Afternoon my lovelies. I’m been a terrible blogger and missed two stops yesterday…..so even more for you today! First up (and meant to be yesterday, sorry Rachel & Frances) is a Q&A with Frances Ive on the blog tour for Finding Jo. As always here is everything you need to know about the book first…..
about finding jo
At breaking point Jo deserts her dysfunctional family and possessive boyfriend, making an uncharacteristic escape to the Himalayas in a bid for freedom and self-knowledge. The peace she finds there helps her to unravel her turmoil, but unexpected challenges test her new-found equilibrium to the limit.
Finding Jo focuses on relationships between families, lovers and friends, and the resentment and long-held grievances that threaten to destroy them. Jo’s quest for a deeper purpose in life acts as a catalyst to her family, indicating that willingness to change and grow enables people to find happiness.
Q&A with frances ive
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I have been a journalist/writer for many years and had never expected to write fiction. I travelled a lot when I was in my 20s, spending long spells island-hopping in the Greek islands. I spent two years living in Australia, but on the way we travelled all around India. I am married with one grown-up son and two step-daughters and live in a rural village in Surrey with my husband.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have been a journalist since I was young and have written some non-fiction books, but sometimes that seems like more hard graft than inspiration. What inspired me to write Finding Jo were two things – a half day fiction writing course which gave me an idea, and a weekend of sound healing which was truly inspirational. I seemed to be in the right state of mind to write a novel. On reflection I believe my travels in India influenced this novel.
How many books have you written and published?
I have written five non-fiction books. Finding Jo is my first novel, but I have another two novels on my computer (nearly completed).
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Finding Jo is the one I have always felt strongly about, that I love and believed could help and inspire other people. It feels very personal to me.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
The character names just come to me, but for some reason in Finding Jo I used three family members’ names. The characters are nothing like them in real life.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
David would be quite fun to be on a desert island with. He is practical and would make me laugh. I travelled through India with a guy like him in my 20s, so I have had a sort of ‘desert island’ experience as we were very much on our own.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
It always used to be Thomas Hardy but in recent years I cannot cope with the desperation and misery of his books. I think he was a brilliantly descriptive writer and I loved his characters. Nowadays I am not so keen on reading too much about tragedy, so after having read them several times I may not read them again. Far from the Madding Crowd was my favourite. Brilliant characters and such a detailed story.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
Essays at school but I could never think of a suitable ending so they finished a bit quickly. They weren’t very inspired and I feel that I have honed my writing over years to reach the point I am at now.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I have been a journalist throughout my career. For quite a long time I had a small PR business and wrote copy for my clients. I decided eventually to follow a passion I have for complementary health and started writing for national UK newspapers and consumer magazines. I trained as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language 11 years ago and really enjoy doing this too.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I would go to the Greek islands. I spent much of my youth there so I could go back to the 1970s and savour the peaceful ambience.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It would be my father who died when I was 26. There would be so much to discuss with him and tell him. I would want to know what he thought about lots of things, especially about my son and my writing career.
What are your favourite things to do?
Playing tennis, doing yoga, chatting with friends, reading good books, watching good films and TV series, listening to music, seeing our family.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
There isn’t one outstanding thing, but I do sometimes find it odd that I can be quite psychic. I might think of someone I haven’t spoken to for ages and my phone rings and it’s them. I occasionally dream about people or events and find out that that person is having big problems, or that what I dreamt about happens afterwards.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
That’s tough because I have become so much better as I have grown older. Always write when you feel it’s the right time, don’t persist if it’s not the right time for you. If you have to meet a deadline just make yourself get on with it, and get something down on paper/computer that you can go back to and improve it on a better day.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Recently I have read The Beekeeper of Aleppo and feel that people might understand the hardship refugees go through better if they read it.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Finding Jo focuses on relationships between families, lovers and friends, and the resentment and long-held grievances that threaten to destroy them. Jo feels desperate to get away from her dysfunctional family and possessive boyfriend and goes away without telling anyone to find peace of mind in a retreat in the Himalayas. Her quest for a deeper purpose in life acts as a catalyst to her family, indicating that willingness to change and grow enables people to find happiness.
follow the tour
Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the tour, and to Frances for coming and chatting with us!
I’ll be back again soon!