Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Interview with Jenny Twist, winner of the Love at First Sight Writing Contest

In February, I hosted a little contest called the "Love at First Sight" Writing Contest, where the contestants shared their best scenes of sparks and chemistry from their larger or original works. Five finalists were chosen. You can see their entries HERE. Voting commenced and wrapped up within two weeks.

Not surprisingly, the winner was one of my favorite authors, Mrs. Jenny Twist! She shared an excerpt from a short story called "Jess's Girl", from her anthology, Take One at Bedtime, which I reviewed HERE.

Now, I get to interrogate her ruthlessly once again, because she earned the right as part of her prize for winning. Bwahahahaha! She also got a $10 Amazon gift card, which isn't too shabby at all, is it? Without further ado...

Jenny, you have appeared on Unwritten in interview form no less than six times, the last being part of a collaborative interview with the authors of Warm Christmas Wishes. I've since seen you all over the place talking about your books in guest posts and interviews, not to mention commenting so generously on so many other authors' posts. What do you think about the marketing/promoting process? What are the ins and outs of it, from your perspective?



Are you sure you're not getting bored with me? I hadn't realised it had been six times!
I would say I hate the marketing process, except that is through blogging and tweeting and joining author groups that I have made so many new friends.
Like a lot of new authors, I assumed my publisher would do all that and was a bit disheartened to find that now I was released from the grind of sending my books to agents and publishers I would have to spend at least as much time marketing them. The main problem, for all of us, I'm sure, is the sheer amount of time we spend on this. But now I've got the hang of it I'm beginning to enjoy it. It's not just that you meet lots of interesting people, you see interesting discussions, you find some really great books being given away free and you get the chance to air your opinions at length (and some kind people even read them and comment – more friends!).

Let's talk about your writing. Do you have any set routines or schedules?



I am the most disorganised person in the world. I set myself routines, sometimes I even stick to them for a while, but usually all my priorities change as soon as I open my emails. I actually spend a fair bit of time just deciding what the next most important thing is. When I do eventually get down to writing, I'm pretty disciplined. I can happily write all day, just stopping for coffee now and then. But I don't have set days or times when I do it. I just get the other stuff out of the way and then write for whatever time I have left – if any.

Since "love at first sight" is what brings us here, what can you tell us about your own experience with Mr. Twist? Was it love at first sight or something else entirely?



I met him at the folk club. He played guitar and sang and seemed a bit shy. I'm not sure whether I loved him immediately, but I certainly fancied him. The moment I definitely fell in love with him was when I arrived early for a dinner party and found him in the kitchen, wearing a butcher's apron, with a saucepan in one hand and a wok in the other. The calm confidence of his body language told me that this was a man who really knew how to cook. I proposed to him at the party. So did two other women! And he accepted all three! But I argued that since he accepted me first, I had first dibs.

Mysti: That's got to be the most interesting proposal story I've heard yet!

I'm crazy about your romantic tales, and I can pinpoint my own love of all things romantic back to the classic, Jane Eyre. Can you recall what books and or films inspired you to write romance?



I read all the classics – Jane Austin, the Bronte sisters, etc. and, to tell you the truth (I know this is a kind of blasphemy), I was not very impressed. The only one I really liked was Wuthering Heights, and that was probably because it was spooky rather than because it was romantic. No, I think the first romance that really grabbed me was Katherine by Anya Seton. I lived in that book. I must have read it dozens of times. It's set in the 14th century, the eponymous Katherine being first the mistress and eventually the wife of John o' Gaunt, from whom all three English royal lines are descended. It must have been a real love match. Princes didn't marry their mistresses in those days. 

Mysti: Wuthering Heights was good. Victoria Holt was another great influence for me.

Since nosy inquiring minds want to know, can you tell us what are you working on right now?


I have just finished a novel called All in the Mind, about an old woman who begins to get younger. It is quite definitely a romance, but not the usual 'boy meets girl' type. Like Domingo's Angel, virtually all the action takes place after they have met and married. I am also working on an anthology with Tara Fox Hall, in my opinion one of the best up and coming horror writers. Like Take One At Bedtime, it's a mixture of genres. We've practically finished it now, my stories are about a vampire, a haunted dolls' house, a nightmare mother and baby home and a woman who suddenly finds herself thrown into another dimension (this last has been published before, in Curious Hearts). If there's room, I might also write a sequel to Mantequero, which is Tara's favourite story. Tara is so prolific that we haven't yet decided which of her many stories to use, but I'm really hoping for Shades of Grey, a story about a mysterious seer.


Mysti: Wow! I look forward to those, for sure!

Random question time!!! What was the last (or most memorable) prank you pulled on someone?



I don't do pranks on purpose, but I regularly get other people into embarrassing situations through my own stupidity. One of the most potentially embarrassing was when I was working as an escapologist's assistant and I had just tied Tommy up and locked him in a dustbin (don't ask), when I realised I had left the curtained hoop (which concealed him from the audience for the crucial minutes when he was escaping) in the dressing room. The dressing room was right at the other end of the hall and, to the audience's amazement, I sprinted down the hall, dashed into the dressing room, grabbed the hoop and sprinted back. To my relief, Tommy had still not begun to emerge from the dustbin and I managed to get the hoop over the top in time. From the depths of the dustbin a hollow voice said, “Where the f**k have you been?”
To this day, I have no idea how he knew!

Mysti: You have had such a variety of jobs over the years, it's no wonder you can write anything!

Now, pretty please, share with us an excerpt from anything at all! 



Would you like one from the new novel? 
Mysti: Yes please!! 
This is the first time it has appeared in public, so be gentle with it:

 Tilly was dreaming.
 It was VE Day and they were dancing in the streets. All the lights were lit. She kept looking at them, not quite believing it.
She was dancing with Johnny, her head against his chest, exhilarated by his closeness and the knowledge that the war was over.
  It was so real, the dream. She could feel the rough fabric of his greatcoat against her cheek, smell its particular aroma of damp wool and tobacco.     
She felt the dream slipping away and tried to hold on to it, but it escaped her grasp and shifted seamlessly into memory.
They had danced late into the night. Long after the gates to the nurses' home were locked.
 Eventually, exhausted and intoxicated with the euphoria of the crowd, they had walked back to the nurses' home and he had given her a leg up to climb the wall.
  “OK,” he said, with a grin, and dropped down on one knee. Did he know? Did he know then what her answer would be?
  “Tilly”... he began in a loud, theatrical voice.   
  “No, get up,” she whispered urgently. “Someone might hear.” 
 “Who cares? What are they going to do – sack you?”    
 She smiled back at him in the lamplight. “You fool!”   
 And she pulled her leg out of his grasp and dropped gracefully down to the grass on the other side. 
 “Well?” His head appeared over the top of the wall. “Will you?”     
 “Yes,” she whispered back to him. Then she picked up the skirts of her uniform and ran across the lawn towards the darkened building.      
As she ran, she heard someone whistling the Wedding March, the sound fading as he reached the end of the lane and turned into the street.
And as she sat at the top of the wall, one leg on each side, getting ready too swing over to the other side, he had grasped  her by the ankle and said, “Will you marry me, Tilly? As soon as I'm demobbed.”   
She looked down at his face, illuminated by the one street lamp in the lane, one lock of hair hanging over his forehead, his expression earnest and pleading.     
She said the first thing that came into her head. “You're supposed to get down on one knee.”     
Mysti: LOVE IT!! Thank you very much, Jenny, both for participating in the contest and for being such a good sport and contributor to my little blog. See ya next time!


Thank you, Mysti, for putting up with me once again. And thanks for the Amazon gift card. What a great present! I'm so glad to have you as a friend. ~ Jenny 

31 comments:

  1. Wonderful Blog, Mrs. T :) Just when I think I know so much about you I find out something new :) Thanks for the mention and lovely praise :) :) :)

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    1. Thanks so much,Tara. I can always rely on you. loads of love
      Jenny
      xx

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  2. Fabulous! I love your stories, fiction and non.

    Cheers,
    T

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    1. Thanks, Tori. You're so nice to know
      Love
      Jennu
      xx

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  3. Are your stories on Kindle yet ?

    Memories still of the trip and the muddy road !

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    1. So glad to see that even in an admitted state of disorganization, you manage to get things done, and done beautiful, Jenny. I really enjoyed this. :-)

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    2. Hello, Anonymous. I am so intrigued. It sounds like you've stayed at my place (and in the winter). Yes, they're available on Kindle - all except Winter Wonders, which is only available as a pdf (different publisher). This is the UK author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Twist/e/B005CI80ZC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
      And this is the American one: http://www.amazon.com/Jenny-Twist/e/B005CI80ZC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
      Or you can email me on casahoya@gmail.com
      Love
      Jenny
      xx

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    3. Hi Bree. I seem to be having trouble with attaching the reply to the right comment. Duh!
      I'm not only disorganised but technically incompetent!
      But thank you so much for your kind words. I'll try harder..
      Love
      Jenny
      xxx

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  4. Love the excerpt, Jenny!
    And now we have another thing in common - Anya Seton's Katherine, still one of my favourite books about (h'mm) fifty years after I fist read it. I fell totally in love with John of Gaunt!

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    1. Me too. Wasn't he wonderful! And a real human being with failings. I just realised we must be about the same age. I feel like my real life is just beginning now.
      Glad you like the excerpt. That bit's finished. I'm just working on the final draft now, before sending it off to Melange.
      Lots of love
      Jenny
      xx

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  5. Loved the excerpt. I have not read any of your stories yet but I see I need to change that.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Debby, so nice to meet you. And so glad you like the excerpt. I think you'd probably like Domingo's Angel. That's also a historical romance
      Love
      Jenny
      xx

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  6. Great Interview, Jenny. It was nice getting to know you better.

    That was a quite an excerpt - very visual using a good economy of words capturing the intensity of the dream. Thanks for sharing. And congrats for the being the big Love at First Sight Writing Contest Winner.

    Smiles
    Steph

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Steph. So glad you liked it. I was so pleased to win the contest (and surprised) and very pleased to do another interview with Mysti. She asks questions that allow you to say something different, rather than the usual stuff.
      Love
      Jennyx
      xx

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  7. graet interview. Love the prank question. T.D. Jones

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    1. I worked with Tommy James for 6 months and I think I got more material from that short time than from most of the rest of my life! Congrats on your release, TD! Nearly finished reading it. It's great. Hope you sell a million!
      Love
      Jenny
      xx

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  8. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's disorganized when it comes to writing, although I try to deny it whenever possible. I mean well, but, as you aptly put it, priorities shift and so does my schedule.
    The more I read about you, Jenny, the more I like you. I especially liked your wedding proposal and Tilly's ;-)
    Great job and keep it up. More books by you, please.

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    1. Actually, Su. I feel the same way. I'm so glad you liked the excerpt. I'm writing as fast as I can, but there's all these emails, and blog posts and reviews to do. Aaarrrrggghhh!!!
      xxx

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  9. Hi Jenny,

    Love the excerpt! I can't wait until "All in the Mind" comes out. That sounds like an extraordinary story. :) I think being disorganized comes with being a writer. After all, all those characters are like children. In a way, it's like running a day care full time. :) What a pleasure to read your work! Congrats on the contest win!

    Laurel W.

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    1. Hi, Laurel
      What a great comparison! That's exactly what it's like. And thank you so much for your lovely comment. I'm just doing (my own) final edits now. It's not due out till October, though, sadly. Now I've finished it I can't wait to see it in print!
      Love
      Jenny
      xx

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  10. Who cares if you're disorganised? Where's the fun in sticking to a routine? I loved your interview, every time I read one of your interviews I learn something new about you. It seems you have this hidden past that I knew nothing about, but it's all being slowly revealed to me! I also loved both proposals and loved the whole excerpt. I just love all your stories and I love you!!!

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    1. Love you, too, Sweetheart. You bring sunshine into my life.
      Jenny
      xxxx

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  11. Hi! All in the Mind sounds fantastic! What a great excerpt. Your interviews are always lots of fun. :)

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  12. Thank you, Nora. You are so supportive. You have made my day!
    Lots of love
    Jenny
    xx

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  13. what a great site you have :) beautiful :) Leslie Stockton

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    1. Thank you, Leslie! Come back anytime :)

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  14. Fabulous stories! I can't wait to read them all!
    Extremely proud of you and I am one of your biggest fans. Love you lots xx

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    1. Hello, Darling. I am so excited that you're my fan! And so pleased that you're enjoying the stories.
      Love you lots, too
      xxx

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  15. Excellent interview, Jenny - and move over Emma, to make some room for me - we'll have to share that title, I think!
    Best of luck with 'All In The Mind' - I've had a sneak preview and I LOVED it (of course).
    Love,
    Lynette

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    1. Dear Lynette. Maybe I should confess that Emma is my beloved niece. I sent her all the books for her birthday and she is bravely wading through them.
      You, however, are a much cherished friend and greatly admired fellow author. It really means a lot to me that you like my stories, since I am so impressed with yours.
      Thank you for being so unfailingly supportive.
      You're the best of friends
      Love
      Jenny
      xx

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  16. Just reading this now!!! Very good and I admire your fortitude and strength! I'm pretty organized but I feel like I'm going into six different directions also. I just wanted you to know that I was impressed and you have a fan!

    Thanks from the newbie,
    Emily Guido

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