Name: Jen Silver
Age: Not known
Where are you from: West Yorkshire, England
A little about your self `ie your education, family life, etc:
Although I was born in the UK, my parents emigrated to Canada when I was young. I grew up in Southern Ontario, but moved back to the UK permanently in 1986. After graduating from high school I went to a local community college and did a course in Radio and TV – what would now be called Media and Communications. I worked in radio stations in both Canada and England as a copywriter – with a brief stint in TV. I preferred radio, though, as there was more scope for imagination – especially as this was long before the digital age.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve just signed a contract with my publisher for a third novel. It’s called ‘The Circle Dance’ and is now in the beta editing stage.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As soon as I learned to form letters…I always had stories in my head. I was a keen reader from an early age and was fortunate to live in a household that had more books than a lot of small libraries.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first novel was published, which was only last year. But I still have doubts that anyone will consider me a ‘real’ writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always written stories, which I hadn’t thought would ever be read by anyone else. When I ‘retired’ from work two years ago, I started to think about maybe trying to get published.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know if it has a name. But I tend to write in scenes, sort of like a film script – so that the reader gets different points of view.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The titles of my first two published books – ‘Starting Over’ and ‘Arc Over Time’ – came from songs I was listening to by a singer/songwriter duo – Chris While and Julie Matthews. Their songs are called Starting All Over and Bridge Over Time. I was listening to their albums a lot while I was writing both novels. And these two songs particularly resonated in the stories. The title of the next book, ‘The Circle Dance’, grew more out of some research on stone circles but in the story it’s become a metaphor for the changes in the characters’ relationships.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m writing romantic fiction. So, the message would be not to give up on love.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Descriptions of the countryside, the location of the farm, is based on the area where I live. The cover of the first book, ‘Starting Over’, is a photo I took while I was writing the story. I used it as a desktop background during that time, so the scenery was always in my mind. An archaeology dig takes place at the farm and in what my partner considers extreme research, I have now taken part in two volunteer excavation sessions at Vindolanda near Hadrian’s wall. Apart from that, it’s a romance, so mainly fiction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are elements from my life and other people’s but it is all fictionalised.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve always been an avid reader so it is hard to pin it down. Writers I admire include: Ursula K LeGuin, Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing, William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde. I still have, and re-read, many of the books from my childhood – the Narnia Chronicles, Swallows and Amazons, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Wind in the Willows, The Eagle of the Ninth. Plus I have quite a number of books that deal with the Arthurian legend. From the age of ten, the most read book I still have is Le Morte d’Arthur.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘The Chronicles of St Mary’s’ by Jodi Taylor – stories of time travel with a difference – lots of humour mixed in with adventures in the past and future, some with tragic consequences.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Because of the genre I write in, I’m always discovering new authors. I recently attended a conference in New Orleans; run by the Golden Crown Literary Society where I met a number of authors, some with newly published books. Not mentioning any names, as I don’t want to leave anyone out, but let’s just say the world of lesbian fiction is full of talented writers and is emerging from the dark ages of being a marginalised genre.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve just started the editing stage of ‘The Circle Dance’, which is due out in February 2016. And I’m halfway into a new story that I hope to finish it in the next few months. My publisher, Affinity eBook Press, is bringing out a holiday anthology and I’ve contributed a story to that. So, along with spending time doing interviews like this and keeping up with Facebook and Twitter, this writing lark keeps me pretty busy.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
If it can be called an entity, then I guess it would be Facebook. There is a fantastic community of readers, writers and publishers on there that I now have a connection with. And also sites like yours, Fiona – offering writers an opportunity to reach a wider audience – is another form of support. So, thank you.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m supposedly ‘retired’ and writing was just going to be something to keep me occupied, off the streets. But I find it’s taking up most of my time, like a real job. As long as people want to read my books and my publisher wants to keep publishing them, then I guess it’s a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It’s at the editing stage, so there may be some tweaks here and there but usually by the time I’ve submitted a book, that’s pretty much it. Suggestions from beta readers or editors can help, particularly to encourage me to clarify things that are clear in my mind but may not have made it onto the page.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing. English was my favourite subject in school and having access to so many books at home I had a good grounding in most of the ‘classics’ from an early age.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As the publication of the next book is five months off, I feel it is still a work in progress. My second novel ‘Arc Over Time’ came out in May and this is the back of the book blurb:
Dr Kathryn Moss has job offers flowing in after her exciting archaeological discoveries at Starling Hill the previous year. Now she has choices to make that could jeopardise her relationship with Denise Sullivan, the fiery journalist, who has become her lover.
For Denise the choice seems obvious. She thinks they have moved beyond the casual sex stage to something more like a true relationship. However, she’s not sure how to handle Kathryn’s continuing infatuation with Ellie Winters.
Ellie’s new career as a promising artist proves to be a catalyst for the simmering tensions in relations between her wife Robin, Kathryn, and Denise.
Will Denise persevere in her pursuit of the reluctant professor? Does Ellie have anything to fear from Kathryn’s fascination with her art, or is there another motive behind the professor’s obsessive interest?
This wonderful romantic continuation with the characters from Starting Over ties up loose ends. But the question is—does everyone have a happy ending? A must read.
At the end of Chapter One, all seems to be well with Kathryn and Den. They’ve kissed and made up and had a weekend of great sex before Kathryn heads back up north. However, in Chapter Two, a week has passed and Den is feeling frustrated as she hasn’t had so much as a text message from her lover and she isn’t answering her phone calls.
So, it seems like a night out on the town might be a good idea…or not:
Excerpt from Chapter Two:
Den looked around the sparsely furnished room. No books anywhere. What had she let herself in for? The idea of a casual shag with this woman had seemed like a good idea an hour ago when they were dancing at the club.
A few beers, music, flashing lights, it hadn’t taken much to get in the mood, trying to recapture the carefree self who had revelled in nights like this. That was before she met Kathryn. And now, a Friday night, five days since Kathryn left on the early morning train, and she’d only had one short text from her. Den had tried to ring her but always got the answering service. She’d left messages, but nothing. It was as if the Saturday and Sunday before hadn’t happened.
Now, in this stranger’s house, hearing the toilet flush, the initial flash of desire left as quickly as it had appeared. She knew she couldn’t do this; it would just be going through the motions. Not fair to Lindy or Lucy, or whatever her name was. Shit.
A vision emerged from the bathroom. The woman looked pretty hot, stripped down to her underwear. A lacy black bra barely containing full, rounded breasts, and skimpy panties that covered even less of her mound of luscious-looking dark curls. Den could feel her body responding. She licked her lips.
“Look, I’m sorry, Lindy. But I can’t do this.”
“It’s Libby. What’s the matter, babe? Don’t you like what you see?” she arched her back provocatively.
“Sure. I like it a lot. But I have to go.” Den backed towards the door.
“You’re fucked up! You know that?” Libby’s full bottom lip trembled.
“Yeah, I know.” There was no graceful way to make her exit. “Maybe some other time. Bye.”
She stumbled out onto the street, not even sure where she was. They’d been glued to each other’s lips in the taxi ride from the club. Pulling out her phone, she clicked onto the map. Google would help her out.
Walking to the end of the road, she found her location before the phone app did. It wasn’t far from Henry’s. Christ, I hope I’m not going to run into Libby in one of my locals any time soon.
How do things work out for Den and Kathryn? Well, it’s all in the book. Although this is a sequel to my debut novel, Starting Over, I’m pleased that several reviewers have commented that it can be read as a stand-alone story.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Describing clothes – as I have absolutely no idea on fashions.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This changes when I discover books I haven’t read before. One of my recent favourites is Jonathan Stroud. He wrote a series of books about a young magician (definitely not in Harry Potter mode, though) who calls up a djinni from the distant past. The books are supposedly for children but I find them very mature in their historical scope and also the humour in the interaction between the boy and the mischievous djinni, Bartimaeus.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
In terms of research, I’ve gone to Northumberland twice, for the aforementioned digs. A trip to Durham, which turned out to be fortuitous as the museum I had mentioned in ‘Arc Over Time’, had closed down. This year I’ve been to the GCLS Conference in New Orleans and in a few weeks I’m going to Manchester (which isn’t very far away) to do a reading at the inaugural Lesbian Authors Festival being held at the Hideaway Café. There are five other authors taking part, so that will be fun.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher, Affinity eBook Press, has an in-house design team – Irish Dragon Designs. They’ve done a great job on the covers, I think. Both are very representative of scenes and characters in the books.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book? Finding out what happens next, as I’m writing. So far I’ve started the books with a couple of characters and a situation and taken it from there. It gets a bit hairy around Chapter 3 when I don’t know where it’s going. But the characters usually have a good idea, so we get there in the end.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Sometimes in the middle of the story – that’s around thirty thousand words for me – I start having doubts about where it’s going and whether anyone will want to read it. Sitting down in front of a blank page isn’t much fun when you’re at that stage. But I have learned to keep writing even if it ends up being discarded in the editing process.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m not sure I have enough experience to be dishing out advice. The main thing is to read and to keep writing…and believing that you can do it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for taking the chance on a new writer. And if you liked the book(s), please leave a review on Amazon and/or tell all your friends about it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
As that is a very long time ago, I’m not sure. But possibly the first book I read on my own would have been ‘The House at Pooh Corner.’
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A lot of things make me laugh. What makes me cry is easier to answer…mistreatment of humans and animals, of which unfortunately there seems to be no end.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Gillian Anderson as she is very sexy – especially when she was in uniform in The Fall.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
There won’t be a headstone, as I wish to be cremated.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Golf, archery and reading.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Some crime series – as long as they are not too gory – Miss Marple, Midsomer Murders, Vera, New Tricks. We don’t watch a lot of films. The last one we watched was the Shaun the Sheep movie.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chicken fajitas / Green / Folk and country – mainly singer/songwriters – songs that tell a story.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I think, being a full time archaeologist specialising in Roman Britain.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My blog can be found at https://jenjsilver.wordpress.com
Page on my publisher’s website: http://affinityebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=12_61&zenid=69c35ed6009bcd8936260280b002736f
List of books/stories and where to get them: http://www.lesbianauthorsguild.com/#!jennifer-silver/c14vq