I am a life-inspired Author, and I write romance novels. I seek to empower and inspire through my writing. I have led a very eventful life, and have had a wide experience of many different situations. My books encompass a lot of topics in them, that are very prevalent in everyday life for a lot of women, even though, they may be ‘hidden’. But most of you will know, of at least one person, who has experienced some of the situations that my books include.
I have lived what most people would describe as a ‘colourful life’, but I am essentially a romantic at heart. It certainly, has been very eventful, and it has taken me on a journey, not always a good one.
It was because of my experiences, that I started writing. At first, it was to tell my story, because I believed, that it would be of interest to others, and I just had to tell it. It was not until I heard back from readers, that I realised, just how much it touched those who read it. As a result, I have had women share their own stories with me. Women, who, like me, led seemingly normal lives to the outside world, but the reality was very different. If my story inspires or helps just one person, then I will be very happy. My books are frank and open, but I wanted for them to be real. I have had to go out of my comfort zone to write them, as I was previously a very private person. However, I am pleased to say, that I am embracing the ‘new me’. I am of course, referring to the “We’ll Always Have Paris” series, which is based on my story, and is presently comprised of three books; Book One, ‘We’ll Always Have Paris’, Book Two, ‘Juliet’ and Book Three ‘Paris Revisited’ (available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback format).
I decided to self-publish, after trying several literary agents, with no positive results. Then, I took a look at self-publishing, and realised that it is changing the face of publishing, and the way forward. As the ‘romance’ genre is generally regarded poorly in literary circles, (despite occupying a large area of the market), it seemed highly unlikely, that I would be taken on by a major publisher. Self- publishing seemed the logical step, and one that I have not regretted.
Yes, it has been a massive learning curve. But as someone who used to work as an Office Manager, and being a mother of six, with a ‘can do’ attitude, I felt able to rise to the challenge. I have used Canva to design my covers (after a false start with DIY attempt. Sadly, the first cover is still on Goodreads for all to see). I have had to edit my books several times myself. Lack of funds, has meant that I cannot afford the services of an editor, but through trial and error, and feedback from some of my lovely readers, I think I have improved considerably. I have even managed to set up my own website myself.
But I absolutely adore writing. I have been an avid reader all of my life, but now, finally, I know what it is I want to do, when I grow up. I want to be an Author, and with four books published, I feel I can say that I am. I love writing so much. When I embark upon a new book, I plot out the story line roughly, and then I just start to write, often at 4am in the morning. When I start writing, it just flows as though I am telling the story to someone, because that is what I am, a story teller.
Because the “We’ll Always Have Paris” series is based on a true story, I have been very careful to make sure that all the place names, road names, hotel names and restaurant names are all accurate, something, which was not easy when the first book took place nearly ten years ago, and I struggled to recall the name of the restaurant in Paris. I did eventually find it. It is a little pet hate of mine that books sometimes let themselves down because of inaccuracies such as those. Indeed, my beta reader got so into the story, she googled all the places to make sure that they were real.
I am a very emotional person, which I thinks aids the creative process. Writing the books has been very cathartic for me, and I have laughed and cried whilst writing. I think the most surprising thing for me, has been, that when I have recalled the memory of something, very often something that I had hitherto forgotten, will surface in my memory, taking me quite off guard, and making me emotional.
When I started out on this journey, I wrote the first book for myself. I was overwhelmed, when people who I gave it to said that they loved it. I think that is the most satisfying thing for me, to hear that readers loved the book, and can’t wait to talk about it. Yes, not everyone is going to like my books, and I have a one-star review on Goodreads. Sadly, they did not leave a comment, but I gathered from a third party that it was just not ‘their bag’. I don’t mind a bad review, and I do expect them, but I would really appreciate a comment to say why they did not like it. As someone who is a relatively new author, I appreciate any feedback I can get.
I am what my daughter calls ‘extra’, and I think that is a polite term for eccentric. I have a penchant for berets, diamond rings and flip flops and I love anything French.
I am taking a break from writing over the Summer to go to France and help renovate an old house. I shall be practising my French on the natives, no doubt with hilarious consequences. I fully expect to come back with an idea for another book, to add to the ideas that I have already got. I shall be back to writing in the Autumn. Meanwhile, please get in touch with me, I would love to hear from you. TTFN Jo x