INTERVIEW: Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is one of my favourite authors. Her books are so real that you feel you are in the settings and the characters are your friends. I was thrilled when she agreed to answer some questions for me. I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did.

Which childhood books and authors were your favourites? Do you think they influenced you in wanting to become an author?

I was a massive Enid Blyton fan and particularly devoured the Faraway Tree series, Malory Towers and the Famous Five. I also read a couple of books by Sheila Lavelle called My Best Fiend and The Fiend Next Door. They’re amazing stories of Charlie and her best friend Angela who constantly gets her into trouble and is therefore more of an enemy than a friend, hence the use of ‘fiend’ in the title.

When I was thirteen, a friend loaned me Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. I was a bit reluctant to read it at first as I’d never read a book so thick, but I gave it a go and was completely hooked. The rest of the series came out across my teens and I bought them all, reading them so many times that my copies fell apart. Obviously she’s not a children’s author but I think of her as an influence on my older childhood reading given the age I first read her.

All these authors taught me what a page-turner was and how to create characters you’re rooting for. Many authors talk about how they’ve always written/created stories and I’m not one of them. I was in my early thirties when I started writing but the work of these three women has stayed with me and has definitely influenced me in trying to write books that readers don’t want to put down.

How did you get your first book published?

I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) through their New Writer’s Scheme (NWS) in 2012 where unpublished romance authors can submit a manuscript for critique by an author. I put my debut novel through the NWS two years in a row (as I made some big changes to it based on the first critique). Both feedback reports were extremely positive and gave me the confidence that I could write and had a good plot. In 2013, I started the submissions process and, after 23 rejections, secured a publishing deal in 2014 with my first release in spring 2015.

I thought I’d made it then, but my publisher ceased trading after only eighteen months which was a blow. They were a new publisher and it had been harder to gain a foothold on the market than they’d expected. I got my rights back and re-released my titles as an indie author but struggled to make an impact so, after a few years, had to accept that it wasn’t going to work for me as an indie author. I had a freelance job as an HR Tutor typically working a 70-hour week so I didn’t have the time or energy to learn all about advertising – or the money to risk in giving it a try. I needed to either give up or secure another publishing deal and pray it wouldn’t be as disastrous as my first one.

I was nervous about submitting again and, although I only had a handful of rejections (because I was very choosy about where I submitted), each one floored me. I saw an advert for a new company called Boldwood Books opening in February 2019 and was hesitant about going for a new publisher again but the credentials of the team behind Boldwood were so impressive that I had to give it a try. This was going to be my last submission and, if it didn’t work, I’d have to decide whether I really did walk away.

I was fortunate enough to be taken on as one of their first twenty authors with a nine-book deal for a mix of new books and backlist. This got extended to twelve books to take on my full backlist and I’m currently halfway through my second twelve-book contract. Boldwood have released edited versions of my entire backlist and ten new titles. My eighteenth book came out in late January, but it’s been a heck of a journey to get there!

If you had to write a non-fiction book, what subject or person would it be about?

It would have to be about teddy bears. I collect bears and even opened my own specialist teddy bear shop, which I ran for a couple of years around the time I started writing.

How do you come up with titles for your books?

With my first publisher, the title choice was completely my own. The premise of my debut novel (what’s now called New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms) is around Sarah finding a long-lost clairvoyant reading where everything but one predication has already come true: that she’s going to meet the man of her dreams and his name will be Steven. Searching for Steven became the title and I loved it as it is perfect for the book, but it wasn’t particularly commercial. The rest of the series all had alliterative titles with men’s names in them but they were all changed to more commercial titles by Boldwood Books, although that was done through discussion to find titles we all liked.

When Boldwood re-released my Christmas titles, they only tweaked them a little but a couple of other Whitsborough Bay titles were completely changed. All You Need is Love was originally called Bear With Me. It’s partly set in a teddy bear shop called Bear With Me but the title works on another level as the two main characters have been through some difficult times and need the other to ‘bear with me’ while they heal. I do understand that a re-release needed a fresh title and I do really like the new title but this is the only one of my books where I do prefer the original.

I came up with Hedgehog Hollow as a setting and worked with my publisher on the title names. The final titles are a mix of ideas from my publisher and me.

I don’t give my books titles anymore as I know they’ll be changed so I used to call my Hedgehog Hollow series by number e.g. Hedgehog Hollow 4 until a title was agreed and my latest was just ‘Barney’s Farm’ until we’d confirmed a title.

When you’re being interviewed about the books you’ve written, do you ever forget the names of your characters?

Oh my gosh, my memory is like a sieve! I’m brilliant with the main characters and settings but I can sometimes grasp around for the names of the secondary characters, particularly now that I have eighteen books out there and hundreds of names. I also forget aspects of the plot, not able to recall whether or not I removed something during edits. When I’m writing a book in a series, I find myself constantly opening the previous book(s) to check on details.

What’s the strangest thing you have researched (or Googled!) for a book you were writing?

Ha ha, this question made me laugh. I remember being so paranoid about my search history when I wrote my debut novel, New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms. Near the beginning, we have a flashback to the main character Sarah from when she was fourteen. She used to visit her uncle weekly and she turns up to a regular visit but discovered that he’s died. I needed to describe that realistically so I was Googling questions like “How long before a dead body starts to smell?” and “How long would it take for flies to appear on a dead body?” Serial killer alert!

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

I love reading but I don’t get through many books as I spend so much time writing my own. I did get through more than usual in the lead-up to Christmas and I’m going to have to cheat and say joint favourites: Winter Wishes at the White Hart Inn by Sharon Booth and Happy Endings at Mermaids Point by fellow Boldwood author, Sarah Bennett. Both books were so warm and full of the festive feels. I’ve read everything Sharon has written and she’s an incredibly talented author who has just secured a publishing deal with Storm so I’m very excited to see where that takes her. I’ve read the full Mermaids Point series and loved all the instalments.

What’s your least favourite household chore?

Ironing. I absolutely hate it. As soon as clothes are washed, I have them hanging up to dry in the hope of minimising creases. My husband and I both work from home so we can get away with wearing un-ironed clothes most of the time and my daughter’s school shirts are crease-free (hurrah!) However, things do build – particularly in the summer when more of the clothes I wear need an iron. At the point the ironing basket is overflowing, I tackle it. I have to watch a film (or two) to get me through the trauma!

Do you have any rituals when you start writing a new book?

I wouldn’t call them rituals as such but there are certain things I need ready for starting each book. Although I type straight into Word, I use a notebook for character development and key information I want to remember. I’m a stationery obsessive and it’s important to select the right notebook. I like to have one with a cover that’s relevant to the story so the notebook for my latest novel, Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn, has a bee on it and my Hedgehog Hollow series one has a hedgehog on it.

I also need a weekly planner pad (ideally in an appropriate design) to keep track of my timeline. I print off an A4 calendar for the year in which I’m setting the novel, and a word count tracker I created in PowerPoint. I know there are online tools and apps for doing that but I like the satisfaction of colouring in a shape each time I’ve passed 1,000 words.

Tell us about your latest book/upcoming book/Kindle deals/anything you want to promote?

Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn is my latest release. It’s the story of Barney, a young farmer who runs Bumblebee Barn – a mixed farm which has been in his family for four generations. He’d love to find someone to share the farm with but he’s unlucky in love which his sister, Fizz, puts down to him repeatedly picking women completely unsuited to farming. She suggests something radical – responding to a contestant appeal for new TV show called Love on the Farm aimed at finding love for farmers.

It’s told in two perspectives and the second one is Amber’s. She’s the producer on the show. She hates reality TV and usually works on Countryside Calendar (think Countryfile-ish) but has personal reasons for wanting to be in the area where it’s being filmed so she agrees.

Although using reality TV as a premise might sound like a romcom, it’s still my usual style of emotional but uplifting drama with depth. There are some laughs but there may be tears too.

We had positioned Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn as a standalone story but with some treats for Hedgehog Hollow fans as we do visit the rescue centre and see some of the characters again. It’s a complete story but I believed there was potential for a sequel or perhaps even a series. Readers have been so positive and there’ve been so many comments about wanting more so my publisher and I have agreed at least a sequel, which will be out in 2024.

I’ve just finished writing the final book in The Starfish Café trilogy – Summer Nights at The Starfish Café – which is out on 28th April 2023 (and already up for pre-order) and have started writing a brand new series set in the Lake District which I can’t wait to write. I love the Lakes so much and visit as often as I can so I’m so excited about setting a series there.

For any Whitsborough Bay fans, there’s still plenty more to come from Whitsborough Bay and my Christmas release (out in September/October this year) will be a return to Castle Street.

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog and your great questions.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Author bio:

Jessica Redland is a bestselling author of emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family, and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

All of Jessica’s books are available in a multitude of formats: eBook, paperback, hardback, large print, and audio. Her eBooks are all available for FREE via Kindle Unlimited and six of her audiobooks can be listened to for FREE as part of the Audible Plus programme for Audible subscribers. Libraries internationally also stock Jessica’s titles in a variety of formats.

Links to author landing pages:

Amazon UK:

Amazon USA:

Audible UK:

Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn:

Amazon UK:

Amazon USA:

 Audible UK:

Contact details:



Twitter:           @JessicaRedland



Redland’s Readers (Facebook group exclusive for fans of Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow):

Published by karenlouisehollis

53, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My novel is out - WELCOME TO WHITLOCK CLOSE.

5 thoughts on “INTERVIEW: Jessica Redland

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview. I must admit, I haven’t read Jessica Redland’s stories (yet! I should, though!) but this was an awesome interview to read. As a reader, sometimes I’ve wondered whether authors sometimes forget characters. It’s interesting to read Jessica’s story of getting published as well. Thank you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved learning more about Jessica’s journey and her books. I’ve heard it’s a long hard journey to get published and I’m so glad she stuck with it. Thank you Boldwood for giving her a chance as I love her feel good books.

    Liked by 1 person

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