Why did you write Maureen goes to Venice?
Maureen is a comic character from my debut book of short stories. I had no intention of writing more about her but she proved to be popular with readers of that first book. So I decided to send her to Venice and see what happened! Why Venice? Well I had holidayed there myself recently and felt able to convey the enchanting atmosphere of the place on paper.
What kind of reader would enjoy Maureen goes to Venice?
The book is essentially a comedy in which Maureen finds herself in all manner of scrapes. She is a disaster magnet! Anyone who enjoys humorous fiction should enjoy Maureen’s adventure. When Maureen’s around, a laugh is never far way, even though it’s usually at her expense! It’s not all funny, though. There’s the odd moment of poignancy and darkness too.
How did you develop your characters?
When writing about Maureen, I never actually plan how she will develop. I tend to create situations for her and ‘see’ how she will respond to them. In Maureen goes to Venice, I started to introduce little snippets of Maureen’s past and, in the subsequent book, A Letter for Maureen, her past plays a much greater role. It shows that Maureen is a flawed character, and one with real feelings. I think providing a back story is so important for allowing readers to get to know a character.
Maureen has been described as being like Keeping Up Appearances’ Hyacinth Bucket (“It’s Bouquet!”). There are certainly similarities, but Hyacinth is usually solely a source of humour, whereas Maureen also gains readers’ sympathy. Yes, readers laugh at her and cringe at her behaviour, but they also realise she hurts beneath the surface. I try to keep readers on their toes. One minute you may be laughing out loud at Maureen’s expense, but the next you may feel guilty for doing so. She is a figure of farce but she still has real emotions.
Why did you decide to publish Maureen goes to Venice yourself?
There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained by writing and publishing your own work. Self-publishing on Amazon has been an amazing step forward for authors and it delights me every time someone downloads a copy of my work.
Are you working on any new writing at the moment?
I have quite a few unreleased short stories which I want to publish in a sequel to my first book of shorts, ECLECTIC: Ten Very Different Tales. That has taken a back seat to Maureen at the moment, though; she is one demanding lady! I have been overwhelmed and humbled by readers’ reactions to my disaster-prone character, and as long as readers keep clamouring for more Maureen, I will write it! At the end of A Letter for Maureen, my latest book, Maureen’s life changed dramatically. A new life lies ahead for her and that is what I’m working on at the moment!
Visit Jonathan Hill's author page on Amazon for details of all his books.
Read my review of Maureen goes to Venice
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