Jenny Kane, author of the Another Cup Of… range of books, has popped over to chat to us about her novels and tell us more about her five draft writing and editing process.
I am very much a creature of routine – and I’m pretty unproductive if that routine gets messed with. My writing day begins between 8.30 and 8.45 every morning with a read through of the last few pages of my previous day’s work, while I munch toast and drink black coffee in the corner of my local cafe.
Once I’m happy with the story on paper so far, I put my head down and write – long hand – into my notebook. I only have two hours to write each morning before I start my ‘real’ job, so I tend to plough along as fast as possible.
Late in the afternoon, after work, I return to my table in the cafe to type up my earlier scribbling; editing and improving my work as I go.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
I’ve never used celebrities as inspiration for my work. I rarely have time to watch television or films, so consequently I don’t know who many celebrities are! I find real people far more interesting.
I am often inspired by the people I see around me every day. I frequently make use of phrases I overhear, or situations that catch my eye and feel would fit within the plotlines that constantly circle my brain. For example, sometimes a scar on a cheek, or an unusual, or an unexpected item peeping out from the top of a handbag, can set off my thought processes in a most unusual and rewarding direction.
My novel Another Cup of Coffee was entirely based on the students I knew at university, and my imaginings as to what they’d be like as they grew up.
I guess a slight exception to the ‘real’ people rule comes in my Romancing Robin Hood novel. The heroine of that novel, Grace, is obsessed with the medieval outlaw of legend and all the actors, from all eras, that have played him! I have a fascination with Robin Hood myself, and really enjoyed looking back at all the old Robin Hood shows and films when I was doing my research for the book.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I love The Rose Revived by Katie Fforde.
One of Katie’s earliest books, it is also one of the first chick lit novels I ever read. I just adore its warmth, and frequently re-read it when I need a virtual hug. I particularly like that it’s the power of friendship that drives the novel, with romance as the secondary, albeit integral, factor to the plot.
My writing process differs depending on whether I’m writing short stories or novels. With short stories, I always dive right on in; writing as fast as I can until it’s done. Then I edit the piece slowly, adding in or taking out paragraphs and sentences as I go.
With longer work, I leap in to begin with, but once I’ve established that the plotline is working, I pause and write a chapter by chapter plan to ensure the story can be sustained for the required length of the novel.
Whether I’m creating, I have a five draft writing and editing process. First of all I write the initial draft long hand, and then I type the piece up, editing as I go. The third part of the process is to print off the whole story, and proof read it; rewriting as I go. The fourth edit concentrates on making sure I haven’t overused certain words or phrases – there is nothing more boring than reading the same words over and over again within the pages of a book. Finally, I type up any changes and do an out-loud read through of the whole story. Only when it sounds good aloud and reads well on paper, do I consider a tale complete.
What was your journey to being a published author?
My writing journey began ten years ago when I wrote a short erotic story just for fun. I sent it off to a publisher on a whim, and to my surprise it was taken! After that a hobby penning very sexy short stories under the name Kay Jaybee began. Within four years that hobby had become a part time job, and now, a decade later, I have 17 erotic novels, novellas and anthologies, as well as 100 short stories, to that name.
Two years ago, with the erotica world suffering heavily from the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey, I decided to chance my arm in a new literary direction, and approached Accent Press with a view to writing contemporary woman’s fiction for them. To my delight, Accent agreed, and a year ago my first novel of friendship and romance, Another Cup of Coffee, was published.
This was soon followed by a novella length sequel, Another Cup of Christmas, and more recently a second novel, Romancing Robin Hood.
I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was a couple of months ago, to discover that Another Cup of Coffee had sold so well online that it was to be given a full print run. It can now be found in real bookshops! It’s a dream come true!
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
One of the biggest assumptions I’ve come across is that we writer types just sit around all day in pyjama’s, sipping coffee, and chatting with friends; working only when we feel like it.
Since writing stopped being my hobby and turned into my career, I’ve never worked so hard in my life. The hours are long and the financial payback is minimal – but on the other hand, it’s the best job in the world! (But okay – I do sip a LOT of coffee!)
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Give yourself the time you need to do your story justice.
Writing a novel is a very different discipline to writing short stories, so make sure you think the story through from start to finish.
It is so tempting to rush through writing in a mad rush of keenness to complete your work – but making sure you have enough time to edit it well will make all the difference to the quality of your work, and therefore vastly increase your chances of your novel being accepted by a
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished writing the latest sequel to the Another Cup of… range. In this case, it is Another Cup of Mulled Wine, a novella which will be released in time for Christmas.
I have also been writing my next full length novel. Abi’s Place is set in Sennen in Cornwall, and will be published by Accent Press in Spring 2015.