Today, I'm chatting to best-selling author Jenny Kane about her new novel, Abi's House.
Me: Hi Jenny, and welcome to Shelby Writes. Let’s start with your elevator pitch for Abi's House.
Jenny: Hi Lynne. For Abi's House, my elevator pitch would be: 'Chasing dreams and laying ghosts to rest against a background of Cornish sunshine, fish and chips, and the occasional cream tea, Abi Carter is on a quest to discover new friends, a new life, and the home of her childhood fantasies.'
Me: My debut novel French Kissing is set in London and Paris, and I often find that I’m inspired to write when I visit a new city or country. How important is the setting of Abi’s House?
Jenny: To me, location is the most important element of any story I write. If I haven’t been to been to a place, I simply can’t write about it. This rule applies whether I’m writing a short story (I once wrote a story called Cupboard Love which featured the tiny store cupboard I used to work in when I was a shop assistant in a posh deli in Aberdeenshire), or a full length novel like Abi’s House.
Me: So it’s very important to you to visit the place you’re writing about, rather than just researching it on the internet?
Jenny: If I haven’t experienced the location I’m using first hand, then I simply can’t get the dynamics of the tale quite right. I need to know how a place feels, smells, and the emotions it evokes, as well as what it looks like. You can’t get information like that by simply taking a flick through Google Images.
Me: I see that Abi’s House is set in and around Sennen Cove, Lands End, and Penzance in Cornwall. Do you know the area well?
Jenny: Like Abi, in the novel, many of my childhood summers were spent in that region. My Father is from Penzance, and we frequently visited my Grandparents in there terraced home on Alma Place, from where you can look out across the sea to the stunning St Michael’s Mount. Not only did I base my latest novel in Cornwall in honour of one set of grandparents, but I also introduced a character called Beth, who had inherited a shoe shop from her grandfather in honour of my mother’s father.
He was a cobbler, and I spent a great deal of time with him in his workshop, inhaling the aroma of leather, glue and warmly oiled machinery. That memory of location was something I wanted to create in Beth’s mind as strongly as it remains in my own.
It isn’t only in Abi’s House that location is key.
Romancing Robin Hood is based in and around the University of Leicester, where I spent many happy years as both a student and a medieval history tutor. Another Cup of Coffee, also doffs its cap to Leicester, and also to Aberdeen (where I lived after I got married), and to Richmond, where I spent many happy hours visiting friends after university. In short, if a place appears in any of my books, however briefly, I’ve been there!
Me: Are you working on your next book? And can you tell us anything about it?
Jenny: I’m working on two books at the moment. I’m currently putting the finishing touches to a novella which will be out in November called, Christmas in the Castle. This will be the fourth in my Another Cup of...series (following on from Another Cup of Coffee, Another Cup of Christmas, and Christmas in the Cotswolds). I’m also about to tackle the publisher’s edits for my next full length novel, (which will continue the Another Cup of... series further), called Another Glass of Champagne, which will be published in April.
Me: I’m sure your readers will be thrilled to hear that more Another Cup of… stories are coming soon, Jenny. Thank you so much for dropping by today.
Jenny: Many thanks for inviting me along today Lynne.
If you would like to buy Abi’s House it is available from all good bookshops and e-retailers, including-
With a background in history and archaeology, Jenny Kane should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, before writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jenny Kane writes stories with one hand, while working for a Distance Learning Company with the other.
Jenny spends a large part of her time in the local coffee shops, where she creates her stories, including the novels Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and the novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013) and Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014)
Jenny’s next full length novel, Another Glass of Champagne, (Part 4 of the Another Cup of... series), will be published by Accent Press in 2016.
Jenny Kane is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin Adventure (Hushpuppy, 2015)
Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
Jenny Kane also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee. (www.kayjaybee.me.uk)