Yesterday, I reviewed a great book called MILLIE'S FLING by Jill Mansell. I have read three of Ms. Mansell's books, and I have to say that she is a master of the chick lit genre. I love her books! So you can probably imagine how excited I am that she has written this guest post especially for Booking Mama. If you're not familiar with any of her books, I think you'll get a good idea of her writing and wit by reading this essay.
Hello! Here’s a question for you: Have you ever starred as a character in someone else’s book? No? Sure about that? Because this might not have occurred to you before today, but there’s always a chance that you might have done. And you’ll never even know it!
OK, here’s the thing. I’m a writer. Which means, by definition, that I’m a borrower, a user, an identity thief. Sometimes I’ll catch sight of someone sitting outside a cafe or walking down to the beach and I just know they’d fit perfectly into one of my books, so I’ll shamelessly kidnap them for my own purposes. (Metaphorically speaking, of course; I don’t use actual rope.) But none of you reading this will ever know whether you might have been spotted in the street by an author and put into a book. You see, we don’t only borrow places, we borrow characters too. For me, I prefer not to base my characters’ personalities on real people, but seeing someone I don’t know and feeling an odd kind of connection with them, a curiosity possibly, can set off a whole sequence of invention. The way they walk, look, dress, eat or laugh will inspire me. I can invent the character but they’ve provided all the external detail.
A while back, I was having lunch with my agent in a wonderful restaurant and I was endlessly distracted by a girl at a nearby table – she was pretty and vivacious, wore no make-up at all (so jealous of people who have the confidence to do that!) and had a gorgeous flowery short summer dress on. She also had long brown legs and was wearing Wellies...Wellington boots...do you call them galoshes? Made of rubber, for splashing through puddles in. And these were flower-patterned too, but in a different print and colour. Not standard footwear for such a smart restaurant but that only made her more interesting. Anyhow, I loved her ‘look’. I didn’t know her, but if I did, I knew I’d like her a lot. And that was it, as soon as I got home, I turned her into the heroine of my new novel. If I saw her again, would I still recognise her? Yes. And if I did, would I tell her what I’d done? No, I wouldn’t, because she’d probably be completely freaked out by the idea!
But it’s worth letting you know that these things happen, I feel. Just a gentle warning. Because you never know, one day you might be sitting on a train or having a picnic in the park, and you’ll look up and see someone taking more notice of you than you’d expect. Don’t worry, we writers are harmless, we don’t want to scare you. We’re just ‘borrowing’ you for our next book!
About the Author: Jill Mansell is one of the UK’s premiere contemporary authors who has written nearly 20 romances with multi-generational appeal and has sold nearly 4 million copies of her books in the UK. Releasing her latest novel this spring, Miranda’s Big Mistake, Mansell’s writing style can be best described as “Sex & the City meets Bridget Jones’s Diary.” She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.
For more information on Jill in the UK please visit http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/, and for info on her US releases, go to http://www.sourcebooks.com/spotlight/jill-mansell.html!
I am just so happy to announce that I have two copies of MILLIE'S FLING to share courtesy of Sourcebooks. To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me one of your favorite chick lit books (I know I can't just pick one.) To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This contest is open until Wednesday, September 16th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only -- no p.o. boxes please! Good Luck!