Jill Steeples talks about her heart-warming book, Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck.
1. Tell us more about your latest book, Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck?
It’s the third in the series of Dog and Duck books, but if you haven’t read the previous stories, don’t worry, the book can be read as a standalone too. Ellie Browne, the main character, is running the local pub in the idyllic village of Little Leyton and is in a relationship with Max Golding, a property developer and owner of the local manor. The story follows Ellie’s life and her relationships with her friends, family and a host of colourful characters from the pub. It’s a funny, heart-warming and romantic read!
2. How did you come up with the plot?
The story evolved from the position Ellie finds herself in at the beginning of the book. Her life had taken some very unexpected turns in previous months and I wanted her to explore and question what it was she really wanted from her future.
3. Do you have a favourite part or scene? Could you tell us why you love it?
Without giving too much away, my favourite part would have to be the ending which early reviewers have said is very romantic. It made me smile and brought tears to my eyes as I was writing it so I’m hoping readers will enjoy it just as much too.
4. If you have to pick one favourite character from the book, who would it be and why?
I love Ellie Browne, the central character of the books, but I also have a soft spot for Katy Golding who is Max’s teenage sister. She’s full of attitude and sass, but underneath her confident exterior, she’s a sensitive and vulnerable soul.
5. What are you most proud of about the book?
I love that it’s finished(!), has such a pretty cover, and hopefully a heart-warming and romantic story inside!
6. What is your creative process like?
I’ve always been a pantser, making it up as I go along, rather than doing lots of forward planning. I’m trying now though to have a least a vague outline of different scenes to include before I begin each new novel. I tend to start off slowly, writing my way into the book and speed up as the story progresses.
7. What is a great book you’ve read recently that you would recommend to others?
I’m a great fan of Liane Moriarty and really enjoyed Big Little Lies. It has a bit of everything, humour, drama and intrigue. She creates such vivid and believable characters and her books always have that compulsive page-turning quality.
8. When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
It was something I wanted to do from an early age, but I never really had the confidence to try. When I was approaching a significant birthday, it was a case of now or never! I signed up for a creative writing class and started taking my writing more seriously. When I had a short story accepted for publication by a magazine, it gave me the confidence to pursue my dream of writing a novel.
9. What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on the fourth and final book in the Dog and Duck series and loving every moment of it. The characters in a series of novels become like old friends so it’s lovely to revisit them and see what adventures are in store for them. Writing this book is bittersweet because it will mean saying a fond farewell to all these characters.
Ellie Browne, landlady of The Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and her partner Max’s baby in the New Year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.
After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s huge country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans!
But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.
Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.