Seeing the funny side with bestselling author, Lynda Renham…


Lynda Renham shows off her latest bestseller

Lynda Renham shows off her latest bestseller

The perfect combination: Relax with cupcakes and Lynda's quirky characters...

The perfect combination: Relax with cupcakes and Lynda’s quirky characters…

Lucky me! I have been hanging out with chicklit royalty again and had the huge pleasure of interviewing the lovely Lynda Renham, who has enjoyed huge success with her super-funny and uplifting novels, Croissants and Jam, Coconuts and Wonderbras and the most recent, Pink Wellies and Flat Caps. This lady has dragged me away from serious literature and opened up to me a whole world of light-hearted fun such that on a long haul flight I eschewed the lure of the in-flight movies and read her latest novel cover to cover. Here’s what she had to say about her quirky style:

Your novels are highly entertaining and have some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments. Where do you get your ideas for your characters’ calamities?
A lot of my ideas for the calamities actually stem from my own life experience and my own calamities. Andrew (my husband) and I (sounding like the queen) both have a similar sense of humour and see humorous situations in most things. It helps being a bit of a nutcase though.

What inspires you to begin a new novel?
I actually agonise at the beginning of each novel. I know they all seem easy and fun but trying to write humour and make it flow easily is actually very hard to do. If I don’t feel at my best, writing humour is, as another author friend quoted, ‘like extracting teeth without anaesthetic’. Sometimes I think I would prefer that. I can be inspired by anything. Something someone says, something I see in the street, a piece of music, a film. Anything can trigger an idea. The new one was inspired by my visits to the laundrette when having my extension built and I didn’t have a kitchen. Let’s hope it comes out well in the wash.

You have had enormous success with Croissants and Jam, Coconuts and Wonderbras and more recently with Pink Wellies and Flat Caps with all three being in the top 20 at the same time on Amazon Humour. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers about this wonderful success?
A BIG THANK YOU, because it is my wonderful readers who have made the books such a success. I am amazed at how well the books have done. It feels so surreal sometimes. I am so pleased that I am making people laugh and it isn’t only Andrew who appreciates my crazy humour. So I shall try and continue producing more of the same until the men in white coats come to take me away.

Do you ever get stuck in your writing and if so, what unblocks you?
Yes and the only answer is CHOCOLATE and more CHOCOLATE…

Who is your favourite character from all your novels and why?
Easy. That has to be Christian. Gorgeous, strong, handsome, and with a great sense of humour and of course a relaxed personality. A little bit like Andrew on a good day.

Do you have a favourite moment?
The Thelma and Louise spoof in ‘Pink Wellies’ is my favourite. I had great fun writing that and laughed a lot when reading it to Andrew. It was embarrassing how much I laughed at my own jokes.

You have lots of brilliant reviews on Amazon, but what is the best comment you have ever had about your work?
Diane Morasco of ‘Morasco Media’ when she called me ‘The uproarious Lynda Renham: Definitely a unsung hero’

Do you have a work in progress and can you share with us what we have to look forward to?
Ooh, always reluctant to talk about WIP. But I can say that there is a monkey involved, a few East End Gangsters, lots of misunderstandings and a touch of Downton Abbey and of course a gorgeous hero. The most gorgeous yet I think. And a huge amount of comedy.

Huge thanks to Lynda for being my guest. Meet Lynda, follow her blog and discover her fab novels by clicking on the links:
Jae De Wylde is the bestselling author of The Thinking Tank and Sleeping People Lie. Find out more at

The Secrets of a Successful Portable Career


When I found myself ‘expatted’ so to speak, my immediate choice was to turn to my two passions – writing and dancing – to create a framework for my new life abroad. But to do that it takes energy, effort, an abundance of patience and above all other people. Without other people, the isolation of a new country, new culture and the reality of the alone-ness of the ‘trailing spouse’ can turn excitement to dread.

Enter ‘A Career In Your Suitcase’ Expat Guru, Jo Parfitt has teamed up with Career Consultant, Colleen Reichrath-Smith to create a go-to guide to help you find your passion and empower you to create a portable career.

Confronting the issues of loss of identity and self-esteem, this guide offers practical advice – not just lists of suggestions, but real and powerful ways of shifting your vision and reaching out to others to forge your own space on the expat arena – a space that can be popped into your suicase and shaken out wherever and whenever the next transfer takes place.

This is the fourth edition of this excellent publication. I got stuck into my dream of writing novels for a living and The Thinking Tank and Sleeping People Lie were born. When I arrived in the top 50 on Amazon I knew that expat miracles certainly can happen.

A Career In Your Suitcase was a friend when I needed it and absolutely worth its weight in my own personal baggage allowance!

You can find your copy on Amazon right here at this link:

Please take a look at my website for details of my novels and news of events. I am always delighted to visit reading groups who have been kind enough to spend time with my work:

So how did you get published?

My latest novel is available from Walkers, Waterstones and Amazon in Kindle and paperback

My latest novel is available from Walkers, Waterstones and Amazon in Kindle and paperback

Prompted by an enquiry from a writer who has just completed her first novel – and hurrah for her since that is a brilliant feat in itself – I’m offering to you what I offered to her, which is my own personal take on getting it out there. It’s all very subjective and all I can suggest is what worked for me…

Once you have a manuscript you are happy with, make all your friends and family – especially big readers, teachers and literary folk – comment on what they like or not – what works and what doesn’t. Get them to mark up copies for you. Don’t forget to acknowledge their help in the back of your novel.

Edit and proof read again yourself, working with the comments with which you agree, and then ABSOLUTELY if you are serious about getting it out there get a professional to do a proof read and edit for you. It costs but is worth it if you are serious about being published. I used Megan Kerr for The Thinking Tank before I had a publisher. I found her great for what I wanted. There are lots of people out there to choose from so do your research to find the right person for you.

Be prepared to adjust your novel according to what the editor suggests as they know what works. It’s quite hard to let go of paragraphs you judge as your finest work but if it’s deemed unnecessary it will have to go! However, if you feel strongly you can always argue your case – which I did and now realise that my editor was right and I was wrong!

Even with millions of edits there will still be errors – sad, frustrating but true.

Get hold of a Writers and Artists Yearbook for 2013:
(or whatever year is when you reach that point!). Inside you will find a guide to all the UK and US agents and publishers. There is no point submitting to an agent who doesn’t deal with your genre – so read carefully and only choose appropriate targets. Then, go to their websites and see what they want as a first submission. Sometimes it’s three chapters and synopsis, others want the whole thing – just depends. Some want email, others only manuscripts.

Then you just have to keep sending out and wait until someone likes what you have to offer.

It can take a very long time with lots of rejections. I was so fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with the right novel. Use any contacts you have – it can’t do any harm.

If you find an agent/ publisher, be prepared to let them have some control as they will know what is commercial and what is not.

I was picked up by a publisher and have no agent, which means I have to do most of my own PR, which is time-consuming and hard work, especially if you want to get down to writing again, so there are definite advantages in having an agent who will represent you. That said, you are more in control doing your own thing – but it might not always be the right pathway.

There is a magazine, published by Warners of Bourne, called Writers’ Magazine and there are often competitions. It’s a good way to get involved and get your name out there. I did this through features for educational journals.

Also – start a blog about something you love – even the process of writing your book. Be on Facebook and Twitter, join reading/ writers’ groups online as well as in life. Anything that helps you get your writing out there.

I love doing book signings, going into schools to talk to AS/ A Level students about dual narrative and other aspects, being grilled by reading groups and anything that puts me in contact with people. What I am not so keen on is the whole cyber side of promoting online – but it all has to be done.

Also, bear in mind that unless you happen to become a best seller/ movie made of it etc, there is not a lot of money in writing fiction until you really make it! Plus what motivates you to express yourself might not be what is commercial. I think the best test for me is to ask myself if I am writing something I would like to read – and maybe you can only really be true to yourself and the writing ‘voice’ that you find.

All of the above still holds true if you decide to self-pub. I know folks who have gone through Matador/ Troubador and also Createspace and who have done lots of networking and been successful. Fifty Shades of Gray is a brilliant example of a do-it-yourself success.

Check out my website for news and reviews:

Sleeping People Lie steals top spot – with apologies to Jamie O!



Sleeping People Lie & The Thinking Tank steal the top spots at Waterstones!

Sleeping People Lie & The Thinking Tank steal the top spot at Waterstones!

With launch fever over for Sleeping People Lie, I thought that maybe that was that. Written, launched, marketed; over and out.

But no; a great big ‘hurrah’ was just around the corner when Sleeping People Lie AND The Thinking Tank managed to bump Jamie Oliver off the top row, coming in at #1 and #2 respectively following my book signing in Waterstones in Market Harborough.

This last week has been terrific too with books flying out of my hands at signings. Huge thanks to my new readers in Lincolnshire and Rutland. And the best bit of all? The fact that folks came especially to see me because they loved The Thinking Tank and wanted my second novel asap. What a joy and blessing! Although Martin may not think so since it’s made me want to get stuck into novel #3 and that means he has to live with a zombie. Hey ho! Please watch this space…


Sleeping People Lie is a love story with a dark edge set between Stamford, England, Paris and New York at Christmastime. It’s available, along with my first novel, The Thinking Tank, on Amazon in paperback and Kindle and from branches of Waterstones and Walkers Bookshops.

Please visit me at: for reviews, news and contact details.

The Dangerous Art of Channel X


Picture the scene. It’s late at night and the hotel is all but deserted. It’s like something from an Agatha Christie where you expect to trip over a dead body as you head down the endless corridor, its miserable brown and swirly carpet scuffing beneath your feet.

You press the button and the door swings open, releasing you into the cold, wet night. You cross the damp, bleak car park and hurtle through the revolving door. Once again you hand the code card to the boy behind the desk. He looks menacingly up at you, swipes his Teutonic-perfect blond hair from his eyes, sighs and places another in your sweaty palm. Retreating, you find the elevator, go to the third floor, cross the walkway and slip quietly down the spiral stairs, the only route back in. Once safely in your room, you slide the card home and bingo! It doesn’t work AGAIN. Will you give up and let them take your money? No, you won’t.  You are strong; you are British; your upper lip has never been stiffer – and nor for that matter have your hips. So the cycle begins again. You grab your key and head back down the corridor, resolve your new best friend.

‘Give up,’ said Martin.

‘Never,’ I replied. ‘They know these things don’t work. They just want to take our money and think we’ll be too embarrassed to make a fuss.’

Armed with the knowledge that Martin had already decided that all was lost, my determination redoubled its steely grip. The boy child at reception was not going to win. I was back on the trail.

‘Listen,’ I said, my best expat voice rearing its ugly head as I approached the desk, ‘This is my third circuit. You know and I both know that the tokens from the machine and the tokens you are replacing them with are never going to work. Now, I could run around in circles all night and I am quite prepared to do that, but why don’t you save us both a lot of trouble and just give me back my money?’

Two more circuits and twenty minutes later, that’s just what he did. Surely it should not be this hard to watch a pay-movie?

The name of the hotel? Not telling. Wouldn’t want to spoil your fun!

Sleeping People Lie is OUT NOW on Amazon in Kindle and paperback and is available from Walkers, Waterstones and all good bookshops.

Please visit my website:

Best selling author of The Thinking Tank

The Next Big Thing: Sleeping People Lie


I was delighted to be invited to be part of The Next Big Thing by Matthew Hirtes, author of Going Local in Gran Canaria and guru on all things Spain – way beyond the sun, sea and vino rojo. Matthew covers the Canaries for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller and the Independent. Check out what he is up to here:

Thank you for thinking of me, Matthew. Here we go with those all important questions on my very own Next Big Thing…


What is the working title of your book?

Well first up, I am deliriously happy to announce that my book no longer needs a working title as it has just been published! My novel spent a long time being Dear Em, then it switched to NOT an Affair to Forget and finally went via Two Weeks in Paris to arriving at Sleeping People Lie. Oh – and it was The Hands of The Mistress at one stage but that awkwardly coincided with 50 Shades. It’s not ‘Mummy Porn’ so we lost that title quickly!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Sleeping People Lie is a love story from two points of view – that of Nicholas, an artist and writer from Boston and Sloane, a would-be writer from Stamford, England. I wanted to examine the power of perception; how two different voices can influence the reader one way and then the other.

What genre does your book fall under?

Since my first novel, The Thinking Tank, found itself in the top 50 on Women´s Contemporary Fiction on Amazon, I am now confident that this is my genre. There is certainly a literary element to it but it´s a page-turning read, that´s never difficult. I always hesitate with the ‘Women’s’ Fiction idea though as lots of guys have read my first novel and loved it – so I really hope my gentlemen readers will also enjoy Sleeping People Lie, especially since, unusually, Nicholas, my male protagonist, has a voice in matters of the heart.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If I were choosing actors for the parts of Sloane and Nicholas it would have to be Emily Blunt and I would need a younger Matthew McConaughy. Maybe someone could suggest who that might be!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sleeping People Lie is a compelling love story with a dark edge set between Paris and New York with themes of love, guilt, blame, lies and secrets – an ‘emotionally intelligent page-turner’. (Okay – I cheated with the dash!)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Sleeping People Lie is published by Summertime Publishing without an agent. It has just gone live on both and in paperback and on Kindle.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I am pretty disciplined about my writing and make myself complete a minimum word count of 1500 words per day. However, the words just tumbled onto the page and the characters just raced away with the plot of Sleeping People Lie such that the first draft took me from 17 May until the middle of July – two months flat.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It´s difficult to compare my novel with any other since all books have their own flavour. One reader did remark that the shifting viewpoints put her in mind of Andrea Levy´s Small Island. We are in the realm of obsessive love, conscience, blame, lies, guilt and the effect our actions have on others. Sleeping People Lie has been described as a ‘haunting love story that keeps you guessing all the way.’ ‘Written with emotional honesty and in atmospheric detail, presenting the reader with a sometimes uncomfortable but brutally credible exploration of the dark side that lies within us all.’
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Well now, I suppose I do have to tell… I guess it was largely inspired by how people took sides when my own relationship came to an end – how people judge and decide what happened without even a nod to the truth!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I have woven in the story of Rodin and his mistress, Camille Claudel. Not in a high-brow way, but the story takes a look at the dark side of compulsive love and the effect it has on those involved and those around them. It’s certainly not 50 Shades of Jae but it does have its moments! Have you ever felt that frisson of all-consuming infatuation dancing through your veins? Nicholas and Sloane have too…

Now it’s time for me to hand the baton of The Next Big Thing on to my five chosen authors…

I am very happy to pass the torch to bestselling author, Janna Gray ( . Janna started her career as a teacher and part-time writer for magazines and newspapers in the Far East. Her debut novel Kilingiri, set in exotic locations, deals with the universal themes of love and loss and the healing power of forgiveness.

Lynda Renham ( is the bestselling author of Croissants and Jam. Her latest novel Coconuts and Wonderbras is out now and guaranteed to raise a laugh. It’s a fun romance where diets are the order of the day and where love blossoms for literary agent Libby Holmes. Come with Libby on her romantic comedy adventure to see if love blossoms in the warm Cambodian sunshine or if, in the heat of the day, emotions get just too hot to handle.

Chris Edwards is author of Running In Corridors. His hero, Frankie, is a wise cracking, womanising, half Gypsy, he lives in a shabby caravan, on a dilapidated small holding in rural Shropshire, and scrapes a living breeding hens and doing odd jobs.

Jack Scott ( is author of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. This critically acclaimed debut book is a bitter-sweet tragi-comedy that recalls the first year of a gay couple in a Muslim land.

Elle Amberley ( writes novels, ‘the result of too much imagination and constant scenarios playing in her head’. Although she is a British author, she likes to dabble in French too and is working on a French novel. Her latest read, Lost In Her Time, which is set in Paris, follows Natasha, when she clicks on an internet link only to find her life turned upside down by an encounter with a handsome French rock star.

Just to say finally – I would LOVE reviews for Sleeping People Lie on Amazon, Goodreads and wherever else you would like to post them. I always hugely appreciate my readers and never lose sight of the fact that they are the reason why I work hard to write what I hope others will love to read.

Jae XX

Expat Escapades in Forced to Fly


Fancy a good laugh at the expense of yours truly? Well, just dip into this little gem and you will find one. What’s it about? Not telling – you’ll have to get hold of a copy and discover how the joke was on me.

But it’s not just about that. Anyone who has ever been an expat or who is curious about what we expats (or ex-expat in my case) get up to in our warm and sunny (read ‘hot and sticky’) climes will love this fantastic collection of relevant and sometimes highly irrelevant true stories.

It’s a real honour to be included in this, the second edition of Forced To Fly. Not that anyone forced me to fly, you understand. My little wings were flapping way before Martin got his job in the Middle East – and very much enjoyed unfurling whilst we were there – as my tale doth tell!

Forced to Fly is available from Amazon right now!

Sleeping People Lie is available from November. The Thinking Tank is available now from Amazon, Bookmark, Waterstones and Walkers