Jennie Jones is an Australian writer who writes romance novel like her first book ‘The House on Burra Burra Lane’
She hopes the second and third books of her Swallow’s Fall series will see the light of day this year
I did do a lot of research into the Australian Snowy Mountain region my fictional small-town is set in.
The eBook is already available worldwide
If you love romantic comedies, romantic dramas or family sagas…you might enjoy The House on Burra Burra Lane
By: Alberto Berenguer Twitter: @tukoberenguer
Your first book is The House on Burra Burra Lane published in June 2013. Why did you decide to publish as an eBook with Escape Publishing? Is it due to enduring years of rejection from agents and publishers?
The House on Burra Burra Lane had a rewarding road to publication. I worked hard on skills and crafting and this paid off because the story was recognized in a number of competitions along its path to publication. After five months of submitting the story to a number of publishing houses, Harlequin (Australia) digital-first imprint Escape Publishing gave my story a home.
I can happily say that I did not have to endure years of rejection – just a few months. But I don’t discount my three-year writing journey because that was hard. Learning something new is not easy, and you do need to find and hold on to all perseverance within you if you want to accomplish what many say is the impossible.
However, your novel is now also in the shops in Australia and New Zealand in paperback with Harlequin (Australia). What format is functioning better?
Time will tell. There are so many opportunities to buy so many wonderful books with the digital age, but lots of readers still love to hold that paperback in their hands (me included).
Samantha Walker and Dr. Ethan Granger are the characters in the story living in rural Australia. She looks for a tree change and he’s a rugged vet with a past. Do you think that the rubber band relationship between Sammy and Ethan is paramount to the tale?
Yes I do. Sammy is new in town, Ethan was born there. As the story progresses, Sammy is accepted and Ethan feels he needs to withdraw. So the town is the catalyst for Sammy and Ethan to question themselves and why they are there. Which of course (as this is a romance) eventually evolves into a happy story ending.
While creating the characters, were you inspired by anyone or something along those lines?
Truthfully – I just started writing the story. The characters evolved, the small town evolved and the storyline developed from there. However, I did do a lot of research into the Australian Snowy Mountain region my fictional small-town is set in. This inspired me to include some typical Australian countryside characters and events, which in turn, helped shape the whole story.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About four months but I added another two months to get it to ‘finished’ stage.
How would you define your narrative style?
This is such a difficult question for an author to answer but I’ll try. I think readers will each define the narrative style of the author they are reading. I think the author will simply work hard to ensure that her/his story is understood in a way that holds the reader. And I think the author will eventually gain the inner trust she or he needs to write a story in the style that suits them. It’s probably a case of evolution: writer sits down and writes story; all the characters and the setting(s) define the story; the writer finds her or his style.
Why did you decide debuting with contemporary fiction with romance novel?
There was never any doubt in my mind that I would write romance novels. I think I was born a romantic and I don’t want to let go of those romantic ideals and happiness (fictional or otherwise) thrown my way. Today, I feel there are many opportunities for romance authors to tell stories that go way beyond the clichéd view of bodice-ripping masterful men performing heroic deeds for beautiful but pathetic women. Today – romance novels can offer the reader in-depth stories of either contemporary or historical nature and include suspense, paranormal or crime – and some may not have a definitive happy ever after. We see sweet stories, hot stories, family sagas and girl/boy next door stories – but each story must have purpose and meaning for the reader.
Will you publish The House on Burra Burra Lane outside Oceania in 2014? And, will you translate your novel into other languages?
The eBook is already available worldwide. With regard to the print copy, publication outside of Australia and New Zealand will be entirely up to my readers (and my publisher). This is not something I have any say in – it’s a case of write it and see where the world takes it!
Also, do you think that an important factor in your success lies in the interaction that you set up with your readers through social networks?
Oh yes, definitely. Without a connection to my readers, I would just be a writer at a computer, possibly getting nowhere. In order to write more stories, I want to understand what it is my readers like and what they feel resonates with them.
Your book is available in some bookshop in Australia, but have you done any presentations of The House on Burra Burra Lane?
I have done some book signings, and I enjoyed those very much. I was a professional actor for many years so I’m happy to sit and talk to people and to engage people and I don’t mind putting myself out there on these occasions.
I wish to emphasize that you’ve received many positive reviews from your readers, but have you received any negative reviews too?
Oh yes, a few, but they don’t worry me. We cannot write for all readers. What remains important to me is getting my next story right for the readers who do like my work and also getting the crafting of the story right for me, the author.
Are you writing a new novel now or is all your time taken up by promotion of The House on Burra Burra Lane? What are your future literary projects?
There are three books in my Swallow’s Fall series. The House on Burra Burra Lane is the first. I have the second book written and the third in plotting stage. I hope the second and third books will see the light of day this year.
As a reader, why would you recommend The House on Burra Burra Lane to other readers?
I’m writing contemporary stories set in small country towns about characters who are searching for a happier way of life. I like humor, some sizzle and some anguish before the happy story ending. I also love to write my romances with some good old-fashioned fictional enchantment so although it’s modern-day you might find some traditional courtesy, heroism and courage in the stories. When I’m writing, I try to envisage the story as a film – so if you love romantic comedies, romantic dramas or family sagas – you might enjoy The House on Burra Burra Lane.
And finally, what Australian book would you recommend to De lectura Obligada’s followers?
There are so many. Can I name more than one author? Here are a few whose books moved me to write.
Miles Franklin – My Brilliant Career
Colleen McCullough – The Thorn Birds, Bittersweet & more
Nevil Shute – A Town Like Alice
Plus Valerie Parv , Barbara Hannay, Kate Morton, John Marsden, Bryce Courtney and so many others!