Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jenni Keer's hopes and dreams have come true!

We're pleased to have Jenni Keer at CLC today and feature her debut novel, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker.

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.

Visit Jenni online:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Hello, and thank you so much for inviting me to take part in your Q&A session. These questions had me scratching my head so much I was forced to enlist the help of my family with some of them. Thank you for making us all think. Here goes…

What is your usual writing routine?
If it is one of my weekday writing days, I usher my four teenage boys out the door for the school bus, collapse in a little puddle, and drink a couple of strong coffees to get me going. Then I sit down to the laptop and write until they return, starving hungry and boisterous, at about quarter past four. I have a virtual office buddy, Clare Marchant, and we check in throughout the day with our word counts or pages edited. I usually put my phone on silent, so I’m not disturbed by social media pings in between times, and I try to stretch my legs and refocus my eyes, so I’m not too sedentary. If you peer through the living room curtains at lunchtime, you’ll occasionally see me practising some clumsy yoga moves.

What is one piece of advice you would offer to future writers?
There are lots of things I’ve learned on this journey, but I suppose the best advice (and I’ve repeated this in another blog tour post) is to be realistic. It is highly unlikely the first full-length novel you write will get published (unless you are the wonderful Cecilia Ahern) so as soon as you’ve finished your first masterpiece, tout it around by all means - send it to agents, pitch it to publishers - but start writing book 2. The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker was my fourth completed novel. I always anticipated this publishing journey would take me several years and it took seven. Unless you are super talented/well-connected/extremely lucky you will get rejections, people will criticise your work and you will sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. Listen carefully to feedback. If you have chosen your beta readers well, they will have good advice to offer - however hard it might be to take. Personally, I’m disappointed when the feedback is all positive. I want to improve and I want to know how. And do remember, when you get that long-awaited publishing deal, that the financial reward is unlikely to be life-changing. Don’t write for fame and fortune. Write because it’s the only thing you want to do.

If The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I love this question. All my characters are quite distinctive in my own head and don’t really look like anyone else but someone like Billie Whitelaw would make an amazing Brenda, and my fourteen year old son (who has read my book) and I both thought Kirsten Bell would make a passable Lucy. Interestingly, we came up with her name independently. George is trickier. Perhaps Chris Hemsworth for the sheer bulk of the man, but he would have to dye his hair darker and put on some spectacles. Oh yes, the more I think about that, the more it works… *wanders off into a little daydream*

What is your most unique trait?
I had to ask my family this one. Answers from the teens ranged from “giving birth to four fabulous children” to “dancing like you just don’t care” – both totally valid. But I think my husband’s answer was the winner. He said it was my self-belief. I felt a bit teary when he said that, but then he’s watched me struggle with this writing lark for so long, determined that I would get published eventually, that I’ll go with that answer.

What is one item you can't live without?
Haha. When I read this one out EVERY single person in the room shouted, “your phone”. I guess it’s true. I probably rely on it too much but my entire life is on there. Not only social media (great in moderation) but also I use it for the news, the weather, our family calendar, as a camera, for emails (particularly back and forth from the publisher), my "To Do" list, my radio (I often listen to music when I write), my TV (as I have to fight five other people in this house for access to the big one), my alarm clock, my torch, my research tool (Google is my friend), for reading Kindle books, for shopping, banking, as a calculator and very, very occasionally as a phone… I wish I had a more profound answer but I would genuinely be lost without it.

What is something you'd outsource if you could?
I was going to say the housework, without hesitation, but I outsource that already TO MY CHILDREN! I’m a firm believer in teaching kids independence and after the first few years of doing everything for them, it’s payback time. We have a household job chart and they get asked to do all sorts of jobs; like paint the outside of the house, unblock u-bends, remove stains from laundry, cook, mow the lawn, the list goes on and on. I don’t think I’d be doing my job as a parent if I sent them into the world not knowing how to polish a pair of shoes. They’ve been so amazingly supportive of my writing and, even though I have to nag sometimes, they do pull their weight. This is not to say we live in an immaculate house because we really don’t. We live in a family home, cluttered with cats and school bags, with an overflowing laundry bin and endless washing-up. But we muddle through. So, I guess my next biggest time-suck is taxiing them around (sometimes up to nine journeys a day) and so I’d like to outsource this please. If someone could set up a taxi firm next door to ferry about four socially active teenagers, that would be great.

Thanks for having me over. I loved your questions and I love that readers know a bit more about me now and how I tick.
Jenni x

Thanks to Jenni for chatting with us and to Rachel's Random Resources for including us on Jenni's tour.

Giveaway: The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker goodies (UK Only, as part of a blog tour)
Prize contains - Thornton's fudge, a Nu notebook, a Hopes and Dreams bookmark and a set of five "Scratbag" blank greetings cards designed by Jenni Keer

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within seven (7) days, then Rachel's Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel's Random Resources will delete the data. Chick Lit Central is not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the other stops on Jenni's tour:


Janine said...

This sounds like my kind of book

Rita Wray said...

The book sounds great.