I’m delighted to be interviewing Janet Kelly, a journalist, media and marketing guru who, to cap it all, is just about to set up her own publishing company! I’m intrigued to know more. Over to you, Janet!
Tell me a bit more about yourself, and your writing. How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing all my life, firstly poems and short stories as a child and then a range of content in my varied career as a journalist – sometimes news bulletins for Radio 4, then another day a feature for The Sun. My real experience of the ‘gutter’ press, however, was as the Assistant Editor of Middle East Water and Sewage when I was 22!
Ha! I like it! And what a varied career you have had! How did you become a published author?
The journey to publication was a rocky one – I’ve had two agents, two publishers and in the end decided to take a leap of faith and go out on my own. I’ve set up my own publishing company – Bobaloo Books – to publish the sequel to Dear Beneficiary, another novel called For The Last Time and also a series of illustrated children’s books I’ve written. I’m also taking submissions for similar style books.
After my experience with Dear Beneficiary, I felt I could be more in control of my destiny if I handled the publishing process myself. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy and there have been many hurdles and frustrations but with my experience of business, marketing and PR I think it has been the right decision.
Incidentally, I have also ghost-written a book on the menopause, which is now published.
So what are your ambitions as a writer?
Dear Beneficiary has been optioned for film and I’m hoping this comes to fruition. The script treatment has already been completed and now it is a case of finding the right investors – relatively small to begin with then bigger money once we have the development in place. We’ve already got some well known actors interested in lead parts plus there is still a lot of Government support in terms of tax benefits for investors, so I’m holding my breath!
I also run writing courses in Spain to encourage new talent.
Do you spend a lot of time on social media?
I’m not sure I really understand social media, although I can’t help get caught up in it. I’m told it is the only way to go in terms of building profile and sales but I’m sure a good display across all Waterstones and WH Smith stores would do just as well! It’s rewarding when someone says they love your book, or retweet about it but mostly I find it a tedious chore.
I’d be amazed if you found time to read as well as write, do your journalism and marketing, set up a new business and run courses! Do you read at all?
Yes! I read anything and everything, although it’s true that I don’t find I get enough time to read as much as I like. I’ve just finished War Dog, which isn’t particularly well written but is a fabulous story, which I like. I’m keener on being entertained than reading very elaborate prose although occasionally I’m blown away by the thought-provoking sentences of some of the best literary talent.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?
That it made them laugh out loud.
Do you have any tips for other writers? What are your top ones?
Keep going, keep writing and never lose faith. There will always be people who don’t like what you do, but plenty of others who do.
Thank you for being my guest today, Janet, and good luck with all your future endeavours.
Janet Kelly is 55, a journalist and owner of media and marketing agency Free Features. Dear Beneficiary is her first novel.
Twitter @DearBeneficiary and @JantyK
Bobaloo Books Twitter @BobalooBooks Facebook page: Dear Beneficiary
Dear Beneficiary tells the humorous tale of the sixty year old Cynthia Hartworth and her thirty-eight year old black lover. When she gets a ‘Dear Beneficiary’ email she believes it to be from him and decides to surprise him with a trip to Nigeria. When he isn’t there to meet her, all kinds of adventures unfold including kidnap – alongside an unlikely sidekick called Tracey – escape and eventual repatriation.