Today’s feature post is my Q&A with author Penelope Janu! In At The Deep End by author Penelope Janu is available now. Welcome to Talking Books Blog Penelope!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as a writer even though you are only imagining your characters, and not actually writing anything down. But make sure that one day, when the time is right, you do actually write something down …
What research do you do when you are trying to brainstorm for writing a book?
I’d like to say a lot but … not terribly much. In the early stages of writing I think up my characters, and then I work out what they’re passionate about. I find a voice for the main character. Then I make sure the character has an interesting story to tell. That’s when the research kicks in!
Can you tell us a scene that didn’t make the cut while writing In At The Deep End?
Good question! I wanted Harriet (outgoing) and Per (aloof) to dance together. But the scene was only sketched and didn’t quite fit in anywhere so I hit delete (sob!). However … in my next novel there is a dance scene between my characters early on, and it is crucial to the plot in so many ways. The scene very different to the one Harriet and Per would have had, but it’s a dance scene nonetheless!
What is the most difficult aspect of your artistic process?
I don’t plot my novels, so it is often difficult to assess ‘where I am going’ and ‘will I ever get there.’ Time is the other thing – I love writing and am so lucky that I now have the opportunity to write many days of the week.
But writing is also hard work and you have to dedicate time to it. A lot of time!
How many hours a day do you write?
I try to write for an hour early in the morning before the house wakes up. On the weekend I stretch this out to two hours. In the evening I try to write for another two hours. And whatever I can squeeze in during the day (at lunchtime if I’m at work, on public transport, wherever). It would probably be more efficient (and easier on my family) if I only wrote five days a week, but I don’t feel I get enough hours done that way. My characters clamour for attention seven days a week!
What can readers expect next from your writing?
My next novel is another lighthearted book, and the heroine has an interesting backstory, just like Harriet does. The novel is very much stand alone, but the hero is Per’s twin brother Tør, a Norwegian diplomat (he is a fantastic dancer, by the way).
About In At The Deep End by Penelope Janu
A quick-witted, contemporary romance about losing your cool.
What woman doesn’t love a real-life hero? Harriet Scott, for one. The fiercely independent daughter of famous adventurers, she grew up travelling the world on the environmental flagship The Watch. So when Harriet’s ship sinks in Antarctica and she has to be rescued by Commander Per Amundsen, an infuriatingly capable Norwegian naval officer and living breathing action hero, her world is turned upside down.
Like their namesakes, the original Scott and Amundsen who competed to reach the South Pole first, Per and Harriet have different ways of doing things. Per thinks Harriet is an accident waiting to happen; Harriet thinks Per is a control freak. But when Harriet realises that Per is the only one who can help her fund the new ship she desperately wants, she is forced to cooperate with him.
Per refuses to assist unless Harriet allows him to teach her to swim. But there is more to Harriet’s terrible fear of water than meets the eye. Can Harriet face her fears and come to terms with the trauma and loss of her past? And will she begin to appreciate that some risks are well worth taking—and that polar opposites can, in fact, attract?
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