Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Write Stuff with... Jennifer Joyce

This morning it's my pleasure to hand over the blog to Jennifer Joyce to talk about writing a sequel.

When I self-published my first novel, A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, back in January 2014, it was supposed to be a standalone book. I had Ruth’s story in my head and I’d put it down on paper (or Kindle screen). Once the book was finished, I started to write a brand new book, but Ruth had really got under my skin. In the book, Ruth is invited to her high school reunion and decides to lose weight before she attends. I thought the reunion would be the end of Ruth’s story, but it turns out she had more to tell me. 

I felt like I’d really got to know Ruth while writing A Beginner’s Guide To Salad. She became almost real to me, as insane as that sounds, and I didn’t want to say goodbye. I’d also received some brilliant feedback after I’d published the book and I knew people loved Ruth as much I did. I knew she had more to offer and although I was writing the new, non-Ruth book, I started to think about what would happen to her after the reunion. I wanted Ruth to have a truly happy ending and for Ruth that would mean marrying the man she loves. And so I started to play around and plot A Beginner’s Guide To Saying I Do in my head.

Ruth wasn’t the only character I didn’t want to leave behind. I’d grown quite fond of her best friend, Erin and I wondered what would happen next in her life too. Erin is very different to Ruth. She wasn’t into marriage or even long-term relationships in A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, but would time change that? Would she now be ready to settle down and get married, or would she still be the same commitment-phobe I’d grown to love?

There were other characters I wanted to explore further too, such as Ruth’s colleague Quinn, and with Ruth getting married it gave me the chance to think about her wider family and other characters started to emerge. With all these ideas stalking my thoughts, it was time to write them down and see if they could make a whole book.

It’s taken a long time to get to the point where I could publish the second book in the Beginner’s Guide series. I wrote the first draft back in 2015, finishing around the time I signed my first traditional book deal with CarinaUK (now HQ Digital). I was contracted to write two books, but in between I would tinker with Ruth’s follow up book, redrafting and hiring a freelance editor to work with. More book deals came and more books were published, but finally Ruth is ready to emerge again. I’m so thrilled to be able to share this story and I hope readers enjoy catching up with Ruth and co as much I did!

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of seven romantic comedies. A Beginner’s Guide To Saying I Do is out now.

Ruth can’t quite believe she’s managed to snag The One but when he proposes, she can finally accept that she’s found her happily ever after. But when Ruth finds herself booking her dream church for just six weeks away, she starts to panic. You can’t plan a whole wedding at such short notice. Can you?

Trina has only just walked down the aisle, but she’s already starting to question whether they can make their marriage work. Will they survive the honeymoon period, or have they just made a very big – and very expensive – mistake?

Erin has somehow found herself agreeing to be a bridesmaid for the tackiest wedding known to man. With drunk hens, ridiculous outfits and a terrifying wedding planner, just what has Erin signed up for?

Three women. Three weddings. But who will say I do – and who will say I don’t?

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