Jemima Pett had been a great bogging friend almost from the beginning of my blog. She is a wonderful, thoughtful person –she emailed me early on to find out why I had not been on my blog for several weeks, when I had one of my should joints replaced! So it is with great embarrassment I post an interview and a promo for her books as part of a blog tour…three days late! Having a sick husband and a brain that looks like Swiss cheese does not make for keeping promises, but I hope better late than never.
I also have to mention I’ve been very taken with her guinea pig pets, which have become very real in her books, and with her, I mourned when some of them passed on to guinea pig heaven.
Jemima has written a series of books call The Princelings of the East, which feature her furry friends. The next book in that series will be out next year. In the meantime, she has The Book Elves Anthology Volume 2 for release in November and The Perihelix, her first sci-fi book, coming out in January.
Jemima has offered to answer a few questions about how she came to be a writer and about herself:
How did you get into writing?
Well, I picked up a pencil, or maybe a crayon, and I copied the letters in front of me, and then I copied them onto the lines on the paper…. Seriously though, getting into writing was a continuous process. Writing fiction was something I did with things in my head, and by the time I tried to put it into a novel format I was about 17 or so. But I didn’t have any really good ideas about plot and characters, and it was rubbish. Unfortunately a friend told me my writing was rubbish, and I believed that I couldn’t write a book. So I didn’t until much later, when I decided that I just HAD to write these stories in my head or I would burst. I’d been writing other things in the meantime, sports journalism, if you like, but with a fair amount of fiction in them to entertain my sports club colleagues., as well as research papers, reports and manuals.
Once I started writing the stories of the Princelings of the East, I shared them with my friends, and then the old thing of ‘oh you must get them published’ started. Everyone can get into writing; not everyone can or should get into publishing their stories, though!
What inspired you to create stories featuring your guinea pigs?
Entirely the guinea pigs, Fred and George, who were named after the Weasley twins, of course. I’d changed jobs, moved home, and was self-employed again. I needed company and I chose guinea pigs. I was fascinated with them, and watched their behaviour and interactions with each other, wondering about their personalities (I’d been in human resources before I’d retrained for environmental research), and I dubbed them the Philosopher (Fred) and the Engineer (George) way before the writing started. Well, six months at least, which is a long time in a guinea pig life. Then Hugo and Victor turned up, with totally different personalities… and we were doing a silly story on the guinea pig forum, writing one paragraph at a time, and somehow I just took that off into a whole new area and decided they needed a book. Three books, with the titles as they are today. And then I started writing them.
Tell us something about your Princelings books – they look like a great read for readers of all ages. Can you provide a brief, series overview?
As one of my reviewers neatly summed it up: we are in a feudal world with advanced technology running on strawberry juice…. At first, there really isn’t much in the way of advanced technology, but due to the curious circumstances of the first book, George gets the idea to develop a new power source running on strawberry juice, which is a project that runs in the background of the second and third books, and then promotes change that occurs in society over the rest of the series. The series starts with two innocents using their friendship and their brains to solve problems, and the problems get bigger, and more acute as the series goes on, with an ever-growing cast of characters, some of whom pop up again in unexpected places. The big question, is how are they ever going to deliver the promise made at the end of the first book, when everything in their world is changing?
What are your favorite books? Movies?
My favourite books tend to be sci-fi with a challenging concept, or the ‘weird’ genre, or steampunk, alternative universes, and Lord of the Rings, of course. 😉 I read a lot of MG books and crime novels, MG to know what else is going on in the genre, and crime because I can’t write crime novels, so it’s a real relaxation for me!With movies it tends to be more escapist, or a ‘community banding together to overcome the evil corporation’ type of tale. My all-time favourite movies, that I can still watch at any time, are Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, and a small film that most people haven’t heard of called Local Hero. I’m not good on tension these days – I’m back to hiding behind the sofa for scary things, and I don’t do horror!
Can you share some information about the upcoming releases?
It’s a busy time for me at the moment, as my first scifi book will be launched in January. It’s called The Perihelix, and it stars two asteroid miners and their girls, made to search for the bits of The Perihelix so that one of the many big organizations in the universe can wield huge power… The original inspiration for that world came from a flash fiction challenge that evolved, and the characters are based on college friends. You can get a taster for that called Viridian System Sampler http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/573217
Meanwhile I’m editing a book of short stories by some writer colleagues I’ve got to know over the last few years. The Book Elves Anthology Volume 2 will be released on 12 November, and you can watch for details on my blog or our Facebook page http://facebook.com/mgbookelves My contribution stars two of my guinea pig characters who live in a place where I love to go on holiday – inspiration from real life again, but I doubt whether they’ll ever meet one of Santa’s reindeer!
And then there’s the next book in the Princelings series – I’m about one-third of the way through the first draft. I think it might come out winter 2016/17, with the last in the series about a year after that.
Can you give me a hint about the Viridian System series? As a Trekkie and general Sci-Fi fan, this has my complete attention!
My Viridian System series is for grown-ups, although there’s not much to offend older teens. I suppose anyone allowed to read James Bond would be ok with them, although it’s a science fiction series with more in common with Star Trek than a spy series. My heroes Big Pete and the Swede are asteroid miners looking for a vacation, and finding trouble, and the first in the series will be out in January 2016 – The Perihelix. I’ve already started the second book, because I couldn’t stop writing about them, and various ideas I wanted to include are better written down straight away these days, before I forget them!
Any advice you have for a would-be author?
Write. Write anything. If you haven’t got time to even think about fiction, write a paragraph for your local magazine, or do regular reports on events in your area. Do learn about the craft of writing and for goodness’ sake pay attention to spelling and grammar, so you can correct Word’s grammar checker, if nothing else! If you need inspiration, find one of the many, many memes online that give you a weekly or monthly writing prompt. And don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. Writers learn by getting it wrong, just like any other walk of life.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play golf, which is a sport I don’t advise anyone taking up if they aren’t prepared to fail all the time and return time and again just because there’s one good shot, and you know you can do better. It’s like writing, really. And sometimes it all comes together and I have a good round!
I also have my own garden where I grow vegetables for me and the guinea pigs, who seem to eat most of them, and I co-ordinate the local community garden, which we started up earlier this year and it’s going pretty well for a small village and a lot of new things happening at once.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Despite the science fiction, we only have one planet. Look after it. And… if in doubt, have a cupcake.
Excerpt from the second book of the Princelings of the East series (In this book, our heroes, Princelings Fred and George, enjoying life with their inventions at Castle Buckmore. Oblivious to the kidnap of a princess from Chateau Dimerie, they are dispatched there by Prince Lupin to discover why the wine hasn’t been delivered and solve the case of the missing messengers. What follows is the stuff of nightmares. Captured by pirates, sent off on different ships, Fred endures hardship and shipwreck while George has a dangerous night escape. They discover treachery at their home castle, and lead the people they have rescued to safety, only to end up fighting for their lives in the Battle of Dimerie.)
“Right, you lubbers!” said the black guy. “My name’s Frankie and if you know what’s good for you you’ll listen hard, work hard and keep your mouths shut.”
He passed round eight bits of stale biscuit and a bucket of fairly clean water and a scoop. They each took a drink, and some of them nibbled the biscuit. George found his stomach settled down a bit, and tried to see whether Fred and Victor were among the party in the darkness. He rather thought they weren’t, and frowned. The haughty guy refused the biscuit, saying it was disgusting, and one of the other guys took it off him, and wolfed it down.
Frankie waited for them to recover their senses a bit more, then started talking again.“You are now aboard the Golden Guinea, the prettiest barque that ever sailed the seven seas. You will do as you are told, you will work hard, and if you don’t, you will walk the plank. That means you will find yourself swimming, possibly in shark infested waters, a thousand miles from the nearest land. You won’t last long.” And he laughed again. It was not a pleasant laugh.
Huge thanks to Jemima for the interview. You can get a real sense of her funny and quirky personality! And here is all the info you need to find her and her books!
AMAZON KINDLE US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0074AQU08
AMAZON KINDLE CA – http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0074AQU08
AMAZON KINDLE UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0074AQU08
AMAZON PAPERBACK – http://www.amazon.com/Princelings-Pirates-Jemima-Pett/dp/1320567350/
BARNES & NOBLES NOOK – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-princelings-and-the-pirates-jemima-
SMASHWORDS – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/157450
ITUNES – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/princelings-pirates/id543180968?mt=11&uo=4
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13231509-the-princelings-of-the-east
SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/books/27040157/The-Princelings-and-the-Pirates-(The-Princelings-of-the-East)
BOOK DEPOSITORY PAPERBACK – http://www.bookdepository.com/Princelings-Pirates-Jemima-Pett/9781320567350
To follow Jemima:
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/
WEBSITE / BLOG – http://princelings.co.uk blog http://jemimapett.com
FACEBOOK – http://facebook.com/princelings
TWITTER – http://twitter.com/jemima_pett
GOOGLE+ – https://plus.google.com/111257014660107649265
PINTEREST – http://pinterest.com/jemimapett/
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7476396-jemima-pett
SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a3623900/Jemima-Pett/