Jenny Oliver wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based Dynasty.
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote her first book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a notebook that would end up covered in sand each afternoon and damp from the sea. This time the inspiration was her addiction to macaroons, the belief she can cook them and an all-consuming love of Christmas. When the decorations go up in October, that’s fine with her!
Jenny’s books also feature her love of all things vintage, Sunday morning car boot sales (on the hunt for the thrill of a bargain) and an unwavering belief in happy ever after! (Whatever she’s loving on TV might crop up as well!)
Jenny’s books The Summer House by the Sea, The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, The Parisian Christmas Bake Off, The Vintage Summer Wedding and The Little Christmas Kitchen have all enjoyed chart positions in the major supermarkets and other fabulous book shops. Her bestselling ebook series of novellas, all set around the idyllic Cherry Pie Island, is perfect for a quick, escapist read. Her latest title The Summer House by the Sea has been called a ‘must-read!’ by the Sunday Express S Magazine and ‘a perfect holiday read’ by The Sun!
What’s your latest book about?
The Summer House by the Sea is about Spain, secrets, self-discovery and siblings…
When Ava Fisher is hit by a bus, she realizes that the life she’s been living isn’t the life she wanted it to be! So when her Spanish grandmother dies she takes the opportunity to go and live for the summer in her house by the sea. The Summerhouse of their youth. But her bullish older brother, Rory, a successful, workaholic filmmaker is pushing to sell it straight away. However, when he is shamed on Twitter and his personal life implodes he goes with his young son to join her. The little beach town is full of the eclectic characters from their youth and a ramshackle café in need of some love. Thrown together for the first time since childhood, Rory and Ava discover secrets about their late mother, find what they have been missing in their own lives and learn how to be a family, on their own terms.
What is your greatest achievement
Having my son – Woody. Seeing my book on the shelf in the supermarkets. Swimming in the Cornish sea on New Year’s Day.
Coffee or tea?
A cappuccino first thing and then tea – no sugar, not masses of milk.
What would your superpower be?
To be able to fly. There’s nothing more disappointing than waking from a dream when flying’s been second nature.
What’s your favourite karaoke song?
As long as no one minded the terrible out-of-tune-ness, Downtown by Petula Clark.
Favourite time of day?
Breakfast – we all eat together (cereal or toast with apricot jam) and the radio’s on and the sun’s coming in through the window. I especially like it at the weekend when we go out for chocolate croissants and coffee. Or just after my son’s gone to bed and I have a really calm glass of wine.
Tapas! Spicy chorizo, tiny padron peppers, tomato salad, sizzling prawns, artichoke hearts and wafer thin serrano ham. I also really love a barbecue – spatchcocked chicken and chipolatas with lots of salads and grilled vegetable kebabs. We always have bananas afterwards, barbecued in their skins and when they’re done we split them and add pieces of chocolate that melt almost immediately. I love it but have just found out that my brother-in-law of twelve years thinks it’s a bonkers tradition. I thought everyone did it!
If you could live in any building which would it be?
The Natural History Museum.
Favourite things to do…
Hunt for bargains at car boot sales, swim in the sea, have lunch with all my extended family, spend a sneaky hour in TKMaxx, walk by the river, flick through magazines, cook with the radio on, read to Woody.
TV viewing in your house is…
At the moment it’s lots of things on Netflix – Love and Chef’s Table are my current favourites – lots of films on iTunes and some guilty lunchtime viewing of A Place in the Sun! And in the mornings, when I’m up with Woody, it’s Transformers and Ben & Holly!
In another life, you’d be…
A frog. They get everything – they look cool, they live in the water and they can swim really fast.