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Exclusive Q&A with Sunday Times bestselling author, Jill Mansell!

What inspires you to set some of your books in Cornwall?

Well it’s stunningly beautiful and I’ve spent so many happy holidays there during my lifetime that it makes sense to write about it. Sunshine, beaches and rocky headlands – who could ask for more?  Setting a book in Cornwall feels like living there for a year, which can’t be bad!

Tell us about Lainey, from your new book IT STARTED WITH A SECRET. Can we expect her to have a happy ending?

I write feelgood fiction, and my books end happily for those who deserve it, even though I might put them through the mill a bit during the course of four hundred pages. Lainey is a lovely character, and I can only hope to be as smart and witty as her. (But writing about flawed, naughty and sometimes downright selfish characters is also good fun.)

Can you reveal anything about your new book coming in 2021?

Ooh, I’m getting close to finishing writing it now – it’s exciting coming to the end and tying up all the loose ends. Last spring I stayed in an amazing and extremely old hotel in Stow on the Wold for a literary event, and loved it so much that it became the fictional basis for this current book. The staff were so welcoming and friendly and it just makes all the difference in the world to the atmosphere of a place. Hotels and their staff and guests always fascinate me, and I’ve really loved writing this one.

Which upcoming book releases are you most excited about this year?

I love Sheila O’Flanagan’s intelligent novels about families and relationships, and am looking forward to the publication in May of The Women Who Ran Away. It’ll be another winner, I’m sure. I’m also currently reading and loving The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles, which comes out in June. It’s based on a true story set during the second world war and is just wonderful.

If you had to take one book to a desert island, what would it be?

Only one? That’s just cruel. OK, I really love reading obituaries so I’d take a book of interesting ones so I can read about the lives of amazing characters and be inspired to write about equally brilliant fictional ones.