Gabrielle Bisset

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Author Jemima Valentino Guest Post

I'm thrilled to welcome author Jemima Valentino to my blog today on her blog tour for her new book, The House on Hundred Hill. Let's get things rolling with her guest post and then make sure to read on for an excerpt from the book.

It’s great to be with you today Gabrielle, and thanks for having me on your blog as part of the tour for The House on Hundred Hill. When doing interviews with bloggers, one of the most common questions an author can be asked is, “Why did you want to be a writer?” Since I’ve joined the blogging circuit, both as a writer and a reader, I’ve given this question a lot of thought (because it’s often asked of me.)

Ever since my eldest daughter (who is 9) has been old enough to reach the work surface in kitchen, she has been fascinated with food - the look and feel of it, how ingredients go together etc, and she tries anything that’s put in front of her, even if she doesn’t like it. I remember being in the supermarket with her when she was about eighteen months old and she was screaming the entire place down. If you’ve ever been a parent in a supermarket then you’ll know the feeling this brings on - sheer undiluted panic! There is no way to hush up a child who is entering the phase of uncontrollable ear-splitting screams. Cuddles and soothing sounds from either me or my husband just weren’t cutting it, other parents were looking at us (probably thankful that it wasn’t them!) and other customers who obviously weren’t parents were walking past and shaking their heads in disgust.

In that one moment my husband did something that would shape the future of our daughter forever. He gave her a red peperami. Within two seconds flat she was silent and munching on this thing like her life depended on it.

Since that day in the supermarket, my daughter has been a huge fan of spicy food. Gone are the days where we can eat a curry together as a family because what I consider to be pleasantly spicy is never hot enough for her. But also, since that day, she has had the burning ambition to be a chef. I know a lot of kids want to be many things when they grow up - teacher, vet, police officer, but not for our kid, it’s only ever been one thing. Chef.

Watching her growing up with this desire reminds me of when I was her age and wanted the very same thing. For me though, I wanted more than anything to be a writer. Unfortunately, through one thing or another I initially fell into a different career and it was only in 2009 when I published my first novella ‘His Elle’ that I finally began to realise my dreams. My parents gave me as much encouragement in my childhood as I like to think I give my daughter with her ambitions. They didn’t censor my reading and I slowly made my way through my Dad’s entire library, preferring his Stephen King’s and Tom Clancy’s to my mother’s copious Danielle Steele and Barbara Taylor Bradford collection. I don’t believe our dreams are a product of what our parents want for us, but I do believe that what our parents do for us can really help us to achieve our dreams.

So you see, it wasn’t a simple question of waking up one day and deciding that I wanted to be a writer, it was truly that I needed it, as much as my daughter needs to cook. Stories develop in my head every day and often won’t leave me alone until I fire up my trusty pink laptop and start to scribble them down. 

Jemima x


“Jesus, Jess,” her best friend Anna had bleated every time she mentioned Derek and his parents. “Derek’s a bloody good catch. It’s only his parents for god’s sake. If you don’t get your arse in gear and make that man happy, then I’m going to!”

It was a running joke between them, but Anna not only had a not-so-secret crush on Jessica’s boyfriend, she also couldn’t tolerate Jessica’s attitude to commitment. Both her best friend and her own mother had the same opinion. Why couldn’t she just settle down with a good looking and decent man who didn’t treat her like shit? After all, everyone just settles in the end, don’t they?

But the spark had already dwindled, the burning embers of desire extinguished and overtaken with monotonous responsibility. She hadn’t even agreed to move in with him yet for fear of losing her independence. What if he farted in bed or left his toenail clippings on the sofa? It made her physically shudder.

There was another reason that Jessica was not prepared to settle down with her bloody-good-catch. Derek was a wonderful, thoughtful lover, but that was exactly the problem. She wanted more. She needed more. The dark thoughts that originally started as mild curiosity had developed into an intense craving that could not be satisfied. Her fantasies had overtaken her every waking moment. It was a burning passion; a powerful rage had stoked the fire in the very depths of her core, like a lioness that vengefully hunts for prey to feed her own insatiable hunger. She couldn’t define it. She couldn’t understand what she needed, but she did know that Derek would never be strong enough and that was why it simply had to end.

Thanks so much, Jemima, for stopping by my blog on your book tour! 


Jemima Valentino said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Gabrielle, it was a pleasure to be with you. I look forward to hosting you on November 17th!

J x

Gabrielle said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and hanging out here today. The book looks interesting! I hope it sells tons. :)