Hi, and many thanks for inviting me to blog about the characters in my books. And thank you so much, Terra, for enjoying Rumor Has It and giving it such a fab review!
I’ve written twenty one novels now, and each one has had a fairly large cast of characters. I’ve never done a sequel either. I must be mad...
But we can’t help what works for us, can we? All writers have their own methods. Obviously a continuing saga where we revisit the same characters over a period of books would be a lot easier than starting from scratch each time. For me, though, it’s like a snake shedding its skin. The moment I finish writing one book, I leave the characters behind and walk away from them. I want NEW characters for the next book, NEW situations, a lovely new setting and interesting new jobs all round. Rather like a year without shopping and having to wear the same old clothes for the last twelve months, the prospect of shiny newness is irresistible. The old book was fine, I liked the people in it and I’ll always remember them with fondness, but it’s now time to meet the next lot. With a bit of luck, they’ll turn out to be even more entertaining than their predecessors!
The one thing I never ever do, and the one thing everyone always thinks I do, is base my characters on people I know in real life. It would actually feel really weird and peculiar, and it would mean I wasn’t in control of the characters because I’d always have to be thinking, ‘OK, this character is based on my friend Tom, so what would Tom do in a situation like this?’ That would be strange indeed, but it doesn’t stop people coming up to me and saying with a nudge and a wink, “That handsome one, you based him on me, didn’t you? I know you did, because he has dark hair and grey eyes, so it’s obviously me.”
So I always make my characters up, although I will very occasionally take inspiration from personalities on TV, so long as I’ve never met them in real life.
As to the funny happenings in my books, the reverse applies. I have no scruples then and steal them from everyone I can! The internet is great for this as well – type ‘embarrassing situations’ into Google and you’ll have enough stories for a thousand novels. But I’ll use silly things that have happened to me or my friends too. And everyone loves it when I do. So if you’re reading this and you have a great story that would make my readers laugh, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Thanks so much for reading this, and I do hope you’ll give Rumor Has It a try.
RUMOR HAS IT by JILL MANSELL—IN STORES MAY 2010
Would you be tempted?
Newly single, Tilly Cole impulsively accepts a job offer in a small town as a “Girl Friday.” Fun job, country house, fresh start, why not? But soon she finds herself in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the town’s most desirable bachelor—Jack Lucas.
Rumors of Jack’s “love ’em and leave ’em” escapes abound, and Tilly decides to do the mature, sensible thing... avoid Jack at all cost. But the more time Tilly spends with Jack, the more the rumors just don’t make sense. Tilly doesn’t know what to believe... and Jack’s not telling.
About the Author
UK bestselling author Jill Mansell has written nearly twenty romances and women’s fiction novels, and sold over 4 million books. A master of romantic comedy, her smart, sassy style has an irresistible appeal for women of all ages. A full--time writer, Ms. Mansell worked for many years the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England. For more information, please visit http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/ or follow Jill on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JillMansell.
Contest Time: Sourcebooks is graciously giving away 2 copies of Rumor Has It: 2 winners will be chosen, US and Canada only. You must leave a question for Jill along with your email addy to be entered. Winners will be chosen on Wednesday May 12th.