Jane Lovering is someone most people try to deny knowing. She has a series of strange and irrational beliefs, one being that Johnny Depp desires her deeply, and lives in North Yorkshire with her floating population of children, cats, dogs and hens. She writes for Choc Lit Publishing, her main output being Romantic Comedies, some of which are Paranormal in nature, and is mainly influenced by marshmallows. Her hobbies are chocolate and shouting.
Lovering was awarded British Romantic Novel of the Year 2012 for Please Don't Stop the Music. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and follow along on her blog.
As part of Jane Lovering in July, we've put your PWC questions to Jane for her honest answers.
How did you get your publisher?
Sadly, because it is very unenlightening for everyone, through my agent. Sorry. I wish I could say that I wrote a fascinating and witty submission letter to accompany my manuscript and the publishers pulled it off the slush-pile because of my obvious intelligence and sense of humour. But I didn’t and they didn’t.
How much say do you get on the cover art for your books?
Surprisingly, quite a lot. Most publishers are a bit cavalier about cover art, but Choc Lit are lucky enough to have the wonderful Berni Stevens, who actually reads the book and comes up with a design which is relevant (this quite often doesn’t happen, to the fury of authors everywhere. Oh, the tales of the blonde-haired, bird-phobic heroine who mysteriously turns up on the cover with dark hair and a budgie...). We then get mailed three or maybe four sample covers to choose from. Of course we don’t get the final word, marketing people get to say which cover they think will sell most books, but we are allowed to ‘prefer’ a cover. I’ve been lucky so far and loved all my covers – and they’ve pretty much all been my first choice. We’re allowed to ‘tweak’ too, say, if we don’t like a font or a particular colour.
Have you ever received tough criticism that turned out to be helpful advice?
Not that I remember. An ex did once say, on reading an opening chapter, that the story was ‘boring’, but I kept the chapter and got rid of him, which seemed for the best all round, really. I have had some wonderful and useful criticism that has been helpful, but I wouldn’t say any of it was ‘tough’. Unless I really do have the hide of a rhino, of course. Maybe some of it would have had more sensitive people crying in the toilets...
Have you written a "bottom drawer" novel that you love but either don't want to, or can't, get published?
I wrote some ‘practice’ novels on the way to publication – one called ‘Psy’, which was the first book I ever wrote and finished. It is, however, not in a bottom drawer, because I took it out and shot it. It was terrible. Truly, really, terrible, trust me. But I learned a lot whilst writing it – which is a problem we are seeing more and more nowadays when everyone who finishes a novel-length manuscript can put it up on Amazon – sometimes your first, second and third books are your ‘practice’ books and should never be allowed to see the light of day. In ten years’ time you look back on your original manuscript, filled as it is with ‘just’s and ‘however’s, and with long, lush and purposeless descriptions of every single thing, and wonder how you could ever have been so bad.
What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
The best things are getting to meet great people, and sometimes offer advice that they find helpful. I’m quite strange for a writer in that I am madly gregarious and love being sociable, and doing readings and signings give me the chance to meet people I otherwise would probably never encounter. The worst thing is probably the perpetual struggle for money. We are creatives! We should be lauded and fed chocolate and wine! Instead, it’s searching down the back of the sofa for 50p for a bag of chips when the van comes round.
Do you have a day job, if so, what?
I am a science technician in a local school. It is a job I am supremely unsuited for, but I’ve been doing it for ten years and no-one has told me to go home yet so I have to assume I’m doing it properly. Plus, school holidays are when I get most of my writing done.
Are you afraid of spiders?
Afraid, no. Wary of, yes. I will share a room with one, but not a pillow. I am the same with yaks.
What's your favourite pizza topping?
I don’t really like pizza, is that awful? It’s all that bready stuff underneath I’m not keen on. However, if pressed, I will eat pizza with loads of cheese, seafood and anchovies. I know anchovies are fish, by the way, but they don’t always feature on seafood pizzas. Oh, and asparagus. And sometimes fruit, although I am prepared to admit that I might be thinking of a Knickerbocker Glory there.
If you would like to know more about Jane, check out her guest blog Why Vampires?
We will be launching a writing competition to win signed copies of Jane's work later this week.