Every now and again I run a Friday Reads blog to introduce you to an author I know and enjoy reading who has a new book out. Today I’m delighted to welcome the multi-talented Jenny Kane, who had dropped by to tell us all about her new romance Winter Fires. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Let’s find out a bit more about the story.
Blurb – Winter Fires at Mill Grange
Mill Grange is putting on a show this holiday season!
When young Dylan Harris’s former babysitter, Harriet, needs a last minute venue for her acting troupe’s outdoor production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, the staff at Mill Grange throw its doors open…but they may get more drama than they’d bargained for!
With a play to arrange, an unexpected arrival adds to the drama. It soon looks as if a miracle will be needed to make sure this Christmas is one that Thea, Tina, Sam, Shaun, Helen and Tom – along with retirees Bert and Mabel Hastings,– won’t forget…
Amazon – mybook.to/MillGrangeFour
Waterstones – Winter Fires at Mill Grange by Jenny Kane | Waterstones
Now let’s have a chat to Jenny.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I started almost 17 years ago – by accident. I had no childhood dreams about writing one day. When I was growing up I was convinced I’d be an archaeologist (I was a huge Time Team fan), or a medieval historian specialising in Robin Hood, (I was also a huge Robin of Sherwood fan).
In the end I was both an archaeologist and a historian – with a Robin Hood slant. However, life had other plans for me. When my husband’s job was relocated from England to Scotland (where they didn’t teach English history at the time), my career came to an abrupt stop.
Fast forward five years – while I was enjoying my first three hours peace in five years after my youngest child went to school for the first time I experienced an unexpected attack of inspiration. I was sat in a cafe in Scotland, eating a Mars Bar scone when a story idea came to me – I simply had to write it down, but had no paper. So I used a napkin. Miraculously, that short story was taken by a publisher- if it hadn’t been; I doubt I’d have ever written another one.
Do you have a special place for writing?
I have two writing spots. In the mornings I work in the corner of my local café, where I’m lucky enough to have my own corner and – bizarrely – a plaque on the wall!
Then, at about two o’clock in the afternoon I head home and work from a little desk in the corner of the garden shed amongst piles of flower pots and a broken tumble dryer.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I was very much a punster in the early days of my writing journey. I used to just write and enjoy seeing how things turn out.
Now, as I have to provide outlines of any books my publisher might want to take up, I plan out the whole thing, from beginning to end. (Although I often deviate from that plan!)
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
All the time! All of my Jenny Kane books are based on something that has happened to me – however obscure. They are also always set in a place I know well. I simply can’t write good location if I don’t know how a setting feels, smells etc.
The Another Cup of Coffee novel series was based on my own life and a decision I didn’t make – but might have made. Every character in that series is based on someone I know – I shall say no more!
My Cornish novels – A Cornish Escape and A Cornish Wedding, are based in the Penwith area of Cornwall. This is a region I know very well because my father is from Penzance, and my grandparents lived there all their lives. As a child, I would spend most summers there, exploring the villages and countryside.
My most recent series – the Mill Grange books (Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange and – launched this week – Winter Fires at Mill Grange), are based on the site of Northmoor House on Exmoor – a manor house I work from several times a year while I co-running Imagine writing retreats.
This series, more than any of the others, draws on my experiences as an archaeologist, my passion for the countryside, and my love of history and architectural restoration – and scones!
What are you writing at the moment?
This week sees the launch of Winter Fires at Mill Grange, so I’m spending a lot of time writing blogs and promotional material to help that along.
As well as that I’m in the finishing stages of polishing the draft of a novel which will launch a new series of romcoms – sadly I can’t tell you the name of it at the moment. I can say it will be set in Devon and that the lead character eats a lot of toast…
I’m also busy as Jennifer Ash. I’m writing two series of audio scripts at the moment – but again, I’m sworn to secrecy!
What inspired you to write this book?
Winter Fires at Mill Grange almost didn’t happen. When I was signed by Aria to write the Mill Grange series, it was supposed to comprise of three novels. However, because the first three sold so well, I was invited to finish off the seasons – but this meant I needed to think up a fourth story for the returning characters.
There were a few storylines that were easy to keep following – but the main premise for the last Mill Grange tale eluded me for a while. I didn’t want to repeat what I’d done before or just focus on Christmas.
The inspiration came from a poster advertising an open air theatre production at my local National Trust property. This got me to thinking of an open air performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream I saw when I was a teenager. It was performed by students all hoping to get points towards their Equity cards. With that memory came the decision to bring open air theatre to Mill Grange- and event around which the rest of the plot is modelled.
What time of the day do you write best?
I’m a morning writer. My best words come along between about 7.30am until about 11.45am. After that I edit, teach or work on my admin jobs.
What advice would you give to other writers?
If you want to write, then write. Simply do it – worry about if it’s any good later.
Jenny Kane wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Winter Fires at Mill Grange, (Aria, 2021), Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange, (Aria 2021), Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, (Aria, 2020), Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange (Aria, 2020), A Cornish Escape (2nd edition, HeadlineAccent, 2020), A Cornish Wedding (2nd edition, HeadlineAccent, 2020), Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016),and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).
Jenny has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of…..books: Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)
Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)
Under the pen name, Jennifer Ash, Jenny has also written The Folville Chronicles (The Outlaw’s Ransom, The Winter Outlaw, Edward’s Outlaw, Outlaw Justice – published by Littwitz Press, 2016-2020), The Power of Three (Spiteful Puppet, 2020) and The Meeting Place (Spiteful Puppet, 2019). She has also created five audio scripts for ITV’s popular 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood.
The Waterford Boy, Mathilda’s Legacy, The Baron’s Daughter, The Meeting Place and Fitzwarren’s Well were released by Spiteful Puppet in 2017/2018/2019/2020.
Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon where she has her own plague on the wall! When Another Cup of Coffee first came out, they offered to do a book launch for her and when she turned up, the plaque was on the wall over the desk where she writes every day. She was so touched.
She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine. Jenny teaches a wide range of creative writing workshops including her popular ‘Novel in a Year’ course. (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk)
Thank you for dropping by to tell us about your fantastic new book, Jenny. Lovely to talk to you. xx
All of Jennifer Ash’s and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk
Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/y2q5audb