Peter Jones – Author & Public Speaker

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Chatting to Michelle Ward on Phoenix FM…

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Last week (ish) I was invited back to Phoenix FM to talk to Michelle Ward about my latest novel ‘My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend’.

Now I know you’re probably all sick to death of me plugging the latest book (this’ll be the last one for a while – promise!) but the interview was such fun to do that I couldn’t not share it with you.

I’ve done a fair few radio interviews over the past few years (you can find them all here or on youtube), but of all the radio shows I’ve been on, Michelle’s interviews are my favourite. Yes, she takes the mickey out of me on air, and yes, she keeps me on my toes with her completely random comments or questions, but it’s all part of the fun.

This interview was quite long (about twenty minutes), with breaks for commercials and traffic and all that jazz, so I’ve broken it into two parts, and Michelle’s rather cleverly edited out all the ads for double glazing.

In this first part, Michelle asked me how I became an author in the first place, which somehow ended up in a discussion about how to meet the man or woman of your dreams on facebook. See what I mean? You wouldn’t get that on the Radio 2. If you can’t see a big PLAY button in an image below, click here.

In the second part we finally got around to discussing My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend. I told her how the story came about, why the cover was such a pain to get right, and who would play the three main characters should the book ever get made into a movie.

Again, if you can’t see a big PLAY button, click or tap here.


Click or tap here, to visit amazonThat’s enough now! 

This’ll be my last plug of My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend for a while, which means two things:

  1. Your email inbox is about to get a lot less interesting and
  2. that the price of my third and arguably best novel will be going back up very, very soon. To avoid missing out on getting a fantastic laugh-out-loud read that costs less than a cup of coffee, click or tap here to visit amazon – or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

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The difference between male and female book covers…

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Book covers.

I hate them!

No really, I do. Because the age old advice – never judge a book by the cover – is universally ignored.

Recently my third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, came out and I couldn’t be more delighted. Like my previous two novels it’s sort-of a romantic comedy, only this one’s about… well, you can probably work it out from the title.

I went through hell and back with the designer working on the covers for my first two novels (you can read about those experiences here and here), but when it came to this book, I was pretty sure it would be a walk in the park. And here’s why:

In the opening chapter of My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, there’s a silly joke about our hero’s girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend being soooo perfect that there’s probably a Tibetan temple dedicated to him. It would be your standard Tibetan temple; chanting monks, a sixty foot golden statue – only obviously the statue would have an extra pair of arms so that Sebastian (the perfect ex-boyfriend) could hold various symbols and representations of all the wondrous gifts that he brings to the world.

That, I thought, would make a great cover for the book. I put all this in an email to my wonderful designer and this is what he came back with.

I was pleased. Okay so it’s not perfect by any means. It’s quite difficult to read some of the words against the patterned background, but as a concept it’s pretty darn close to what I had in my head. However, even though I really like covers that wrap around the spine and continue on the back, it seemed a shame that we couldn’t see all of Sebastian. Plus I had a nagging feeling that despite the cartoon style grin, this cover didn’t necessarily scream romantic comedy at anyone casually looking for a new book to read.

So with that in mind I decided to familiarise myself with covers of other women’s contemporary humorous fiction, written by male novelists, and from a male viewpoint. And here’s what I found:

I think you’ll agree, there’s definitely a style. Lots of flat colour. Slightly cartoony. Silhouettes seem popular. Oh, and all of them (with the possible exception of two) are EASY TO READ – particularly when reduced to a thumbnail. So – Mr Cover Designer Man – would it be possible to take that original design for my cover, and tweak it so that it wouldn’t look out of place when filling that gap in the bottom right hand corner?

Oh, and could I have a couple of ideas to pick from? Thank you.

Here’s what I got back.

 

Wow!

Now remember, these are just rough-and-ready sketches, so any weird blobs or lines wouldn’t be there on a final finished version, but even so, my gob was well and truly smacked. I loved them. All of them. Not equally of course, but each one was a massive improvement on the original, and I was utterly convinced that with a bit of tweaking we had a finished cover. All I had to decide was which one.

It was an easy choice.

Now obviously this one is a clear winner. No doubt in my mind. I was a little worried about my name getting lost at the bottom there, but really the title’s the more important thing.

However, just to be absolutely sure I’d picked the right one, I decided to ask some other authors. Specifically romantic fiction authors. Specifically female romantic fiction authors. I uploaded all six new designs (plus the original design) into one of the private facebook groups for the Romantic Novelists Association and asks my fellow novelists to vote.

I’m not going to lie to you… I was shocked at the result.

With the exception of one person (Hello Sue Lovett), every single woman chose one of the following:

This left me scratching my head. I was so sure my choice was the better cover and yet here I was being out-voted by 10 to 1! (Incidentally, Sue chose the original, first design).

So I asked my partner what she thought. Along with all her (female) work colleagues, she too picked one of the two covers above, with the majority of her colleagues picking the version on the right.

Not only that, but almost every woman I’d asked took the time to tell me that, although they liked the design, they hated Sebastian’s orange tie! One woman (Hello Virginia) said it reminded her of Halloween!!

Still reeling from this new information I decided to ask my male friends which one they would go for. With the exception of one person (Hello Patrick – there’s always one isn’t there) they all picked the same one I’d chosen, or a near relative.

So this left me with a rather interesting conclusion and a potentially troublesome conundrum.

Conclusion: Different covers appeal to male and female readers.

Conundrum: Do I pick a female cover, or a male one?

It really wasn’t a hard choice if I’m honest.

I write Women’s Contemporary Humorous Fiction. 90% of my readers (possibly more) are women. If I’m going to continue trying to make a living out of this writing lark then I had to choose the cover that the RNA ladies and my girlfriend’s colleagues had gone for.

Thing is, I didn’t like it.

The strap line seemed sort of lost at the bottom, and my name seemed a bit lonely up there at the top. And the two new silhouettes (which are supposed to represent Adrian and his girlfriend Paige), well they just seemed to be plonked either side of the word PERFECT for no reason.

I went back to Mr Cover Design Man with these thoughts and a couple of days later I went back to my girlfriend and novelist buddies with these four variations:

At first glance there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference between them so let me talk you through the key points.

  • In three of the designs Adrian and Paige have been resized to create a sense of perspective. Now we have a ‘scene’ being illustrated. In fact, in two of the designs they even have their own shadows!
  • Two of the designs obviously have borders whilst two don’t, but in all of them the colour of the tie has changed to match the word perfect, and my name has been tinkered with to make it look more ‘fun’.
  • Finally in one version the grin has made a reappearance, because I like the grin. I thought it was funny and would make people laugh. Turns out I was wrong. Most people told me the grin was off-putting and scary.

Everyone liked the pink tie though. And aside from comments about my name being hard to read, and the strap-line being too long, everyone chose either the second or third version.

And those comments were easily addressed.

I present to you, the final version:

 

And I have to say… I love it. Of all the covers on all my books, this one is most definitely my favourite.

It’s perfect.

Or is it? Let me know what you think in the comments.


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited time only. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

Who could be in a movie of ‘My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend’? Part 3

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My third novel came out a few days ago (read about that here), and as you might remember from my previous two novels, I find it useful to ‘cast’ each character before I sit down to write (you can read more about that here and here).

Here then, are a couple of pictures that until recently were pinned just to the right of my desk; those talented stars of stage and screen who I would dearly love to breathe life into the lives of people who up until a few days ago only existed in my head.

If you’ve already started reading My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend I’d love to know what you think. Post your thoughts, feelings, or alternative casting ideas in the comments at the bottom of this page (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

Character Name: GENIE  GRIMSHAW-HIGGLESBOTTOM

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth:  Fifty (3rd November 1964)

Nationality: English

Who are they?: Paige’s work colleague and excited bride to be… 

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Jane Horrocks

“Genie – isn’t quite what I was expecting.

She’s nice, though. And every bit ‘the girl in the office’ – which is quite a feat as once you’ve got past the nose and the mouth and the eyes and the hair, she’s clearly a woman in her early fifties, although she seems completely oblivious of the fact. Instead she kind of bobs around when she talks, which is a lot, and always at a hundred miles an hour, pausing only to laugh and giggle at anything that might be considered in any way amusing. And as she does so, her tinkly Yorkshire accent sort of wriggles its way inside your ears and tickles your ear drums, and after a while you become dimly aware that you haven’t actually been listening to a single word she’s saying – but you’re smiling nonetheless. And all this derived from a ten minute chat in the departure lounge.”

Character Name: NIKITA {surname unknown)

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth:  Fortytwo.

Nationality: Polish

Who are they?: Surprise companion of Sebastian Tunbridge

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Vera Farmiga

“Which is when a woman in dark glasses and a particularly… well… flattering, short, low-cut, figure hugging, dress, squeezes past the flight attendant, and takes the seat next to Sebastian. They exchange hushed words, and a ripple of laughter, then she tosses a head full of flowing chestnut locks, turns and looks over her shoulder – at us. She gives us both a warm, friendly smile… and then, very deliberately aimed at me, a playful wink.

Out of the corner of my eye I see my girlfriend’s mouth drop open, before her head spins round to face mine.

“Do you know her!?” she hisses.

“No!” I say.

“Who is she!?” she asks.

“How the hell would I know?”

“But she winked at you!”

“I know, I was here the whole time!”


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited time only. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

Who could be in a movie of ‘My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend’? Part 2

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My third novel came out a few days ago (read about that here), and as you might remember from my previous two novels, I find it useful to ‘cast’ each character before I sit down to write (you can read more about that here and here).

Here then, are a couple of pictures that until recently were pinned just to the right of my desk; those talented stars of stage and screen who I would dearly love to breathe life into the lives of people who up until a few days ago only existed in my head.

If you’ve already started reading My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend I’d love to know what you think. Post your thoughts, feelings, or alternative casting ideas in the comments at the bottom of this page (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

Evan Evans (Ken Stott)

“You wanted to see me, Evan?” I say as I stick my head round the headmaster’s door. His big round puffy face was a picture of total boredom a second or two earlier – like a three-week-old balloon left over from a children’s party – but the moment he sees me his head re-inflates and bounces around on sloping shoulders.

“Ade!” he says. “Come in. Sit down. How’re things?” I take the seat on the other side of the large mahogany desk.

“Oh, you know,” I say.

“Excellent, excellent.” He clasps his hands together and leans forward. “And how’s that lovely lady of yours?”

“She’s, erm… good,” I reply with some rapid nodding thrown in to indicate just how good she is.

“Any wedding bells in the offing?”

“Oh – er – you know,” I say again, but this time he’s not going to be deflected.

“Not really, no.”

“Well… Maybe.”

“Good!” he says, throwing me a wink. “Don’t want to let a woman like that get away.” And I try and ignore the feeling of my heart being torn out, dropped in the waste paper basket, doused in petrol and ignited in front of me.”

Gary Cooke (Asa Butterfield)

“A ball of screwed up paper whizzes over my head and bounces off the wall. I wait a full three seconds then casually glance up at the minor skirmish that has inevitably broken out in the moments that my attention was elsewhere.

“Mr Cooke,” I start, addressing the lad who is currently engaged in a tug of war over a mobile phone with another pupil, “Is there a reason you are out of your seat for the third time this period?”

“I need to borrow something.”

“Again?”

“Er yeah.”

“You seem to have been particularly forgetful when you packed your bag this morning.

“Yeah, I didn’t, I er… Yeah.”

“Sit down.”

“But Sir…”

“Sit down,” I say again. “Now.”

“But I need – ”

“If I have to tell you a third time, Gary, you’ll be coming back here at a quarter to four.” He stands there. Defiant. “And tomorrow night,” I say. “Two lots of detention if you don’t sit down right now.” And I can tell he’s conflicted. It’s like he wants me to give him detention, but at the same time acknowledges the fact that it’s a punishment and therefore something to be avoided. “Quarter to four it is then,” I say, and half the class breaks into forced laughter and jeering.”


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited time only. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

Who could be in a movie of ‘My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend’? Part 1

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My third novel came out a few days ago (read about that here), and as you might remember from my previous two novels, I find it useful to ‘cast’ each character before I sit down to write (you can read more about that here and here).

Here then, are a couple of pictures that until recently were pinned just to the right of my desk; those talented stars of stage and screen who I would dearly love to breathe life into the lives of people who up until a few days ago only existed in my head.

If you’ve already started reading My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend I’d love to know what you think. Post your thoughts, feelings, or alternative casting ideas in the comments at the bottom of this page (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

Character Name: ADRIAN TURNER

Who are they?:  Burnt out, disillusioned computer science teacher… and our hero

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Almost 46 (14th November 1968)

Nationality: English

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Martin Freeman

“I cross the hall to the bathroom, close the door, fumble around for the light cord, and switch on the light. I stare at myself in the mirror. The beard’s gone. Well of course it has. It was only ever an imaginary beard. I stick out my tongue and check the colour. I’ve no idea why really, it’s just what you do, isn’t it. Anyway, it seems to be the usual shade of pink. In every way I look exactly as you’d expect a stressed out, over-worked male schoolteacher – one who’s approaching his forty-sixth birthday and suffers from regular bouts of insomnia – to look.”

Character Name: PAIGE Steiglitz

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Thirty eight (31st March 1976)

Nationality: American

Who are they?: Fiesty PR executive, and Adrian’s girlfriend

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Lake Bell

“Maybe, Mr Schoolteacher,” she says, patting me slowly and gently on the leg, “this is for the better. I think you are the very nice man, but Paige, she is the Queen of Ice.” For a second or two I want to leap to my girlfriend’s defence with a ‘how dare you’… but again anger won’t achieve anything, and it’s hard to get angry when you’re up to your calves in warm water.

“She isn’t really,” I say.

“No?” says Nikita.

“I mean, I can see why you’d say that,” I admit. “She does come across as a bit brittle sometimes, a little abrupt, a little confrontational… maybe… but that’s just how she deals with the world.” I look down at my legs, illuminated by the pool lights, and move them gently to create ripples in the water. “It’s a defence mechanism,” I continue. “I see it every day at school. Young people developing different strategies to protect themselves against whatever life throws at them. You have the class clown, the bully, the hermit… and you have the Paiges.”

Character Name: SEBASTIAN TUNBRIDGE

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Fifty two (7th April 1962)

Nationality: English.

Who are they?: Paige’s perfect ex-boyfriend.

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Jim Carey

“The problem is he’s too much. In every way. He’s just too much. Too tall, too hairy, too loud, too brash, too rich… it’s like he’s a walking, talking magnet for the excesses of life. Is it any wonder that he was such a massive part of Paige’s life? He wouldn’t know how to be any other way. Invite this man into your life and he’d just fill up all the available space, and then some. He’s like an over-enthusiastic car air bag.

And that’s the other problem. The real problem. Sebastian came into Paige’s life and filled it up. Took over. He’s all she’s known for too long. Can you blame me for feeling paranoid? For expecting her, at any given moment, to ditch me and return to the arms of a man that, in every way, is better than me. Why wouldn’t she? So he’s arrogant, and big headed, and smug, and cocky – but from where I’m lying, with my handful of mediocre qualities, he has every reason to be.”

 


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited time only. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

Blog Tour!

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Blimey.

I’ve never had a blog tour before.

But all of that is about to change!

Starting this week I’ll be making a guest appearance across the web on all sorts of writing related blogs. Sometimes I’ll be giving an interview, sometimes there’ll be an extract from my latest novel (My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend), and sometimes, just sometimes, there’ll be a searingly honest review. That’s right. If you haven’t already splashed out the 99 pennies needed to download the fruits of my labours, you might want to wait a day or so to see if it’s worth it.

Seriously though, I’d like to thank all these wonderful blogs for taking part, and the lovely Rachel Gilby for organising it.

(Clickable links to all of the blogs are below the image)

Book Tour

24th Oct 

Vikbat

Ali – the Dragon Slayer

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

25th Oct

Book Lover in Florida

Everywhere and Nowhere

My Eclectic Reads

26th Oct

Dash Fan’s Book Reviews

Turdah

My Reading Corner

27th Oct

Sal’s World Of Books

Books, Life and Everything

Kim The Bookworm

28th Oct

Little Ray of Sunshine

The Quiet Knitter

Bookaholic Confessions

29th Oct

Novel Gossip

Writing Around The Block – Christina Philippou

30th Oct

Whispering Stories

Black Cat Book Reviews

Short Book and Scribes


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited time only. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

Twenty Five Things I Would Tell My Fifteen Year Old Self…

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One of the characters in My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend is Gary. A troubled fifteen year old lad who’s as bright as a button, but in need of a father figure.

I loved writing him. And as the story developed, I, like my protagonist Ade, developed quite a fondness for this fresh faced youngster.

It started me thinking, if it were possible to somehow nip back in time and visit my fifteen year old self – or perhaps just send a message back somehow (maybe a text message – oh hang on, mobile phones hadn’t been invented – still, excellent idea for a plot) – what sage words of wisdom would I give myself?

Well, fans of How To Do Everything And Be Happy won’t be surprised to know that faced with this conundrum, I made a list. Just in case.

Here then is everything that I wish fifteen year old Peter Jones had read in a note that somehow appeared in his inside coat pocket.

  1. Your current girlfriend: She’s not ‘the one’. Ditch her. Really.
  2. Your stories are good, but you need to write a zillion words before anything REALLY good comes out. Start now.
  3. The formula is *not* YOU + THE GIRL = HAPPINESS, the formula is YOU + HAPPINESS = THE GIRL
  4. You are okay.
  5. Qualifications are a complete and utter waste of time.
  6. Take the full time job at Boots. Forget about a ‘career’. Write on your evenings and weekends. You’ll love it.
  7. Move out of home. Now. Never go back.
  8. Save up.
  9. When you can, buy shares in a company called ‘Google’
  10. You are okay.
  11. Long hair is fine.
  12. …But cut it off long before you’re thirty.
  13. You are okay.
  14. There aren’t different ‘types’ of love. It’s all love. And there’s plenty to go around.
  15. Have you started those zillion words yet?
  16. You are okay.
  17. Trust your instincts. They’re right 99.9999% of the time.
  18. Forget how you’d like the world to work – figure out how it ACTUALLY works.
  19. Beware the word ‘should’
  20. Business people are only interested in making money
  21. You are okay.
  22. Most ‘how to get published’ advice is utter BS. Ignore it.
  23. Publishers are business people. See number 20.
  24. Hearts break. But they also mend.
  25. You are okay.

So what would you tell your fifteen year old self? I’m curious to know. Let me know in the comments below. (If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit the blog)


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below