Thursday, 16 April 2015

Author Inspiration: Jenny Harper

It's a pleasure to welcome back to the Reading and Writing blog author Jenny Harper who is based in Edinburgh. Jenny obtained a publishing deal with Accent Press last year for her lovely Heartlands series of novels, which is going from strength to strength. Her latest novel is People We Love and Jenny kindly agreed to share the inspiration behind the story. First a little about the book.

People We Love

Her life is on hold – until an unlikely visitor climbs in through the kitchen window.

A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions.

As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window.

Elderly Edith’s batty appearance conceals a secret and starts Lexie on a journey that gives her an inspirational artistic idea and rekindles her appetite for life. With friends in support and ex-lover Cameron seemingly ready to settle down, do love and laughter beckon after all?

Inspiration Behind the Story

I wish I could say that the whole inspiration for People We Love arrived in a blinding flash, but the truth is, it didn’t. I knew the story – that heroine Lexie Gordon’s life was on hold after the death of her brother – and I knew that she was an artist. I knew there was a love triangle, and that Lexie was struggling to rebuild her life and prop up her parents. But the aspect of the book that readers seem to be really enjoying only took shape as Lexie’s character crystallised and gained depth in my mind.

It came to me that Lexie – a quirky, passionate, arty character – loved vintage clothes not only because of their great design, and the quality of the stitching, but also because she felt that they still held something of the character of their former wearer. The idea that ‘shoes tell stories’ should have been obvious to her, but this notion only comes to her when she uncovers elderly Edith’s poignant secret.

I won’t reveal any more – except to say that understanding this is the key to many things for Lexie: to working through her grief, to rebuilding her career, and to learning about what defines herself.

So in the case of People We Love, I suppose it’s a case of ten percent inspiration, ninety per cent perspiration! Although I do hope it comes across as inspired and inspiring.

Many thanks for that interesting insight into the story, Jenny.

Jenny's four books are now available on Amazon - just click on each title!

Jenny Harper is the author of four books about Scotland and Scottish culture, a history of childbirth, and The Sleeping Train for young readers. Her Heartlands series of novels set in the imaginary town of Hailesbank, in East Lothian, marks her return to fiction. When she isn't writing, she enjoys walking in the Scottish countryside or anywhere warm, and travel to Europe, America and India.

You can find out more about Jenny on her Website and on the Blog she shares with other writers Novel Points of View.


Mary Smith said...

I've loved all the books in the series.

Jenny Harper said...

Thank you Mary - and thanks to Rosemary for having me!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I'm still reading my way through them, Mary! Thanks for commenting.

You're welcome, Jenny!

Lynne Carson said...

I thoroughly enjoyed People We Love. The chapter intro's were different. I will certainly be looking out the rest of your titles.

Joan Fleming said...

Having enjoyed two of your books so far, Jenny, I'm looking forward to this one. Interesting to hear how the story developed.

Jenny Harper said...

Thank you Lynn and Joan. It's always heartwarming when readers like your books!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for dropping by, Lynne!

Me too, Joan!

Vikki said...

Sounds great Jenny. Look forward to reading it!

cathy mansell said...

Lovely to read your post here Jenny.
Always interesting.


Gilli Allan said...

I love the premise of this book,Jenny, but it will have to wait. Having only just read my first book of yours - Face the Wind and Fly - I realise I should start at the beginning of your Heartlands series.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for coming over to comment, Cathy, Vikki and Gilli!