Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Writing Buddy Wednesday: Jenn J McLeod

Welcome to another instalment of WRiting Buddy Wednesday. My guest today is contemporary Australian author, Jenn J McLeod. I've known Jenn for some time via Romance Writers of Australia - but got her to know her much better via volunteer work (blog team and the 2012 conference committee). Jenn is a straight shooter and a hard worker, a good person to have on any team. Oh, and she's tall - I think I came up to her knees when I met her in person for the first time at conference last year - yes, I know I'm a shortie (*grin*). 

Let's meet Jenn.... 

Welcome Jenn to the Taverna.

Congratulations on your debut release, House for All Seasons. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

House for all Seasons tells the story of four estranged school friends called under a bequest to return to the country town of their youth. Only spending a season each in the century-old Dandelion House do Sara, Poppy, Amber and Caitlin discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house forever. It’s a story of unravelling friendships, a tightening of family ties, and the unsettling after-effects of choices made. But mostly it’s about coming home to find your place in the world and discovering that country roots can run very deep and small towns can keep big secrets.

What was your road to publication like.

Long! Uncertain. Confusing. Uplifting. Devastating. Uplifting again. Scary. How many adjectives am I allowed?

What is it about rural romance you are attracted to?

Those two words – rural and romance – just roll of the tongue, don’t they? While House for all Seasons has a small town setting, I found the story (and characters) took a very different path, with the end result placing my novel in Simon & Schuster’s popular fiction line. There are romantic themes but it is more about personal growth, acceptance and family/friend relationships. Told in four parts, each character has her own distinctive voice and issues:
Sara is a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love but her going home does deal with facing unrequited love;
Poppy is a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval and pretending she doesn’t need anyone;
Amber is a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures and struggling to deal with a restless and spoilt daughter;
Caitlin is a doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life. Compliance is the chink in her armour.
Returning to their hometown ends up being just the ‘magick’ they need!

What or who inspired you to write?

Major surgery! I had my Thyroid removed when I was 36, which meant a seven-week recovery period at home. At the time I was reading the likes of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele and I figured I should try writing a novel myself!!! That was 1996 and the 100,000-word novel I write is still in a bottom drawer. One day maybe!

What do you love about being a writer?

It’s a necessary release for me. I would burst if I didn’t have a creative outlet. (I definitely have more ‘right-side’ brain!!!!) As a kid I was always playing make-believe and acting up a storm. I truly thought I would have seen my name up in lights, but alas, I will have to settle for having it in print! 

What are you working on now? And what’s in the near future for Jenn J McLeod?
I am biting at the bit to start edits on The Simmering Season. I learned so much from my editor with ‘House’ and cannot wait to develop even more complex characters when I take readers back to Calingarry Crossing.

In the meantime I’m blogging and Facebooking (and other social media stuff) all of which is required these days in order to cut through the glut of books out there now. House for all Seasons went down the traditional print publication path (although it is also available as an ebook. In fact, you can download the first chapter on Amazon right now.) Still, an author wants to get their books out to as many readers as possible and to achieve that one needs a good online presence. I also think readers want to connect with authors, especially when they have enjoyed their novel. I have been amazed at the wonderful reviews House has been receiving and all the personal posts and feedback from readers. 

What would be your ultimate research trip? ;)) 

I sold two books to Simon & Schuster. (The Simmering Season is out March next year.) My dream is to buy a motor home, sell up, and travel Australia. I did it the hard way in my twenties (in a truck and a tent) and fell in love with this marvellous country of ours. I have travelled overseas and love it when I am there, but hate the idea of travel. There really is no place like home (even if that home is mobile!)

Speaking of country, come home to the country with me now at to see what reviewers are saying about House for all Seasons and sign up for blog updates.

You can also find me on Facebook-  Jenn J Mcleod.Books  and Twitter: @jennjmcleod

Thanks for joining me, Jenn.

Don't to forget to check out Jenn's book - House for all Seasons - buy links



Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn J & Eleni

I'm a Jenn fan... I stalk her wherever she goes. I'm not quite sure I pictured her heading into a Taverna though... I thought she was more a Will's Cafe kinda gal. I started House last week and I'm loving it.

Lily M

Helen said...

Woohoo - you can always pitch your tent in my yard Jenn. We can talk writing all day!

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Jenn!

We have something in common! I had my thyroid removed (well, one half then the other in a week) when I was 24/25. We could talk doses now!!!! LOL

Good luck with your sales, my CP writes rural romance and I really enjoy it =)

Jennifer St George said...

Hi Jenn & Eleni

Lovely post!

Thyroid, don't talk to me about that annoying little thing! Trouble, just, trouble! But isn't it great that your thyroid led to something so wonderful as writing your first book.

I'm with you Jenn, I love travelling. I even love the journey to get where I'm going. I love to keep moving.

Jenn J McLeod said...

Hello lovely stalker, Lily. helen, I hope to one day lob...err....visit lots of writing friends. Mel and Jen, oh the thyroid! they tried to leave me a bit but in the end they had to zap it. A lead-lined room, a dose of radioactive iodine, and pee that glows in the dark for three days LOL.

Amy Andrews said...

Hey Jenn!
Gah! Still haven't gotten round to buying this book - off to correct that now however.
I'm so happy to see you enjoyihng so much success! Good luck with book 2 - those suckers are worse than the first I reckon!

Jenn j mcleod said...

Thx AA, hey it's impossible to keep up with all the books coming out. Glad to see Ros having fun too.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Hey Lily, nice of you to drop by. The Taverna is a laid back place and with a cyber bar, so no doubt everyone is at home here.

Helen - I bet she would get funny looks having a tent in your yard. There'll be whispers of 'don't worry, their writers'.

Mel, Jen & Jenn - you could start a thyroid club.

Jen - yep, seeing as I never saw you once - oh, other than on a panel - sit down at conference, I know you keep on moving.

Hi Amy! - yes, I haven't read this yet either *sad face*

Jenn - I agree - it's impossible to keep up with new books and books by friends too. *big sad face *

Thanks everyone for popping in.

Cheryse Durrant said...

Jenn, A House for All Seasons sounds fabulous. Congratulations! Eleni, I love your Taverna - it's a magical place for readers and writers to visit anytime, order their favourite drink and just absorb the fellowship and inspiration :)

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