Psst! Don't tell anyone, but you can find out about the other, sensible me here.
First, a confession: Jan Ellis is a nom-de-plume. Why have I decided not to write in my 'real' name? Well, for one reason Araminta Lovelorn-Pocock is rather long. Okay, that's not my real name either, but you have to admit that less is more when it comes to putting names across book covers.
A second confession is that my stories began life as e-novella - don't judge me! I was approached by a digital publisher to write a history book, but we couldn’t agree on a topic. ‘No problem,’ they said. ‘Why not have a go at women’s fiction instead?’
The first rule of being self-employed is to say ‘yes’ to everything so, ignoring the fact that I hadn’t written stories since the age of about seven, I whizzed over a proposal, contracts were signed and off I went into the great literary unknown.
Fortunately for me, once I sat down and thought about the setting and the basic plot, I was amazed by how quickly ideas flowed. As soon as my heroine Eleanor Mace appeared, the personalities of her sister Jenna and other characters followed on quite naturally. I particularly enjoyed designing The Reading Room – Eleanor’s fictitious shop – because I work for part of the Booksellers' Association and have serious bookshop envy.
My stories are generally described as ‘romcom’, but the emphasis is firmly on the humour of everyday life. I became very fond of Eleanor and her eccentric bunch of friends and family – especially mother Connie and her octogenarian squeeze, Harold – so I was delighted to revisit them in The Bookshop Detective, a brand new book commissioned by a traditional print publisher.
When thinking about this book, I wanted to come up with an old-fashioned mystery that would involve the sea-faring traditions of a small coastal town. I especially enjoyed researching the history and I’m very fortunate to have a learned friend who was able to answer my peculiar questions about wrecking and the Victorian penal system.
Friends are often the catalyst for some of the funniest events in my books. One kindly allowed me to include an incident she had with an exploding dress and a stapler that I put to good use in a book-launch scene. The pleasures and perils of running an indie bookshop are key to the storyline.
So, dear reader, whether you’re looking for contemporary romance, comedy or mystery, I hope you will find plenty to entertain you.