Several readers over on the Facebook page might remember me dropping hints about an interview, yes? Okay, this author is extremely well known and has written many books about food, and a puffin. Any ideas?
The Writing Garnet is absolutely thrilled to welcome Jenny Colgan! You might be familiar with some of her books, for example, Little Beach Street Bakery. (Amazon) and more recently The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After. (Amazon). I have admired her work for a while so I was extremely honoured to be able to have a chat with her about her work. Enjoy!
First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time for this interview!
Garnet: Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?
Jenny: I worked in the NHS for a few years, not very successfully! I always wanted to be doing something else.
Garnet: Have you always wanted to become a published writer?
Jenny: Well yes, but I didn’t really think it would ever actually happen. I just kept plugging away at it, but I was quite surprised when it actually came true.
Garnet: Several of your books are about working in food retailers, how were you able to create such realistic situations? Have you worked in a bakery or chocolate shop before?
Jenny: I’ve worked in bars and restaurants of course, but never things like bakeries. My father ran a small business so I know how hard people have to work to do it. I don’t know how realistic it is really, I rarely show people struggling with VAT!
Garnet: How hard was it to find the inspiration for each of your books?
Jenny: Not really difficult, I think of stories I’d like to tell and settings I personally like. We moved as a family to Scotland last year so I know I wanted to write about that experience.
Garnet: If you could pick one character from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Jenny: Well, that depends what for! I’m very fond of Rosie & Stephen in the Rosie Hopkins series, I like them a lot.
Garnet: Have you ever disliked any of the characters in your stories?
Jenny: Of course, I always have baddies. Most recently Mrs Manse in the Bakery books was a fairly implacable enemy.
Garnet: I see that you have written children’s books too, did you find those easier to write than the ones you write for adults?
Jenny: No, they’re far harder, because you have to practice them so often and they have to stand up to being able to be read aloud over and over again. Children’s books are far harder to get right I feel.
Garnet: You are a very well known author, do you find that gives you added pressure when writing books, because of how well your other books have done?
Jenny: I don’t feel well-known at all! I think it’s perspective though. It doesn’t really add pressure; you just have to write the book you want to read and hope other people feel the same way.
Garnet: Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?
Jenny: Oh lord, loads of course. I suppose Harry Potter, because not only did they sell millions, they’re also brilliantly good.
Garnet: One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?
Jenny: Yes: do your research! There are so many useful sites out there that tell you what agents do, where to find them, how to market your work, etc. it’s much easier now than when I was starting out. And check for typos. Then check again. You’d be amazed how many slip through the net… and good luck!
Thank you again to Jenny Colgan for stopping by for the chat, much appreciated! To keep up to date with her latest information, follow her on twitter: @jennycolgan