It’s publication day and I’m really pleased that Jenni Keer is joining me today as part of the blog tour for her latest novel, The Secrets of Hawthorn Place. I really love the sound of this but just couldn’t fit in reading it at the moment. However, Jenni kindly agreed to answer my Author in the Spotlight questions so read on to find out more about her and the book. Oh and don’t miss the giveaway – details at the end of the post.
First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Hi, Joanne. Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog. I’m a married mum of four teenage boys and four cats – one of whom has no eyes. My blind cat is my writing buddy, although he is a bit rubbish with editorial advice, for obvious reasons. We all live in the middle of the Suffolk countryside, close to the Norfolk border, and I love both counties with a passion.
What inspired you to start writing?
I had my boys in three years (with a buy one, get one free at the end) and turned to reading as an escape from my pretty full-on life. One day, my mum friend suggested we tried writing a love scene, after we’d both been quite critical of them, and I ended up with a whole book in my head. Encouraged by her, I started writing short stories, and eventually she persuaded me to start writing a novel. The rest is history.
Tell me about your journey to publication.
When I realised I was serious about the writing, I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, fully expecting the journey to publication to be a long and bumpy road – and it was. It took me nine years to get a publishing deal, which I did by submitting The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker to Avon HarperCollins open submissions. They offered me a two book deal and I was able to secure an agent quite quickly after that. So, like many authors I know, it was a case of writing several books, learning from my mistakes and the rejections, and ploughing on.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
The Secrets of Hawthorn Place is about a Victorian architect, Percy Gladwell, who falls in love with the wife of his wealthy client. He designs a house for her, knowing she can never be his, but there is something extraordinary about the property, and it will have ripples for a hundred years. In the contemporary story, Molly uncovers the truth about the house and the architect behind it, as the house begins to change her destiny too.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I gave the book a temporary title, just something I thought up quickly when I was writing it, fully expecting the publisher to change it. No one was more surprised than me when they kept it.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
I organised a huge launch party for my debut, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker,at a local pub, so I feel I’ve been there, done that. There will be a virtual launch party on the wonderful Heidi Swain and Friends Book Club Facebook page on the 15th October, which you are all welcome to join, but on the day itself, I will doubtless be glued to social media. Perhaps I will finish the day with a cheeky gin. I don’t buy myself a present like some of my author friends. Perhaps I should…
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do indeed. I have just delivered a book to my wonderful agent (Hannah Schofield at LBA Books) and I’ve started writing the next one. Both of these are historicals set around 1920 – which has been a fun period to research.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
Arghh… so many to choose from. At the moment I would probably say Bridget Collins “The Binding”, because it was a fantastic concept and it contained an unexpected and touching love story.
What are you reading just now?
I always have several books on the go, but currently they include Kitty Wilson’s “Every Day in December” and Dawn French’s “Because of You” – which is a real tear-jerker, apparently.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Hmmm… maybe something long and complicated that I haven’t read yet, so I can really get stuck in, like Anna Karenina. If I’m alone on a desert island, I’ll have the time to enjoy it, and analyse it properly.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
I’d love to see some more Regency novels made into films, and hopefully Bridgerton has kick-started this. I LOVE Austen, but we have rather done her to death with adaptations.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Facebook Jenni Keer Author
and even TIKTOK (much to the embarrassment of my kids) @JenniKeer
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
I’m torn because part of me wants to travel back in time, perhaps to a beautiful country setting, like in one of Austen’s books, but I know that the harsh reality of life two hundred years ago wouldn’t suit me. But if forced to choose, I guess I would love the optimism and imagination of the wonderful Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. What a girl!
The Secrets of Hawthorn Place
Love will always find a way… Discover the intriguing secrets of Hawthorn Place in this heartfelt dual-time novel, filled with warmth and charm, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Cecelia Ahern.
Two houses, hundreds of miles apart…yet connected always. When life throws Molly Butterfield a curveball, she decides to spend some time with her recently widowed granddad, Wally, at Hawthorn Place, his quirky Victorian house on the Dorset coast. But cosseted Molly struggles to look after herself, never mind her grieving granddad, until the accidental discovery of an identical Art and Crafts house on the Norfolk coast offers her an unexpected purpose, as well as revealing a bewildering mystery. Discovering that both Hawthorn Place and Acacia House were designed by architect Percy Gladwell, Molly uncovers the secret of a love which linked them, so powerful it defied reason. What follows is a summer which will change Molly for ever…
Purchase Link – https://bit.ly/HawthornSecrets
About the Author
Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing commercial women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere, with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.
Jenni is also the author of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker and The Unexpected Life of Maisie Meadows.
Social Media Links
Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of the Secrets of Hawthorn Place,
plus chocolate and a sparkly pen. (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.