I’m delighted to welcome Jo Lovett to my blog.
|Jo Lovett - Autor|
Hello Jo – It was lovely to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists’ Association's Facebook group, and I am looking forward to reading about your contemporary RomCom writing experiences. But before we discover more about your latest release, The House Swap, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers and insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: We all love the creativity of writing – otherwise we wouldn’t spend hours at a keyboard pounding away in the hope someone will read and enjoy our novels. But what do you like most about our craft? The editing and proofreading, the author/reader relationship, promotional book signings, or is there something else that has you hooked to the world of books?
Jo: Hi Arabella. Thank you so much for having me here on your blog! That’s a good question. I love writing, but there are definitely some parts of creating a story that I love more than others. To start off with, there’s the excitement of the initial idea and honing an elevator pitch. Then (and I know that this is weird), I do actually quite like doing the synopsis (always before I begin the book itself). I love writing the first draft of the opening and closing parts of the story. I enjoy writing the first draft of the middle chapters, but I definitely enjoy editing them more… And once I’ve edited a manuscript myself a few times, I really enjoy structural and line edits with my editor, because she’s amazing to work with and I always feel as though the story’s improving with each round of edits. I’m not such a fan of proofreading if I’m honest… And then of course when the story is finished and published, it’s so lovely when a reader gets in touch to say that they’ve enjoyed it!
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, The House Swap?
Jo: The House Swap includes two settings that I love, and several tropes that I love. Pretty much everything about Cassie and James is opposite. Cassie lives in an island house off the coast of Maine, with alpacas and chickens and colour and very poor Wi-Fi. James lives in a swanky Central London flat overlooking Holland Park with no animals, greige décor and every mod-con. Cassie’s very friendly. James isn’t. Cassie knows her neighbours. James doesn’t know his. Cassie would really like a family one day; James wouldn’t. They get a lot more involved in each other’s lives than James, at least, ever imagined they would, and they discover quickly that they thoroughly dislike each other. I love the enemies-to-lovers and opposites-attract tropes, and I felt very lucky to be able to explore both Maine island life and Central London life with Cassie and James!
Arabella: You are out for a walk and see a twenty-pound note (or a twenty-dollar bill, etc.) lying on the road. What do you do with the unclaimed funds?
Jo: Give it to charity.
Arabella: Some authors cannot work without a business planner, others cannot write without an editing app… Are there any “essentials” you need to help your writing move forward?
Jo: Once I’m in the flow of it, I write fast, but I find it hard to get going if I feel as though I’m going to be interrupted or if I’m sitting in the middle of a mess. I have to have a tidy desk and I also have to have several different coloured memo pads and several sparkly pens to hand. And in an ideal world I like silence, but that’s been quite difficult to achieve during lockdown and home schooling, so I’ve been honing the ability to really zone out the noise that’s going on around me – I think it might be the most useful lockdown skill I’ve gained (other than cutting my children’s hair and convincing them that I’ve done an okay job)…
Arabella: An Indian Curry, Italian Paste Bake, Fish and Chips, or ______?
Jo: That’s a tricky one… I think if pushed I’d go curry. Or maybe pasta. Or maybe the fish and chips… No. Curry. Always followed by lemon tart or cheesecake. Or a sticky toffee pudding.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Arabella: If the person of your dreams, (husband/wife/partner/or superstar), were to take you out for the day, social distancing restrictions permitting, where would they take you and what would you do?
Jo: I discovered last summer that you could go two-person canoeing (kayaking? Not sure what the difference is…) on the Thames. I went twice with my children, and both times I was in a canoe/ kayak with a youngish child, and the currents were surprisingly strong, and it turned out that I wasn’t that skilled with a paddle so we zig-zagged and crashed a lot (and got told off a lot by more competent canoeists – not sure whether they were unusually stroppy people or we were unusually bad river companions – probably the latter). I’d like to go with another adult and actually go in a straight line and get beyond the part of the river where the currents kept defeating us… And then I’d like to go for a long walk (can barely remember pre-lockdown life without walking and walking and walking…) and eat lemon drizzle cake at Petersham Nurseries. And obviously I’d like it to be the perfect weather – sunny and warm but not too hot.
Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you would like to share with “want-to-be” authors starting out on their writing journey?
Jo: I might be more naïve than everyone else, but I didn’t realise initially how much re-writing there is in producing a publishable book, and that it’s extremely likely that you’ll need to do structural edits of your own (in my case, by reading the whole thing through, fast, as though you’re a third party reader, and seeing how the pacing and structure feel) before you start to proofread before submitting to agents and editors. I definitely started by doing minimal actual edits, and proof-reading far too soon, and therefore went down the polishing-a-turd route. Once you have your polished non-turd (!), it’s incredibly useful to get as much feedback as possible from industry professionals via competitions, open submissions, any opportunity you can find. And, as everyone says, don’t give up. And read both widely and in your genre. And enjoy it!
Thank you for being a super guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Jo. Sparkling pens and coloured note pads are a must!
PS. I had to Google: - In a kayak, the paddler is seated and uses a double-bladed paddle pulling the blade through the water on alternate sides to move forward. In a canoe, the paddler kneels and uses a single-bladed paddle to propel the boat forward.
Wishing you lots of RomCom happy-ever-after writing…
About Jo Lovett
Jo Lovett's first novel, 'The First Time We Met', was published by Bookouture in November 2020, and her second is out on 19th April 2021. Her third book will be published in October 2021.
Jo lives in London with her family. She worked in Corporate Tax before taking a longer-than-expected career break to have more-than-expected children. She started writing romantic comedy when she realised that she was regularly begging her oldest son to let her do his English homework but she wasn't actually that interested in haunted houses or Macbeth.
Jo was runner-up in the Good Housekeeping/ Orion First Novel Competition 2018 and shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Award 2019.
When she can escape her laundry mountain, she enjoys reading, tennis and wine.
Twitter handle: @JoLovettWrites
Book Blurb The House Swap
Island house off coast of Maine, with private beach, sea views and the occasional farmyard animal, seeks super swanky Central London penthouse overlooking Holland Park, complete with concierge service and spurned ex-lovers…
When thirty-somethings Cassie and James find each other on a home swap website, it feels meant to be. City hotshot James needs a bolthole after a relationship goes sour and Cassie needs to leave the comfort of her little island to research her new book.
Soon, James is living in Cassie’s cute but ramshackle beachside cottage, and Cassie’s living in James’s luxurious London apartment. It’s the perfect solution.
Except James didn’t imagine he’d be sharing his home with eleven chickens and three alpacas, not to mention the unusually friendly neighbours, who seem to find any excuse to drop by. And Cassie is less than impressed when James’s ex-girlfriend turns up at his door, demanding to know where he’s gone.
The more Cassie and James talk, the more the tension between them mounts. But as the insults fly so do the sparks, and when the time finally comes to swap back, Cassie and James find they aren’t quite ready to give each other up.
But there’s more than just distance between them – and when Cassie makes a surprising discovery, the pair are forced to confront their feelings and decide what kind of life they really want.
The House Swap is a Contemporary RomCom
Release date: 19th April 2021
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