Bio: Jenny O'Brien was born in Ireland a very long time ago. She's an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a 2016 RoNA judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
She's also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings - two of which you'll always find in her scribblings! She lives in Guernsey and, in her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You'll be pleased to note she won't be entering Bake-Off.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to write?
Sometimes it's hard to find time to write, for me that's certainly the case. That's why I always carry a notebook and pen around to scribble in whenever I have five minutes.
How do you approach your stories; do you plan everything out before starting, or are you more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of a person?
Oh I'm the latter but not out of choice. I have great plans and have even gone so far as to set up a story board with full character assessments but once my fingers touch those keys the words takes over. In Unhappy Ever After Girl I even added another wedding just because at the time it fitted perfectly with the rest of the plot.
Of all your characters, do you have a favorite?
I have a soft spot for Dai Monday from my children's book Boy Brainy because he was my first character when I started to write. I thought of him first and wrapped the plot around his character.
How long did it take you to write your most recent book?
Englishwoman in Paris, which was released three weeks ago took four months from the germ of the idea to publication.
What motivated you to write your novel?
Funnily enough I was writing a tragedy at the time, a book I'm still only 20% through and I was finding it emotionally draining. I looked out of my window at the builders erecting scaffolding on next door's house and thought what if...
Name three favorite authors and why they impress you.
There are too many to pick so I'm just going to give you one. Valerie Keogh. In many ways she's very similar in that she's also Irish with many of her books set in Ireland. But where she writes thrillers I write romance. She's self published too and is starting to make a name for herself, not only that - she writes great books.
Would you rather set your story in a place and time you are familiar with, or would you rather research a totally different setting?
I always said I'd never write about somewhere I'd never been but I've just broken that promise as my work in progress is set in New York. I'm having a great time researching it so I'd have to say a bit of both. It's time consuming trying to authenticate information for a place you don't know but the Internet is great and my list of places I want to visit is now nearly as big as my book stack of unread books by my bed.
Do you have any little writing rituals or quirks? E.g. an object you have to have on your desk, a particular drink or snack.
That's a good question and easy to answer - no. I write where and when I can. Anywhere I have paper and a pen. When I'm writing I switch off to everything so, unlike many authors I don't write to music. If there's music or TV on it doesn't bother me as I just block it out.
How do you own experiences influence what you write?
Very much so. I use a lot of things that have happened to me in the past but none in their entirety. So in Ideal Girl the first chapter is where Liddy trips up Mitch in a ball of wool that's unravelled from her bag. I once worked in a building on the top floor where the canteen was on the bottom and yes I had to retrace my tracks to wind all the wool back but thankfully there was no tripping up.
If you had a group of celebrities to plan the perfect heist who would they be and what would you be after?
That's a curve ball! Okay it would be a book store heist and I'd chose Harry Potter, Rom Weasley and Hermione Granger, or the characters that play them because I'd sure need some magic not to get caught.
How do you deal with writer's block?
I don't really suffer from it in that if I'm stuck on one section I just skip a chapter and go back at the end. First drafts get reworked so many times that it's easy to check for continuity at the end.
What is your favorite part of the writing process? (i.e. first draft, editing, etc...).
First draft all the way. Someone once said write the story you want to read and that's what I'm doing. It sounds strange but I want to know what happens to my characters because as the writer I have no clue what my mind will come up with until pen hits paper.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one book, what would it be?
That's an impossible question for me to answer so I'm going to have to cheat. I choose a notebook so I could write the books myself. It would mean a pencil and rubber as well though. I read about 300 books a year so not being able to read would be torture.