5 Things Liz and Lisa Didn’t Know About…Jill Mansell

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again- some of the best Chick Lit authors come from across that pond! Like the smart and sassy (is there a better combo?) Jill Mansell. Who, in addition to being a fabulous writer (um, TWENTY-ONE count ‘em, TWENTY-ONE books under her belt) is funny. Check out her diary and follow her on Twitter to see for yourself! And when you read her five things, you’ll fall in love with her the same way we did. And to give you a quick sneak peek:  SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO TYPE! Yup, that means she’s written all of her books by. Hand. (*Cue standing ovation*) Her latest novel, Rumor Has It (which we were lucky enough to get an advance reader copy of and have an even far greater appreciation for now that we know it was conceived via a Harley Davidson fountain pen) is the story of newly single Tilly Cole who impulsively moves to a small town after receiving a “Dear John” letter from her live in boyfriend. The town she flees to for escape turns out to be a hotbed of gossip and rampant rivalry for the resident bad boy. Which, she, of course, wants no part of. But despite her better judgment, Tilly befriends Mr. bad and gets to know a man who doesn’t seem to fit his reputation at all… (How many of us have been there, done that?) So ladies (and gents- we don’t discriminate) If you love Chick Lit, you’ll devour this page turner in one sitting. It was just released and you can purchase it here. And leave a comment for a chance to win one of five copies we’re giving away today! And just to further reinforce why we love Jill Mansell, here are her 5 things…

1. I eavesdrop on people ALL THE TIME. I’m incredibly nosy and love hearing snippets of other people’s conversations – they just have to say one thing and I’m away, imagining who they’re talking about, where they live, who they’re married to and what their guilty secrets might be. It’s fun but it can be exhausting! When I’m on a plane or a train, I always want to know where everyone’s going and why. The day our train was stopped from reaching London by the snow, everyone suddenly started talking to each other and I was able to find out why they were all headed there. It was my dream come true!

2. I write all my books by hand, in A4 writing pads, with a Harley Davidson fountain pen. A fellow writer once told me that it was the equivalent of carrying all my laundry three miles down to the river and washing it by hand in the water instead of just throwing it into a washing machine. She was probably right, but it’s how I do it. The words come out more easily this way. I never learned to type and anything like this piece takes me ages to compose. (I pay my teenage daughter to transfer my books to a computer.)

3. The last competition I won was twenty years ago, in a nightclub, and it was for tearing a telephone directory in half. I was the only girl – and I was very skinny then – amongst a line-up of big burly boys. They all laughed at me, but I won. I don’t exercise, but I have very strong biceps. Every now and again, they come in useful!

4. When I was around ten or eleven years old, it never occurred to me that I could become a writer but I did have a bit of a fixation with worrying about how I’d manage if I lost my right hand in an accident, because then how would I ever be able to write? (I know, OK? I do know how weird that sounds!) To this end, I spent hours and hours at a time, practising writing with my left hand. I filled entire exercise books with wibbly-wobbly left-handed writing. I never got any better at it either – thank goodness I never did get my right hand chopped off!

5. Oh dear, what can my 5th thing be? OK, in Rumour Has It, the hero is a wire-sculptor who creates amazing larger than life sculptures of horses and stags. I fell in love with the idea and desperately wanted a wire horse for our garden but we live next to a football field and only a thin fence separates us. My partner told me we’d have footballers jumping over the fence and trying to ride it. So I compromised and bought a wire sculpture of a lamb instead. They can’t ride that!

To find  more about the talented and witty Jill Mansell, check out her website. And don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Rumor Has it.

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

52 Responses to “5 Things Liz and Lisa Didn’t Know About…Jill Mansell”

  1. Becca Wilder

    I think eavesdropping is one of the fun side benefits of being a writer. It’s so hard not to get carried away with other peoples’ conversations . . . the hard part I find is not getting caught! Sometimes I get so enraptured I forget I’m on the outside, trying to slyly look in. Oops!

    Congrats on the new book! I’ve gotten lots of great reading recommendations from Liz and Lisa and I can’t wait to read this one!!

  2. JenP

    Hilarious interview! I can’t imagine writing everything by hand! I’d love to enter.

  3. Elisa

    I’d make a great assistant . . . is she looking? Pretty good at eavesdropping too!

    Elisa

  4. Jill

    Sounds like an awesome book. Had never heard of this author and will definitely be putting her on my list of good reads!

  5. Kirsty

    So funny! – Number cracked me up, sounds like just the kind of thing I would have done as a child. I’ve read Rumour Has It (as it’s spelt in England) and it’s just wonderful. Funny, charming and escapist. Very much recommended :D
    xx

  6. Kirsty

    So funny! – Number 4 cracked me up, sounds like just the kind of thing I would have done as a child. I’ve read Rumour Has It (as it’s spelt in England) and it’s just wonderful. Funny, charming and escapist. Very much recommended :D
    xx

  7. Marla Martenson

    What a delightful interview. The fact that you worried about getting your hand right chopped off and that you wouldn’t be able to write, reminds me of my panic attack as a child polishing the furniture for my mother with Pledge and then reading the warning sign on the back of the bottle that said “If inhaled could cause death” I froze in fear and then went to lie down on the sofa to die.

  8. Emily

    I eavesdrop all the time too! I get it from my mom and it provides such easy and free entertainment. I think my husband gets annoyed as I would rather listen to the conversation at the table next to us sometimes at dinner. :) I love that she writes by hand too – I think there is gratification about seeing a full page of handwritten work rather than a computer screen full. I love sounds and textures and remember the way my note-filled notebook pages felt when I would flip through the pages. I’m odd I know!

  9. AngelFrouk

    Wow, i can’t imagine writing so many books by hand.
    My hand already hurts when i write my shopping list…

  10. She Said

    I LOVE when you guys do these… I have learned so much about my favorite authors, and also what I have in common with them, which makes me feel even more successful!

    One of my favorite ways to write is to take a yellow legal pad and a Papermate Sharpwriter pencil and head to the beach. I sit in my old beach chair and on a good day, fill pages and pages with chapters, blogs, thoughts about everyone who walks by… It’s actually very therapeutic and I find when I have writer’s block it’s the best cure!

    BTW, “He Said” reads your blog too! We’re slowly bringing out his feminine side…

    Keep up the great work! You guys keep me motivated!
    xoxo
    She Said

  11. Liz

    Kirsty, I love the way you Brits spell things. It makes you sounds so royal! xoxo

  12. Liz

    Emily, omg, I am SUCH an eavesdropper! I always make up stories in my head of who people are.

  13. Kiki

    holy moly! By hand?!?! I write bits and pieces by hand, but that is INTENSE. I love these 5 things :)

    Makes me want to go out and spend money on books

    xoxo

  14. Lisa

    Kiki- the Harley Davidson fountain pen is the best part!

  15. Lisa

    She said- Love that “he said” is coming around!

  16. charlottey

    Ahhhh,a familar warm glow inside me. I have found a fellow inner tormenter; is that a word?
    Jill you are a joy to read and make your words into pictures, you obviosly have the arms of hulk, hoping without the green skin…a yellow pages!!!! I thought only Paul Daniels and the hulk could do that! And you write, I mean using that stuff called ink, wowee,hats off, so you have the arms of the hulk, and the ears of a bat.
    So lovely to hear of a fellow inner tormentor imagining and wanting to know what everyone is doing and where they are going, I mean when I lived in London,its like an adict living in a pharmacy!
    We love ya Jill xx I mean hulk woman

  17. Melissa Nichols

    I have read many of Jill’s books, and I cannot believe that she writes them by hand! Love this Five Things and love Jill. :)

  18. Lisa

    Melissa- Doesn’t it give you an even bigger appreciation?

  19. Michele

    Her book sounds very interesting! I can’t wait to read it.

  20. Lauri

    The book sounds really interesting. I have not read any of her books yet but I am definitely going to start.

  21. Jen Fishler

    My first effort was a 380 page historical romance and I wrote it by hand, with a fountain pen. That was how I started it and it just seemed natural. Maybe a result of years and years of diary entries…
    I’m a killer typist but if I had someone to type my stuff up I would still be re-filling my fountain pen with that hypodermic (worked great)!
    Jill Mansell is a killer writer. She’s funny and generous and it comes through…
    Oh and Marla M’s comment (above) is hilarious!!

  22. Liz

    Wow, Jen. My handwriting is so bad I would never be able to read what I wrote! Thanks for the comment! xo

  23. Erin

    ok so I love to eavesdrop…writing a book by hand…ummm not so much! Cheers to her.

  24. Michelle

    What a fun little tid-bit to read. The book sounds amazing. I’m thinking that the whole time I’m reading the book I will be saying – Holy___ I can’t believe she wrote this all out by hand and how much does she pay her teenage daughter?!

    Cheers.

  25. Liz

    Michelle, Seriously! I don’t even like to hand write my Thank you notes!

  26. mumof4

    Wow -she sounds very down to earth.
    Would love to see her actual handwriting – to see if it ‘goes’ with the books as they are written…and wonder how many quid the teenage daughter makes from typing up her mum’s books! Too funny!!!

  27. jill mansell

    Hi everyone, me again.
    Gosh, what a lovely lot of comments – I can see why this site is so popular! I order my Harley Davidson fountain pens from a shop in New York, which makes me feel very glamorous! My handwriting is big and messy, except when I’m writing plot ideas, when it becomes really tiny and messy! And I pay my daughter £7 per thousand words. Sometimes she chips in and tells me “Mum, change this bit, no teenager would EVER say that.” But writing by hand isn’t tiring – I average 1000 words a day, so that’s only five foolscap (A4) pages.
    Lovely to meet you all. I shall be back!
    Love
    Jill x

  28. Liz

    Jill! Thanks so much for coming by! I love that your daughter is so involved in the process-what a cool experience for her. And I’m SO ordering one of those pens-although Lisa would never be able to figure out our plot because my handwriting is awful! I can’t even read it sometimes.

    Thanks so much for sharing five things about yourself-we truly enjoyed them! xoxo

  29. Mary

    I love to write by hand also but I think faster than I can write so I usually resort to typing. Still, there is nothing more personal than cozying up with a bunch of pillows and a quilt and jotting down your innermost thoughts in a pretty book with a cool pen.

  30. Melissa Nichols

    Yes Lisa, it does give me a greater appreciation. I know I could not do it. How cool that Jill stopped by! *huge grin*

  31. Lisa

    CONGRATULATIONS to Michelle, Michele, Charlottey, “She Said” of He Said/She Said and Elisa! You’ve won a copy of RUMOR HAS IT by Jill Mansell! You’ll be receiving an email today. Please respond with your mailing address and we’ll get the book to you right away! Thanks so much for your comments and for supporting Chick Lit Is Not Dead! Xo, Liz & Lisa

  32. Michele

    So excited that I won!!!! Thank you very much!

  33. Karen

    Most of my favorite authors have been from across the pond. I look forward to reading her!

  34. Meg

    I absolutely adore Jill Mansell and loved Rumor Has It — and I’m just dying after learning she writes all of her books by hand! Unbelievable! She’s totally risen several notches in my book, though she was high before. She’s the best!

  35. Lisa

    Meg– I know. It seems so crazy to
    write by hand. I could never do it– I can’t even read my own handwriting!

  36. Michelle

    Finally reading the book – don’t judge I got sucked into the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books – and I can’t put it down!!

    Just wanted to say thanks again! And yes, I’m saying… “wow, she hand writes this!”

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