Authors to Watch is part of the Pump Up Your Book blog tour for Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel. We’ve got a Q&A with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway! Before we begin, let’s have a look at the book…
“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”
Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.
The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.
Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.
Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.
But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?
Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story of love and loss set between London and the heart of the French Alps.
Q: When did you begin writing?
Q: Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
Q: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Q: How did you get the idea for the book?
A: I spent a couple of years working as a ski chaperone in the French Alps when I’d finished college. I lived in a small, village community whose people were very insular and gossipy. The mountains make for such a powerful, emotive backdrop, especially for romance, that I knew it would be a great place to base a story – and there’s something about forbidden love (i.e. the cheating angle) that I thought would be fascinating to explore.
Q: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Q: Which authors have inspired your writing?
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
Q: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Olivier sits next to me on the piano stool. We’re even closer than that day up the mountain and it’s even more intoxicating. His body is so close to mine that the slightest adjustment would have us touching. I can feel his heat, an electrical charge which makes the side of my leg that’s almost brushing his tingle all the way down. He pulls up his woolly, navy sleeves. “Shall we?” I note the gold wedding band on his dark, manly hands as his fingers hover above the keyboard. I nod, not trusting myself to speak, thinking the sooner he starts playing piano the better, to distract me from this powerful attraction. He crashes both hands down with flair and starts playing his version of the Boogie Woogie. It’s slightly jazzier and more sophisticated than mine. I let him play by himself for a while, enjoying watching him, surprised by how good he is.
The rhythm gets to me, my upper torso unconsciously pulsing forward, toes tapping in my shoes. I put my mug down on top of the piano and start trying to improvise a Gerswhin-esque melody line, fluttering my right hand up and down the keyboard in syncopation to Olivier’s beat. For about ten minutes we thump away, cheesy grins on our faces, occasionally catching each others’ eye. We play whatever comes into our heads, changing the mood and key from time to time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a discordant mess, but it doesn’t matter. By the time Olivier eventually tires and crashes a final chord, our bodies are touching all the way from our shoulders to our knees. I don’t want to move, which is exactly why I do. I stand up, to recover my senses and my drink.
About the Author:
Jo Kessel is a journalist in the UK, working for the BBC and reporting and presenting for ITV on holiday, consumer and current affairs programs. She writes for several national newspapers including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Express and was the anonymous author of the Independent’s hit column: Diary of a Primary School Mum.
When Jo was ten years old she wrote a short story about losing a loved one. Her mother and big sister were so moved by the tale that it made them cry. Having reduced them to tears she vowed that the next time she wrote a story it would make them smile instead. Happily she succeeded and with this success grew an addiction for wanting to reach out and touch people with words.
P.S Jo’s pretty certain one of her daughters has inherited this gene.
Other books by Jo Kessel include Lover in Law.
Her latest book is the new adult contemporary romance novel, Weak at the Knees.
Visit her website at www.jokessel.com.