Friday, 21 October 2016

Blog Tour: Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

Before I Let You In
The brand new novel from Jenny Blackhurst, the acclaimed author of the #1 Kindle bestseller HOW I LOST YOU, which Clare Mackintosh called 'utterly gripping'. A psychiatrist must figure out why her patient is seemingly more interested in her than in being treated. If you don't know who is walking through the door, how do you know if you should let them in?

You came into my office.
You were vulnerable and confused.
You said that I couldn't fix you but I was your psychiatrist, that was supposed to be my job. I should have realised that you never wanted to be fixed. That you wanted to fix me.
It felt like you thought you knew me. But that's impossible isn't it?
Now I feel vulnerable. I am constantly watching over my shoulder, I feel like I am in danger.
And all I can think is that I should never have let you in...

Author Q&A

Hello Jenny, welcome to Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom
Hi and thanks for having me!

Was there anything particular that inspired you to start your journey of being an author?
I’ve always loved reading and as a teenager I write a Sweet Valley High style series, I loved making up the characters and the plots but the problem was I could never finish anything I started. Over the years I’d start writing something and abandon it but I never once thought of writing as a serious career option for me until I was made redundant 4 weeks after the birth of my first child. The fear of being unemployed coupled with the heightened emotions of becoming a mum propelled me to pick up my pen and give it a real shot this time. And the result was How I Lost You.

What would you say is the hardest part of writing/publishing a book for you?
All of it! That sounds flippant but it’s true, it’s not an easy job. When I’m editing I long for the freedom of first drafting, when I’m facing a first draft I wish the words were down so I could get on with making them better. In fact the part I love is the planning, the ideas hop around my head and trying to pin them down is like trying to catch smoke in a net but when you do nail one to the board the feeling is incredible.

If you could only read four books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Probably four of the Harry Potters! (A woman after my own heart). Oh no wait, The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton would be in there, and Strangers by Dean Koontz. And Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. So just one Harry Potter. Do I have to choose one? Okay, Order of The Phoenix. That was a tough question.

Do you and your main character share any personality traits?
I'll be honest and say that the main thing I emphasised with Karen is her need to put on the façade of perfection and her inability to admit and own her imperfections. I find it incredibly difficult to admit when I’m struggling and will nearly never ask for help. I’m getting better at saying ‘you know, actually I’m not up to that,’ or ‘no I can’t fit that in at the moment’ but in this Pinterest perfect age we live in I think it’s hard to admit that things are tough unless we’re being self-depreciating in a hilarious ‘aren’t I rubbish’ kind of way.

If you could live in any book what book would it be?
Any of the Enid Blyton books. I’d be one of the Five Finder Outers. But then they would be the Six Finder Outers. And dog. Or I’d love to live near the Enchanted Wood, or visit the Chocolate Factory. These are not easy questions.

Where do your ideas for your books come from? Dreams? Music?
Everywhere, the news, a song on the radio, sometimes even TV (obviously not in a ‘steal that plot kind of way but in the sense that a character might stand out and you’d love to put that person in a different situation to see how they fare). My ideas usually start with a ‘what if’, although Before I Let You In started with a character – Karen – who was always in control with her picture perfect life and my ‘what if’ was what if someone arrived in her life to take that control away? What would she do? How far would she go to protect that façade?

Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write. Don't let anyone tell you how hard it is to get published - that's their experience not yours. Don’t give up. More practically and less ‘wall poster quote’ I’d say research your agents before you submit, and know your hook, your premise. If you can sum your story up in a jaw dropping line or two your agent will find it much easier to sell. Think of the bestsellers – Girl on Train witnesses a crime – can she trust her own eyes? Woman loses memory every time she goes to sleep –is she being lied to? Psychiatrist suspects her patient knows more about her and her friends than she should – who has she let in? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist dropping mine in there).

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