November 2008


Lorraine Jenkin's debut novel Chocolate Mousse and Two Spoons was released earlier this year. She lives in Wales with her partner and two daughters and is currently working on her second novel.

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  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

    I'd always enjoyed writing and playing with words, even as a little girl. I would always turn to writing when I was very happy, sad or angry and it is the way I sort out what my thoughts actually are. I also enjoyed the actual process of writing - sitting by the fire with a pad and pen with soft music in the background (sometimes even with a candle - how pretentious was that!). It didn't dawn on me until my 30s that I could actually write a novel, so I decided to give it a go.

  2. Tell us about your South American adventure.

    I had got to a point in life whereby things weren't going as I wanted. I had a good job and a fantastic social life, but wasn't really heading to where I wanted to be. So, I decided to quit the job and bought myself a round-the-world ticket and headed off for a year to "sort myself out" and give the writing a real chance. Basically I just walked from place to place with my massive rucksack, over the Argentine Pampas or the Chilean Andes walking in the midday sun (typical Brit) and then hiding my tent behind some bushes at night and writing up all the words that had been flying round my head during the day - and trying to forget that there were still pumas out there. . . It was fantastic, but hard work as I was bitten by a dog, had mice and foxes in my tent (while I was in it), was robbed a few times and had a fight with a man with a knife (it's OK, I have three brothers, so I won!). Eventually I finished the book sat on Darling Harbour in Sydney and then decided to come home.

  3. How did the idea for Chocolate Mousse and Two Spoons develop?

    I met a lady in her 60s who had a wonderful story about an advert that she placed in the classifieds saying something like "Saggy 50-year-old seeks male to help with bills and jobs around the house" and she got dozens of replies! She got chatting with one of them and due to circumstances, they didn't actually meet for months, eventually it becoming a bit of a game. They finally met on a boat and married a week later and were still very happy together when I met her 15 years later. The Worm Gatherers characters were following a meeting I had with an old farmer, who lived in a wreck of a farm with no running water and a toilet across the field - yet he was the most content person I'd ever met! He really struck me as having found what was really important in life and I wanted to get some of his contentment across.

  4. Why did you have your main character Lettie be with an abusive boyfriend?

    In practical terms, I wanted some reason as to why she simply didn't just meet up with Dougie. She had to have some sort of issues as to why she wouldn't want to do that straight away. Initially the first fight was a real brawl, but someone who has had experience of abuse said that I was naive to think that any woman who had been through that would immediately seek out a stranger. I wanted her to be strong, but also to have a reason why she might not always be so. I also wanted to get across that these things can happen to anyone if they let their guard slip - people don't have to be a "certain type" to end up with an abusive bully.

  5. Have you ever been a waitress?

    Yes! For a few years, so most of Lettie's hassles in the restaurant have also been mine! They say to "write about what you know", so I did.

  6. How important was it to include a Welsh setting?

    I live in Wales now, and grew up in Lyme Regis, so again it was the two places that I felt I could write about with authority.

  7. What's been the best response you've received from a reader?

    I did a talk for my village Women's Institute, who are a bunch of ladies in their 50s to 80s and some of them bought it, and told their friends who also bought it. I was out with the children one day and this lady in her 80s shuffled up to me and asked if I were Lorraine Jenkin. I thought that she would punch me, (as some of the book is a little wild!) as she said "I've read your book" but then she broke into a smile and almost jumped up and down and said, "I loved it! I bloody loved it!"

  8. Tell us about your second novel.

    My second novel is about a man who for most of his adult life has been living a life of misery in order to save his money. He has been putting off everything that could be enjoyable for him until he retires. Then he does retire, his 15-year-old runaway niece comes to him with her new baby and suddenly he has to start putting all his careful plans into action. Its working title is Eating Blackbirds and I am hoping that it will be out next year.

  9. What other authors inspire you?

    The first writer I really "noticed" was John Fowles because of the way he seemed to play with his words. His books read like he was chatting to me from the corner of the room. I also like Dickens as he was able to think of storylines and characters that are so unusual - I loved Miss Haversham: how did he manage to think of her? However, since having the children, I'm unable to concentrate / not fall asleep for long enough to read any of his!

  10. Which reality TV show would you most like to be on?

    I'm quite scathing of reality shows, but if I did, I think it would be I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! I'm sure that I could eat frogs quite easily and I'm more than happy to be out in the wilds.

  11. Why do you write a blog?

    It is for marketing purposes really - I wanted to have a presence if anyone looked me up on the web and also it can act as a tool for new releases etc. However, it is quite difficult to write something regularly enough that you would want strangers to read and that they would be happy to read!

  12. What three books would you take with you to a deserted island?

    John Seymour's Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency - I used to trawl through it for hours always finding something new to read (plus it would be quite practical!). Tolstoy's War and Peace - as it's one of those books that you feel that you should read in a lifetime, but I've never quite managed it! I did take it to South America with me, but always managed to find something else to read first. Eventually I dumped it, as it weighed a ton! Chocolate Mousse and Two Spoons - I suppose I have to say that, but I have already read it 50 times and still enjoy it, and it makes me feel warm when I look at it. Also, the dedication in it would remind me of what would be waiting for me at home.

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