Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publication Date: 10th October 2017
With thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the blog tour, it’s a pleasure to welcome Peter Jones to the blog. Peter has written both non-fiction and fiction and his latest fiction novel was published earlier this month. For my turn on the tour, Peter has kindly answered a few questions.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the blog Peter, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
Hello, my name is Peter Jones and I am not a dragon.
I grew up in Chelmsford, Essex, and just about managed to escape in my early twenties (to Southend-on-Sea, about 20 minutes away). Nowadays I bounce between London and Essex, but dream of living somewhere that requires air conditioning rather than central heating.
I spend my days writing, talking about writing, and putting my cat back on the floor after she’s jumped on my desk.
Without giving away too much information, can you please tell us a little about My Girlfriends’ Perfect Ex-Boyfriend
Hmmmm. Without giving too much away, eh? How about I tell you how the story came about?
Three years back I met my partner who had just come out of a long term relationship. Her split had been quite amicable so it wasn’t uncommon for her to mention… well, let’s call him Steve. I’d say things like, “I’ve made some fresh bread this weekend,” and she’d say, “oh, Steve used to do that.” Only bloody Steve would have made the bread from flour that he’d milled himself. From a stone that he dug out of the ground. Whilst building his house. Single handedly.
One day I got so cheesed off hearing how fantastic Steve was I said, “if you don’t shut up about Steve I’m going to put him in a novel and then kill him off!” To which my partner laughed and said, “what would you call the book? My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend?” Well. It was a such a good title, how could I resist? “No!” Said my girlfriend, seeing the light bulb hovering above my head. “You can’t! Absolutely not!” But this was Friday. By the end of the weekend we had renamed Steve, morphed him into this completely unbearable character called Sebastian. We’d also decided that the protagonist would be a down on his luck school teacher called Adrian, and that his girlfriend would be a sassy American PR executive called Paige, and a plot was beginning to emerge that was just too fun not to write!
Obviously it’s all made up. But that said, I really hope Steve doesn’t recognise himself in it.
You have written both nonfiction (self-help books) and also fiction (romantic comedy). Is there any other genre that appeals to you – ie. Crime/thriller?
Well now, funny you should mention that. All of my novels are – as you say – pitched as Romantic Comedy, however I do like to wander across whatever dividing line exists and splash about in a different genre.
For instance, my first novel could equally be described as lad-lit. And my second novel was never really intended to be romance at all! It has a strong crime / heist element to it.
This novel is probably my most traditional rom-com to date… but the hero and heroine are already a couple, so there’s a twist to the will-they-won’t-they element you get in most romances.
My next Rom-Com will have a strong nostalgic spy-theme, and I’ve got some great ideas for something a little more supernatural or esoteric.
How did you research your books?
So far I haven’t had to do too much research for my novels. Actually, that’s not quite true. Every now and then I might need to know something quite random like – can you get married on the small island in the middle of Lake Bled, Slovenia? (Turns out you can). Other times I need suggestions for something like a truly hideous starter that you might have at a wedding reception. In that case I’ll hop over to facebook, post the question there, and watch as the (often very amusing) answers flood in. Somebody always tells me off for making other people do my research but I don’t care!
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
A what!? A pantster? Is that a thing? Excuse me whilst I consult my good friend Charles DeGoogle.
Ahhhh… it’s an ‘organic writer’. No. Definitely not one of those. Before I write a single word I know…
• Who the characters are
• Where the plot is going
• The end (sort of)
• Key stuff that has to happen
• And the opening scene
Then and only then do I write ‘draft zero’ (a kind of really boring synopsis), and turn that into a long bulleted to-do list. The list will be updated as I begin, and each scene written will have an entry added to my master fiction spreadsheet which helps me keep track of the story timeline (a blank version of which you can download from here).
I know. What can I say? I’m a nerd.
What is the best writing advice that you have received? Thinking about your experiences with the publishing industry, is there anything that you wish you had done differently?
Best advice? Sit down and write. Start at the beginning and keep going until you get to the end. DON’T EDIT. Don’t go back. Don’t ‘fix things’.
Is there anything I wish I’d done differently (based on my publishing experience)? Yes. Started earlier! Much much earlier.
Is there any part of the writing process which you enjoy (or find the most difficult) – i.e. researching, writing, editing?
Hmmm. That moment when I finish a book is pretty special! Or the moment just before when I start to tie up loose ends and it’s all starting to come together nicely.
No. No – the best bit is when I’m having a good writing day, and the words are just pouring out of me, and even when I get up to make a cup of tea I end up coming back to my keyboard before I’ve made it to the kitchen because I’ve just thought of something really amazing and if I don’t write it down now… that’s the best bit about writing.
Are there any authors whose books have made an impact on you? What type of book do you enjoy reading for pleasure, and what are you reading now?
I was quite a late starter when it came to reading. Other than my mother nobody else in my family used to read. My parent’s book case was (and still is) pretty uninspiring.
School wasn’t much better. Until I was in my mid teens the ‘reading list’ was dire! But, I remember one teacher recommending The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and for the first time ever I’d been given a book that I didn’t want to stop reading. It wasn’t a chore, it was a delight. And my painfully slow reading ability was suddenly a good thing. I read everything Douglas Adams ever wrote after that.
As I got older there were a handful of other books that had a similar effect. John Wyndham’s Day Of The Triffids, sticks out as another amazing book that had a profound effect on me.
I seem to have got a number of books on the go at the moment.
My favourite authors (the ones who I’m completely in awe of) would be Nick Hornby (his last novel – Funny Girl – was very unusual and very clever), Audrey Niffenegger (Her Fearful Symmetry being my favourite), the late great Sir Terry Pratchett (of course), and more recently Claire North (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August being my current ‘favourite book of all time’).
I see from your blog that you say you love public speaking. Many people would find the idea terrifying. What do you particularly enjoy about it?
Ah, well that’s because I am, at heart, a frustrated actor, and almost everything I do that comes naturally to me tends to be an outlet for the thespian inside. For instance, writing is just me acting on paper. What’s more I get to play all the parts. Even the women!
So public speaking is just me acting again. Telling stories and making people laugh.
Have you ever been mistaken for the ‘other’ (Dragons Den) Peter Jones?
Every now and then I’ll meet someone at a talk who came along because they genuinely thought Dragon’s Den Peter Jones was going to be visiting their local WI.
But there was an incident when I was doing a book signing in Waterstones. A lady came up to me, handed me a copy of my book to sign, and asked if I could make it out to Robert. As I was writing the dedication I casually enquired as to who Robert was. She told me it was her son and that he was doing my course at Southend University, and he’d be pleased as punch to have a book signed by me.
Thing is, I don’t have a course at Southend University.
But Dragon’s Den Peter Jones does.
| About the book |
Adrian Turner, Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things, though he’d trade them all to win the heart of feisty Public Relations Executive, Paige.
Instead, he’s a disillusioned school teacher, on suspension, after an unfortunate incident with a heavy piece of computer equipment. And somebody’s foot. And Paige? Despite being his girlfriend for the past eighteen months, she still seems to have one foot out of the door and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom.
Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian. A man who in almost every way imaginable is better, taller, wealthier, hairier, and infinitely more successful than Ade.
Is Paige still in love with Sebastian? Why then did she suggest they get away for a few days? Some place romantic…
But when Adrian finds himself in Slovenia – with Sebastian in the room down the hall – he realises there’s serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…
From best-selling author Peter Jones comes this hilarious romp about love, and the things people do to keep it from getting away.
| About the author |
Peter Jones started professional life as a particularly rubbish graphic designer, followed by a stint as a mediocre petrol pump attendant. After that he got embroiled in the murky world of credit card banking. Fun times.
Nowadays, Peter spends his days writing, or talking about writing. He’s written three novels; a Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy), A Crim-Com (Crime Comedy), and a Rom-Com-Ding-Dong (a sort-of Romantic-ish Comedy, with attitude). He’s currently working on his fourth novel, which – if it’s a musical – he’ll no doubt describe as a Rom-Com-Sing-Song. (Spoiler: It isn’t).
He is also the author of three and a half popular self-help books on the subjects of happiness, staying slim and dating. If you’re overweight, lonely, or unhappy – he’s your guy.
Peter doesn’t own a large departmental store and probably isn’t the same guy you’ve seen on the TV show Dragons’ Den.