I am beyond myself with excitement to welcome Jill Mansell today! Leave a comment for a chance to win one of two copies of Millie's Fling! US and Canada only.
Hello! So, can I ask a personal question? Have you ever met a writer in real life and been disappointed? I need to know. It’s important. During our last holiday we were on a cruise around the Caribbean. Now, a woman was standing less than a metre away from me, chatting to a group of other women. She was holding a copy of my latest book and telling them how fantastic it was. It was a real rave review. She actually said I was her favourite author. What’s more, everyone else was interested. And I was hugely flattered. Of course I was! But also torn. Because a part of me longed to say, “Hello! I’m Jill Mansell! Thanks so much for liking my book and would you like me to sign it for you?”
But... what if she’d thought I was deranged, confused, pretending to be her favourite author? Ah, I can hear you now, but Jill, there must be some way you can prove you’re Jill Mansell. And you’d be right. We’re on a cruise, I have a cruise card, my cruise card has my name on. Also, the British editions of my books carry my photo, so all she had to do was turn to the back page and check.
But here’s the thing. I’m not one of those authors nudging eighty who uses an author photo taken a good thirty years ago; mine was taken last year and wasn’t even airbrushed. (I asked the photographer if he could, he said no.) But it was taken when I had make-up on, and my hair done, and I was looking OK, otherwise I wouldn’t have allowed it to be used in my books. (Five million copies sold worldwide, you wouldn’t want to use an unflattering photo, would you?)
Whereas here, on this cruise ship, I’m lying in ninety degree heat in my bikini, with my holiday hair whipped into a salty, breezy non-style, no make-up on and every inch of me slathered in suncream.
And I don’t want people to be horrified by the sight of me. Because first impressions do count. I’d hate them to be disappointed, even be put off my books, to go home and tell their friends they met me but I didn’t look very glamorous and my fake tan had gone funny behind my knees.
If I met George Clooney, I’d feel let down if he turned out to have spots and dandruff and bits of sweetcorn between his teeth. (I’m sure he wouldn’t.)
So, over to you now. What do you think? Am I being shallow? Am I being ridiculously vain? Or am I right to say nothing and keep my identity to myself?
I’d love to know!
About the Author:
Jill Mansell is one of the UK’s premiere contemporary authors who has written nearly 20 romances with multi-generational appeal and has sold nearly 4 million copies of her books in the UK. Releasing her latest novel this spring, Miranda’s Big Mistake, Mansell’s writing style can be best described as “Sex & the Citymeets Bridget Jones’s Diary.” She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England. For more information on Jill in the UKplease visit http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/, and for info on her US releases, go tohttp://www.sourcebooks.com/