Wednesday 12 June 2019

BLOG TOUR: Good Grief Q&A - Jon Rance

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed several of Jon Rance's novels so I was delighted to be asked to hop aboard the Good Grief blog tour.  Here's a little bit about the new book followed by a Q&A with the fabulous Jon Rance.

Two strangers. Two deaths. One unlikely friendship that will change everything.

Holly Moon has it all. The perfect husband, the dream media career, then at age twenty-six her husband dies and just like that her world comes crashing down around her.
Black cab driver, Phil Turner, is sixty when his wife dies of cancer. They've been married for forty years. He doesn't know any different.
When Holly and Phil meet at Good Grief support group, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Two strangers with nothing in common except they don't know how to move on. Perhaps together and with the aid of their 'definitely-not-a-bucket-list' they'll find a way. But it's not as easy as just ticking things off a list and soon their happiness and lives hinge on one thing...each other.
Set in London, Good Grief is a love letter to the healing power of friendship and learning that even in the depths of grief the most magical things can happen.

Q&A with Jon Rance

We are so excited to read your new novel, Good Grief, can you tell us a bit about it?

Firstly, thank you so much for having me on your blog, it’s great to be here! So, Good Grief, is the story of Phil Turner and Holly Moon. Phil is a sixty-year-old black cab driver and he’s just lost his wife of forty years to cancer. Holly is twenty-seven and she has the perfect life. She has her dream career at the BBC and is married to the wonderful Rob. Then he has a sudden heart attack on holiday and dies. She’s heartbroken. Phil and Holly meet at Good Grief counselling and support group a year later, and despite their differences, they begin to help each other move on. It’s a real love letter to the healing power of friendship. I know it sounds like quite a sad book, and it is in parts, but it’s hopefully quite uplifting too.

As you usually write rom-com, how different was it to write Good Grief with it having a more serious note?

Thanks for this question. It was something I really thought about after my last book, The Summer Holidays Survival Guide, which was a pure comedy novel. I enjoyed writing that one so much, but I also felt the need to write something a bit darker. Writing comedy is great and I love it, but I wanted to explore something different with this book and I enjoyed that too. After my last book, I played around with a few ideas, and I kept coming back to this one and so it obviously had something. The main difference with this book, I think, is that it explores a time in two people’s lives when they’re at their lowest, and what I enjoyed writing was their journey out of it together. Their friendship is the cornerstone of the whole novel and it was a joy to write them. In some ways not trying to be funny is easier because I could just embrace the drama without the need to always come back to something lighter. Writing comedy is actually, I think, one of the hardest things to do well.

What inspired you to write Good Grief?

As with all my books, the idea came gradually and evolved over time. I had the title first. I wrote it down a year or two ago. I think I saw it somewhere or maybe I read it. So when I came to write this book, I knew I wanted to write something more serious and the title came back to me. Once I knew I wanted to write about grief, the idea quickly formed about two very different people trying to overcome grief together. I loved the juxtaposition of Phil, an older, working class man, who’s completely useless without his wife, and Holly, the young career minded, middle-class girl, who buries herself in work because she can’t deal with losing her husband. I think they’re both wonderful characters and the whole story really plays on their differences and also the one thing they have in common, their grief. It’s a story about friendship and how kindness can help overcome anything.

If readers take one thing away with them after reading Good Grief, what do you hope it is?

I think it’s kindness, and how just being there can change someone’s lives. There are a few times in the book when both Holly and Phil feel like they can’t go on. Overcoming their grief is too hard. In those moments, they need the other more than ever and they are there for them. They show up and offer support and love, and it’s incredible what that can do. Grief is something we all go through at times in our life and when it happens, we need people. Because of their circumstances, Holly and Phil, don’t have that many people, but they have each other. They have the kindness they show each other, and in the current world where it seems we’re always at war with someone on social media and people like to argue about anything, I think this is a book that celebrates love and friendship. It’s almost an antidote to the modern world.

You’ve written 8 novels now, so you’re a bit of an expert author…how long did it take you to write Good Grief and how did this compare with your other novels?

Haha great question, and I’d never call myself an expert author! Good Grief was actually quite fast for me. I am getting faster at writing novels. I think it’s just that as you write more, you learn how to do it better. I’m more organised in my approach now and I’ve learnt from my own mistakes – and I’ve made many! This book has taken about eight months from beginning to end, which is fast for me. Most of my novels take between ten to twelve months.

If you have time to read in your busy writing schedule, what are you currently reading and has there been one book that you just have to recommend?

I’ve actually been reading a lot this year for a change. I don’t always read that much when I’m writing, but this year has been different. A few of the books I’ve enjoyed: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, Our House by Louise Candlish, The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle. All fantastic books!

After you have finished your novel, do you rush straight on to the next one? i.e. when can we expect book 9?

I do usually, but it’s not really a rush this time. I’m actually for the first time changing genres for my next book and so I’m taking my time and learning to plot something completely different! I’ll tell you more in the next question!

As we’re chomping at the bit for the next Jon Rance novel, can you give us a hint of what we can expect?

As mentioned above, I’m changing genres for my next book. I have loved writing comedy and all of my novels have been in the same genre, albeit with differing tones. For my next book, I’m going to write a thriller. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and I want to have a go at it. I’ve always enjoyed reading a good thriller and watching them on TV. I was inspired by the TV show, Safe, on Netflix. It was such a clever, well plotted story with great twists and interesting characters. After I watched it, I thought I’d like to write something like that. A real page-turner. It’s something very different for me and so I’m still trying to work out the plot and the twists and create some great characters! I hope it’s a new direction my fans will enjoy and it’s something I enjoy too! One thing I do know is that it won’t be out for a while. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading Good Grief. Thanks so much for the interview! Cheers – Jon x

Thank you very much to Jon Rance for stopping by my blog today to answer my questions and if you can't wait to read the book, click HERE to buy a copy from Amazon. 

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