My Friday Read this week is the page-turning romance, Mistakes We Make by fellow Accent author, Jenny Harper. Mistakes We Make is Jenny's sixth full length novel. Love the cover, Jenny and what fabulous praise from Alexander McCall Smith.
Sometimes you have to dig deep to discover what you really need.
Marketing events manager Molly Keir doesn’t realise how much she still cares for her ex until she meets him with another woman. Her answer is to seize the chance of a glittering job in London – even though this will mean leaving behind her aging father and pregnant best friend Lexie Gordon.
Adam Blair is in the wrong job. Pressured by his father to join the family law firm, the stress of work helped break his marriage. Now Molly is moving to London, and he knows he needs to move on – but events soon overtake his best intentions.
A year ago, Caitlyn Murray quit her well-paid job to avoid becoming a whistleblower. Now she is stuck at home with her overworked mother and four needy step-siblings. Tempted by the offer of a good wage, she returns to her old firm – where her nightmare comes back to haunt her.
Molly and Adam seem to have gone too far to recover the love they once had, and when Caitlyn finds the courage to speak out, she brings all their worlds tumbling down.
Molly Keir rummaged in her handbag and extracted her glasses.
‘Yum, this looks amazing. Scallops, black pudding, Gravadlax, sole paupiettes. Wow. I didn’t realise how ravenous I was till I started reading!’
Lexie whispered, ‘Molly.’
‘Mmm? What do you think about beef?’
Molly looked up at the note of urgency. ‘What?’
Lexie’s face had turned an odd shade, and her brown eyes had a panicky look about them. She was staring over Molly’s shoulder at the doorway.
Molly shoved her glasses back onto the top of her head and swung round. A woman was walking into the room. She was Asian – Indian perhaps? – and classically beautiful. Her hair fell in thick, shiny tresses halfway down her back, her eyes were dark as treacle and dramatically outlined in black. She was wearing scarlet. Afterwards, that was what Molly remembered most – the stunning silky dress, hugging a perfect figure.
For now, the dress and the woman faded improbably into the background because there was a man behind her. Not just any man – Adam Blair.
Want to find out if Molly and Adam get back together?
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Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland, as well as a number of contemporary novels and a novella in The Heartlands series (set in the fictional town of Hailesbank), and two short stories that have appeared in anthologies.
I asked Jenny to tell us a bit more about herself
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, always. However, doing a literature degree really put me off for quite some time! I knew I’d never be Tolstoy or George Eliot, so I grew quite discouraged. I never stopped writing, though – I spent a great deal of my (paid) working life in journalism, and I had a spell in the early 1980s where I had eight or nine books published. But I never made enough money to make a living, so the journalism went on.
What do you like writing most?
I love writing contemporary novels, although I discovered that I enjoyed the freedom of the novella (shorter and quicker to write, less complex) when I wrote Sand in My Shoes last year. I’m currently researching a historical and I’m loving doing the research. I believe I could lose myself in reading about my period and never resurface! It’s Edinburgh in the Scottish Enlightenment (late 18th century). Edinburgh New Town was being built and the city was humming with ideas and discovery and art. So exciting!
It sounds fascinating, Jenny. :)
Do you have a special place for writing?
Recently I had my den refurbished and redecorated by a really talented friend, who covered my desk (which is built into a window in a dormer bay) in cream leather. Soooo luxurious! As a bonus, there are great views too, though I have to have the blinds down most of the time because the light is so strong. Peaceful … and all mine. But I write on my laptop as well – such a bonus when you’re travelling.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Primarily a plotter. However, I’m doing a bit of both in my wip. I know all the key scenes and where it’s going, but I’m letting my heroine have her head quite a bit along the way. It’s the first novel I’ve written entirely from one point of view, and I suspect that’s what’s driving the change.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
Family, not so much. Real life incidents – it’s impossible not to be influenced by what you see and hear around you. Indeed, everything we experience must feed into our work, surely? For example, I witnessed a near accident recently where a driver who wasn’t paying quite enough attention nearly hit a buggy pushed out at a crossing by a mum in a hurry who was also being a bit impatient. I could see the horror on the driver’s face as she missed by inches. What if she hadn’t? How would that moment’s inattention affect the rest of her life? Or the mother’s? What if the mother had been her best friend? Little moments can spark whole novels. I haven’t used that yet, by the way, but I still might, so don’t tell anyone!
What are your hobbies?
I’m very active, I always have been. Sadly, I have various old injuries that stop me doing some of the sports I used to enjoy, so now I power walk every morning (2 miles, 30 minutes, three steep hills) and also enjoy longer walks. I also enjoy golf – not a great walk spoiled, as someone famously said, but a great few hours in good company, with a challenge thrown in. It’s a very humbling game – just as you think you can play it, something happens to prove you’re wrong. I also play bridge, not at a high level, but quite often. It keeps my brain working and it’s very sociable.
All this takes away writing time, but things that happen also feed into experience that works its way back into my writing. Sometimes you need to get away from a plot problem in order for the solution to present itself. That’s my excuse, anyway!
What advice would you give to other writers?
Never give up.
I totally agree with that!
You can find out more about Jenny here:
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Jenny. Wishing you lots of sales.