Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Sally Jenkins #interview #writerslife

Today I am delighted to host Sally Jenkins.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

I write about the darker side of life, such as the secrets people would prefer to keep hidden or the devastating acts they commit when life doesn’t go their way.

What made you choose that genre?

It’s what I enjoy! I like to read crime and psychological thrillers. On TV I love anything ‘noir’. I like to be scared or shocked – but in the safety of fiction rather than in real life.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Around 18 months to two years. I have a ‘proper’ job for three days a week so I don’t write full-time – although I’d love to!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m a morning person so I start writing straight after breakfast and leave all the washing-up, domestic stuff and admin until the afternoon when my brain isn’t so fresh. I like to get out of the house so you’ll often find me in a coffee shop with my laptop and a latte. The background conversational cafĂ© buzz and the absence of domestic distractions keeps me focussed.

I do the minimum of housework unless I’m expecting visitors, and then I scurry round like a mad thing. On my ‘proper’ job days I aim to do 45 minutes writing before I start work. 

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

I have been a church bell ringer since I was fourteen years old. It’s a great way of keeping both body and mind active. There’s a lot of physical stretching upwards and pulling down. Plus the methods we ring (think of these as ‘tunes’) require a lot of concentration.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I completed my first novel in 2015 at the age of 52. I wish I’d got round to doing it earlier! Before that I spent several years writing short stories and articles for magazines.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m a member of a Speakers’ Club. I joined in order to develop the self-confidence to promote my books and I now regularly give talks to community groups such as the WI. 

The fear of public speaking never quite goes away but it is possible to manage it. Earlier this year I wrote Public Speaking forAbsolute Beginners in order to help other people find the confidence to address an audience.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It’s impossible for me to stick to a plan! I create a plan and a list of scenes but it’s only when I start writing that I discover which way the story is actually heading.

How many books have you written?

I have two published novels, three collections of short stories plus some non-fiction. My best-selling e-book is Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners, which is aimed at helping writers thinking about publishing on Kindle for the first time.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

If I Google myself I get a lot of stuff about the top US sports writer, also called ‘Sally Jenkins’, which makes me feel insignificant! I’ve also had people contact me through my blog and post on my Facebook page, thinking that I am her. In hindsight, I should have used a pseudonym to avoid the confusion.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I went through a whole range of careers from air hostess to police woman to librarian. I settled on wanting to own a second-hand bookshop. Sadly, it never came to pass and I now work in IT.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Four, I think, plus several half-finished short stories and failed article pitches.

Sally Jenkins is a writer and speaker. Wearing her fiction hat, she is the author of two psychological thrillers and many short stories. In her factual guise, she has written books on public speaking and self-publishing.

The Promise – “I couldn’t predict how the ending would turn out which added to the page turning suspense as the final chapters galloped along towards the thrilling finale.” Amazon reviewer.

Bedsit Three – “A gripping tale and gallops along.” Amazon reviewer.

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