I’m delighted to welcome author Jan Brigden to the blog to talk about her new romance release with Choc Lit, As Weekends Go.
First, the fab cover and the blurb . . .
What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?
When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.
She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …
But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?
It sounds great, Jan. Tell me, what was the initial idea that got you started writing As Weekends Go?
The idea originally stemmed from a creative writing course assignment I completed via The Writers Bureau. I had to write the opening scene of a stage play and could only pick two characters, giving my tutor minimal description, using only the specified number of dialogue lines (which as I remember, was rather stingy!) to showcase their personalities and the tension and conflict within their situation.
My scenario involved a jealous husband and his wife’s best friend. He’d secretly invited her round on the pretence of discussing his wife’s surprise 30th birthday party. Instead, he confronted her about some gossip he’d heard regarding a recent weekend trip the two women had taken together.
The feedback I received was some of the most positive I’d had. Which then prompted the question: What DID happen during that weekend away? And so the outline for my novel started to take shape.
Can you tell us a little about the setting at a fancy hotel near York?
Well, York is one of my favourite cities, so I knew from the outset that I wanted it to feature prominently as it gave me so much scope to include its factual delights as well as the fictional places I’d created. Hawksley Manor is loosely based on a country hotel not far from where I live in South East London. I’d always loved the grounds and used to think on the odd occasion that I was lucky enough to visit, how great it would be to stay there for a few days!
I love York, too! So, which of your hero’s and heroine’s characteristics did you have fun writing?
I think with Rebecca, it was seeing her come alive when she first saw the manor and then her room; the almost childlike delight, so far removed from the stress she’d been under back home.
With Alex, it was challenging the footballer ‘stereotype’ we so often see or hear about and hoping that his personality shone through.
You were the winner of Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star 2014/15. Congratulations! Tell us all about it!
Thank you, Helen. Well, on February 14th (of all the lovely days), I found out that As Weekends Go had been shortlisted. I’d made the final six! Cue stupid grins!! I then discovered I’d made the final two! Cue even more stupid grins! And THEN … on Saturday March 14th (I’ve decided I rather like the number 14!) came the official announcement that I’d won the competition. Cue seriously stupid grins and shrieks aplenty! I can’t describe how elated I felt that Choc Lit would be offering me a contract. It was a mad, mad day – lots of celebratory hugs and loving, supportive messages, both off and online.
That sounds like a fabulous whirlwind of success and celebration! Have you started your next book yet, and if so, can you tell us something about it?
Yes, my second book will be the sequel to As Weekends Go, which I’m working on and doing lots of very interesting research for. I can’t say too much more at this point except that we’ll see Rebecca (my main character from As Weekends Go) facing a whole fresh set of challenges in the new world she’s stepped into. Plenty of glitz, glamour and drama!
It sounds like you’re on a roll! Where do you do your writing?
In the dining room at home. I’d love to be able to work in coffee shops or libraries or outside in the garden in the summer but I’m too easily distracted, so the quieter the setting, the better.
I agree. I certainly can’t work outside and I need quiet when I’m writing, too. Thank you so much for visiting – wishing you much success with As Weekends Go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jan lives in South East London with her husband and motley crew of cuddly toys. Jan’s written for pleasure from a young age; short stories for classmates, odes for workmates, fun quizzes for family and friends, progressing to her first novel, the idea for which sprang from a script she composed as part of a creative writing course assignment via The Writers Bureau. Following much secret plotting, research and feigning of passion for the customer accounts she was supposed to be reconciling during the day job, the chance finally arose to put pen to paper.
After attending many author talks, literary events, and connecting with writers and readers on Facebook and Twitter, Jan learned of and joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.
An avid reader and all round book devotee, Jan is also one eighth of online group blog The Romaniacs who last year self-published an anthology of short stories and flash fiction entitled ‘Romaniac Shorts: Fashionably Brief’and who more recently proudly received the RNA Industry Media Star Award and even got a mention in The Bookseller.
and Facebook – Jan Brigden