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Relax and Read Book Club interview, with author Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan author - Read and Relax book club

Single mum, Zoe, is struggling. Trying to cope by herself in London. Hari, her gorgeous little boy is perfect in every way - except for the fact that he just doesn’t speak, at all. When her landlord raises the rent on her flat, Zoe doesn’t know where to turn. Then Hari’s aunt suggests Zoe could move to Scotland to help run a bookshop. Going from the lonely city to a small village in the Highlands could be the change Zoe and Hari desperately need… The Bookshop on the Shore is author Jenny Colgan’s latest book, and April’s Relax and Read Book Club recommendation, read, reviewed and approved by our book club members! Here, we speak to Jenny Colgan herself about reading, writing and her own favourite books…

Does writing energise or exhaust you? 

Neither of those two things. It takes me somewhere else - just completely out of wherever I am or whatever else is going on in my life. 

Where is your favourite place to write?

A coffee shop, because when I hit my word count I get a sandwich.

This is a lovely read which will pull on your heart strings but at the same time make you smile. A special mention has to be for Scotland as it is portrayed beautifully in this book. You can tell the author lives there! From the haar on the loch to the beautiful autumnal sunshine, it has made me want to take my next UK holiday up in the highlands.

– Colette, Hull

Which other authors are you friends with?

Quite a few! We do festivals together and things like that, and it’s always so much fun. Except it was sad one - one of my sons is a huge Rick Riordan fan and said: “you know lots of writers don’t you?”. I was like, “Sure!”, and he said: “I’d love to get Rick Riordan’s autograph”. I had to confess I didn’t know him at all; he’s American. So that is my goal now: to make friends with Rick Riordan. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Just the same as you’d tell anyone: don’t be scared, write what you want to write, and get it in on time. 

What did you do with your first advance?

I booked a round the world ticket. Immediately. Flew off the next day, went to LA, saw my brother in New Zealand. It was amazing. 

What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

I don’t think many people read Robertson Davies these days, which is a shame because I think he’s wonderful. The Salterton Trilogy is terrific. 

What did you edit out of this book?

I changed the end, but I’m not telling you how!

This is the story about a young woman facing new challenges and how she eventually learns to love her new life. An excellent read!

Anne, London

How do you select the names of your characters?

Oh names are so so difficult. When I’m signing I am always on the look out for good names. 

Jenny Colgan author - Read and Relax book club

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

In my dream world, I’d be a cartoonist. In reality I’d probably be a really, really crap theatre administrator. 

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I never read my book reviews, I’m not emotionally resilient enough and there is nothing I can change about a book that’s already out. 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

All the time. Before Doctor Who came back I used to pepper them with secret Doctor Who references. Now I have a couple of characters who appear in every single book and there’s little crossovers here and there but you’d have to REALLY be a careful reader to spot them!

What is your favourite childhood book?

Little Women I loved; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too but I think the best was probably Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 

BUY THE BOOK’s Relax and Read Book Club gives you the chance to discover new books, learn about the authors, share your opinions and really escape into an inspiring world of literature. Each month we select five customers from a self-nominated pool, to read and review a newly released or soon-to-be released book, spanning all genres. You then have six weeks to read the book before writing reviews that are published here on the Hot Tub blog, and shared with club members via a dedicated newsletter. Interested in joining? Follow the link below.


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