Author Interview: Jon Rance

One of my favourite things about being a book blogger is being given the opportunity to interview some of my favourite authors and chat all things bookish. I am thrilled to welcome the wonderful Jon Rance to my blog, whose new novel, Good Grief, is released today (click here to get your copy for the absurdly cheap 99p).
I will freely admit to being a bit (ok, a lot) of a fan girl when it comes to Jon's books. They are AMAZING and it was a privilege to be able to chat with Jon about his latest release, find out what he's been reading lately and (of course) try to find out if we are going to become reacquainted with Harry & Emily Spencer from ThisThirtySomething Life...

Hi Jon and welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! As someone who has been a massive fan of your books for many years now, it is a pleasure to welcome you to my blog. Please could you start off by introducing yourself?

Hello! Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here. My name's Jon Rance and I'm the author of eight novels. My first novel, This Thirtysomething Life, a diary comedy about the male side of pregnancy, growing up, and becoming a father, was a Kindle bestseller and I got a two book deal with Hodder and Stoughton as a result. Since then I've gone on to publish seven more novels, some of which are comedies such as Dan and Nat Got Married, and others more dramatic like, About Us and my latest, Good Grief.

Your new novel, Good Grief, is released on the 11th June. Please could you tell us a bit about it?

Of course. Good Grief is the story of two people, Phil Turner, a sixty-year-old black cab driver, and Holly Moon, a twenty-seven-year-old, who works at the BBC. Two different people with very different lives, but when they both lose their partners, they fall apart. Phil's wife dies of cancer and Holly's husband of a sudden heart attack. They meet at a grief support group called, Good Grief, and they become friends and ultimately help each other move on. It's a love letter to the healing power of friendship because even in the depths of grief, the most magical things can happen. It’s a feel-good, uplifting story that will hopefully resonate with a lot of people.

What inspired you to come up with the idea behind the novel?

As with most of my books, it was a long process. I actually wrote the title down a few years ago. That's all I had. Then after my last book, The Summer Holidays Survival Guide, which was a comedy, I wanted to write something a bit more dramatic. I started playing around with a few ideas and when I saw the title, Good Grief, I started thinking about that. What is grief and how we overcome it. Once I had the characters and the idea, the rest of it came fairly quickly. I especially enjoyed working on the scenes at Good Grief counselling group and all of the other characters there. I feel like each of them could have had their own novel! 

This will be your eighth full length novel. Do you feel as though your writing style has changed in the time since releasing your first book, This Thirtysomething Life?

I know it's gone so fast! I definitely feel like I have evolved a lot since This Thirtysomething Life. I loved writing that book and the follow-up, This Family Life. Those characters mean a lot to me, and I do wonder how they're doing now. My last book, The Summer Holiday Survival Guide, was also a diary format book about family life and I think similar in some ways to This Thirtysomething Life, but where I think I'm better is in plotting and storytelling. That's a skill that definitely improves with each book. In my more dramatic work like Sunday Dinners, About Us, and now, Good Grief, I hope the writing is better, the characters stronger, the storylines more gripping. I especially like the end of Good Grief! I think what I'm most proud of is that I've tackled a lot of big issues like miscarriages, affairs, death, marriage, and parenting, and I've always tried to entertain while saying something about the world and what it means to be human.

And (evil question alert!) do you have a personal favourite of all of the books that you've written so far?

Ooo that is an evil question! I love all of my books, of course, but if I had to pick one it would probably be This Thirtysomething Life, just because it was my first and it got me a book deal! But I've enjoyed writing all of my books for different reasons and they also reflect a time in my life. I love Dan and Nat Got Married, as it was my first real attempt at a romantic comedy. Sunday Dinners was another that I look back on with real pride because that book took so long to write and went through so many edits! It's funny with books because some come so quickly and seem so easy to write and others take forever and really test you. Good Grief is definitely one of my favourites now because I think I've created some really great characters and they're obviously in a difficult situation in life, but the way they work together to help each other is inspiring and I hope uplifting.

I personally am a big fan of male comedy authors (with you being one of my favourites, of course!) Which other authors in this genre do you admire?

Thank you so much! I love the genre too. My first introduction to the genre was Mike Gayle with his first book, My Legendary Girlfriend. I have loved all of his books. He just has a way of writing that really draws you into the characters’ lives and you become a part of it. I love Nick Spalding because his books are just hilarious. Matt Dunn is another favourite, as is Andy Jones. Another author I've recently read that I liked a lot is Keith A Pearson. He wrote a book called, The 86 Fix, which is a time travel novel about a man who goes back to the 1980's to fix his past. It was really good, funny, and I loved the 80's nostalgia.

Do you think you will ever write another novel (or novella) starring my personal favourites Harry & Emily Spencer from This Thirtysomething Life and This Family Life?

Good question. Maybe. I loved writing their story and creating that world. I have no plans at the moment but who knows. Maybe, This Fortysomething Life, will come out one day! 

Have you read anything good lately...?

I have. I've been reading a lot of thrillers recently (for a reason) and I've read some really good ones. I loved The Girl On The Train. I finally got around to reading it, and it was fantastic. So tense and dark. I loved, Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, Our House by Louise Candlish, and I just finished, The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth. I really enjoyed all of those. I loved Mike Gayle's last book, The Man I Think I Know, and Lisa Jewell's Then She Was Gone and Watching You. I'm excited to read The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary because it sounds really intriguing. 

And finally, can you tell us what you're up to at the moment?

As mentioned above, I've been reading a lot of thrillers because I want to write something completely different next. I've written eight novels, all within the same sort of genre. Some have been more comedic and some dramatic, but essentially they're within a certain sort of genre. So, for my next I'm going to write a thriller. I'm still working on it because I want to write something different than is already out there. I want to bring what I'm good at which is creating interesting characters to a psychological thriller plot. I haven't really figured it all out yet, but I'll get there eventually. It's exciting to be trying something new!

A huge thank you to Jon for taking the time to answer my questions.

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