Jenni Keer returns to my blog today to tell us what she does when she’s not writing. I’ve just read her latest novel, The Secrets of Hawthorn Place, so I’ll add my review at the end. Over to Jenni…
Hello, Morton, and thank you so much for having me back on your wonderful blog. Ooo… new cushions? Did you crochet them yourself? (Lol, Jenni is referring to what I do when I’m not writing Mx)
I’m here today to talk about what I do when I’m not writing. The main answer to this is feel guilty about not writing! This is unfortunately one of the downsides to being self-employed in any capacity – it is so difficult to switch off – and I constantly feel guilty for not getting a few hundred extra words down.
However, there are things that I enjoy doing which take me away from the keyboard and sometimes even out of the house, and the first is my passion for dance. I’m not built for poise and grace as I’m tall and clumpy, but I do know how to plaster on a smile and give it my all, and what I lack in talent, I certainly make up for in showmanship!
I’ve been part of a dance group for about twelve years now and attend Kelly Clarke’s Dance Motion Academy every Thursday night. She covers a variety of dance styles, including rock and roll, disco, street, slow and Charleston. It helps me combat the writer’s bottom but, more importantly, the stresses of life. There’s nothing like a good giggle over your hip thrusting to release the old endorphins.
Another thing I really enjoy doing is meeting people. (This is pretty much the same as saying I love talking!) and am extremely lucky to have an enormous group of friends from all areas of my life. Pandemic aside, meeting up with people has always been important to me. I have schoolfriends, uni pals, mums I’m still in touch with from the school gate, old work colleagues, author and reader chums, neighbours, and I even hang out with my teenage sons and their mates from time to time – yes, really! I’m allowed to join in as long as I behave myself…
And I guess I wouldn’t be an author if I didn’t enjoy stories, so a large percentage of my time is spent reading books and watching films. I definitely have phases where I prefer one medium over the other, sometimes reading a book in a day, or binge-watching an entire season in one night (*cough* Bridgerton). I am fortunate to claim this as work and enjoy telling my husband that a day in front of the telly counts as professional development. I’m not sure he believes me!
As a notorious Jack of all trades but master of none, I occasionally turn my hand to gardening (the vegetable patch was a triumph during the 2020 lockdown), baking (but I don’t have a sweet tooth so this is sporadic), paper crafts and even sewing on rare occasions. The results are most definitely mixed, but it is the head space that is the most important thing, not the pie with the soggy bottom or the wonky hem on the curtains.
Ultimately, it’s not what you do with your free time, but that you make sure you carve some head space from your busy life to feed your soul. This is even more important when you are self-employed as switching off is hard. I carry my characters and my plot lines around with me from the moment I wake up. But, as an author, I am lucky enough to claim that all activities I embark upon, even if it’s just eavesdropping on someone else’s gossip as I tan myself on a beach, counts as research and therefore work.
About Jenni Keer
Jenni Keer lives on the Suffolk/Norfolk border has four teenage boys, four cats, and is currently author of four novels… ooo, and she has a husband, but only the one! After the success of her first two romantic comedies, she dabbled with history and wrote the bestselling The Secrets of Hawthorn Place – a dual timeline romance – but her upcoming novel, The Legacy of Halesham Hall (out Sept 2022) is her first totally historical work.
You can connect with her on the following links:-
Facebook Jenni Keer Author
and Tiktok JenniKeer
Two houses, hundreds of miles apart . . . yet connected always.
When life throws Molly Butterfield a curveball, she decides to spend some time with her recently widowed granddad, Wally, at Hawthorn Place, his quirky Victorian house on the Dorset coast.
But cosseted Molly struggles to look after herself, never mind her grieving granddad, until the accidental discovery of an identical Arts and Crafts house on the Norfolk coast offers her an unexpected purpose, as well as revealing a bewildering mystery.
Discovering that both Hawthorn Place and Acacia House were designed by architect Percy Gladwell, Molly uncovers the secret of a love which linked them, so powerful it defied reason.
What follows is a summer which will change Molly for ever . . .
Morton’s Review of The Secrets of Hawthorn Place
Five Stars of History, Mystery and Romance
An unusual and intriguing story with threads in the past and the present and even a touch of magic.
I loved the story in the past of Percy Gladwell and Violet and would have loved more of this storyline. I wanted to tell Molly’s mother off for letting her grow up so hopeless with practical living, but I guess she made exceptions for her daughter given their circumstances. Given this, I found it more difficult to relate to Mollie, but warmed to her as the book progressed. And admired the changes she made in her life.
The architectural details about Arts and Crafts houses and the insight into the architect’s life are fascinating. I liked the fact that I had previously visited Wightwick Manor near Wolverhampton, which has William Morris wallpapers and an Arts and Crafts collection and could visualise the houses and the wallpaper in the book very vividly as a result.
The book had me laughing aloud at times and thinking deeply at others. A great read.
Thank you for joining me on my blog this week Jenni, it is always a pleasure to have you over. Mx