Jenny Twist Interview

I am delighted to be speaking with author Jenny Twist today. Thanks for chatting with us today Jenny and welcome to FAR!

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current release Warm Christmas Wishes?
Warm Christmas Wishes is an anthology by various authors. Two of my stories are included: Jamey and the Alien and Uncle Vernon's Christmas.

I am very pleased with the other stories in the book. I think they are all well-written and entertaining and they vary in theme from the heartwarming romance of The Gift to the fantasy world of An Elfin Secret to the touching Saving Christmas and Vicarious Christmas. All different, all equally enjoyable.

What was your inspiration for Warm Christmas Wishes?
I'm seldom entirely sure where my ideas come from. I seem to just wake up with them, but Jamey and the Alien, which is written from the point of view of a child who interprets life through movies, must have something to do with the fact that a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with a brain tumour a couple of years ago (he is now, I am delighted to say, completely recovered). In my story, Jamey asks Santa Claus to take away the alien in his Daddy's brain and Santa Claus responds.

Uncle Albert's Christmas is based on the real life experiences I have suffered through other people taking advantage of my kind nature. Poor Uncle Albert is in danger of being 'managed' by his interfering niece. Elaine is not based on any one particular person but is an amalgam of several people who have managed or tried to manage me. This story is my revenge.

What is a typical day like for you?
I usually spend the whole morning answering emails and promoting my books. If I have any time left after that I try to catch up with the most urgent housework. After lunch and siesta - we live in Spain and have gone native - I try to write. I have no self-discipline at all and allow myself constantly to be distracted. My boss used to call this 'displacement activity.' You can always find something more important to do than the thing you're supposed to be doing.

But this year I entered the National Novel Writing Month competition, in which you attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in one month. I made it by the skin of my teeth and it proved to me that if I really put my mind to it, I can write 2,000 words a day. Hard work, though, for somebody as lazy as me.

Which comes first, the story, the characters, or the setting?
The story, always. I have an idea and it sort of brews in my mind for ages. The characters walk into it fully-developed and do whatever they feel like.

All of my stories happen in real places except for one brief excursion to an alien planet in Victim of Fortune (in the anthology Take One At Bedtime).

Do you have any special rituals to help you get in the mood to write?
I sleep. And just before I go to sleep I write stories in my mind. When a story is fully-worked out, I 'download' it.

Do you have any bad writing habits?
Yes. I think I am by nature a short story writer rather than a novelist and I have to stop myself pacing the novels at break-neck speed and trying to pack too much into too many words. I think I've more or less got it under control.

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
My own biggest misconception, and I think I share it with many others, was that I might make a significant amount of money. In fact, as I now know, it takes years to establish yourself as an author and very few make enough money to give up their day jobs. Luckily, I'm retired now, so I can just write because I want to.

What's one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I'm a very happy person.

Everyone has a different perspective on "getting away from it all" and a good book often helps to satisfy an escapist urge. As a reader or an author, what are the essential elements for you in good escapist reading?
I have to care about the characters and the writing has to be good. For me the plot is much less important than the writer's ability to make the characters walk and talk. And as for the prose...Writing is all about language.

I have heard it argued that good grammar doesn't matter as long as it's a good story. Frankly, I think that is just tosh. Every time I come across a grammatical error or a typo it interrupts the flow of the story and makes me cringe. I will abandon a story that has too many. Why are we reading, rather than watching a film? Surely because we enjoy language.

Congratulations! You just won a year off from work to travel anywhere in the world and write the story of your dreams. Where do you go, what type of book do you write, and what's the title?
I'm going to spend the entire year in Greece visiting ancient sites, island-hopping and having wonderful meals in rural taverns. Sorry, did you say I was supposed to be writing? I'm sure I'll think of something.

With the New Year right around the corner, do you have any New Year's resolutions that you plan to make?
I resolve to enjoy myself.

Can you share a little of your upcoming release Winter Wonders?
Of course I can. Here is the blurb:

The Gift by Mary Kate Brogan - It's Christmas In Ireland, and two men vie for Katherine Fannon's hand in marriage. Will she choose Arthur and the bright lights of Manhattan or Seamus and her Irish farm that he wants to save?

Jamey and the Alien by Jenny Twist - Jamey only wants one thing for Christmas. He wants his Daddy to come home. But first he has to kill the alien.

An Elfin Secret by Brenda Whiteside - When five-year-old Candace Cane questions why her father, Henry is an absent parent, her mother is speechless. But when Candace learns Daddy is an Elf named Santa Clause, life becomes magical…until Mommy dies and Henry and Santa cease to exist. In this Christmas fantasy, Candace discovers magic lies within her heart and she's never far from her mother or her father.

Saving Christmas by Nell DuVall - A woman wonders if she'll even have a Christmas when her husband turns up missing near the Afghanistan border and turns to helping a young teen to forget her worries.

On the Way to the Snow Ball by Brenda Whiteside - Lovely, rich Marie Louise Le Mare apparently has everything in life. So what can the handsome man in the red suit possibly give her? When they're trapped in an elevator with only each other for company, a surprise gift exchange makes this Christmas special.

Uncle Albert's Christmas by Jenny Twist - Elaine loves managing people. The only problem is, she usually makes their lives a misery. So Uncle Albert is in despair when she invites him for Christmas. But Albert's neighbour has other ideas. Could it be that Elaine has met her match?

Vicarious Christmas by Joanna Foreman - If it's not one thing, it's your mother, they say. My mother's religion disallowed Christmas celebrations. How does an eight-year-old girl get into the Christmas spirit and keep her mother happy at the same time?

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your works?
I have a website, a blog at Goodreads, and author pages at Facebook and Amazon.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
I would just like to thank Fallen Angels for giving me this opportunity. You're the best!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today Jenny!

Interviewed by: Tammy