Friday, March 21, 2014

Jennifer Robson

In Jennifer Robson's first novel, Somewhere in France, Lilly—a young, British aristocrat—is thrown into the heart of the First World War after chasing her independence and applying to serve as an ambulance driver.

From the author's Q & A with Kelly Gallucci for Bookish:

Bookish: On your website you say it’s been nearly seven years since you first “dreamed of Lilly and her journey through the war.” As a debut novelist, can you share with us some of the successes and challenges on your own journey from conception to publication?

Jennifer Robson: When I first starting writing in earnest, my youngest child was an infant—she’s now about to turn seven—and I turned to it as a way of reassuring myself that I was still a creative person and I was still intellectually engaged with the world. It was difficult to find the time to write, as I’m sure is the case with any endeavor when you’re a parent with small children, but I persevered and eventually had a reasonably polished manuscript.

Then I hit a wall. None of the agents or publishers I approached were interested. Again and again I was told, very politely of course, that no one was interested in reading about the First World War. That is, no one was interested—until Downton Abbey. A dear friend persuaded me to unearth my manuscript from the depths of my hard drive and try again, and thank goodness I listened to her. I sent it out to a handful of agents and received an offer of representation almost immediately. I should add that my literary agent, Kevan Lyon, was not one of the people I approached the first time around, and from time to time I wonder what would have happened if I’d contacted her a few years earlier. I’m not complaining, though—I’m delighted with the way things have turned out!

Bookish: It’s said that fans of Downton Abbey will adore this novel. Are you a fan of the show? Do you have a favorite character?

JR: I am...[read on]
Learn more about Somewhere in France and visit Jennifer Robson's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Robson & Ellie.

--Marshal Zeringue