Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jill Mansell & Giveaway

A few weeks ago, I reviewed RUMOR HAS IT by Jill Mansell -- I loved it! Ms. Mansell has proven herself again and again with her wonderful books! If you enjoy chick-lit and haven't read any of her novels yet, you are truly missing out.

I am so glad to welcome Jill Mansell to Booking Mama (again!) She has written a terrific guest post about how her real life inspired RUMOR HAS IT. I found her essay extremely interesting, and I hope you feel the same way.

Hi Julie, and thanks so much for the wonderful comments you made about Rumor Has It – what a fab review!

Well, you’ve asked me to write about how real life inspires my writing, so I’ll start by saying that the original inspiration for this book happened twenty years ago when I was working in the neurological hospital. I picked up a magazine to read and saw a help-wanted advertisement in it that said: Girl Friday wanted, fun job, country house. I was so intrigued I wrote those words down and never forgot them – they’re still in my notebook to this day. I wonder what that job was really like?!

So I borrowed the ad as the starting point for my book. I also saw a feature in a newspaper about a young widower who had lost his wife a few years earlier and was simultaneously desperate to fall in love again and terrified of doing so. He was extremely attractive and eligible and girls were queuing up to catch his attention. Again, I was fascinated with his predicament and used aspects of it in the novel. (How strange that that lovely man will never know he partly inspired my book. I do hope he’s found love and is happy again now!)

As for other aspects of the story, they’re all inspired by other people’s lives. Max, in the book, is slightly based on a British TV personality who is now gay but who married when he was younger and had a daughter. Teenagers at school can get teased for the silliest reasons, so I was interested to research on the internet the ways in which they react to such a situation. And Max is also an interior designer who redesigns properties for wealthy families. Do you have WAGs in the US? Wives and Girlfriends of famous and super-successful footballers? Over in the UK, our footballers have a tendency to get involved with other girls and their wives or girlfriends quite often forgive them because if they walk away from the relationship they’ll lose their celebrity status. It’s outrageous, but it’s a fact of life that fascinates me. There’s a saying I’ve never forgotten: If you marry for money, you’ll earn every penny. So true!

The other real-life bit in the book is Roxborough, based on the small but enchantingly pretty town of Tetbury. It’s where the Princes Charles, William and Harry live and it’s where I went to school. I had lots of fun going back there to remind myself what it was like while I was writing Rumor Has It, and now one of my best friends runs a pub in a village nearby. If she’s not careful she’ll find herself starring in my next book!

Thanks again for letting me post a guest-blog on your terrific site. Sorry if the more serious aspects of the book brought a tear to your eye! And I’m on Twitter as @JillMansell if anyone wants to come and say hello...

Jill x


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.


UK bestselling author Jill Mansell has written nearly twenty romances, 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 or follow Jill on Twitter:

Giveaway: I have two copies of RUMOR HAS IT to share with two lucky readers. To enter, just leave a comment (with a valid email address) telling me something you found interesting from this guest post. This contest will be open until Wednesday, June 9th at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!


Tore said...

This books sounds very interesting. Please enter me in contest. Thank you.

Kristin said...

Wow - I found it interesting that Jill found the inspiration for Rumor Has It 20 year ago. It sounds like a great book and I would love to read it.

Please enter me in the contest.

traveler said...

Thanks for this great giveaway. It was interesting to learn about her work in a hospital and how she obtained inspiration to write. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Karlie said...

Interesting that she used to work in a neurological hospital. Please enter me.

karenk said...

i, too, recall that Jill got the inspiration to write this book 20 years ago...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Christine H said...

I find the Ad she had written down was later the starting point for her book.

Thanks for the giveaway!!

Shirley said...

The inspiration of the book is awesome.

Jenny Girl said...

What is interesting is how she picks these ideas up in everyday life, like newspapers and things. She creats a book from a blurb in the paper. I wish I was that creative.
I have one of her other books and absolutely adored it. I don't read chick-lit except for Jill's.
Thanks for the contest :)


katsrus said...

This book sounds really good. Would love to read it.
Sue B

Patty said...

I love her books and cannot wait to read this

kristi said...

It was interesting how Jill Mansell says that she finds inspiration for her books in real life situations that she comes across. I love how she found the ad and it inspired a book.

I would love to be entered in the giveaway. I love her books.

klmickelsen at gmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

Rumor Has It sounds like an awesome read. Please enter me into your giveaway.

Cindy W.


holdenj said...

What a nice interview. I think her real-life touchstones are so very interesting, especially the want-ad! I knew there was a reason I glance at them in the breakroom at work. Would love to win a copy of this, thanks for the chance.

angie said...

I love how she found the inspiration and still has the words written in a notebook. I would love to read this book!

jill mansell said...

Hi everyone, and thanks so much for all the lovely comments! I actually have several notebooks now, filled up over very many years with snippets of ideas for stories, other people's embarrassing moments, notes about places I've visited and people I've met, and interesting names to be used in a book one day. My latest notebooks have been beautifully decorated leatherbound ones and the one I'm currently using is studded with 'jewels'!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, Julie. (and hi, Jill!)

I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

ruthhill74 said...

What intrigues me the most is that this author has written over 20 romances and lives in the UK. I always like to learn about new authors especially from the UK!

JHS. said...

I think it's interesting that authors find inspiration from so many different types of places, items, events, & sometimes don't write about them until many years later.


admin at jhsiess dot com

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I find it interesting that a successful writer first worked in a neurological hospital :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

jan said...

it is interesting from hospital work to writer,,thx for contest..

Vickie said...

I find it interesting that inspiration can come where one would least expect it.

It sounds like a terrific book and I would love to read it.

purplg8r said...

I like the ad...but what's a Girl Friday?


Amy said...

Julie I have yet to read anything by Jill Mansell but she's on my TBR list and I love the reviews of her books especially this one.

I am most intrigued by how she first got the idea for this novel -reading the provoking help-wanted ad all those years ago when she worked in neurology. No wonder her book is so enjoyable as the beginnings of her story stuck with Ms. Mansell for some many years. I also think it's adorable that the young widower wanted to marry agian but was fearful, it's so sweet and I am glad Jill Mansell incorporated this idea into her story too.

Thank you for another wonderful giveaway. So sorry for going on....and on.....!

~ Amy

ChristiS said...

I think it is fascinating reading how authors get their inspiration for stories! I keep saying I'm going to be a writer when I 'grow up'...I need to start! ;)
christis at gmail dot com

thesweetiesss said...

This new story sounds great! I love how you are able to take ideas from your own home town and relate them to the story. The way you use people you know as inspiration and retell a story with various influences. As an American reading your stories, obviously taking place in your own home town, allows to me to get such a great view into your life and the perspectives of the characters living in a country different from my own. I hope I get a chance to win your new book.. and get an even bigger glance at these amazing characters that you have created from seemingly simple influences!


ossmcalc said...

I would apply for a "Girl Friday" job just out of curiosity. It would be interesting to me to just see what all would be requested of a Girl Friday. I would love to read this book. Please enter me into your giveaway.

Thank you,


minishoes1 said...

I found it interesting that she used an ad that she had wrote down for starting her book. sounds like my kind of book. thanks! jacquecurl1(at)

k_sunshine1977 said...

y'know, i did always wonder what it was that a "girl friday" did...makes me want to read this!

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com