Jenny Harper Love me, love my character

jenny-cc-6-webI am utterly delighted to welcome fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association colleague Jenny Harper to my writing blog today! Jenny 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 six full length novels and a novella in The Heartlands series (set in Hailesbank), and two short stories that have appeared in anthologies. Jenny writes contemporary women’s fiction with bite – complex characters facing serious issues. Mistakes We Make, published in August 2016, is her sixth full length novel.

Welcome, Jenny. Tell us, why did you write Mistakes We Make?
Some years ago, I invented a small town in East Lothian (near Edinburgh, Scotland) called Hailesbank. I wrote four novels set here and in the nearby conservation village of Forgie, and although they were linked by place, none of these were linked through character.

However, in 2015, I decided to take a minor character (Nicola Arnott) in Face the Wind and Fly and make her the central character in a novella set partly in the familiar Forgie and partly in the quaint seaside resort of Archachon, France. I really enjoyed the experience of discovering Nicola’s back story for myself – so much so, that I decided to repeat the experience. (I’m glad I’m not the only one who wants to find out previous characters’ back stories!)

This time, I chose Molly Keir, who first appeared as the best friend of artist Alexa Gordon in People We Love. The reason for choosing Molly was that although her role in People We Love was a supporting one, she did have a key part to play – and her back story was a bit mysterious. In fact, it was nagging away at me, and I needed to know exactly why her marriage to lawyer Adam Blair had broken up, in quite a dramatic way.

It was a great experience getting to know Molly a lot better – and I had the unexpected pleasure of revisiting the quirky Lexie and her gorgeous husband and finding out what had happened to them in the meantime. (I won’t give his name here in case readers haven’t yet read People We Love!)

Why do you think Molly is like she is?
Molly is ambitious and career-driven, and her husband, Adam, was ‘conscientious’ – so they spent long hours at work and perhaps didn’t spend as much time together as they should. I won’t give away the story, but this was started to drive them apart – and the circumstances that developed forced Molly to completely rethink what was really important to her in life.

Was it her career? In Mistakes We Make she accepts a great offer of a position in London, but slowly begins to realise that perhaps other things, such as friends and family, might matter more to her. The choices she has to make aren’t easy, however …

What does she think she is like?
She’s angry and hurt, guilt-ridden and grief stricken – basically, she’s a mess. Having hidden herself away in a dead-end job for a year, she’s ready for the big time. Or so she thinks. One thing she knows for sure – she doesn’t want children. But then Lexie has a baby and suddenly she’s not so sure about that either. Besides, she’s not even in a relationship.

Maybe it’s easier to just get on with work?

But what if her friends need her? Or her ex starts seeing someone else? Or her brother gets into trouble?

Molly has a lot of thinking to do about what really does matter in her life.


So what’s Mistakes We Make about?

mistakes-we-make-updated-webSometimes 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 ageing 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.

Buying links: Amazon UK      Amazon US

Connect with Jenny:  Facebook  authorjennyharper

website     Twitter @Harper_jenny

Thank you for stopping by, Jenny!


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published in April 2016.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up for Alison’s free monthly email newsletter

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