Player Profile: Jenn J McLeod, author of House For All Seasons

Jenn J McLeodJenn J McLeod, author of House For All Seasons

Tell us about your latest creation:

My “come home to the country” women’s fiction story collection started with House for all Seasons (March 2013 and to lovely 5-star reviews). BLURB: Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay for a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy. Surrounded by the past, the women discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.

9781922052049Where are you from / where do you call home?:

A city girl (Sydney)for a long time, I “came home to the country” in 2004 to focus on my writing. I run a B&B for people w/ pets in a small rural hamlet in the Coffs hinterland

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

I was supposed to be a multi-disciplined musician (like my Dad), study at The Conservatorium (like my Aunt), be a famous opera singer (like my cousin – whose sons – Ben and Alexander Lewis – are now making their own musical mark internationally).

I chose to write — the computer my keyboard of choice — leaving the old upright piano to languish in the living room and the daddy longlegs to weave their web around the piano’s soundboard and strings while I weave my stories.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

The reveiws and feedback on my debut (House for all Seasons) has been overwhelming, but as a writer grows and gets a feel for what their readers want, I think the best is always ‘yet to come’. I’m going with that! I have four books planned in my Seasons Collection. (The Simmering Season in March 2014 and two more after that – all going to plan!)

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

When not mopping floors and making beds in the B&B, I write everyday (and half the night) from my humble, homemade desk tucked in the corner of the living room, and find my muse in Strawberry and Daiquiri (two fluffy white mutts – little heartbeats always asleep at my feet – that’s when they’re not impatiently nosing the dinner bowl or sleeping on the leather lounge).

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

I am always writing, but I was once told, “to be a great writer, one must be a great reader”. So I do try to read. I read new releases by author I know. I read the occasional ‘hype’ book to work out why it’s hyped! I read a classic when I can, but with such a huge author network, my TBR pile of books is toppling.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

I started reading late in life. My early ‘reading’ (inspiring my love of stories and words) were more likely song lyrics, stage productions and musicals. (I used to write poetry and lyrics.) I still love seeing all the Disney production with those wonderful musical numbers that tell stories. Fairytales from my childhood with music! Bliss!

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

I’m not sure who I’d want to BE, but I LOVED Loretta Boskovic in P.A. O’Reilly’s The Fine Colour of Rust. I’d love her “I don’t give a …” attitude! A modern day heroine for sure!

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

Make beds and mop floors – and garden. SURPRISE! :)It’s a very special part of the world where I live and my property requires time and effort to tame the flora (and fauna)!

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

There is not enough space to answer this question. What DON’T I love! When I first left the city, I bought a small cafe in a small country town. (Not that I’d ever run a cafe before. I’d drunk lots of coffee so how hard could it be? Hard!) But that’s how much I love food and coffee!

Who is your hero? Why?:

My Dad, because he tolerated everything I put him through as a brat! (But why does this question say say hero? What about heroines? 😉 We need more heroines in our lives, which is why I write the women’s fiction characters I do.)

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

Keeping up! There are so many books coming out these days. We need to read by osmosis or something. (Download a brain chip, or like Google Glasses have a book in front of our eyes 24/7.) Maybe then I can get through my TBR pile.

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Jon Page

Jon Page is a bookseller and author of the Bite the Book Blog.