Welcome to another Friday Reads blog. My guest author today is the multi-talented Jenny Kane who had dropped by to talk to us about her latest book, Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, and to answer a few questions about her writing life. So grab yourselves a cuppa, get comfy and let’s get talking to Jenny. 😊
It has always been Maddie Willand‘s dream to take over her father’s plant nursery. But after his sudden death, she is devastated to discover that she might lose The Potting Shed forever.
Maddie’s bossy older sister, Sabi, is joint owner of the nursery, and she’s convinced that the best thing for both of them would be to sell up. Determined to keep the business going, Maddie can’t afford any distractions, but staying focused might be harder than she thinks when – after a major garden centre chain puts in an offer – her search for legal advice throws her into the path of attractive lawyer Ed…
As frost begins to fall over The Potting Shed, will Maddie find the strength to save her father’s legacy and open herself up to new beginnings?
‘A perfect feel-good story about family dynamics and sisterly love, with characters you truly care about. Loved it. Highly recommended.’ – Jennifer Bohnet
‘I really loved this book. It was warm, funny and smart and made me want to get out into the garden. If you love reading and gardening then this is a perfect combination. A gorgeous story with a beautiful setting.’ – Kate Forster
Now let’s get chatting to Jenny. Welcome, Jenny. Do you have a special place for writing?
I have two writing spots. In the mornings I work in my local café, where I’m lucky enough to have my own corner desk 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. It is perhaps fitting that I have spent so much time writing my latest novel, Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, amongst piles of flowerpots and garden tools, as it is set in a small, plant growing, nursery.
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.
My previous series of novels – the Mill Grange books (Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange and 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!
My latest series – The Potting Shed – was inspired by my love of garden centres and – in particular- a local garden centre; The Old Well in Willand, Devon. My family have been regular customers at the Old Well for the past 16 years, often partaking of their scones, toast, coffee and hot chocolate.
I was motivated by the family atmosphere the place has always managed to maintain, even though year on year, the business has expanded from a small nursery/garden centre to the massive concern it is today. I wanted to have that family ethos shining through at The Potting Shed.
I gave my lead character, Maddie, the surname ‘Willand’, in honour of The Old Well’s location.
What are you writing at the moment?
This week sees the launch of Frost Falls at the Potting Shed, 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 book three in The Potting Shed series – and keeping an eye on my inbox, as I wait for my publisher’s edits for book 2 of the series (Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed), which comes out next March.
What are your hobbies?
My main relaxation away from my writing desk is to walk. I adore exploring the English countryside. I am particularly fond of our amazing moorland and am lucky enough to live only half an hour from Exmoor.
When I don’t have my walking boots on, I enjoy exploring castles and all things historical, or sitting in a coffee shop, with a book, a cream tea and a large black coffee.
What advice would you give to other writers?
If you want to write, then write. Simply do it – you can make it good later.
So many of my students get blocked because they are chasing perfection in the first draft.
No one ever writes perfect fiction the first-time round – just write – learn your story – then rewrite it into something worth reading afterwards.
Very good advice, Jenny. Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to us today. Wishing you many sales!
Jenny Kane wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, (Aria, 2022), 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. 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)
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/