I have the absolute pleasure of bringing you all an interview with author Jill Mansell! I can’t tell you all how excited I am about this. I have been a fan of Jill’s for so long now and her latest You And Me, Always is all kinds of wonderful.
On the morning of Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday, it’s time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.
Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum’s life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions.
Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily’s friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…
Click more to read my interview with Jill and to also find out the other stops on her blog tour – enjoy!
I find your characters very relatable, even with the difference in geography and life experiences and as a main character I loved Lily. How did you go about creating her?
That is the magic question, and I’m afraid I don’t have the answer! My characters arrive in my head completely fully formed and I never have to wonder how to create them. I have no idea what they look like, and have to keep notes about their physical appearance, but I never have to keep notes about their personality because I already know everything about them as people.
Dan and Lily’s relationship is built on a shared history and part of this is shown though their humour and playfulness. Do you find it easy to write these scenes? They are such a pleasure to read!
Oh yes, these are definitely my favourite scenes to write. Creating fun, flirty interaction between two characters who are perfect for each other is an absolute joy and I love it!
With the character of Eddie you explore our current obsession with celebrity and the pressure the media can put on people in these jobs. What made you decide to do this?
I’ve been fascinated by this scenario for years and have often written about it. It’s so interesting to me, the way people react differently to others simply because they are famous. The pressure from the media doesn’t help, and I feel genuinely sorry for people who think they want to become famous, then discover it’s not all it was cracked up to be.
Your supporting characters are extremely well thought out and rounded. Is it easier for you to create these secondary characters as opposed to the main protagonists?
Haha, absolutely – I probably prefer my secondary characters, because they’re allowed to be flawed, which makes them more interesting to me!
I love the relationship Lily has with the women in her life – they trust and support each even when there are problems. How important was it for you to create such wonderful friendships?
Well, I write feel-good fiction, so it happens naturally. I don’t think I could write a book that didn’t involve friendship. In real life, I’ve never once had an argument with any of my friends – and it’s only now, answering your question, that I’ve realised that!
You And Me, Always also address themes of loss and grief. Do you find it at all difficult to balance these occasionally darker scenes in your books?
Not at all, because that’s part of life. We all have happy and sad things happen to us, and hopefully learn from both.
In every single one of your books you create a community of characters and as a reader I find myself invested in all of their stories. Did you plot You And Me, Always meticulously before you started or did vital elements of your story change as you wrote?
I don’t plot meticulously – I’m just not that organised. Plans change, new characters suddenly arrive and cause havoc…I don’t know how writers can plot a whole book before starting to write! I’d be bored, I think, and feel as if there was no point in writing 500 pages once the basic storyline had been described. I prefer to be surprised!
Can you tell us all a little about your writing process? Are you a pen and paper sort of person?
Oh yes, I’m definitely a fountain pen and paper person! I sit on my sofa with the TV on, and start scribbling away. Every single one of my 27 books has been written by hand.
Are you already working on your next novel? And if you are can you give us a hint as to what it’ll be about?
I’m well into my next novel now, and for the first time have set a second book in the same fictional town. I’ve returned to St Carys, on the Cornish coast, which featured in The Unpredictable Consequences of Love. There’s a brand new cast of characters, but sometimes they interact with the last lot – it’s great fun!
Thank you Jill!
Huge thanks to Jill for this brilliant interview!
To find out more about Jill pop over to her website here. You And Me, Always was out on the 28th of Jan and is available from all good and evil book retailers. Make sure you all check out the rest of Jill’s blog tour…there are some really fantastic bloggers on the list!
I was given this book for free as part of the blog tour. My review is definitely my own and neither it nor my opinions haven’t been swayed by the free book swag.