I'm delighted to welcome Jen Gilroy to my blog.
Hello Jen – I’m so pleased we managed to connect and arrange a date for your blog spot. I was keen to learn about some of your writing secrets and unearth a few of the inspirational experiences you write of that makes your readers ask for a sequel. But before we discover more about your latest release, The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Jen: Thank you for inviting me to chat with you and your readers, Arabella. I’m happy to be here, virtually.
Arabella: Are there any organisations, writing, or reader groups, you belong to? And, how do they support or help you in creating such wonderful, inspirational novels?
Jen: I belong to the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA), the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) and Romance Writers of America (RWA).
I gain different things from each organisation but especially value the supportive friendship and encouragement I’ve found through the RNA. I joined as an NWS member and don’t think I’d be published without it.
|Coat of Arms for The United Kingdom|
Coat of Arms for Canada
Although I now live in Canada, my RNA membership connects me to the writing community with the most special place in my heart. As such, I try to return to England each July for the RNA conference which is always a joy.
Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Jen: I read anywhere and everywhere. The sofa, my bed, waiting for appointments, in queues and more. As a child, I squeezed in additional reading time before bed by reading whilst brushing my teeth!
I’m rarely without a book because I never know when I’ll have unexpected time to read. I just bought a new handbag specifically because it afforded space for both a physical book and my Kindle.
Arabella: In your latest release, The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls, who is your favourite character and why?
Jen: Choosing a favourite character is difficult because my fictional characters are very real to me, almost like dear friends or family.
However, in The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls (which released in October), I have a special place in my heart for the heroine, single mum Annie Quinn. Like many women, Annie has set aside her dreams and settled for a life she thinks is ‘good enough.’ I cheered her on as she found the courage to change herself and her life, whilst also finding an unexpected happily ever after.
I hope Annie reminds readers that despite difficulties and bad choices, don’t lose hope and it’s never too late to follow your heart.
Arabella: When writing a novel, how do you work? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Jen: I used to be a complete pantser, meaning that I started with a vague idea and wrote from there.
As my career has developed, having a short plot synopsis (summary of the story from beginning to end with main turning points) helps me write more quickly and efficiently, especially when writing to a publisher deadline. It also means I don’t get too far off track and then have to delete large chunks of content during revisions.
Although I now call myself a ‘plantser,’ true to my pantser roots I’d find it hard to write a book without an element of the characters surprising me!
Arabella: Which would you prefer to do: 1) spend a morning vigorously working out at the gym, 2) be pampered from head to toe at the spa and beauty salon, 3) indulge and pile on the pounds with a romantic dinner for two?
Jen: Despite the lure of a romantic dinner with my husband, it would have to be spa and beauty salon pampering for me. However, if that experience could be preparation for the dinner, even better!
Arabella: Which would you rather wear: beach shorts and top, a long evening skirt and blouse, pyjamas and slippers?
Jen: Although I love the chance to dress up for a glam evening, my natural inclination tends towards the cosy so pyjamas and slippers it is. Since I now work from home, I’m more likely to buy slippers than my once-loved heels.
( Jen - I found a pair of high heeled slippers for you. I hope the size fits.)
Arabella: We all have a long list of books we keep meaning to read but never have the time for --- which book is a must read for you this season?
Jen: My must-read book this month is Josie Silver’s One Day in December. I heard so many wonderful things about it last year soon after release and was determined to read it this holiday season. It’s a heartwarming and poignant read that gripped me from the first page and didn’t let go.
Although you only asked for one title, books are a bit like Quality Street chocolates at Christmas—one is never enough! Other festive reads I’ve enjoyed this month are The Christmas Holiday by Sophie Claire, and Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium: An uplifting collection of feel-good festive stories from Authors on the Edge, a group of romance writers scattered across the north of England.
Arabella: What about your future plans? Any books or series in the making?
Jen: The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls is the first book in a planned contemporary trilogy. Although I don’t yet have a release date, the second book in the series should be out sometime next year.
I’m also working on two other standalone romantic women’s fiction novels.
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Jen: Thanks again for inviting me to Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat. Happy Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate.
Thank you so much for joining me ( and our readers) on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Jen. You’ve been an amazing guest, and the jaw-dropper for me was that you fly to The United Kingdom most years for the Romantic Novelists’ Associations annual conference. Dedication…overdrive J but we love you for it.
Having "graduated" together from the "academy" of the RNA's - New Writers' Scheme in 2017, it was wonderful to at last touch base with you and catch-up on developments in your writing career.
Good luck with your latest release: The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls”, and also, “Season Greetings” to you too.
Best wishes and happy writing…
About Jen Gilroy
Jen Gilroy worked in higher education and international marketing and business development before trading the corporate 9-5 to write contemporary romance and women’s fiction with heart, home and hope.
After many years living and working in England, she returned to where her roots run deep and lives in a small town in Eastern Ontario, Canada with her husband, teen daughter and a floppy-eared hound. When she’s not writing, Jen enjoys reading, travel, singing and ballet. She’s also known for her love of ice cream, shoes and vintage finds.
Jen’s first book, The Cottage at Firefly Lake (and first book in her Firefly Lake series), was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award 2017.
She’s a member of RNA, RWA and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA).
Book Blurb: The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls
Sometimes happily ever after is only a wish away…
There’s a wishing tree in Irish Falls. The bits of paper tied to its gnarled branches hold the hopes and dreams of everyone in town . . . except Annie Quinn.
Single mom Annie has spent years rebuilding her life and trying not to have regrets. After giving up her dream of music stardom, she returned to her Adirondack hometown—and convinced herself she’s content with a simpler life.
The last thing she needs is a man to remind her of the heartbreak she left behind.
A divorced dad, Seth Taggart used to be a successful LA songwriter. But now his reputation is in tatters, he’s burnt-out, and estranged from his adult son. Inheriting a small-town radio station just might be the do-over he needs.
Although he always planned to go back to LA, when working with Annie turns into sharing music and more, Seth realizes second chances—and home—are where he least expects.
But can he convince Annie to trust the wish in her heart?
Buy Links: The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls on Amazon Kindle (or free with Kindle Unlimited).
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2t5Xdxx
Amazon Canada: https://amzn.to/2E1kDGC