It is my pleasure to welcome Jenn J. McLeod to my blog and share a little about herself. Noting her novels, I assumed that Jenn would have seen many places around Australia as she research them for her novels. So, I asked her to share her ‘4 top spots’. Here’s her response…
Jenn’s Writing On The Road
Writing on the road sounds kind of illegal, like graffiti. I mean, of course, I’m writing my novels (on a laptop) while travelling the country in a caravan.
Tien, you asked me about my “4 top spots on any road trip & why.”
Well, I bet you weren’t expecting this reply, but here we go:
My 4 top spots as I trip around the country are:
- a small town library
- a small town bookshop (especially if it has a coffee machine!)
- a small town book club (especially if it’s held in a café)
- a small town pub
Now for the ‘Why’.
I joke that my #WriteRoundOz odyssey is because I’ve run out of family and friends to fictionalise, but what I’m really doing (it’s early days) is incorporating small towns and regions that don’t see a lot of author activity.
Take Casino in the north (and a little west) of NSW, for example, where I spent six weeks over Christmas. What a friendly town and such a great experience when I dropped by the local library to say “Hi.”
Here’s how that went:
I walked up to the desk and asked the librarian, “Do you have any Jenn J McLeod books?”
“Let me check for you,” she replied with a smile. Then, her smile fading, promptly added. “We do. We have both House for all Seasons and Simmering Season, but I’m afraid they are all out on loan.”
She greeted me so warmly and introduced the Assistant Manager and other staff, who agreed the locals might enjoy an in-person author event.
Fast forward to the end of January . . .
I spent THE best two hours talking to book loving locals about writing and publishing. I met a couple of budding authors and those present were delighted when I shared things about Season of Shadow and Light with them all.
Locals and librarians said my being there made them feel very special, and yet I was the one feeling special, especially when I saw the amazing display on the day of my chat. (Closest I’ve come to having my name up in lights!)
The reason for this travel tale is . . .
It’s that wonderful, warm, country welcome and connection I am hoping to experience in libraries, bookshops and book clubs around the country. I already have a couple of book clubs in QLD and WA keen for me to “let them know when I’m passing through town.”
I am slowly settling into this gypsy life—of having no home, no destination and no deadlines (other than writing ones, so I can get my next book written on time). This is my life now so I’ll take my time and savour every wonderful season this country has to offer.
Maybe in the comments you can tell me the best season to visit YOUR town/city. Maybe you can tell me why . . . and also tell me if you have a library . . . a book club . . . a pub! ;)
I know, as I go, I’m going to find amazing characters. (Some people have already been written into the next book.) Authenticity is something publishers look for from their authors and readers demand it. I can’t think of a better way to maintain author authenticity than to become part of a community.
That’s where #4 on my list comes in, of course.
All work and no play would make Jenn’s characters far too cliché. (I also like the occasional rhyme.) So, going to the pub is now official research.
Maybe pub research should be higher on that list. Here I am hangin’ at Port Broughton (SA) and reading at Ulmarra country pub in Northern NSW. Life doesn’t get much better than beer and books!
Please join me as I #WriteRoundOz.
You can connect with Jenn on: