Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Jill Mansell!!

Please give a warm Casa welcome to International Bestselling women’s fiction (and fellow Sourcebooks) author, Jill Mansell—who has something to gripe about…

Hello, I'm going to go off-topic and have a grumble about the T word! Last week I was clearing out the spare room and came across a screenplay I'd written 15 years ago. Now, nothing ever came of it but I absolutely loved writing it at the time and thought the premise was the most interesting I'd ever come up with. Basically, when I'm working on a book I always think it's dreadful, but I thought my screenplay was by far the best thing I'd ever written.

So when I found it again, I was thrilled. Surely all I had to do now was give it a few tweaks, make it even better, then I could start sending it out again! And, of course, start choosing my Oscars dress...

So I sat down to read my magnificent screenplay and realised within the space of a few minutes that it was never going to happen, thanks to the thing I'm here grumbling about.

Because the T word is... Technology. Wonderful in so many ways, but not so much when it comes to plots. For those of us who write contemporary fiction, for either the page or the screen, technology can in fact be a royal pain in the bottom.

In this particular case, the central mystery underpinning pretty much the entire plot of my screenplay could nowadays be sold in 10 seconds flat, thanks to the invention of a little thing called the Internet.

Because that's the drawback of the Internet. It knows everything. It's a right clever clogs in fact. And the kind of books I write tend to rely quite heavily on certain fictional characters not knowing vital information about other characters. Secrets are becoming harder and harder to keep. Consequently, coming up with interesting plot-lines is becoming equally tricky. Finding long-lost relatives used to be all but impossible in the good old days. Now a few clicks on your computer can zap them up onto your screen within seconds.

As a writer I'm starting to feel the walls closing in as the storyline options decrease. Is it just me or are other novelists experiencing this same problem?

… And the answer appears to be yes! (I just asked them on Twitter – shush, I know, technology can be useful in some ways!)

Oh well, there appears to be only one way to get round it. I'm just going to have to start writing historicals... What do you think of writing in an age where things are so readily available? Does it make things harder, or easier?

Jill’s latest US contemporary women’s fiction novel, Staying at Daisy’s, is now in US stores. Thanks again to Jill for stopping by!!


Life is Easy, It’s Men She’ll NEVER Figure Out…

When hotel manager Daisy MacLean meets cocky sports hero, Dev Tzack, it’s a now brainier—stay away. He is arrogant and sarcastic—but also incredibly sexy. Daisy tries her best to steer clear of him, yet soon comes to realize he is the one guest she can’t bear to see leave. Thens he learns a devastating truth: most peope are not who they seem to be, for better or worse…


Jill Mansell is the author of over 20 women’s fiction novels, with over 4 million books sold worldwide. Compared to Jilly Cooper and Jane Green, Jill currently lives in Bristol, England, with her partner and their children, and writes full time. Actually that’s not true; she watches TV, eats gum drops, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet marveling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she write. For more information, please visit


  1. Can we try this one again? I'm nearsighted and I maxed the magnification on my browser and that's still impossibly tiny lettering. In any case, welcome, Jill.

  2. There you go, Virginia. Fixed it!

    Timing is everything, isn't it, Jill? But technology can come to the rescue sometimes. I once wrote a story where the pivotal point was the fact that the heroine was carrying her cell phone. Just a few years ago, that wouldn't have been possible. Funny how things change....

  3. Hi Jill--I loved your blog post and I agree with you. The internet certainly does take away some of the mystery. We can log on and within minutes find out just about anything. One of the reasons I love to write paranormal romance is the flexibility and freedom it provides. Your book looks great and by the way....I'm jealous of the view you have from your house ;)

  4. I'll bring the brownies and my fancy tea maker if I can sit in your window with the view. I have written historicals and contemps...both have their own speedbumps. Got to know if flyswats were invented before 1919 if you're going to use them to scratch under a leg cast...thank goodness for Internet that time! However, in contemp's I'd best get things right or my readers tell me all about it, in enough detail that they could write a book! LOL

  5. I'm not a writer but I'm sure that technology has both helped and hindered the writing
    I think that you can probably still use the same storyoption but perhaps need to look at it from a different angle...okay so I can look up a long lost relative and find them...the the mystery becomes why they are long lost- was there a family fight/squable or some kind of secret that split the family- is finding this person worth what I'm risking in exchange?
    It will make writers be a little more creative perhaps but in the long run .....I think we readers win both ways:)

  6. Welcome to the blog, Jill! Now I'm wondering if you were reading my mind Monday night! My friend and I were enjoying a Guinness right before going next door so I could do a reading and we noticed we were the only ones chatting at the bar. Everyone else right on down the bar had phone in hand texting. I realized the first time I was in a bar cell phones didn't exist! YIKES!

    Technology is not my friend, as you've noted it's so hard to come up with plots for contemporary works without including some sort of technology. It's hard for me to keep up between my day job, my family, my mom and writing my next book!

    I do so approve of your sideline though, gathering inspiration doing research while watching the rugby players practice!

    I'm adding your book to my TBP pile, congrats on the release!

  7. <>

    Very interesting. I find this sometimes, too, especially when a big concept book comes along and is hugely popular, and then suddenly anything you write that is within the realm of this same concept will be compared to it or seen as inferior. It especially is frustrating. I think if you happened to write your book before the 'big book' came out.

    Like you, i think sometimes the best thing to do is send creativity in a different direction and try writing something different until the fervor dies down a bit.

    Have a great week!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  8. Sorry, for some reason the passage I quoted from your post didn't show up. This is what I was referring to in the above comment:

    "As a writer I'm starting to feel the walls closing in as the storyline options decrease. Is it just me or are other novelists experiencing this same problem?… And the answer appears to be yes!"

  9. Jill, I love your books! I'm all squealy and excited to be talking to you (via technology, of course). I'm in luck with my books, because cell phones and internet don't work half the time in the Wyoming countryside anyway! We're "roaming" all the time out here.
    And by the way, that is the best author bio EVER. Displacement - been there!

  10. ameliagrey@comcast.netMarch 10, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Cute, cute cover, Jill! I love writing in historical times. Give it a try. The internet can help you do the research.


  11. Technology definitely does make contemp plots more difficult, especially if you have a protagonist who is really tech-savvy and you're not. I think I'll stick to historicals.

  12. One of those things that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't I suppose. But those are the obsticles for you suffering artists!! Just know that we truly enjoy all your hard work.

    And I so LOVE your cover! It's too cute. Can't wait to learn more about your story.

  13. Oh no, just sent a really long comment and it failed to post and has now disappeared! Aaaaargh!

  14. Will try again. Swings and roundabouts, basically, with technology. Love it when it's on my side! Joanne, good point about Wyoming and hello!
    Many thanks for the warm welcome and lovely comments about my covers and biog. I shall have to take some sneaky photos of the sportsmen from my bedroom window...
    Jill xx

  15. Historicals are my friend! And if I get some bit of history wrong I just shrug and say, "It's fiction!" Glad you could join us today!

  16. This is why I write mostly paranormal and fantasy. No pesky technology to worry about in the world of demons, elves and faeries. Then again, I do enjoy blowing up a computer or two in some of my books.

  17. Sorry I'm late posting. This was great, Jill. I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.

  18. Rugby players in your back yard? I'm surprised you get any writing done. ;} Seriously, great to read more about you, Jill. And for me, I love the techno age...makes research so much easier.