Q&A With Jade Beer

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Q&A With Jade Beer

Today I’m doing a Q&A with author Jade Beer. Jade wrote the novels “What I Didn’t Say,” “The Almost Wife,” and “The Last Dress From Paris”. 


Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer?

A: 1. Commit to the task. I always schedule writing time as if it were an appointment that cannot be cancelled. 2. Get comfortable with rejection, there is likely to be lots whether it comes from agents, publishers or readers who simply don’t particularly like what you produce. 3. Embrace criticism and feedback from people you trust. It will make your work better. 4. Every writer says it but read, read, read, particularly around the market you see your book sitting in and be analytical about what is making these writers successful, what can you take from it and what can you do differently? 5. Prepare to wade into every part of the process. Publishing a book is about so much more than simply writing one. 

Q: What advice do you have for someone who suffers writers block?

A: So far it hasn’t hit me, but I suppose I must assume it will at some point. If I am making slow progress on a writing day, I don’t force the words out, I come out of the manuscript and read something else that feels relevant to it. For example, when I was writing about an upper-class lifestyle in The Almost Wife, I would detach and read several articles on Tatler before returning to the book feeling a bit more in the head of that character. 

Q: In your Amazon bio, you mentioned working in magazines in London. That’s pretty impressive. What was it like working for magazines? 

A: I loved almost everything about it. The creativity, being surrounded by clever women all day, the collaborative process, the parties, the access it gave me to people, the friendships forged. Of course, there was always a huge amount to juggle, particularly when babies came long, but seeing my work in print every month and then going on to edit a glossy magazine was enormously satisfying and rewarding. I have to be honest and say that on most days, it didn’t feel like ‘work’. It was a lot of fun, it opened a lot of doors and I will always look back on that time with extremely fond memories. 


Q: What were your favorite books you read this year so far? 

A: Recently I have read and loved . . . The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller; The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid; Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus; How to Make A Dress by Jenny Packham and Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver. I have just started Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gilliam McAllister which is not my usual sort of read but so many great writers have praised it that I felt compelled to pick it up! 


Q: Out of all the books you wrote, if you had to choose which one would you say is your favorite book you wrote?

A: Without a doubt The Last Dress From Paris. It took considerably longer to research than my first two, has a more complex plot, a dual timeline and multi-generational characters. I had the luxury of more time for this one, since I had left the magazine world by then and could devote myself to it. It is the book I am most proud of so far and the one that has elicited the best critical response from reviewers. As my most recent book, it feels like this is how it should be, that my writing should evolve and develop with every new book I publish. 


Q: What’s it like living in the Cotswolds? I’ve seen pictures of the Cotswolds and it looks beautiful and peaceful. 

A: Living in the Cotswolds is really what got my family and I through all the Covid lockdowns. We were surrounded by open countryside and we were fortunate enough to be able to go on long walks, often without seeing other people. But after seven years – and now with children who are eight and thirteen – we have made the decision to move to Cheltenham where we will all have access to so much more. Being a writer and working from home can be a very solitary experience and I am really looking forward to feeling the buzz of a busy neighbourhood again. And maybe starting a book club! 


Q: Are you writing a new book now? If so, can you spoil a little bit of what it’s about?

A: It’s written! I am doing the final edits now and then it will go to my US publisher in November. It has many of the threads I enjoyed from The Last Dress From Paris – a strong fashion focus, women who are living very different lives to each other, family secrets, a mystery to be solved, all wrapped around a very famous London fashion house.