Monday, September 7, 2009

Jill Mansell Guest Blogs!

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!
Happy reading.


Jill x

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, and for info on her US releases, go to!


Sheila (bookjourney) said...

What a great discussion! Jill I am just dying to know.... did you introduce yourself? It sounds here like you didnt. I hope you did - if it was me on the cruise ship (pause for a minute while I think about me on a cruise ship....) ok, Im back... If it was me raving about a great read - I would be thrilled to meet the author, no matter what! :)

Thanks for sharing this and I would love to have a chance to win one of your books! Thanks Jill and Amy for this opportunity.

SiNn said...

Id have to say your not vain and you have a right to privacy and not plaster your idenity all over the place keep up the good work would love to win your book ty for the opertunity

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a fun interview! Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've only met a couple of authors in my life, and was very much impressed! But I'm sure the hammer would fall eventually. The question is...would I want to meet Viggo in person? Would my fantasy of him be way overstated. Nah, don't think so!

To answer your question, I would not worry. Your fans will love you, and will not be disappointed. You sound like an incredible person and even if you were having a bad hair day, your beauty is going to shine through. I think the only way they would have a let down is if you weren't very nice. That is my opinion! I'd meet you for coffee anytime. Please sign me up for this giveaway! rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com

Mint said...

If I had been the one saying how much I loved your books I would have loved to meet you. Nobody expects someone to look like their picture in real life. Years ago I had a chance to meet Louis L'Amour and I didn't.He was having lunch at the resort where I worked in the accounting department and I did not feel it was appropriate to disturb his lunch. I would have loved to have met him but I don't regret my decision not to interrupt him. I would love to win your book so please enter me in the draw.

Linda Henderson

bermudaonion said...

I would be totally thrilled if an author I was raving about came over and introduced herself make-up or no make-up. I'd love to be entered in the great contest. milou2ster(at)

Shonda said...

Interesting post. I would be excited if one of my favorite authors was standing next to me! I'm always nervous when I attend book signings. I think I try too hard to find something to say without sounding like an idiot. Interesting that you as an author feel the same about your readers!

I would like to enter this contest.

The Book Chick said...

Oh my.....if I was somewhere, with a copy of your book, and you came up and INTRODUCED YOURSELF and SIGNED MY BOOK it would probably make my year, LOL. I would be the one who's at a party retelling the same story over and over: "There was this time I was on a cruise ship..." I'm sure that any of your many fans would love to meet you, makeup or no makeup.

Please enter me into this draw!

sarah pekkanen said...

This cracks me up (especially the fake tan behind the knees line). Now I want to meet her!

Jenny Girl said...

I would probably pass out if the author of the book I was holding came over and introduced themselves. Yes, I probably would ask for ID since I'm a big city girl and trust no one. then I would buy the author a drink.
Great story and said hello anytime :)
Thanks for the contest Amy.

Stitchin in the Sip said...

Great interview. What a great personality......Please enter me in giveaway!


Just Mom said...

I'm sure I would be a tongue tied mess if I met a favorite author in person! Please enter me in the contest - theroundfile(at)live(dot)com.

Jodie said...

If you're on a cruise ship you could go and talk to her at dinner when you've whipped yourself up into a fabulous, frothy evening concoction (and washed your hair, I could never say 'hello I'm your favourite writer' with holday day hair, but then I'm very shallow).

Pam said...

If it was me, I would have loved for you to introduce yourself. I'm under no preconcieved notions that celebrities are as perfect as they always appear in photos but I'd still be awestruck. I saw Stephen Baldwin in a little store in NYC one day (it was my first time in NYC) and I got silly and giddy and I don't even like the guy! And to top it off, he was buying cigarettes which is a total turn-off!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Well, I've only met one author in person and he looked about how I expected him to look. I babbled like an idiot when I met him, though, and he wasn't even particularly famous, just wrote one book about his family's heritage that I really enjoyed and I could barely say my name straight, so I don't think a bit of wind-whipped hair would turn anyone off, they'd probably be much too amazed to meet their favorite author.

I will say that occasionally I've seen an author's picture and been surprised, as it wasn't how I pictured them, but I don't think that is something I would even notice if I met them in person.

Beth F said...

LOL!! I would have pulled my sunhat down low and tiptoed away. If I saw the fellow passenger later, when I was spruced up, I'd happily introduce myself!

On the other hand, if I saw my heartthrob movie-star dream man, I'd like to meet him no matter what his hair looked liked!

Anonymous said...

If I were a famous author (in my dreams!), I would think twice about revealing my identity in a closed world like a cruise ship. It might spell the end of my peaceful, relaxed, serene, anonymous vacation!

Diana Corlett

Lahni said...

I would have been thrilled if an author I was raving about introduced themselves. George Clooney is known for being gorgeous. I'm not saying you're not, but that's not what your fame is based upon! I wouldn't have been disappointed.

Dani In NC said...

When I was younger, I had the typical fantasy about how glamorous an author's life must be. Life on the internet has introduced me to the everyday life of several authors, so I no longer expect them to look or dress like movie stars :-).

Tina said...

Well, I'm not so famous, but from an author's point of view I can definitely relate to you. I walked into a store once and saw the cashier reading a review about my book - full picture of me and my book - and she simply laid down the paper, story still open, waited on me, took my credit card, and went back to reading the story as I walked out the door.

I obviously looked different than my photo. A part of me wanted to say, hey, that's my book you are reading about! The reason I said nothing had more to do with how bad I looked than being humble about the story and review. I didn't want to disappoint her.

As a reader, I am never disappointed with how an author looks. I have only been disappointed when a real, live author is unfriendly and aloof.

So, you are probably safe to introduce yourself. The fan will probably be happy to meet you, but I understand being uncomfortable about it.

Gretchen said...

What fun! I've met a few authors and have been disappointed, however, not be their appearance. If I'd have been the lady with your book, I'd have loved to have met you. On the other hand, had I been you, I'd have been in the same quandry as to what to do. I think I would have kept "me" a secret!

Kelly said...

I love meeting authors, they're the most interesting people I know. Oh...did I mention that I've only met 2?

I'd love to meet you, but I suspect, I would have kept "me" a secret too!! Can't wait to read this book!!

J.T. Oldfield said...

I definitely think you should have introduced yourself. But I can see how you might not have felt it was the right moment. Since it was a cruise ship, maybe you could have *accidently* bumped into her later...say when you were all dressed up for dinner? Of course, then she probably wouldn't have had the book with her and you might seem stalkery.

jill mansell said...

Hi there, thanks for all the interesting comments! Yes, if I could have found the lady later on, when I was looking nicer, I might have introduced myself. But it was a great big ship and I didn't see her again. So maybe I'll be braver in future, if most of you think it doesn't matter how terrible I look!
Jill x

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