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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interview of Author Jenny Twist

Today I'd like to present an interview of romance author Jenny Twist.

Latest Book: Domingo's Angel
Buy Link:


Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.

She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.

She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.

In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.

Her first book, Take One At Bedtime, was published in April 2011 and the second, Domingo’s Angel, was published in July 2011. Her novella, Doppelganger, was published in the anthology Curious Hearts in July 2011, Uncle Vernon, was published in Spellbound, in September 2011, Jamey and the Alien and Uncle Albert's Christmas were published in Warm Christmas Wishes in December 2011 and Mantequero was published in December 2011 in the anthology Winter Wonders.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: The first book I sold was Take One At Bedtime, an anthology of all the short stories I had written up to that point.
I had sent the stories to magazines and publishers and agents before and nobody had been interested, so I had more or less decided short stories were not commercial and just about given up on it. Then I sent my novel to a new publisher, Melange Books, and noticed they seemed to specialise in anthologies, but they wanted much longer word counts than any of my stories. So I wrote and asked whether they would accept shorter stories if there were enough for a whole book. They asked me to send them, but I didn't hold out much hope.

I was still flogging away several weeks later sending the novel to everyone I could think of, when I got the email from Melange accepting the stories. I don't think I believed it at first. I just sat staring stupidly at the computer in a kind of trance. And then I shouted to my husband that I'd sold the book and we just about danced for joy.
I was in a state of euphoria for weeks afterwards.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Rosalba. The story is set in Spain in the 1950s and Rosalba is the village shopkeeper. She has lived through the Spanish Civil War and Franco's dictatorship. She has survived famine and epidemics. And it has made her incredibly strong. She is not only the shopkeeper, but the doctor and wise woman. She has a fearsome exterior but is enormously compassionate and understanding. I wish she were a real person. I'd love to be her friend.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: I believe every character I write about is distinct. They not only have completely different personalities but are physically different. I don't feel as if this is anything to do with me. They just happen. I always have the whole story more or less mapped out in my mind before I start writing anything down and by that point the characters have become real to me and fixed.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I know this sounds really boring, but I like to knit – really complicated things – and do logic puzzles.
Something I love to do, but I don't know whether you could class it as a hobby, is to explore. My husband and I often just go out for the day, visiting a village we haven't seen before, looking at ancient churches, trying new restaurants.

We once spent a whole day trying to track down the Phoenician remains that are supposed to exist in a nearby town. We followed the signs and found: A field with some rocks in it, which did not resemble any archaeological site we'd ever seen before; and at the end of the trail, following the signs for the information centre, we ended up in somebody's garden where there was a builder's skip and some old plant pots. Spanish signing is not the most accurate in the world.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: My favourite romance book of all time is Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. It is absolutely riveting from cover to cover. I've read it several times and will read it again. It makes me laugh and cry every time. One excerpt, where the doctor is explaining the meaning of love to his daughter, is one of the most moving pieces I have ever read.

I was once asked to do a reading at my best friend's wedding and we chose this excerpt. I had to read it over and over again and learn by heart before I could be sure I wouldn't cry when I was reading it for the service.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: If the handsome man in question is my husband, we will take turns on the computer and in between explore the island. If it's anyone else he can go and find his own computer.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I am sorely tempted to write mystery and suspense, which is the genre I most like to read, but I'm not at all sure I have the right approach for it. I love mysteries and puzzles but I don't know whether I could create my own. So far no idea for a plot has presented itself to me. If I could think of one, I would certainly have a go.

Where can we find you?
Amazon Author Page:
Melange Books:
Goodreads Blog:
Facebook Author Page:

When Angela turns up in a remote Spanish mountain village, she is so tall and so thin and so pale that everyone thinks she is a ghost or a fairy or the dreadful mantequero that comes in the night and sucks the fat from your bones.

But Domingo knows better. "Soy Angela,” she said to him when they met – “I am an angel.” Only later did he realise that she was telling him her name and by then it was too late and everyone knew her as Domingo’s Angel.

This is the story of their love affair. But it is also the story of the people of the tiny mountain village – the indomitable Rosalba - shopkeeper, doctor, midwife and wise woman, who makes it her business to know everything that goes on in the village; Guillermo, the mayor, whose delusions of grandeur are rooted in his impoverished childhood; and Salva the Baker, who risked his life and liberty to give bread to the starving children.

The events in this story are based on the real experiences of the people of the White Villages in Southern Spain and their struggle to keep their communities alive through the years of war and the oppression of Franco’s rule.

The next day he took his goats to the top of the ridge near the pass and looked down on the smallest casita of Guillermo the mayor. There was a mule tethered outside and a string of washing had been hung between two almond trees. Otherwise there was no sign of life. Halfway down the slope was a large algarrobo tree. He decided it would be an ideal place for lunch.

But although he sat and watched the little house all the time as he ate his bread and cheese and olives and drank his wine, nobody came out and nothing happened. Only the mule moved along the side of the house to keep in the shade as the sun moved round. So he went to sleep.

When he woke up, someone was calling him. “Hola, goatherd!”

He squinted up into the sun and there, standing before him was an angel. It was very tall and thin and there was a fiery halo round its head. “Hello,” it said, "Soy Ángela - I am angel. I am delighted to meet you! Who are you?”

In absolute panic, Domingo shot up into a sitting position and shuffled backwards into the algarrobo tree. His head hit the hard trunk with a resounding crack and he subsided and slumped back down, feeling a little stunned.

The angel came forward into the shadow of the algarrobo tree and he realised that the halo was, in fact, hair - very long hair - falling in waves down beyond her shoulders and almost to her waist. It was exactly the colour of oranges that have dried on the tree. Her skin was so white it was almost blue and her eyes were so pale they had no colour at all. “How could they think she was a dead person?” he thought in a confused fashion. “She is obviously an angel.”

Anything else you'd like to add?
Happy reading
Jenny Twist


Lynda Kaye Frazier said...

Great interview and Congrats on all your success in 2011. I hope 2012 is another great year for you. I am also very jealous of where you live. I would love to spend the day searching for ruins. You story sounds good and is on my list to read.:}

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Lynda. Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Anonymous said...

This book is on my "to read" pile as well. Having read Jenny's other works I like her knack for creating bautiful and deep characters I can totally identify with, keeping you pinned to the story from start till the very end. Can't wait to get my teeth into this one next.
BTW- Jenny nice one, with the hunk and a PC on a remote island choice, had to laugh at this one :-)

Anette, big fan.

Suzie Tullett said...

Hi, Jenny. Lovely interview. It's great to get an insight into an author as well as their books. Domingo's Angel is on my TBR pile as well. Here's to a great 2012 x

Jenny Twist said...

Dear Anette. I am SO pleased to have a big fan. Thank you. I hope you enjoy reading Domingo as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Suzie
Thanks so much. Hope you have the best New Year ever

Adele Dubois said...

I enjoyed reading your interview, Jenny. Nice 'meeting ' you! I wish you the best with your releases.


Paula Martin said...

Hi Jenny - your comment about anyone else having to find his own computer made me laugh out loud. That's just how I would feel too! And we may have been doing our BA History at Manchester at the roughly the same time - what a coincidence! What years were you there?

Ivy said...

Hey Jenny! Had to laugh at the computer/island answer. Good one.
I love logic problems too! Haven't had the time to work any lately but I need to just take the time.
Enjoyed the interview...

Miriam Newman said...

Very nice interview, Jenny, and your book looks wonderful. And now I must ask: what's an escapologist?

Eva87 said...

Another great interview! I love all your stories and I love reading your interviews, I find out something new every time!

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Adele
Nice to meet you too. Thanks for your good wishes. Hope you have a great New Year

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Paula
I went late, 1976-79 and studied with the great Chris Haigh. When were you there?

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Ivy
Glad you liked it.
Have a fabulous, great and glorious New Year, Hon

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Miriam
An escapologist is someone who escapes from things - like Houdini. My escapologist, Tommy James, escaped from a milk churn, a dustbin, a straight-jacket and a full-size 15 foot guillotine. We also did the trunk trick, where you tie someone up and lock them in a trunk and then stand on top of the trunk, throw a hoop with a curtain on it up into the air and when it comes down - You've swapped places! Of course, it's all an illusion...or is it?

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Eva
Thanks so much. Have a great New Year

Tori said...

Terrific interview, Jenny!

Sandy said...

The interview is interesting, but your excerpt is excellent.

Paris said...

I loved the interview and your stories sound wonderful! Best of luck with your continued success.

jean hart stewart said...

Loved the answer to the island question. Best one yet...

Tina Donahue said...

Fascinating interview, Jenny. I envy you living in Spain. That's always been my dream.

Tara Fox Hall said...

Wonderful answers, Jenny :) You always keep me guessing :)

Jenny Twist said...

Thank you so much, Tori, Sandy, Paris, Jean, Tina and Tara. I DO appreciate your kind comments. Nice to meet you Sandy, Paris (what a lovely name), Jean and Tina. I seem to be making quite a lot of new friends here.
Happy New Year to all of you. Hope you have the best ever

Paul McDermott said...

Hi, Jenny!
(I can even forgive you for being a 'woollyback' from Yorkshire ...!) LOL

I "misread" the banner on your posting, thought you were being interviewed about "Exploding Spam" - visions of a new invention from the Monty Python team which would be of interest to many e-mail users!!

"Find something you'd like to do,and get someone to pay you to do it" sounds like pretty good advice to me: was that how you got to settle in Spain? I've always wanted to explore the country ...
though Ireland would suit me better, and I have a "cunning plan" which may help me achieve that goal!
Best of luck with your writing goals in 2012

Jenny Twist said...

Hello, Paul. Some men quite like a bit of back wool. I was actually going to write about exploding Spam but I thought it might be too gory for a mixed readership.
Well, I didn't get paid for living in Spain, but I have pretty much always done jobs I enjoyed.
I see you do not share your cunning plan. Come on, give. How are you going to do it?

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