This week I’m joined by Jenni Keer, author of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker.
Thank you so much for inviting me over to your blog, Morton. I can’t sit down because I’m still floating after an amazing couple of months since the ebook launch. Over 100 Amazon reviews to date and a brief flirtation with an Amazon Bestseller flag – life couldn’t get any better. (Wow! Congratulations ❤️)
I asked Jenni some questions:-
1) What made you start writing?
Like many children, I loved reading and adored creative writing at school because I could just let my imagination run wild. But after leaving education, I didn’t ever seriously think about writing fiction, either for fun or for publication.
My love of reading endured, however, but my foray into novel writing only came about when my children were little. I used to meet up with a friend, who, like me, had four children under five, and the books of Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley, Milly Johnson et al saw us through some dark days. Out of a conversation with her, probably over our twelfth cup of coffee, we decided to write a love scene after a discussion about an unsatisfactory passage we’d both read (not by any of the aforementioned authors, I hasten to add). I think it was a case of don’t criticise unless you can do better.
Fast forward a week and I’d practically written a whole book in my head. And that was it – I was hooked. A real light bulb moment which kick-started a quest that was to take me eight years.
2) Do you think what you write is influenced by the area you live in?
Most definitely. So far, I have written five full-length books, two of which will be published, and all of them have been set in and around fictional places in East Anglia.
I actually hail from Kent but married a Suffolk lad and have now lived here for half my life. It’s a beautiful part of the world and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. There are picturesque beaches, stunning countryside vistas and it is a much slower pace of life – or maybe that’s just me getting older.
Living on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, I have a special place in my heart for both these counties and spend my time very much split between the two. I also think it is an underrated part of the country, so I have great pleasure in bringing it to other people’s attention.
3) If your book was made into a film, which actors would you like to play the lead roles?
I had to answer a similar question for my blog tour, where I decided Billie Whitelaw should play Brenda, until the lovely John Jackson pointed out she is actually dead – which would make that rather difficult. (I had no idea she’d passed away.) The late, great Geraldine McEwan is another candidate but she had similar technical issues. I might have to leave her casting to the director…
Someone like Kristen Bell (The Good Place) for Lucy – petite and blonde, and slightly fragile. George needs to be an attractive bulky man who can pull off a pair of spectacles and a bit of attitude – maybe Chris Hemsworth. I think it’s hard for the author because they have such a definite picture of each character in their head, that no one quite fits the bill.
4) What is your favourite childhood book and why?
There is no one book that stands out so I’m afraid I’ll have to name several. Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree– for its originality and hilarious characters. Which child didn’t want to visit the Land of Do-As-You-Please? Anne of Green Gables– for tugging at my heartstrings and giving me a kindred spirit in Anne – a child with an over-active imagination. And Du Maurier’s Rebecca (in my teenage years) for its romance and melodrama, and for being a book that isn’t straightforward.
5) What are you working on now?
Once you get sucked into the publishing world, you have to juggle many things and I’m currently working on two books, so my head is everywhere. I’m finishing the copy edits for book two, The Unexpected Life of Maisie Meadows.
It’s the tale of a young woman desperate to reunite her scattered family, but when a curious tea set from her past starts to catapult her family members back into her life at an alarming rate, she wonders if bringing them together again was such a good idea. It is set in an auction house and I’ve had great fun researching this locally.
I’m also writing and planning book three. Although, traditionally a pantser, I only begin to plan when I’m about halfway through the book.
Thank you for inviting me, Morton. It’s been lovely to visit, even though I’ve spent all my time on the ceiling. Jenni x
To find out why Poldark is holding the book, and why his nipples are so important, you’ll have to give it a read…
Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.
Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.
79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.
Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…
The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.
‘A charming read!’ Heidi Swain
‘A wonderful antidote to a harsh world’ Bella Osborne
‘A magical story about love and friendship, full of fun and sparkle. You won’t be able to resist the cast of quirky characters!’ Fiona Harper
And Jenni Keer‘s next book The Unexpected Life of Maisie Meadows is out on 8 July 2019 and available for pre-order now.
About Jenni Keer
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.
Thank you for joining me this week, Jenni.
I recently read The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker:-
A five star debut read, this book made me laugh, reminisce and cry. I loved the characters, particularly Lucy and Brenda. I can’t wait to read more from Jenni Keer.