Friday, 22 May 2015

Author Interview: Jess McGlynn, Secrets of the River

They say we all have a book hiding within us, but for most of us it remains a pipe dream and we never sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard...). So when I heard that my blogging friend, Jess McGlynn, had taken the leap and actually penned a novel and published it, I had to find out how she did it!
Jess McGlynn is an author and freelance writer. She lives in the North West by the seaside with her husband and two children and their rescue dog, Pepper. She loves reading, travelling and taking lots and lots of photos! She blogs at Catch A Single Thought and you can catch her on Twitter @jjmcglynn (follow her, she'll love it if you say hello!).

So Jess, tell us a bit about your book.

Secrets of the River is my first novel. It’s set in the beautiful French village of Brantome and is about Isabelle, who arrives in the village from England trying to escape a secret in her past. It has a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance and a whole lot of escapism thrown in.

Did you always believe you had a book in you?

I have always loved to create stories since I was very small; my mum has often said I would sit on the bottom step at home, with a book in my hand reading aloud but making up an entirely different story than the one I was holding because I could obviously tell it better! Deep down my dream was to be a writer and to see my name in print so I guess I have always believed it was in there...somewhere! 

What came first, the idea or the decision to write a book?

I’m a very visual person and the characters for Secrets of the River were wandering around in my head a long time before I sat down to start writing. My inspiration really came when we went on holiday to Brantome and I started to see the story take shape in front of me. That was in June 2013 and I spent the entire holiday sitting outside our gite scribbling in a notebook. When we got home I told my husband I wanted to leave my job to pursue writing full time and madly, he agreed.

The view from Jess' writing spot in France

How long did it take?

Just short of two years, writing on and off. I would go through long periods of not writing anything at all and then have a sudden rush where I shut myself away and wrote chapter after chapter.

What was your biggest struggle or obstacle and how did you overcome?

Finishing it! I knew the ending of the story long before it ever reached paper and so I really had to push myself to sit down and actually write. Towards the end it took real dedication; I set myself a daily target of 1,000 words which worked and I actually found that once I sat down and started to write, I came up with a lot more.

Jess' writing desk, where the action happened!

How did you fit writing in around your life with two kids to manage?!

I never thought I’d say this but soft play was my best babysitter. I hand wrote large chunks of the book in various notepads whilst the children played and entertained themselves. I also wrote late into the night once they were in bed and pretty much every chance I got whilst they were occupied with something else. There were periods when life was so busy I couldn’t write a thing but I tried not to let that get me down and just picked it up as and when I could.

How did you find the self-publishing process?

Fairly straightforward. There are lots of online guides to help you through the editing and formatting process which I found were a massive help. I'm currently in the ‘promoting’ stage so I’ll have to get back to you on how easy or difficult I find this part!

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of writing a book?

Go for it. The only way you’ll ever write a book is to start and I don’t think it matters if what you start with is not what you end with as long as you begin writing. Some days I would scratch out whole portions of what I had written up the day before because it didn't make sense and my final story isn't exactly how I imagined it but I would never have got where I am if I hadn't started in the first place.

Also, if you do start writing, find one or two people you really trust to give you honest feedback. My husband (having not much experience in the genre) would tell me it always sounded great, whereas my closest friend had no qualms about telling me when things didn't make sense, or if she thought something didn't work and that was invaluable in making sure my story was the best it could be.

Secrets of the River: some secrets simply can’t remain hidden...When Isabelle moves to a sleepy riverside village in France she thinks she is being given a second chance.

Keen to leave behind the secrets of her past, she throws herself into village life where she meets cute American journalist Ed, rugged vineyard worker Matteo, and the dark and mysterious Hugo.

Life should be good, but Isabelle’s arrival acts as a catalyst in the village and she soon discovers she isn’t the only one trying to escape her past and that sometimes there are things which simply can’t remain hidden.

Isabelle must face her mistakes and rediscover herself in this wonderful romance set against an idyllic backdrop.

You can buy Secrets of the River from Amazon UK for £1.99 and at

Thanks to Jess for speaking to me! I've started reading the book and I can't put it down. It's also received some great reviews on Amazon - go check it out! 


  1. This is SO exciting for Jess. She has done brilliantly and I love your interview with her. I really must pick up a copy. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

  2. Thats so amazing. A dream come true. Shes so inspiring too as I have a dream of doing something but cant cuz I cant find time to do it, Maybe if I am eager enough I can do what I want to as well =) #pocolo


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