. She has an extremely lovely step-daughter and spends most of her free time writing, reading, cooking, and taking long walks.
She’s the author of three chick-lit novels: Amy & Zach, Izzy’s Cold Feet, and Independent Jenny, all published by Crooked Cat.
Sarah’s website/blog: www.sarahlouisesmith.com
You can purchase paperbacks or e-versions from all the usual online book sellers.
Follow Sarah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahSmith16
Find Sarah on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahlouisesmithauthor