When Maisie Meadows finds herself single and jobless on New Year’s Day, she resolves that this will be the year she focuses on bringing her scattered family back together. Romance is all very well, but it’s the people you grew up with that matter the most.
But a new job working at an auction house puts her in the path of Theo, a gorgeous but unattainable man who she can’t help but be distracted by. As their bond begins to grow, Maisie finds herself struggling to fulfil the promise she made to herself – but the universe has other ideas, and it’s not long before the Meadows family are thrown back together in the most unlikely of circumstances…
Can dealing with other people’s treasures help Maisie to let go of the past, and teach her who she ought to treasure the most?
When and where do you prefer to write?
My life, like most people’s, is hectic. I have four teenage sons who need taxiing EVERYWHERE (not quite old enough to drive but old enough to think they know everything), an elderly mother who I support so she can remain in her own home, and a couple of part-time jobs that have irregular hours. Most of my writing fits around these things, but in an ideal world, I would like to write in the school day, when the house is silent, and my brain is (mostly) awake. However, as you can imagine, THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. Neighbours pop in, the phone rings, self-employed husband is in and out, boys are off school, mum needs taking to appointments, the food shop takes half a day and a convoy of lorries, etc.
But, I am very lucky to have a permanent desk, albeit in the corridor between the living room and the downstairs loo. This means I can snatch writing time at any point during the day. I write best in the morning and late at night. Usually by about 2 o’clock in the afternoon I’m staring blankly at the screen and decide to walk away and do something different. I return after I’ve fed the masses and write until sleep beckons.
Do you have a certain ritual?
Sort of. I have a virtual office buddy, Clare Marchant, and we always check in first thing in the morning to say when we are hoping to write and what we want to achieve that day. If it’s not a (paid) work day, I try to sit down as soon as the kids have left for the bus, about 8.30, usually with a coffee. I re-read the last thing I wrote and then I’m off.
Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Daytime – coffee, although I try to drink at least one pint of water.
Weekend evenings – wine. This is when some of my best ideas come to me…
I’m not a snacker, but I do eat lunch at my desk.
What is your favourite book?
I can’t answer this. It totally depends on my mood and I don’t think you can compare different genres. Some of my favourite books include Can You Keep a Secret? (Sophie Kinsella), Anne of Green Gables (L M Montgomery), Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier), Tell No One (Harlen Coben), The Keeper of Lost Things (Ruth Hogan), Letters to the Lost (Iona Grey), and various by Lee Child, Agatha Christie, Terry Pratchett, Milly Johnson… the list is truly endless.
Would you consider writing in a different genre in the future?
I would LOVE to write a thriller because I love reading them but my slightly comedic voice probably wouldn’t suit the genre. I adore twisty, turny books, which is why I hopefully sneak a few surprises in my own novels. But, maybe, one day…
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Yes, but only ever bits of people – never a person as a whole. Arthur, for example, is total fiction, but his online antics are loosely based on a real local character, Olly, who works in our local DIY store and has become a minor social media celebrity. Meredith and Irene were inspired by older ladies I knew when I was a child. Johnny, in my head, looks like someone I know but their characters are different. They do say authors are magpies – picking up lots of shiny bits and popping them in their nest so I guess everything we write comes from somewhere.
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I started to, because I read somewhere that I should, but the reality isn’t quite like that – and they are a pain to lug around. I always have one by my bed – because the best ideas come as my brain is winding down, or (occasionally) in my dreams. And I would take one with me if I was going somewhere where I thought I might take notes, so a research trip or even an experience that I might want to use on the future. The random ideas that come to me as I go about my daily life get noted on my mobile or scribbled on the back of an envelope.
Which genre do you not like at all?
There is no one genre I avoid but I’m not particularly into horror, tragic endings, “experimental” books, or real life stories. That said, I would try most things. I belong to a book club for just that reason – and it makes me read outside my comfort zone.
If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
Definitely Terry Pratchett but he’s a bit dead. There is no one left who is quite like him. But then I don’t think I could co-write. I wouldn’t enjoy the compromises. At least the mistakes I make in my writing are my own.
If you could travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you choose and why?
I would probably work the other way around and use any visit to a foreign land to sneak something into a book. But I guess I’d choose somewhere different to the norm, maybe Finland (I have a wonderful Finnish friend and visited many years ago), or perhaps somewhere in Italy, as I’ve fallen in love with Puglian region and adore their food and family-centric lifestyle. I wouldn’t go anywhere too exotic as it wouldn’t fit with the stories I write.
Thank you for such interesting questions. They really made me think. I hope people enjoy The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows now that they know a bit more about me.
Thank you, Jenni Keer and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.
The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker was published in January 2019.
The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows is out in July 2019.
Social Media Links
Website – https://jennikeer.co.uk/