Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. A Beginner’s Guide To Salad is her first novel.
1.What got you into writing? I can always remember scribbling down bits of stories when I was little, but I was suppose it was my love of books that inspired me to write my own. My mum bought me loads of books and I used the library regularly. When I was 9, I had a brilliant teacher who really brought stories to life and the following year, he took us to the library where a children’s author was doing a talk. It was then, aged 10, that I realised I could maybe write stories as a job when I was older.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you? I drop my children off at school in the morning and usually stop off at Asda on the way back (oh, the glamour). I then switch on my laptop and write until lunchtime (with the odd sneaky Twitter and Facebook break). After lunch, I’ll either write again or do other writing-related jobs, like designing covers, organising blog tours or catching up on emails. I usually spend one afternoon a week scheduling blog posts too.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Unfortunately, yes! I don’t have a cure (if only!), but I find setting myself small goals and focusing on those instead of the bigger picture takes the pressure off. For example, I could set myself the goal of writing 250 or 500 words, which doesn’t sound as bad as 80,000 words! Those mini goals soon add up and it feels like I’ve achieved something every time I tick one off.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I’m definitely a planner! I plan and then I plan some more, down to each individual scene in each chapter. It takes quite a while – usually around a month – but I’ve found this is what works for me.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? I self-published my book, A Beginner’s Guide To Salad. It was never in my plan to self-publish and I went down the submissions route. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out but I couldn’t bear to shelve it so I hired an editor and put it out there myself.
Self-publishing can be hard work, especially when you’re starting from scratch, but it’s rewarding too. My advice would be to definitely hire an editor and if you’re ever stuck, Google is your friend.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Hearing that people are enjoying my book has been my highlight, whether through email or on Twitter/Facebook. It’s lovely whenever somebody goes out of their way to let me know, and it really does make my day.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. This is a small extract from A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, as Ruth embarks on her very first diet. Ruth was bullied as a child due to being overweight, but she’s determined to lose weight in time for her school reunion.
I used the rest of my morning productively, researching diets on the internet. In the end I chose the Simply Salad Diet as I was a terrible cook and Simply Salad required no real cooking at all. For breakfast, I was permitted one slice of wholemeal toast and then I could eat as much tomato, cucumber, lettuce and red pepper for lunch and dinner as I wanted. Snacks, which I would definitely need to get me through the day, were carrot sticks and apples.
Slipping out of work dead on five before Kelvin could throw a last-minute task at me, I hopped off the bus early to pop to the supermarket to stock up on my salad components. I felt immense pride as I swerved past the crisps and chocolate aisle, my basket full of nutritious goodness. They called out to me, and pretty loudly too, but I said no. I may have been a duckling now, but I was determined to flourish into a swan.
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I love reading and always have a book on the go. I also like crafts and use any excuse to get the craft box out, as well as the odd attempt at baking.
9.If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? Ooh, tough question. I think I’d quite like to spend a week in Henry VIII’s court, although I’d spend the whole time fearing a beheading!
10.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers? Just thank you to everyone who has read a copy of A Beginner’s Guide To Salad. It’s bizarre (in a wonderful way) that people are actually reading my book.
You can find out more about Jennifer and her books at
or follow her on twitter: @Writer_Jenn