Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Q&A – Sky’s Book Corner

on May 11, 2014

Part of the TDPP anniversary celebrations.  Posted at Sky’s Book Corner.

Did you always dream of being a writer?

A dancer, actually, but my knees weren’t up to that.  I always planned to write a novel, though.

Wedding Hells is the prequel to The Dr Pepper Prophecies in the Chocoholic Series. Can you tell us a little more about them?

TDPP is a modern version of Jane Austen’s Emma.  It’s about Mel, who sets out to help others – whether they like it or not – while making a complete hash of her own life.  Things just go tits up for her – she’s like Bridget Jones in that respect.

Wedding Hells is a short story I wrote as an introduction to TDPP.  I offer it free on most Amazon sites, so people can meet Mel and try out my style.  It takes place a few years before TDPP, at Mel’s sister’s wedding.

What does your family think about you being a writer?

My husband hopes I’ll become wildly successful so he can retire.

What inspires you most when you’re writing?

Usually some form of sugar.

What inspired you to write After Wimbledon and what’s the story about?

A trip to the Australian Open.  It’s about Lucy, a pro tennis player in a casual relationship, who’s struggling with whether it’s time to retire and go for real life and love.  It has less humour than TDPP, but more romance.

What are you working on right now?

A spin-off from TDPP about Mel’s sister, Brittany.

Where and when do you write your stories?

Home and baby group.  Whenever I get the chance, basically!  I have a toddler, so I’m lacking in time and energy.

You also write short stories, how is that different from writing a normal novel?

I think short stories are harder to write, because you have to explore the characters and get a complete story into a few thousand words.  It’s easier to write them about characters that have already appeared in novels.  Then you can just cover isolated events in their lives and you don’t have to cram in so much information.

Early Daze is technically a novella, but it’s 40,000 words so there was room to do a whole story.  I may well write more of that length.

Can you tell us more about the short stories you already wrote and are still in a working progress?

Wedding Hells is about Mel’s adventures as a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding.  Flights of Nancy is a stand-alone story about a woman who’s been told she’ll meet Mr. Right on a certain day.  Early Daze is written from my own experience of becoming a mother to a premature baby.

What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

Amateur dramatics, walking, Zumba, comedy and a bit of reading.

The covers for your books are really bubbly, colourful and creative. How were they developed?

I ran a design competition on 99 Designs for the current cover of The Dr Pepper Prophecies and chose JelenaM as the winner.  She then went on to design the covers for After Wimbledon and Wedding Hells.  I provided character descriptions, colour schemes and some ideas and she actually made them look good!  For Flights of Nancy and Early Daze I did my own with stock pictures.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Making people feel good.

Who is your favourite author and why?

I like books that bring you into another world.  Two favourites for this are Stephanie Laurens and Erich Segal.

If you were shipwrecked on a desert island what 3 books would you want with you?

The SAS Survival Handbook, something inspirational and a large blank book to write in.

If you could plan the perfect holiday, what would it be?

I would have a transporter to get there, to avoid the need for travel sickness pills.  Sunshine, but not too hot because I’d want to get out and do things.  It would include beautiful scenery, beaches and a babysitter.

Coffee or tea?

Don’t like either.

Paperback or e-reader?

E-readers are great, but paperbacks are still necessary for reading in the bath.

Mountains or the sea?

Sea

Summer or winter?

Summer

Sweet or salty?

Usually sweet.

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