If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Guest Post: Jennifer Young on Majorca and Character Occupation / @JYoungWriter

I'm pleased to have with me Jennifer Young, author of No Time Like Now and Thank You For the Music. The blurb for her latest novel No Time Like Now had me wondering why there and why that job. Y'all know I'll ask, so I did and she's here to give us her answers.

Please welcome Jennifer Young :)

You ask the difficult questions, don’t you? They’re not difficult because I don’t know the answers though — they’re difficult on the sense that if I answer them truthfully, I might not like what I say.  Yes, I’m hiding. I ran away from the people I loved because I couldn’t cope and I’d let them — and myself — down.

I found myself in Majorca by accident, though it turned out to be a happy one. Before that disastrous break-up with Tim Stone — before he abandoned men without a word after I told him I was pregnant — I was studying Spanish at university and although I gave it up after the miscarriage and the breakdown, I never quite forgot about it, never let it go.

I liked learning. I regretted having quit university. And I think I must have a strong survival instinct because I always thought, deep down, that if I kept on with the language I’d be learning, growing as a person, changing. Getting better. So I came to Majorca and worked the first part of the summer in a hotel. That was fine and when I heard that there was a job going at the centre, that proved to be even better, because they needed a caretaker in the winter, too, so I’d always have somewhere to stay.

‘Housekeeper’ sounds like a dull job and in a hotel it might be, but not in the field centre, where there’s so much more face-to-face contact with our visitors. All sorts of people turn up. I love the students because they’re young and fun but there are all sorts of other groups too, groups of writers and artists, so there’s always something going on.

It suits my situation perfectly because it means I can chat to people and have a good time, a bit of fun, but none of them ever stays very long so there’s no risk of getting close to anyone. More to the point, there’s no risk of any of them getting close to me and wanting to talk to me. The downside is that I have a little too much time to myself and that’s when I dwell on the past.
In a funny way I feel secure in Majorca, because it’s so like my home and yet so different. I was brought up on the west coast of Scotland so the scenery and the beautiful blue of the sea on a sunny day are a comfort to me, but it isn’t so similar that I ever feel homesick - it’s far too warm and sunny for that!

So now you know. I’m in Majorca because it’s far away from home, because I have an easy job that suits my circumstances and because I feel safe there. No-one I don’t want to see will ever find me here…


*chuckles* I do like to ask difficult questions. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to answer them!

Wanna know more about her book? Keep reading for the blurb, buy links, and Ms. Young's bio. Make sure to click to buy and connect with her online!

Title: No Time Like Now
Author: Jennifer Young
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Release Date: October 26, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance

Hiding away from a disastrous past, Megan McLeod is getting along nicely in her job as housekeeper at a university field centre in Majorca. But the arrival of geological researcher, Tim Stone, throws everything into disarray — because Tim was the father of the baby she lost some years before and the two of them had parted very messily indeed.

As if having Tim on the scene wasnt bad enough, he's there with his new partner, Holly. But when in the course of his research he comes upon something extremely nasty along the cliffs of north Majorca, hes forced to turn to Megan for help.

After about a quarter of a mile the path dropped steeply to a small cove, and from there — if you were nimble enough, which I was — you could scramble along the rocks and sit on the point, which commanded views along a whole swathe of the island’s inhospitable north coast. I scrambled my way out and sat for a while watching the boats drifting along the coast against the capricious breeze, until their slow progress lost my attention. I took out the old family photo I used as a bookmark (more and more dog-eared, it was a faded snapshot of the three of us on my sixteenth birthday; before it all went wrong) opened the book and started to read It is a truth universally acknowledged… 

It was, of course, the wrong book. I gave a wry smile. I really wasn’t in the mood for social dramas — or any other kind of drama, for that matter.

Megan McLeod, my mum’s voice tapped in my head, fraught with impatience and her own ill-health. You need t sort yourself out.

Up to a point, sorting myself out is what I’m good at. I always have been, except for those few fragmented weeks in my life when rational thought had escaped me altogether and fused into a nightmare I didn’t dare remember. Even then, I’d conquered my problems and emerged from their wreckage all the stronger, equipped with enough common sense and enough strength of purpose to deal with any situation. I marshalled that common sense once more.

The facts were plain and inescapable. It wasn’t Tim himself who was the problem, even though he had been so at one point in my life. But I was over that. The problem was that he belonged in a part of my life where I had been unhappy, where I didn’t get on with my parents, a time when my mother had died too soon, so that I had left harsh words unresolved between us.

There was no doubt that it was his unexpected arrival which had stirred me to try to write once again to my dad. And it was equally obvious that once I’d got that letter written — the right letter, not like the ones I’d sent before but one which deserved and received an accepting and forgiving reply — then I wouldn’t give a toss whether Tim was there at all. He wasn’t the thing which was wrong with my life, but only a stark and painful reminder of it. So — I ticked these points off on my fingers one by one, as if they could be quantified — it wasn’t a question of evolving a strategy to deal with what I felt for him (which was nothing), but of tackling the things he reminded me of (which were hell)…

I must have sat there for half an hour, flicking the pages of  Pride and Prejudice without reading them and looking at the photo with tears in my eyes. At last, when the roughness of the limestone became even more uncomfortable than my thoughts, I put the book down, stood up, and stretched. The sea warped the sunlight into colors from indigo to turquoise as I looked down the coast towards the centre, then turned and looked the other way towards blissful remoteness. I was used to remoteness. I even thought I liked it.

The wind stirred the pages of the book. From between them, the photo crept out, turned over, and bowled slowly along the beach. I took off after it, teased and tormented by it, until I trapped it under my foot and picked it up.

‘Got you!’ I said in triumph to the false image of my perfect family. Then I took a look along the beach.

I’d thought I was alone. I’d deliberately chosen a spot where I could be. So it was with a touch of irritation that I realised I might have company.

At first, I wasn’t sure. The thing that caught my eye, about a hundred yards away at the far edge of the beach, looked like a piece of wreckage washed up by the waves. And it was a moment before I realised that it was a person. I looked past and then back again; my interest caught. Because something about the sunbather looked wrong.

Naturally curious, that’s my problem. And anyway, I had nothing else to do with the morning since Miss Austen had failed to engage my attention and I wasn’t keen on risking my peace of mind back at the centre. Clutching the photo between my fingers, I crunched my way along the narrow strip of beach. Just a few yards along, it dawned on me that what I was looking at wasn’t a sunbather, that it wasn’t even actually on the beach but washed by the shallow sea.

The pebbles spitting under my feet, I broke into a run and, even before I got there, I knew that I’d found a body.
Tirgearr Publishing © 2014 Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young is an Edinburgh-based writer, editor and copywriter. She is interested in a wide range of subjects and writing media, perhaps reflecting the fact that she has both arts and science degrees. Jennifer has been writing fiction, including romantic fiction, for a number of years with several short stories already published. No Time Like Now is her second published novel; her first novel, Thank You For The Music, is also set on the Balearic island of Majorca.

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