Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Q&A with Peter Jones

1) Who are your literary influences?

Influences? Well now. What a question.

I was quite a late starter when it came to reading. Other than my mother nobody else in my family used to read. My parent’s book case was (and still is) pretty uninspiring.

School wasn’t much better. Until I was in my mid teens the ‘reading list’ was dire! But, I remember one teacher recommending The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and for the first time ever I’d been given a book that I didn’t want to stop reading. It wasn’t a chore, it was a delight. And my painfully slow reading ability was suddenly a good thing. I read everything Douglas Adams ever wrote after that.

As I got older there were a handful of other books that had a similar effect. John Wyndham’s Day Of The Triffids, sticks out as another book that had a profound effect on me.

2) Where do you come up with the ideas for your characters?

Quite often they’re based on, or inspired by, real people. I often sit on the train, sneak a peek at my fellow passengers, and guess what their story might be.

For instance, I met my partner three years ago. She had just come out of a long term relationship. Her split had been quite amicable so it wasn't uncommon for her to mention... well, let's call him Steve. 

I'd say things like, "I've made some fresh bread this weekend," and she'd say, "oh, Steve used to do that." Only bloody Steve would have made the bread from flour that he'd milled himself. From a stone that he dug out of the ground. Whilst building his house. Single handedly. 

One day I got so cheesed off hearing how fantastic Steve was I said, "if you don't shut up about Steve I'm going to put him in a novel and then kill him off!" To which my partner laughed and said, "what would you call the book? My Girlfriend's Perfect Ex-Boyfriend?" 

Well. It was a such a good title, how could I resist? "No!" Said my girlfriend, seeing the light bulb hovering above my head. "You can't! Absolutely not!" But this was Friday. And you know how this works Rachel - by the end of the weekend we had renamed Steve, morphed him into this completely unbearable character called Sebastian. We'd also decided that the protagonist would be a down on his luck school teacher called Adrian, and that his girlfriend would be a sassy American PR executive called Paige, and a plot was beginning to emerge that was just too fun not to write! 

Obviously it's all made up. But that said, I really hope Steve doesn't recognise himself in it.

3) Tell us about your covers, whose ideas are they? Who designs them?

Ugh! Covers! I genuinely wish that people would listen to that old advice about not judging a book by the cover but they don’t! People judge books, and virtually everything else in life, by the packaging. It’s infuriating.

For the most recent books I’ve been luck enough to work with a local designer. I tell him what the book’s about and suggest a few themes or ideas, and then he comes back with a few sketches. Usually I really like what he’s come up with, and then I show someone – maybe several someone elses – at which point we discover we’re in the minority. And so starts the long and painful process of zeroing in on a cover. I’m pretty pleased with the cover for My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend. It’s not the one I would have picked. Or my designer. Or my male pals. But in tests, 8 out of 10, female romantic novelists and readers preferred it to any other design they were offered.

4) Which of your books has been the easiest to write? 

Fortunately, with every book I write the process appears to get easier and easier. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll reach that point where I’m able to knock out two a year without breaking a sweat.

5) If you could change anything about any of your characters, in any of your novels, what would you change?

I sometimes with I’d given Jason (from The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl) a different name. Maybe, Matt, or something.

6) And finally.. Can you tell us anything about your current work in progress?

I’m going back in time for my next book. Back to the 1980s. Big hair. Big music. Big ideas. Still romance (technically), and still comedy (definitely!), but a little darker, a little less frivolous, and a little more inspired by true events. And that’s all I’m saying for now!

Thank you so much Peter for answering all my questions. It has been a pleasure having you my blog I am really looking forward to starting your new book.

My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend by Peter Jones
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publication Date: 10th October 2017

Adrian Turner, Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things, though he’d trade them all to win the heart of feisty Public Relations Executive, Paige.
Instead, he’s a disillusioned school teacher, on suspension, after an unfortunate incident with a heavy piece of computer equipment. And somebody’s foot. And Paige? Despite being his girlfriend for the past eighteen months, she still seems to have one foot out of the door and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom.
Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian. A man who in almost every way imaginable is better, taller, wealthier, hairier, and infinitely more successful than Ade.
Is Paige still in love with Sebastian? Why then did she suggest they get away for a few days? Some place romantic…
But when Adrian finds himself in Slovenia - with Sebastian in the room down the hall - he realises there’s serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…
From best-selling author Peter Jones comes this hilarious romp about love, and the things people do to keep it from getting away.

Purchase from Amazon UK

About Peter Jones
Peter Jones started professional life as a particularly rubbish graphic designer, followed by a stint as a mediocre petrol pump attendant. After that he got embroiled in the murky world of credit card banking. Fun times.
Nowadays, Peter spends his days writing, or talking about writing. He’s written three novels; a Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy), A Crim-Com (Crime Comedy), and a Rom-Com-Ding-Dong (a sort-of Romantic-ish Comedy, with attitude). He’s currently working on his fourth novel, which - if it’s a musical - he’ll no doubt describe as a Rom-Com-Sing-Song. (Spoiler: It isn’t).
He is also the author of three and a half popular self-help books on the subjects of happiness, staying slim and dating. If you’re overweight, lonely, or unhappy – he’s your guy.
Peter doesn’t own a large departmental store and probably isn’t the same guy you’ve seen on the TV show Dragons’ Den.
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