Today I'm delighted to welcome Jenny Hale to the blog for a bit of a natter about her latest book Love Me For Me and where the inspiration came from.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book Love Me For Me?
There’s a tiny village on Virginia’s coastline called White Stone. It’s one of my most favorite places to visit. So, I thought, What if there was someone who hated this place? What would that look like? And Libby Potter, the main character was born. Then, I put her back in White Stone where she comes home to the people she left behind and the person she’d loved once.
Here’s the blurb:
Sometimes you find perfect where you least expect it…
Libby Potter has just lost the perfect job, the perfect apartment and the perfect boyfriend. Moving back to the home town that she couldn’t wait to escape when she was younger was definitely not on her to-do list. Especially as it means running into the man whose heart she broke when she left.
Pete Bennett can still make Libby’s world stop with just the sound of his voice – even ten years on. Only now, she is the last person in the world that he wants to see.
As everyone else welcomes Libby home with open arms, she realizes she’s missed that special closeness that comes from lifelong friendship. And, as Libby seeks to make amends with Pete, she begins to wonder whether she made the right choice in leaving all those years ago.
When an amazing career opportunity gives her the chance to leave again, Libby will have to decide what her version of perfect is… and where she really belongs.
Where did the inspiration come from to write about Libby returning to her hometown when things weren't going so well?
White Stone was the inspiration. People either love small towns or they go crazy in them. I wanted to explore the idea of having a town that was almost like a character itself: There are flaws, certainly, but there are also things that make a person fall in love with it. This is a love story between two people, but it’s a love story about the town as well.
When creating characters do you envisage who would play them if it was made into a movie? If so, who was your Libby and Pete?
I never have imagined actors and actresses when creating characters. I create these people on my own, and it’s very difficult to find someone else who matches what’s in my head. The first time someone asked me to choose an actor/actress for each character in my first novel, Coming Home for Christmas, I spent about two hours that night on Google, trying to find the right people! However, because that question looms over me—lots of people ask--I’ve already thought this one out!
Here are the very closest people I could find:
Libby: Kate Hudson
Pete: Alex O’Loughlin (You've sold me as I LOVE Alex)
What's next in the pipeline for you?
I’m currently editing my next Christmas book called A Christmas to Remember. It will be out in October.
Are you a plotter or a start writing and see where it takes you writer?
I’m a little bit of both. Naturally, I like to just open up a blank document and write, but since I’ve been under contract, I have to put something in writing for the publisher to approve, so I’ve become a bit of a plotter.
If you were going to look back on your career in the future, what do you hope to have achieved?
I hope to have a bookshelf full of books, each one offering fond memories of the people who have enjoyed them. Writing is a very solitary endeavor, so I love talking about my novels. I remember things people tell me about both of my books, and I’d love to share more with everyone.
Are there any authors who inspired you when you were starting out on your writing career?
Not really. I’ve always been an avid reader, and there wasn’t that one lightning bolt moment of inspiration, but I’ll tell you the moment I knew. I was reading Jill Mansell—can’t remember which one as I have tons of her books. As I was reading, I thought, I would love to make up a story. I put the book down, opened my laptop next to my husband and said, “I think I’m going to try and write a novel.” And so it began...
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
When submitting your manuscript, if you get any good feedback at all, keep going. And when you think you’ve gone too long and it won’t happen, send it out one more time. It’s not about how long you submit; it’s about finding that one person who believes in your writing as much as you do.
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
For me, writing is my reward. I teach elementary school, I have two small children, and I don’t watch TV, so at the end of a busy day, I unwind by writing. When I finish a book, I find it very difficult not to write. I will usually write something—a blog post, an interview, another book, a synopsis... something. And, of course, I’ll read.
Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
Honestly, anywhere quiet. I have a husband, two small boys, and a Chihuahua. It’s never quiet in my house. I write for five minutes, get up, make a snack for a child, write for five minutes, find a lost toy, write again, play soccer... I plot and create in my head all day, so having some quiet time to get it down on paper would be a treat in itself.