Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay Keeps Readers Laughing

An exclusive AUTHORLINK interview with Jill Mansell

Columnist Anna Roins

June, 2017

Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay
by Jill Mansell

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International bestselling author, Jill Mansell, gives us another great feel-good story about family, friendship and love triangles. It’s about two step-sisters, rivals in every way and the re-discovery of themselves and each other through an unbreakable pact.

“I don’t think I make myself laugh, but I do enjoy writing the funny scenes.”

AUTHORLINK: Ms Mansell, welcome! Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay is a delightful, hilarious read. There are many laugh-out-loud moments reminiscent of movies like Bridget Jones’s Diary or Four Weddings and a Funeral. Particularly funny was an earlier scene (and without giving too much away), involving ‘fishies’. Do you make yourself laugh when you write these scenes? Is that how you know other people will find them amusing as well?

MANSELL: I don’t think I make myself laugh, but I do enjoy writing the funny scenes. Every time something silly or embarrassing happens to me I now store it away and console myself with the fact that I can use it in a book. I use other people’s embarrassing moments too – I collect them!

AUTHORLINK: You once said that you started writing “long, long happy stories where nothing bad ever happened” back when you were nine or ten and that you were “trauma-averse” as a child. Even though your books are regarded as ‘romantic comedy with drama’, it’s not difficult for you to inlay darker scenes because, quite simply, they’re part of life.

MANSELL: Different people like to read different books and there’s room for all kinds. Sometimes I enjoy a thriller or a crime novel, but at other times I prefer a cheerful book about characters I enjoy spending time with. There’s no right and wrong, is there? We’re all entertainers and we entertain in different ways. The reader can choose what they feel like reading on any given occasion.

“I know very many writers and all I know is that we all write differently. I just use the method that works for me. “

AUTHORLINK: Very true. We understand that you have no visual image of the characters you create in your head and often need to refer to your notes to remind yourself of their physical attributes. However, you never need to keep notes about their personalities, because you already know everything about them as people. Why do you think that is?
MANSELL: I have no idea – I know very many writers and all I know is that we all write differently. I just use the method that works for me. When I think of my characters I think of their personalities, not what they look like. I also think the readers make up their own minds about the looks of the characters they’re reading about, which is why I tend not to go into great detail.

AUTHORLINK: The covers of your current books are thematically consistent and are fresh and appealing. Who designs them? With 28 books published, is it safe to assume you believe a ‘book is judged by its cover’?

MANSELL: The art department at my publishers create my covers. The image is important, obviously, and a lot of research goes into creating the right covers for my style of writing. People need to know when they’re buying a book what to expect from the first impression. A plain black cover with a skull and a dagger on the front of one of my books would be a cause for complaint.

AUTHORLINK: Yes, I imagine so! After you finish a novel, do you let it sit in a drawer for a while before you rework it? How many times do you edit your first draft before you give it your first reader? Once it is sent to your publishers, do you always accept your editor’s changes?

MANSELL: I edit my first draft once, then instantly send it to my agent and editor. We’re all on the same side and we all want it to be the best book it can possibly be, so I always accept my editor’s suggested changes. She’s the expert, so I’d be crazy not to!

AUTHORLINK: Absolutely. Sometimes your books inspire people to change their lives; to leave an unhappy marriage or to move to another side of the world. Do you have a special formula you observe to be loyal to this genre so that your books are always ‘pure entertainment’?

MANSELL: No, my writing style just naturally evolved and I wouldn’t want to change it. I don’t try to write ‘pure entertainment’, I just tell the story through my characters.

AUTHORLINK: When you first started out, there was no Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook or Twitter. The implementation of social media in marketing and e-publishing has changed the industry considerably. You once said, you become more nervous now than you did before when you’re about to release a book because you’re worried about disappointing your many readers. As an author, what do you see are the advantages and disadvantages of social media?
MANSELL: Well, you’ve just pointed them out most succinctly! Interaction with readers can be brilliant and most of the time is an absolute joy, but sometimes people do like to write and tell you where you’ve gone wrong! I don’t let it bother me too much, and I can handle genuine feedback, but I do wonder why some readers feel the need to be deliberately unkind. On a happier note, I have made so many great friends as a result of social media. I wouldn’t want to be without it!

AUTHORLINK: For a fun question: if you could have any three people over for dinner, (dead, alive, famous or unknown), whom would they be and what would be on the menu?

MANSELL: I would invite three of the top Hollywood movie producers and dazzle them with my witty conversation and charming personality, so they would then fight each other for the right to turn my books into fantastic movies. (The food would have to be cooked by someone else because if I prepared it they wouldn’t be too impressed.)

“Hardest is writing descriptive passages about scenery – I hate it.”

AUTHORLINK: Great answer! What do you find the hardest and the easiest thing about writing? What advice would you give to your younger self? How do you feel you have evolved as a writer?

MANSELL: Hardest is writing descriptive passages about scenery – I hate it.
Easiest is writing dialogue – I love it. I don’t think I have evolved as a writer, unless it’s just happened without me realising it over the course of the last thirty years as I’ve changed from a young thing to an old lady!

AUTHORLINK: Finally, what are you working on now? Can you tell us a bit about it?

MANSELL: I’ve finished my next book, which will be published next January and is called This Could Change Everything. It’s set in Bath and tells the story of Essie, who writes a private message to her best friend then discovers that it’s inadvertently been sent to everyone in her email address book. The contents of the message then go viral and her life is changed forever…

AUTHORLINK: It sounds fascinating. Ms Mansell, thank you so much for your time today. We wish you the very best for Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay and look forward to more Jill Mansell books in the future.

MANSELL: Thank you for asking me to be interviewed by you, Anna. It’s been great fun!

About the Author:

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK and YOU AND ME, ALWAYS. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, ‘like a leftover from the dark ages’. She lives in Bristol with her family.

You can find out more about Jill Mansell at , and

About Anna Roins:

Anna Roins is a lawyer, previously of the Australian Government Solicitor, as well as a freelance journalist who writes about social and community issues and has edited dissertations, websites, and books.

She has studied creative literature with The University of Oxford (Continuing Education) and the Faber Academy, London.

Anna is currently writing her first novel and is a regular contributor to AUTHORLINK assigned to conduct interviews with best-selling authors.

You can find out more about Anna Roins at and