Please welcome author Jo Kessel to A Passion for Romance!!!
Hi Jo, so great to have you here. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello and thank you so much for having me. Well, what’s to say about myself? I’m a Londoner born and bred. I’ve got three small children who keep me on my toes which makes my life pretty chaotic, so it’s just as well I’m a mad yoga fan. I practice yoga a lot and it really helps clear my head and keep me calm. I’m a big fan of traveling too. For me, it’s a real treat to plant myself in a remote part of the world and soak up a new culture – it also gives me lots of fresh ideas for writing. Most people don’t know that I have really curly hair which I’m forever straightening and my sense of logic and direction is dire. I’m also exceptionally bad at mathematics – my husband sometimes despairs. Oh, and I love skiing. I’m not particularly great at it, but I love it all the same. It’s all the mountain scenery and fresh air.
What did you want to be when you were growing up or did you always want to be a writer?
My father’s a doctor and so was my grandfather and when I was growing up I really wanted to be a gynecologist. Sadly, to become a doctor you have to be good at sciences at school and I was terrible. So instead I concentrated on the arts and had to give up the dream of a medical career. What I really wanted to be was a journalist because I loved writing, but for some bizarre reason (I’m still not sure how it happened) I ended up qualifying as a lawyer. I never worked as one though, because I immediately realized it wasn’t for me and did my best to try to get into journalism. Which happily I eventually did……..and then from writing newspaper articles to writing novels didn’t feel like too big a stretch, so I gave it a go, and here we now are.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing short stories when I was five years old and my mother and sister loved reading them and kept asking for more. I never really stopped writing after that, but I didn’t start writing novels until I was pregnant with my first child – or should I say children, because my firstborns are twins!
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I still work as a journalist and so my novel-writing has to fit in on the side. I wouldn’t want to ‘write’ all day though anyway. I like to write in concentrated spurts of a few consecutive hours and then stop. That could be in the morning, the afternoon or the evening - whatever happens to work on any given day.
Do you have any specific routine you follow or specific items you need with you when you write?
First I have to answer all my e-mails and then I have to boil the kettle and make myself the biggest mug of strong tea (when I say ‘big’ – I mean that my mug is enormous) and only when I have my drink ready and by the side of my keyboard can I start to write. As soon as the cup of tea is finished I make myself another one………………you’ve probably guessed that I’m a major tea drinker, although it doesn’t always have to be conventional tea. Herbals work well too.
What is your favorite part of writing? Is there anything you don’t like about being a writer?
Hum, my favorite part of writing is dialogue. I love writing conversation and putting myself in the heads of the characters and really emoting with them as I work out what they might say, and how they might physically react to what they’re hearing. I close my eyes a lot and try to really transport myself into their souls. What I don’t like about being a writer is when I get stuck on something, but when that happens to me I always stop and take a breather. Often going for a walk really helps. Sometimes I think it’s a shame I don’t have a dog. They would really enjoy accompanying me on all those many, many walks!
What is your favorite length of book to write? (Short story, novella, full length novel) Why?
My favorite length of book is about 80 – 100k words. I’m not sure why. It just seems to be the length I need to tell a story.
How does your family feel about your writing and you being an author?
My family is very supportive of my writing and my children (who love reading) think it’s really cool that mummy has written some books – plus they love their mentions in the acknowledgments. Actually I’m not the first writer in my family. I’m related to a celebrated French author who was called Joseph Kessel – he wrote the book Belle de Jour which was made into an amazing film starring Catherine Deneuve.
Is there a to-be-read waiting on your bedside table?
Knight and Play, Sweet Thing and When I Look to the Sky (The Rock and Roll Trilogy) are all waiting to be read on my kindle. However my husband has just handed me a physical paperback which he has told me I must read – ‘Remarkable Creatures’ by Tracy Chevalier.
Just for fun, I have a few personal questions,
1) Favorite Holiday - Christmas
2) Favorite Drink - Champagne
3) Favorite Author – Jane Austen
4) Favorite Book – Pride and Prejudice
5) Favorite Animal – Hamster – I have to say that because my youngest daughter has a pet hamster called Lucky who we all absolutely adore.
And for a bonus: What is a typical mood for you? And is your mood different when you’re writing?
Interesting question! Actually, there is no such thing as a typical mood for me. I can swing from calm to stressed-out pretty quickly depending on external factors – like if my children are being naughty! But if the sun is shining (often a rare commodity in London) I tend to feel much happier. Writing also keeps me calm, because I tend to lose myself in it. Skiing has the same effect on me. When I’m skiing I think of literally nothing else other than each physical turn I’m making and the track I intend to take down the mountain.
Where can our readers find you??
Is there an upcoming or current release you would like to share with us today and where can we find it?
Weak at the Knees
“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”
Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.
The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.
Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.
Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.
But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?
Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18195781-weak-at-the-knees
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Gift Basket including: a signed book, a signed bookmark, a giant pen from the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and several French goodies featured in Weak at the Knees including a French manicure kit, an Edith Piaf CD (one of France's greatest international singers), personalized merchandise from Montgenevre, the village in the French Alps where Weak at the Knees is set, as well as a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape - a gloriously rich (and expensive) red wine produced in the Rhone wine region in southeastern France. It is a wine that should be drunk to celebrate a special occasion.
One last thing before we let you leave u s. Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share? I like to cook and am always looking for new recipes to try and share.
Actually, I’m not a great cook, but there are a couple of fun (and sexy) recipes that feature in my new release Weak at the Knees. This is one:
Hot Chocolate with cognac
****Olivier’s hot chocolate recipe: serves 2:
1 x small carton milk, 1 x small carton of single cream, one bar of milk chocolate (melted). Warm cream with milk and remove from heat before it starts to boil. Add melted chocolate, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and then pour into two mugs to serve. Optional (add cognac/brandy).
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Jo, what a pleasure to have you with us today, thank you so much for sharing things about yourself :) We hope you come back again soon !!
Until next time, happy reading !!