Today we have the pleasure to welcome lovely Jennifer Gilby Roberts to This Chick Reads. She’s the author of ‘The Dr Pepper Prophecies’, ‘Wedding Hells’ (a novella which we loved and is currently FREE TO DOWNLOAD, read our review here ) and ‘Flights of Nancy’. Today she’s here to talk about Mel, the leading character in ‘The Dr Pepper Prophecies’ and how (un)like they are. The stage is all yours Jennifer:)
People tend to think that you are the character you write as. I think it’s the same phenomenon where fans think that actors are the people they portray. I hope that’s not the case, since the last character I played (I do amateur dramatics) was a sexually aggressive witch. And before that I was a mentally ill woman living on the streets and feeling up sailors. But anyway…
Mel Parker, the lead character in my first novel The Dr Pepper Prophecies, is not me. We certainly have things in common – I don’t think I could write her if we didn’t – but we are absolutely not the same person.
We share a sense of humour, certainly. Like Mel, I tend to be snarky (I just discovered this word and I love it) inside my head, but not out loud. I certainly relate to her struggles to work out what she wants in life and how to get there. To be honest, I still haven’t resolved this issue. Instead I’ve neatly sidestepped it by becoming a stay-at-home mum. My job now is to keep my toddler alive. I realise that, if you don’t have one of your own, this may not sound like a full-time job. Believe me, it is. She firmly believes herself to be indestructible and has an internal radar that directs her straight towards trouble.
Fortunately, I don’t share Mel’s terminally bad luck. That’s just in because it’s funny. Plus it’s easy to write, because I just think of a scenario and then ask myself what could go wrong. Pretty much all her trials come out of my slightly warped imagination. Except the fermented hair spray – that actually happened. Though luckily not on the way to a job interview.
I’m not as hard on men as she can be, although when I wrote the first draft I probably was. Though unlike Mel, who’s had a string of lousy boyfriends, I just knew nothing about them (I was only 20 at the time). I still don’t, since my husband cheerfully ignores everything I thought I knew about relationships. Especially the ‘attraction fades after the first couple of years’ rule. I swear that man will still be groping me on his death bed.
Where was I? Oh yes, how unalike we are. Well, I did work in an insurance office processing claims (and found it every bit as riveting as Mel does), although only as a temp. I am addicted to chocolate, though my days of still maintaining a good figure seem to be over. I’ve never tried matchmaking though. Mostly because my romantic instincts are non-existent. Unless someone comes up to me and goes ‘I fancy you’, I won’t know. I’d be utterly useless as cupid.
So, in summary, we’re totally different people. Except…
About Jennifer Gilby Roberts
Jennifer Gilby Roberts has a degree in physics and a postgraduate certificate in computing, so a career writing fiction was inevitable really. She was born and grew up in Surrey/Greater London, but now lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire with her husband, small daughter, two middle-aged cats and a lot of dust bunnies.
Taking care of her daughter is now her main job, but previously she worked many thrilling jobs in administration. In these she learned the real truth of business: that every successful executive would be lost without their PA.
She can also be found getting red-faced at zumba class, reading historical porn (as her husband calls it – Regency romance to the rest of us) and humming nursery rhymes while going round Tesco. Her current obsessions include toffee crisp bars, Costa fruit coolers and the TV show Torchwood.
JGR writes chick lit novels and short stories featuring sweet (occasionally sexy) romance, dry humour and things going tits-up. They will especially appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Jane Costello.
Her first novel The Dr Pepper Prophecies is a laugh out loud romantic comedy, best described as Jane Austen’s Emma with Bridget Jones in the lead.
After Wimbledon, her second novel – about making big changes, falling in love and tennis – is due out late 2013.
She would like to thank everyone who’s reviewed her work.