Q&A with Jenn Matthews

Back blurb for Hooked On You:

Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?

Hi! I’m Jenn, currently enjoying life slap bang in the middle of my thirties. I’m a very glass-half-full person, bordering on annoyingly so, and I work as a health care assistant on a rehab mental health ward. I teach adults to clean, cook and remember their medications. I take people to the shops to get them used to being independent. I love my job!
I have a chronic pain condition, lingual nerve damage, which means I’m in constant discomfort and the cold weather isn’t the fun snowy time it was when I was a kid. I really do try not to let it dampen my mood though!

What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?

I’ve always written so I suppose I’ve always been a writer. I guess I considered myself an ‘author’ when I got my contract with Ylva. They really gave me the motivation to write more than just fanfic, which used to be the main outlet for my writing urges. I still write it, much to the berena fandom’s delight (Bernie and Serena from Holby City, a British medical drama on TV)!
I suppose anyone who writes for pleasure is a writer. Sometimes people who get paid to write and don’t enjoy it much are writers too. I think writers come in all shapes and forms.

Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.

I’m promoting Hooked On You, out on 6th February 2019. The blurb is attached above.
Basically a certain middle-aged couple on TV inspired me to write a romance between 2 women in their 50s. I saw a lot of desire for this type of story, mainly on twitter, and I figured it wasn’t something that had been done a lot. So I wrote it. And I’m madly passionate about crochet – it’s my therapy.
Anna’s life’s in a bit of a rut. As a teacher with two great kids and a boyfriend, she seems to have it all. Except…she’s bored as hell. Perhaps a new hobby’s in order? Something…crafty?
Divorced mother and veteran Ollie has been through the wars, emotionally and physically. To relax, she runs a quirky crochet class in her English craft shop. She can’t help but notice the attractive, feisty new student. A shame Anna’s straight as an arrow.
But somewhere between the chain stitches, doubles and trebles, Ollie and Anna form a powerful connection they never expected.
A quirky lesbian romance about love never being quite where you expect.

Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?

Buying an enormous amount of plants for my garden. And pots. And seeds. Growing 6 types of tomato in the tiniest greenhouse ever. And cheese. Eating, not growing.

Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?

Apart from my wife, of course, who is just amazing, my dog is my baby. I was there when she was conceived and I nestled on my friends sofa 6 hours after she was born (post night shift). She’s a mix and 30 kilos but is snuggly and soft and she helps when my face is by cuddling me.

What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)

I need at least 2 hours free with no distractions. I struggle to write if someone else is in the room, and I absolutely cannot have music on. I need to totally immerse myself.
I’m a massive plotter so I have a notebook with my plot laid out by my side the whole time I’m writing. I tick each scene off as I’ve done it and I make note of my increasing word count.
I do like a nice cup of coffee or tea and I usually sit on the sofa with my laptop. Sometimes my bed. It’s quite a private thing for me, the act of writing. And I always go back through things at least once before I let anyone see it.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).

I have anxiety. It’s brought on by my pain condition when it’s really bad. Most people know me as bubbly and a bit of a joker. But I’ve become a lot more introverted since 5 years ago (when I sustained the damage). It’s like there’s an extrovert trying to get out!
Oh, something funny? Right. I’ve eaten bonio dog biscuits and enjoyed them.

Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?

The first lesfic book I read recently, ie not mainstream, was Jae’s Perfect Rhythm. I’m head over heels in love with this book and it taught me so much about asexuality. It gave me the desire to write about other people marginalized by society, what I call ‘invisible people’. I wrote a blog about it.

If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?

Japan. I love Studio Ghibli films and sushi. My wife is more into sunny holidays though, so it might be a while before I can go.

And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?

The Words Shimmer – a romance between a university lecturer with control issues and a dyslexic paramedic, will be hopefully out in August.
I have the main ideas and plot for my third contemporary romance—First, Do No Harm—sorted. It’s about a newbie police officer who gets injured and ends up having to see a physiotherapist. I’m dealing with a difference in cultures—my physio is a black woman from Zimbabwe and my police officer is white and British. I intend on including a deaf character too. Another slow burn!
I also have a slightly darker romance set on a mental health ward, but it’s not something that I’m ready to publish. It’s written though. Maybe next year or the year after!

Jenn Matthews lives in England’s South West with her wife, dog, and cat. When not working full-time as a health-care assistant at a mental health rehab unit, she can be found avidly gardening, crocheting, writing, or visiting National Trust properties.
Inspired by life’s lessons and experiences, Jenn is a passionate advocate of people on the fringe of society. She hopes to explore and represent other “invisible people” with her upcoming novels.


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