Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Interview at Girls Love to Read

on May 23, 2014

Posted at Girls Love to Read.

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1. Hello! Welcome to the site, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Chick lit writer, wife, mother of two (one toddler, one grown up step child), English.

More interesting things: I’ve skydived (I was unconscious by the time we landed, but even so), I have a borderline genius IQ (though talk to me first thing in the morning and you’d never believe it), I do amateur dramatics (and keep getting cast as people who like to grope other characters) and I really like cucumber (though not as much as I like chocolate).

2. Can you tell us a bit about your books?

The Dr Pepper Prophecies is a bit of fun. I wanted to write something that would make people laugh. The tag line for the book is ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Think of a Bridget Jones-like character who’s obsessed with chocolate and labours under the delusion that she’s really good at fixing other people’s lives, no matter how bad her own is.

After Wimbledon has less comedy and more romance. The main character, Lucy, is struggling with where to go next in her life and career – and who to go with – all while playing in the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

3. Why did you decide to self-publish your novel? What was your road to publication?

Found out I could and did it. That was pretty much the road.

I’d always meant to try and get an agent, but never did. So when I found out I could publish for Kindle – for free – I just went for it. I learnt most of what I know about self-publishing afterwards and there’s still a ton more to learn.

4. Do you base your characters on real people, or are they entirely fictional?

They’re entirely fictional. But then, if I did base them on real people, I wouldn’t admit it. Really good way to lose friends. I will confess that the character of Will’s evil girlfriend in The Dr Pepper Prophecies is named after someone I used to know. Read into that what you will.

5. How do you write? Any naughty habits or guilty pleasures?

Would you like the full list?

Writing and I have a long-term on-off relationship, which includes violent attacks with red pens and the use of (legal) mood-altering substances. I’ve written on my blog about how I’m not a natural writer. I’m a natural at making up stories, but getting them out of my head and onto paper can be a fraught business.

6. Did being a published writer change the way you write?

It adds pressure. First, you feel that you have to write more and faster to satisfy your readers. Second, you worry more about whether people will like your work when they’re actually going to be paying to read it.

7. If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing?

My “real job” is as a full-time mum to my two-year-old daughter. I used to work in administration which – as I’m sure you can imagine – was deeply fascinating.

8. What’s your favourite Chick Lit book of all time?

Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? That’s the book that inspired me to write my first novel.

9. Where does the inspiration for your novels come from?

The Dr Pepper Prophecies was inspired by a combination of Can You Keep a Secret? and Jane Austen’s Emma. If you read the three books together, that would probably be obvious. I’d decided to write a novel and those were my influences at the time. Can You Keep a Secret? I bought for fun, while Emma was on the reading list for a writing course I was taking that summer.

I was in Melbourne for the Australian Open the year I wrote After Wimbledon and was very into tennis at the time. I’d also been struggling with where to go next in my life, so it was a kind of therapy (I had to cut a lot of my ramblings from the first draft!) and the two things came together in the novel.

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