I’m delighted to be welcoming Jane to JJ today.
In August 2012 I reviewed Vampire State of Mind (the first book in the series) and the second book, Falling Apart, was published in May.
Jane Lovering was born in Devon but, following extradition procedures, now lives in Yorkshire. She has five children, four cats, two dogs and doesn’t believe in housework so the the bacteria and dust are approaching sentience and now rank among the pets. Incidentally, she doesn’t believe in ironing either, and the children all learned self-defensive cookery at early ages. She works in a local school and also teaches creative writing, which are extreme ways of avoiding the washing up. Jane is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has a first class honours degree in creative writing.
Jane writes romantic comedies which are often described as ‘quirky’. One day she’s going to find out what that means.
Well I wouldn’t want to be one of the vampires, they’re all so broody and obsessed with doing the Right Thing, except Zan, who’s just obsessed… I think I’d like to be Liam, my heroine’s sidekick in Falling Apart. He’s sensible and down to earth and in charge of the biscuits, so…yes, given my own fondness for a well-turned HobNob, I think I’d aim to be the bloke with the biscuit tin.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
Well, apart from eating biscuits, I usually find that I get most inspired when I am as far as possible from any medium on which I can record my fabulously inspired ideas. Out walking the dogs is one. I walk along and leave the dogs largely to their own devices (it’s fine, they are mostly well behaved), muttering to myself and practicing dialogue. It helps that everyone in the village already considers me to be the far side of bonkers. I also get terrific inspiration in the shower. These has resulted in me being possibly the fittest and cleanest author you will ever meet.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
Both the covers for the books in my Vampires of York series have a ‘theme’. Vampire State of Mind has York Minster all blood red and outlined with ivy; York Minster features in the book as the place where the Dead Run statues chase our heroine, and Falling Apart’s cover has Whitby Abbey in an eye-catching purple with more ivy. There is a big denouement at Whitby in the book, where the Abbey plays a role, so it’s very apt and also makes a very atmospheric cover! The covers are designed, as are most of the Choc Lit covers, by the lovely Berni Stevens, who is massively talented and always manages to capture the ‘spirit’ of the book on the cover.
Plus they look great side by side on any bookshelf.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I am a pantser to a disgusting degree. In fact (and I shall whisper this, because it distresses some people), I was so pantsy whilst writing Falling Apart, that I actually started it, realised that the story wasn’t working, and deleted 30,000 words. Then I had to go back to the drawing board and start again. In some ways this was a good thing, because I’d ‘written myself back in’. Vampires of York is my first ever attempt at a series and I was having trouble getting my head back into the Alternate York where I’d set the first book.
Also, Falling Apart follows the same cast of characters, and I realised I needed to get back ‘into’ them, which the 30,000 words helped me to do. After that, I just sort of wrote things, which seemed to work.
I start out with characters, in all my books. I know the people, and I know roughly what needs to happen, and I usually have an end scene in mind. The rest is all the work of my subconscious, I just sit back, eat biscuits and look at pictures of kittens, while my subconscious does the hard bits.
What’s is in the future for the series?
Aha, you are trying to trick me now! I’ve just confessed to being a ‘pantser’ and now you are trying to get me to admit I have some vague idea of what happens next! I see your plan!
Actually, I do have some ideas…most of which I will not reveal here because..well, I’m not entirely sure what they are yet, but rest assured, by the time I write the third in the series, I will. I do know that it involves a national threat, Jess, Zan and a werewolf on the North York Moors, and everybody on the run. Any more than that and you’ll have to apply to my subconscious. In writing, it’s very strict about that.
What is your WIP?
Actually you’ve hit the jackpot here, because there are two. One is just completed, except for the tweaking, and the other is just started. The finished one is called I Don’t Want to Talk About It, and is about a woman who is writing a book about grave fashions (that’s the style of gravestones and inscriptions, not the clothes people are buried in) and running away from her editor, and the other is called Crush, where our heroine is an introspective girl who is desperately in love with the man who runs a Historic House. This one features falconry and tea shops, which are two of my major loves.
Being a writer can be lonely. Do you have a support network?
I work in a school, where I’m a Science Technician, and, as you can probably imagine, there are quite a lot of people around me most of the time. Everyone is massively supportive of my writing and anyone who catches me at the photocopier (where, unscientifically, I spend a lot of my time – seriously, you would not believe the amount of photocopying which goes on in schools) asks after the writing. I work with a lovely team of people who don’t mind me bouncing ideas off them and, in extreme cases, practicing things. There is a smoke bomb in Hubble Bubble which was trialled quite extensively up in the Science Department… (I remember that smoke bomb in the story!)
Then there’s my local chapter of the RNA, the Yorkshire Terriers, who are tremendous fun, very supportive and a general all round bunch of Good Eggs. Plus we have wonderful arguments about the necessity of man-titty on covers, which I find fabulously encouraging…
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Oh, far and away it has to be winning the Romantic Novel of the Year with Please Don’t Stop the Music in 2012. My first book with Choc Lit, and, incidentally, a book that got turned down by loads of other publishers – and it won! I still get little moments of shivery giggles about all that. Although I fear I did make the most disgraceful speech, so I’m probably never allowed to win anything else ever again.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
I’m not sure there has been a ‘worst part’ really. It’s writing, it’s not alligator wrestling or working down a mine – I can do it in my bed, in my pyjamas, with a stack of biscuits to hand, and there’s not many jobs you can say that about, really. Oh, there are always set backs (see above, re deleted 30,000 words) and bad reviews and a lack of ideas and everything, but compared to working on a trawler off the Dogger bank in February…it’s not so bad. Although I’ve never worked on a trawler, I imagine it’s not all salty shanties and lying on deck drinking Tizer. I stand to be corrected, of course.
Finally, what tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
If you want to write, write. Don’t imagine it’s your gateway to fame and fortune and TV appearances though, write because you have to, because you can’t not write. And finish what you write. The world is full enough of first chapters, and it’s only through actually writing a novel that you find out how characterisation works, and plot arcs and growth and things. Practice, practice. And read too, everything you can find, not just in your chosen genre but crime and biographies and sci fi and everything else. You can read my books too, if you like. No pressure.
Thanks for being in my hot seat today Jane.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Jessica Grant liaises with Otherworlders for York Council so she knows that falling in love with a vampire takes a leap of faith. But her lover Sil, the City Vampire in charge of Otherworld York, he wouldn’t run out on her, would he? He wouldn’t let his demon get the better of him. Or would he?
Sil knows there’s a reason for his bad haircut, worse clothes and the trail of bleeding humans in his wake. If only he could remember exactly what he did before someone finds him and shoots him on sight.
With her loyalties already questioned for defending zombies, the Otherworlders no one cares about, Jess must choose which side she’s on, either help her lover or turn him in. Human or Other? Whatever she decides, there’s a high price to pay – and someone to lose.
Paperback includes a free digital copy – details within the paperback.