>Passport England: Author Jill Mansell discusses chick-lit, England and a giveaway!


Jill Mansell lives with her partner and children in Bristol, and writes full time. Actually that’s not true; she watches TV, eats fruit gums, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet marvelling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she write.

Jill Mansell’s books have sold over three million copies and her titles include: Rumour Has It, An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Making your Mind up, Fast Friends, Good at Games, Sheer Mischief and Solo, among many others.

Dolls: This week our Passport takes us to England, your books are set in Bath, London, Bristol cities, the countryside and in small villages everywhere in between – do you prefer the city setting or the countryside?

JM: I like to vary it from book to book to keep things interesting, but I did grow up in a small Cotswold village so those secretly are my favourite settings.

Dolls: What makes the English village such a perfect setting for books?

Open HouseJM: It’s just the fact that everyone knows everyone else and gossip abounds. It’s harder to keep a secret under those circumstances, which makes it that much more fun to write about. In cities, people can live next door to their neighbours for years and never even get to know them.

Dolls: Why did you choose the Chick Lit genre?

JM: When I first began to write, my role models were the super-successful Harlequin romance writers and I had several attempts at writing straight romance. Sadly the publishers complained that my submissions contained too much humour and asked me to cut it out. I discovered I couldn’t! So in the end I decided to write the kind of book I would most enjoy reading myself, and discovered that romantic comedy was my natural metier.

Dolls: Are your characters based in some way, on people you know?

JM: I’ll steal aspects of people’s looks or personalities or snippets of things they’ve got up to, but it would be horrible to base a fictional character entirely on a real person – it would mean I was no longer in control of that character in the story!

Dolls: In your opinion, what makes a love story “work”?

JM: It’s vital that the reader likes the characters, empathises with them and cares what happens to them. If you have no interest in how the story ends, you won’t keep turning the pages. And there has to be a real spark between the main characters. Chemistry has to exist!

Dolls: When you’re stuck with a plot – what helps you work through the problems? how do you keep the plot going?

JM: I’m not a great forward planner, so sometimes I do find myself getting stuck. If all else fails, I introduce a zingy new character to stir things up and galvanise the story back to life.

Dolls: Do you have any favorite characters from your books? Any you wish you had killed off?

Miranda's Big Mistake JM: I have lots of favourite characters and if I wanted them killed off, I’d do it! I have done it several times and my readers sometimes get cross. There’s one in Miranda’s Big Mistake that they still keep telling me off about, because he was so lovely. A particular favourite in Take a Chance on Me is Ash, the brilliant radio DJ who can chat away on the radio but is overcome with shyness when he meets girls he likes in real life!

*Doll interference* I love Ash too! And all his efforts to arrange a romantic date without making it seem romantic…adorable – go out and get the book!!!
*Doll interference over*

Dolls: Have you ever considered writing a different genre, if so which?

JM: I’ve never considered it. I love my writing style and wouldn’t want to change it even if I could.

Dolls: Something uniquely “English” you wish to share with the world?

JM: Just my sense of humour, really! And maybe a nice cup of tea…

Take a Chance on Me
Dolls: Can you tell us anything about your next book?

JM: Take a Chance on Me is about a girl who works as a chauffeur and drives fabulous limos. It’s also about a sculptor who creates incredible larger than life size wire sculptures of horses. At school he teased her dreadfully and now, years later, he’s moved back to the village she still lives in…there’s lots of comedy, lots of drama and plenty of shenanigans going on!

Well, now on to the ever enjoyable – Paperback Proust!

Dolls: What are your favorite qualities in a man?

JM: A wicked sense of humour

Dolls: The quality you desire in a man?

JM: To be able to make me laugh. And to have beautiful eyes. And be George Clooney.

Dolls: What is your favorite quality in a woman?

JM: The ability to make fun of herself.

Dolls: Who are your favorite heroes in fiction?

JM: Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. Rupert Campbell Black in Jilly Cooper’s Rivals.

Dolls: Who are your favorite heroines in fiction?

JM: I grew up loving Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Dolls: What characters in history do you most dislike?

JM: All the obvious ones.

Rumor Has It: In a town this small, a secret is hard to keepDolls: Who are your heroines in World history?

JM: The members of SOE who were parachuted into occupied France during WW2 and worked with the French Resistance.

Dolls: What is your present state of mind?

JM: Jaunty!

Dolls: For what fault have you most toleration?

JM: I don’t know, but I’m very intolerant when people sniff a lot or eat noisily!

Dolls: What is your greatest regret?

JM: I really wish I had a good singing voice. I sound like a tortured cat.

Dolls: When and where were you happiest?

JM: Gosh, anywhere really. As long as the company is good.

Dolls: Which talent would you most like to have?

JM: To write music. And the ability to hula-hoop.

Dolls: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

JM: Cheering people up.

Thank you Jill – for cheering us all up with your wonderful books – Take a Chance on Me is in stores now!

Want to find out more about Jill Mansell and her books?

| Website | Twitter |

~*~Win a copy of ‘Take a Chance on Me’~*~

Jill’s publisher has very kindly shared one shiny new copy of ‘Take a Chance on Me’ to share with our followers, so – follow Paperback Dolls, and leave a comment about your high school experiences – were you teased? Did you get your chance at payback? 
Giveaway winner will be announced on November 7th



19 responses to “>Passport England: Author Jill Mansell discusses chick-lit, England and a giveaway!

  1. >Wonderful Q&A, thank you so much!

  2. >Jill, thank you so much for visiting! Rupert Campbell Black is one of my all time favorite heroes (or anti-heroes) Everyone – Jill's books are so much fun and I absolutely loved Take a Chance on me!

  3. >I don't really remember Highschool. I am sure I was teased some.

  4. >Ehh, wasn't teased that much, just blended in. blissfulrains(at)yahoo(dot)com

  5. >High school was a long time ago. I don't ever remember being teased or tortured, I wasn't in with the IN crowd though. I didn't care either. seriousreader at live dot com

  6. >Freshman in high school now, and it's a lot better than middle school…You know how movies portray high school to be like? Yeah, that was middle school for me.Not fun.

  7. >Thanks for the great interview!I LOVED high school! Had a great time, still have a great time just remembering the great freedoma nd all the fun we had with my friends. High school years were one of the most wonderful and fun years of my life!Thanks for the giveaway too!stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. >I am a follower and email subscriber. I was teased and made fun of in Middle School and High School. I was that quiet girl other kids made fun of. I never got revenge or anything. Even if I had a chance I wouldn't have tried to get even. That is not who I am. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

  9. >am still in,still teasedbutnot too muchpretty much enjoying everything first.regards,maidenhealer@hotmail.com[am a follower]

  10. >I was teased somewhat, but not really over the top, though it stil hurt. Still waiting for my chance to get back.spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  11. >High school…well everyone gets teased …but in high school ..i was mostly teased by my classmates or buddies…nothing seriously :)raluk.93 at gmail (dot) com

  12. >I was teased a little bit and I mostly tried to stay in the background.Skk25@aol.com

  13. >Well, I get teased often, but I don't really mind.aikychien at yahoo dot com

  14. >I hated High School – wore thick glasses and had terrible hair and my mum made me wear awful clothes @juliedee4663 on Twitter

  15. >Thanks for the giveaway!Please enter me.I was teased in high school because of my skin color and my curly/afro hair.I don't do payback, I always thought they were ignorent, lol.lucybeugelingramos@gmail.com

  16. >I am a follower! I was teased all the time in high school, because I was so short. But I never got any chance for payback.ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  17. >I was home schooled so I never had to deal with that.lovemybabysquid@yahoo.com

  18. >Ladies and Gents this contest is now officially closed. Good Luck!

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