FYI: This is My 2nd Blog

Hi there! You're here at my second blog where I do interviews and book reviews.

In case you're looking for my 1st blog, where I share my IWSG posts and other musings, just go to "The Musings of a Hopeful & Pecunious Wordsmith, SittieCates".

Monday, November 11, 2013

SittieCates Interviews Bestselling Author Jenny Colgan

(a.k.a. J.T. Colgan and Jane Beaton)
Award Winning British Chick-Lit Author (of Romantic Comedies) & SciFi Novelist

SittieCates: Hello, Jenny Colgan! Glad to have you here at my blog.

Jenny Colgan: Lovely to be here!

SittieCates: Thank you for accepting my request for an Author Interview with you. I'm a huge fan of yours!

For the first question, I’ve gathered that you were a cartoonist and a stand-up comic before. What inspired you to move to a different path, to write novels instead?

Jenny Colgan: Total and utter failure in those other two. Very few professional writers don't experience a LOT of failure when they start out. I really did want to be a professional cartoonist like Charles Schultz, but there aren't many of them.

SittieCates: Every published author has an interesting story of that first time their works got published. Could you tell us your experience, what you’ve felt or did when word reached you that your first novel, Amanda’s Wedding, was scheduled to be published?

Jenny Colgan: Hah, yes, I remember the phone ringing as I was coming in to the office and I knew it was going to be my agent, and that the phone call was going to change everything forever. It was very, very heady.

SittieCates: Oh, that's so delightful! We're thankful you got that phone call because now we get to enjoy your books.

Let's move on to writing schedules, shall we? What schedule do you follow? Do you write every single day? One or three days a week? Mornings or evenings only?

Jenny Colgan: I work 9.30 to 1.30 every day except Wednesday when the children are off school.

SittieCates: I see.

Your books have garnered a multitude of fans. Most say it's because of your interesting characters and storyline. How do you create a plot and come up with these story characters?

Jenny Colgan: I start with lots of characters and kind of let them mill around a bit. I always throw out my first two chapters later. Then, I see who comes to the fore and who's interesting, and throw out the rest. It's not always who you'll think it will be.

The best thing is to get loads down on paper; it is much easier to chuck stuff away than it is to either continue down a wrong path or try and squeeze stuff to fit. It's easy to make mistakes in writing. It's only pixels. It's not stop motion animation - just delete and start over.

SittieCates: Some authors prefer to use their real name; others, their pseudonym. You’ve used two pseudonyms (Jane Beaton and J.T. Colgan) and your real name for both your bestselling romantic comedies and your famous science-fiction novel, Doctor Who: Dark Horizons. What would you suggest other aspiring authors do when they get their works out there in the market? Would you suggest they use their pseudonym, their real name or both?

Jenny Colgan: There's not really a very interesting answer to that question; because I publish with two different houses, I use two different names as a courtesy, really. I don't think it makes any difference how you publish. The name you publish under when you're starting out comes down quite low on the list of challenges!

SittieCates: Speaking of challenges, what did you do to overcome problems that came your way?

Jenny Colgan: Well, most of the problems are out of your control. If people don't like a book or it doesn't sell and it's usually too late to fix it by then, you just have to get your head down and write as good a book as you can next time.

SittieCates: That's good advice. Thank you for sharing that, Jenny.

You've recently published a new book, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop. Congratulations! Truly happy for you. For the benefit of those who would like to know more about the story, could you give us a short background of it?

Photo by Julia Jones

Jenny Colgan: Christmas at Rosie's is lovely. It's about Rosie Hopkins, a nurse, who left the city to run a little village sweetshop in the snowy countryside, and falls in love with the local lord of the manor. Of course, it doesn't exactly run smoothly!

SittieCates: Having read your books, I'm sure it wouldn't, and that's the beauty of it.

Of all the novels that you’ve written, is there a particular one that you really, really like and had so much fun writing it?

Jenny Colgan: I like Do You Remember the First Time a lot. It's a time travel comedy about a girl in her 30s who wakes up 16. I'm really proud of it. And I love doing the Doctor Who stuff. I'll carry on with that as long as they'll let me.

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SittieCates: I'm sure they would. I, for one, would want you to continue.

Moving on to my next question... After "Christmas at Rosie Hopkin's Sweet Shop", what are your plans for the remaining part of 2013?

Jenny Colgan: I am going to start a new book for Christmas 2014. We are just not quite sure what yet!

SittieCates: Oh, that would be one of the things we'll all look forward to.

Now, aside from SciFi and Chick-Lit, would you want to venture in other genres like what others do (publishing in various genres)?

Jenny Colgan: Not sure. Would like a bash at children's and maybe thrillers, but both of these genres are very difficult and already full of very talented people.

SittieCates: Any other plans for next year that you would like your millions of fans to know?

Jenny Colgan: Doctor Who fans will hopefully enjoy, "Into the Nowhere", our 9th January, and the "Little Beach Street Bakery" is out in the spring, which is hopefully funny, inspirational and a bit of a tear jerker!

SittieCates: What advice would you give to those who aspire to write science fiction or romantic comedies?

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Jenny Colgan: Read all the time, everything you can get your hands on, and write all the time; constantly. Don't think about it, just write, then throw the bad parts away later.

SittieCates: Great advice, Jenny. Thanks! Anything else you’d like to add for the benefit of the readers and followers of my blog?

Jenny Colgan: Just to say good luck really - if you really want to write, you'll find a way!

SittieCates: That was lovely, Jenny. It is such an honor to have you. Thank you so much!

To those who would like to know more about Jenny Colgan and her numerous bestselling books or get other juicy updates, you may visit her at her website or follow her at twitter @jennycolgan.


  1. Thanks for that, SittieCates. You've made me want to know more about Jenny Colgan -- especially her connection to the Doctor! :)

    1. Hi there, Sue Starlight! Glad you're interested. :-)

      Jenny Colgan has published a number of books (as you'll see from the photos I've included above). For Doctor Who, you can read another interview of her (regarding writing Doctor Who) at

  2. Good job Cates..nakakainggit!!!.. hehe.. anyways, I wonder where can I get a copy of that Do you remember the first time book. It sounds really interesting...

    1. Thanks, Ima Vee! :-)

      I think you can get it at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, National Bookstore, etc. Happy reading, sis!