Today we feature author Jennie Jones, discussing her fabulous Swallow’s Fall series. Jennie has created some of the most endearing, heartfelt characters in each of her books this reader has read 🙂 All of the books are strong stories in their own right and a series that comes full circle for many of its characters it contains that was a delight to read from start to finish 😀
Welcome to Talking Books Blog Jennie 🙂
It’s wonderful to be here! Visiting book blogs is just like being in a book shop – and we get to chat and we talk about books, and books, and more books without the shopkeeper telling us to buy something or get out. J
What was your inspiration for writing the Swallow’s Fall series?
A scene. The very first scene of the first book to be exact. I had Sammy Walker trip over a 300lb pig on her way into the local vet’s (she couldn’t see it because she charges through the door holding her cat cage). She falls into the arms of Dr. Ethan Granger – the vet. I admit I had no idea where the story was going to go after this, but I decided that if I wanted Sammy to be under scrutiny, I’d better make it a small town and there must be gossipmongers. As the story progressed, I created Swallow’s Fall with less than 100 residents, and I set it in the Snowy Mountains. (I also had no idea I’d be writing a series at this point either, so Swallow’s Fall township progresses with each book in the series.)
Your Swallow’s Fall series has been some of the most phenomenal reading from the first installment, The House On Burra Burra Lane, right through to your latest release, The House At The End Of The Street. Which of your characters within the series was the most difficult to write?
Firstly, thank you!
They’re all very individual characters to me, and each is hard to write when you first start the story because you don’t know who they’re going to be (I don’t plot very much, I prefer to keep writing and see what happens). But mostly, the character will first appear when something comes into my head and I write down some dialogue or a bit of backstory for them. They develop as personalities fairly quickly. After that it’s a case of fleshing them out more and more until you really get to understand what makes them tick. That can take a while, and perhaps it doesn’t fully happen until I’m half way through the story. Then I have to go back and make sure I’ve got him/her just right at the start of the story, and probably have to change bits and pieces too. So it’s all quite a difficult process really. You have to persevere.
What was the most challenging scene in the series to write?
The first chapters. Always the first chapters. Every book. I do draft after draft after draft before I come even close to finalising the first chapter of a book. Funnily enough, they’re the easiest for me to write when the story comes into my head, but that first written draft of chapter one is more like a map for what might happen in the storyline and to the characters (and what might have happened before the book starts). So in fact, they’re a rough outline for the book – which of course you can’t have all in the first chapter, so back I go time and again to re-write. (It’s exhausting.)
What are your three favourite books you have read and why?
Rising Tides, Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts (I fell in love with Nora Roberts when I read this book, let alone the hero…)
Tied to the Track by Sara Donati. The book blew me away. Set in the Deep South, it’s a contemporary tale of once-were-lovers to lovers-again. I adored it, and learned so much from Sara Donati. She’s a fabulous writer.
Jane Eyre. Read time and again. I love this book. I will love it forever.
What inspired you to become an author?
It wasn’t on the cards at all, although I did love reading romance from an early age, and I did pen a couple of things in my youth and then again in my early twenties, but I had no intention of going anywhere with it. I was a professional actor, and that was my life and my love. But I gave that up after moving from the UK to Australia with my husband, and when our daughter got to the age when she no longer needed me by her side 24/7 (and didn’t want me there!). I needed something to do other than go to work in an office (which had no windows). I also needed to be artistic again, so I got out a manuscript I’d written for Mills & Boon in my twenties, and set to work. Once the bug got me, I was snared. I spent four years learning how to do this difficult thing called writing fiction before my debut novel The House on Burra Burra Lane (with the 300lb pig and Sammy with her cat cage) hit the digital shelves. Then Harlequin sent it to print – which was entirely unexpected and totally thrilling.
What are you currently working on?
I’m waiting for edits to come in on a small-town/rural anthology I’ve written with two other authors which will be out next year. In the meantime, I’ve almost finished another full-length rural story – this one with a touch of romantic suspense about it, but again it’s set in a small remote township and the romance is the main focus. I’ve also written a modern-day romantic comedy and I’ve got two series planned. One is Ghost Town Girls of the Outback, and the other is Daughters of Swallow’s Fall (where we’ll follow the adventures of the heart for the daughters of the heroines and heroes from the first Swallow’s Fall series). I love writing small town stories, so I’m really excited about both these series.
Thank you for your time Jennie 🙂
Totally my pleasure, thank you for having me.
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About The House At The End Of The Street
Gemma Munroe loves hard, laughs hard and plays hard. Or at least she did before today. Her dream is finally within her grasp – owning the toy shop in Swallow’s Fall and establishing herself permanently. Only one person has the power to get in her way: Josh Rutherford – the love of her life who kissed her and left her ten years ago is coming home.
Josh will be in town for five days. Only five days. He’ll finally sever the ties to a youth filled with poverty by selling the properties that are now his. He’s returning healthy, wealthy and emotionally stable, and then he’ll leave forever. It’s all in the plan. Everything…except for Gem. He never forgot her, but he definitely forgot the effect she has on him. Now she’s got problems, and he can’t seem to leave without trying to help her solve them.
The town itself also has its own plans: Gemma and Josh are thrown together in Speed-Date fiascos, kissing experiments, bar fights and an issue with the North Star – Josh’s compass and the road to his next adventure. Seven weeks later Josh is still in town. Gem has to get through her best friends’ wedding and Josh has to get over Gem. Because he’s not staying. Is he?
The Swallow’s Fall Series
A dilapidated house, a city girl looking for a tree change, and a rugged vet with a past. Just another day in rural Australia…
Ethan and Sam both have secrets that neither is willing to share…But in a town like Swallow’s Fall, nothing can be hidden forever.
Just ten days after her fresh start in the isolated Snowy Mountains, Samantha Walker trips over a three hundred pound pig and lands in the arms of Dr. Ethan Granger — and the firing line for gossip. It was hardly a ‘date’ but sparks of the sensual kind are difficult to smother in a community of only 87 people. Now there’s a bet running on how long she’ll stay and what she’ll get up to while she’s in town.
Ethan has his own issues — Sammy’s presence in his childhood home brings with it painful recollections of family scandals and a bad-boy youth. When the gossip around them heightens, his life is suddenly a deck of cards spread on the table for all to see. Then Sammy’s past catches up with her… and it looks like all bets are off.
Kate Singleton has twelve days to find herself. With Christmas Day and her thirtieth birthday approaching, the best thing a city-chic fashion designer who no longer has a raison d’etre can do is nullify herself in the country. With Chardonnay.
When trouble strikes, the country presents her with Jamie Knight — a gallant but uncommunicative He-Man who drives an excavator and arrives to rescue Kate, her shoes and her case of Chardonnay from a boggy field.
The adventure should be over — nothing but a good story to tell to her friends in the city — but her saviour turns out to also be an unexpected roommate, the new owner of Silver Bells House, Kate’s holiday home.
Forced together and dragged into the community Christmas spirit of the town, Kate and Jamie flounder their way through mistletoe, kissing games, carolling choirs, and a bone-deep yearning for community and acceptance.
Can the enchanting Silver Bells House and the holidays bind them together? Or will love get lost on Highway B23 back to the city?
The mysterious death of her mother has left Charlotte Simmons on edge and off-balance for too long. The only way to move forward is to get answers, and those answers can only be found in one place. So Charlotte buys a Bed & Breakfast establishment in Swallow’s Falls, a small town in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, as a ploy to get close to the man who might have the answers. She’ll jazz up the old place, flip it, get her answers, and be gone in two-months – max.
What she doesn’t count on is opposition from the dogmatic and slightly eccentric members of the town council, and the hotshot owner of Kookaburra’s Bar & Grill and his two-hundred-squats-a-day physique whose mouth offers to act as mediator, but his eyes promise something so much more.
Easy-going Daniel Bradford knows progress is slow in Swallow’s Fall. He’s finally about to put his plans into place to upgrade the hotel when a prim-and-proper, citified redhead blows into town, putting everyone on edge. The only way to contain the trouble she’s about to cause is to contain her – but he knows trouble when he sees it, and soon it becomes very clear that there’s absolutely nothing containable about Charlotte, or the way he feels about her.
Fatalistic, long divorced and doing her best to give her children a good life, Lily works two jobs in her hometown of Swallow’s Fall, saving every spare cent for the day she can lease the empty corner shop on Main Street. She longs to open it as Turnaround Treasures, a second-hand shop bursting with rescued country curios-but there aren’t enough spare cents and Lily’s dream is slipping away.
Ex-Navy diver Nick Barton arrived in Swallow’s Fall a year ago to quietly reunite himself with civvy life. Recognising an instant attraction to Lily, Nick backed away fast. Given his track record of an unhappy ex-wife and the baggage that comes with a Special Forces career, Nick doesn’t think he stands a chance with shy, reserved Lily. He can’t be with her – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see her.
Lily has spent her whole life cheerfully giving to others. When Nick offers her the ultimate chance for a turnaround, will Lily’s fear of being ‘second hand’ ruin the opportunity of forever love for both of them?