I’m delighted to be hosting Mari Jane Law in my hot seat chatting to us about her romantic comedy, Love & Pollination.
Find out her inspiration, the scene she enjoyed writing the most and much more.
Love & Pollination by Mari Jane Law is published by DuBois Publishing and is available to purchase in digital and paperback formats.
Perdita Riley is facing the greatest dilemma of her life. Why had she taken Violet Freestone’s advice on how to make herself look more alluring? It led her into the arms of a womaniser. And now Perdita has to deal with a huge setback. Actually, Setback Number One isn’t huge yet, but it won’t be long before it is.
To cheer herself up, Perdita goes shopping, where an extraordinary encounter deposits her, literally, into the lap of Saul Hadley. She would like to stay there, but Setback Number One is going to get in the way.
Will she find a way to deal with what has happened? Can she manage the complications of her growing attraction to Saul?
This hilarious situational romantic comedy will keep you gripped until the very end.
Hi Mari Jane, welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
My school was very poor in educating us about sex. Years later, I went through a period when I had a lot of spare time and started tinkering with a vague idea of a plot. The first character I thought up was Perdita, and I decided to make her a complete innocent who had gone through school without sex education – apart from learning about reproduction in plants.
How do your characters come into existence Mari Jane? Do they have a bio?
When I have an idea for the first character in a novel, I spend a long time thinking about that person. Slowly, more and more characters come to mind and then the start of a plot. The characters’ biographies grow as the plot grows and I get to know the characters better. I’ve never started with a complete biography.
Please tell us about the characters in your book.
When, as a child, I watched a children’s TV drama series with a character called Perdita I knew that, if I were to write a story, I would want the girl to be called Perdita. Sadly, I have no idea what the series was.
Different people seem to pronounce Perdita differently. The TV series I watched, had everyone pronounce her name as Perd-i-ta. Some people pronounce it Perd-eet-a. I prefer the former. Also, when I researched the pronunciation it seemed that Shakespeare preferred the former too – and he coined the name in The Winter’s Tale. Perdita means the lost one. I built a background story around this meaning to make Perdita’s past more poignant. I had her orphaned as a baby and brought up in a Catholic orphanage attached to a convent.
Her two best friends and neighbours are a gay couple – Luke and Gavin. Luke is a personal trainer and Gavin is a funeral director.
Perdita falls into the trap of a womaniser called Tony – and then she is brought close to Saul, her elderly client’s nephew. Saul’s aunt, Violet, is quite a character!
And let’s not forget Frank – Perdita’s black rescue cat… and then there are some minor characters that I’ll let you discover for yourself.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be …
The one piece of advice Perdita needed was to be beware of predatory men! But then, had she taken heed, there would have been no story…
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you?
Perdita’s desire to keep on hiding in the physical world – as well as emotionally – surprised me.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most?
I think the scene I enjoyed writing most has to be the scene from when Perdita’s waters broke to just after she gave birth. It was a very intimate time with Saul and there was plenty of opportunity for comedy. I kept chuckling out loud.
… and the hardest to write?
The hardest scene to write was Perdita’s abduction by Saul. It is not okay for anyone to make someone forcibly leave with them, and it was a tricky line to tread between readers being completely outraged by Saul’s behaviour and readers understanding that this is a comedy and in comedies people can uncharacteristically behave outside of the norm for compelling reasons without us taking it too seriously.
In a comedy, if everyone behaved themselves, there would be no humour. I rewrote the scene many times because Saul was not likeable enough. In the final version, I showed that Saul hadn’t realised that Perdita hadn’t recognised him – and he tried to put that right on their way to the car but Perdita kept injuring him which made him unable to complete his sentence. He finally managed to tell her who he was and immediately the fight left Perdita because she knew she had done wrong. She even says to herself that she deserved what had happened. And later, we find out why.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
DuBois Publishing designed my book cover. It just had to have a botanical theme because of Perdita’s unique coping mechanism in relation to her pregnancy. And, of course, to highlight the fact that her sex education had been skewed entirely towards botany.
What inspired you to write Mari Jane?
Ever since someone gave me an Enid Blyton book for my birthday as a child, I found the joy of reading and escaping to other places. In secondary school, I became fascinated by words. There were so many of them and many had very similar meanings but there were fine nuances between them. I realised that words were powerful – if used right – and could convey thoughts in a precise and economical way. Through English homework, I discovered that I enjoyed creative writing. From then on, I wanted to become published.
Are there any tips you could share with new writers that have worked well for you?
A very important tip I have to give has been bandied about by many authors. But it is so true and it’s something we ignore at our peril: we must read our work out loud. Reading in one’s head does not pick up all the mistakes and flow problems.
Also, enter competitions. If you manage to have some success this will give you clout when you submit to publishers. Having Love & Pollination shortlisted in Choc Lit’s 2019 Search for a Star competition was a great help to me.
Have you joined any writing groups?
I joined Cambridge Writers which helped me improve my writing enormously and get valuable feedback – what works and what doesn’t. It was at these meetings that I also discovered I could make people laugh – so I concentrated on developing my comedic skills. Writing comedy is great fun.
Finally, can you share what you are currently working on?
Love & Pollination is the first book in a series. I am currently working on the second book. We have already been introduced to two of the characters who will play a major part from Love & Pollination: Faith and Hope.
Luke and Gavin, Perdita’s best friends and previous neighbours, are part of a big subplot related to problems in their relationship. This story has a lot of interconnectedness with the characters to make it a more complex plot than the one in Love & Pollination. There will be some new characters that are very special – and provide bucketloads of humour.
Thank you for being my guest. Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Mari Jane Law lives in the UK. She loves books, TV series and films that make her laugh and, through her writing, discovered she could make other people laugh as well. She hopes those who buy or borrow her work have as much fun reading it as she had in writing it!
Love & Pollination is the first in a series of whacky romantic comedy novels she is working on. Her characters appeal so strongly to her that she is unable to let them go – hence the series. She enjoys their humorous behaviour, quirky personalities and sharp, witty dialogue.
She was very pleased to have been shortlisted for Choc Lit’s 2019 Search for a Star competition.
Web address: www.marijanelaw.com | Reviews: https://marijanelaw.com/reviews/ | Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20290052.Mari_Jane_Law | Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53407004-love-pollination |DuBois Publishing: https://duboispublishing.com/authors/MariJaneLaw.html |Twitter: https://twitter.com/MariJaneLaw1 | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marijane.law.1