Friday, October 19, 2012


I'd like to welcome Welsh author Jaimie Admans to Books by Banister today. Jaimie just released her debut novel, Kismetology, and it immediately caught my eye because 1) I loved the cover and 2) I'm a big fan of humorous stories about the mother/daughter dynamic. Jaimie is a really funny and interesting lady, and I'm sure you'll all enjoy getting to know more about her and her book! She has been kind enough to offer up an e-book copy of Kismetology to one lucky winner, so don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

1) Can you give us a brief overview of Kismetlogy?

Of course! It’s about a woman called Mackenzie – she’s just moved in with her boyfriend, but unfortunately, they’ve only moved three houses down the road from her mother. She should’ve known better! Her mother interferes and meddles in Mac’s love life, and Mac realizes that her mum does this because she’s lonely. Clearly the only thing to do about it is to find her mother a boyfriend. Her plan of action is to meet the men herself first, find out if they are compatible with her mum, and then set them up on a date. But of course, things are never that easy! She meets a vast array of different men – some lovely, and some who make reptiles seem like attractive company, while she attempts to find someone who could be the perfect man for her mum.

2) What's your favorite quality about your heroine?

She doesn’t give up. Even when it looks hopeless, when it looks like she’ll never find a man suitable for her mum, when she’s had bad experiences on dates, she keeps on trying.

3) What made you want to write Kismetology?

I love the idea of trying to find the perfect man, and I love stories where the characters go on lots of dates, but it had been done before. I had found myself thinking that my own mum needed a man a few times, but she would consider herself too old for dating “like you young ‘uns do.” I suddenly wondered why I didn’t combine those two ideas and make a novel of it...

I got loads of people to tell me their bad date stories, read through loads of personal ads, got people to fill out questionnaires on their idea of the perfect man, and eventually I had a semi-coherent outline!

4) How long did it take you to write Kismetology? What is your writing process like?

The first draft was actually a NaNoWriMo project, so the first draft only took thirty days. I emphasize that was only the first draft though! It was actually my longest NaNo ever, it ended up at 92,000 words before November was up. The following year it was re-written over the course of a few months – a lot changed in that draft, almost the whole point of the plot changed, and a lot of things were altered. I then re-wrote it again earlier this year, trimmed about 12,000 words from it and added more scenes, and that became the third draft. That was then edited to within an inch of its life, and that became the published version.

That is generally my writing process for all books – I spend a little while planning them out, and then do nothing but write for a month or so to get a first draft done. It doesn’t matter how messy the draft is, that’s what editing is for!

5) If Hollywood comes calling and asks you to sign over the movie rights for Kismetology, who would you like to see play Mackenzie on the big screen?

Do you know, I’ve never even thought about that! I love Alicia Silverstone, so I’m going to say her. Yeah, she’d make a good Mackenzie!

6) How do you think of titles?

With difficulty, and usually in the bath! Titles are a big problem for me – almost always my books have working titles, and the closer I get to the end, the more panicked I get about finding a proper title! The working title for Kismetology was The Perfect Man, because Mackenzie is trying to find the perfect man for her mother – highly unimaginative as you can see! Someone said the word kismetology to me, I don’t even remember who said it or in what context now, but it suddenly clicked! The first draft was finished and I had a long list of possible titles, none of which were doing it for me, but that word was exactly what I’d been looking for!

7) Tell us about your cover art design. How did you come up with the concept? Did you execute it yourself or have a professional do it?

I did it myself, partially because I couldn’t afford to hire a professional, and partially because some so-called professional designs are absolutely awful and I didn’t want to end up with something that screamed ‘self-published!’ (And yes, I know people may think mine screams that anyway, but I like it!)

I had a little bit of graphics experience, but I’d never tried book covers before. I knew I wanted something with multiple hearts on the front, to signify the multiple dates and potential love interests in the book. I spent days finding images and fonts, and had already mocked up two covers which I was trying to decide between when I came across the images I ended up using. I threw them together in a huge rush and didn’t even finish it properly because there was a knock on the door, but when I came back, I knew that terrible mock-up was the cover for this book! It took me another few weeks to tweak it to my satisfaction and make various little changes, but that was the one!

8) Your next book, scheduled to come out in November, is a children's holiday story called "Creepy Christmas." What compelled you to jump genres from Chick Lit to Kid Lit?

Generally I write Young Adult. Young Adult romantic comedies, sometimes with a hint of paranormal. Kismetology is my first venture into proper chick-lit (not counting my first novel, which will never, ever see the light of day!) Usually my characters are teenagers, but the idea I had for Creepy Christmas – it’s about a girl who has to help Santa and his daughter save Christmas from an evil Santa - just would not have worked with older characters. It didn’t seem like too big a jump to write slightly younger characters and attempt to keep out the swear words!

9) You have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since 2006. How has it helped you as a writer? And why would you recommend it to other authors?

I think NaNo is absolutely brilliant, and I can’t imagine a November without doing it! I have no idea how I am going to fit it in this year, but I will find a way!

I think it helps in two ways – firstly is the support of other writers on the NaNo forums. There are hundreds of people, who are all lovely and friendly, and all in exactly the same boat as you are! If you need help or support, there is always someone there who understands!

Secondly it can be just the push you need to actually get words on the page. If you procrastinate a lot, like me, or if you don’t think you have the time to write, NaNo can be just what you need. Yes, it’s crazy to try and write a novel in thirty days, but it’s the fun kind of crazy! 1,667 words a day is a lot, but not unmanageable. And it’s only for a month, so you may as well throw caution to the wind and give it a go! And even if you don’t finish, no matter how many words you write, it will be more words than you would have written otherwise!

I really love the NaNo strategy of writing, which is just to write. Don’t edit as you go, do your research beforehand or stick in a note to look it up later, don’t do anything but get the words down on the page, and worry about making them look pretty later. When I first heard about NaNo, it was absolutely unbelievable to me that you could have a first draft of a novel in just a month. But it is absolutely possible. This is my seventh year now, and I’ve done a couple of Camp NaNoWriMos in the summer months too, and I use the same method of writing whether NaNo is on or not. Write now, edit later!

10) The fiction market is so competitive now. How did you find an audience for your work? What do you think are the most effective ways an author can promote herself?

Oh, I only wish I knew! I’m very new to this, and honestly have no idea what I’m doing! I love Twitter – I’ve always loved Twitter – and I use that to talk about writing, moan about writing, meet other writers, and hopefully not too often, plug my book! I can’t bear it when writers use Twitter only to tweet links to their book. I love being on there to meet new people and keep in touch with friends, and hopefully they all understand that sometimes book plugging is necessary (like on launch days or promo days) but I don’t want to do it too often and annoy everyone!  Other than that, I try to send out review copies to book bloggers, and blog occasionally myself!

11) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books? Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

I much prefer to write sweet and romantic scenes. I’m absolutely useless at writing spicy-ness! When I try to write smut, it ends up sounding like an instruction manual! I’m much happier glossing over it with just a hint of what’s happening!

12) Who are the authors who inspire you?

Meg Cabot is a huge inspiration to me. She writes amazingly well, she writes in different genres and she’s brilliantly funny! Sophie Kinsella is amazing as well – surely any British chick-lit author would kill to be like her?! Both of those are writers whose books I will be first in the queue to buy on the day they come out, without even reading the descriptions anymore – you know their books are going to be brilliant! I have to mention Melissa Senate as well, as it was her book See Jane Date that made me want to start writing novels! And Judy Blume, because it was her books that made me love reading so much when I was younger.

13) What genres do you like to read? Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

Honestly, I’ll read pretty much any genre if the book sounds good! I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi or historical novels, but I would read anything if the plot sounded like something I’d enjoy! I do love reading Young Adult and Chick-lit, so I have more of them than anything else, but I also love thrillers and horrors and mysteries. It depends on my mood and also the time of year – I prefer summery beach reads in the summer, and I like something grittier and darker in the winter!

14) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

A lot of books wow me! Anything that I can’t put down and have to stay up until 4am to finish! Anything that makes me impatient to pick up my Kindle again and carry on with! I am in awe of authors who can do that, no matter the genre.

15) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series! I was desperate to go to Malory Towers when I was younger, even though I knew it didn’t exist!

16) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Meg Cabot – as mentioned above. She’d be a great guest, and she could tell me how she manages to write so many fantastic books!

Jonathan Larson – he’s the man who wrote the musical Rent, which is one of my favourite things in the world. Jonathan died in 1996, before he got to see the success of his musical. Rent, Tick Tick... Boom, and his story have had a huge impact on me.

Johnny Depp – who wouldn’t want Johnny Depp at a dinner party?! I love him, he can do no wrong in my eyes!

Jason Mraz – I don’t really listen to a lot of modern music, I tend to stick to showtunes, but I love and adore Jason Mraz and could listen to him sing forever!

Lee Evans – He’s a British stand-up comedian, if you don’t know him. He was also in the film There’s Something About Mary. His stand-up shows are on TV all the time, and no matter how many times I see them, I can’t breathe properly from laughing by the end!

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Impossible to choose! I’m a big fan of scents, I love perfume and have enough scented candles to sink a ship! When it comes to perfume, Hard Candy and Dior’s Hypnotic Poison are my favourites! For candles it changes with the season, although I always love Yankee’s Peppermint Cocoa!
Favorite color?  Pink. Or purple. Or a pinky-purpley mix of both!
Favorite food?  Anything unhealthy and fattening – glazed doughnuts, pizza, McDonalds Veggie burgers, macaroni cheese, any kind of cake, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Walnut Whips... The list goes on!
Favorite word?  Unencumbered! I also overuse actually and absolutely, which you have probably noticed in this interview!
Favorite article of clothing?  Big, furry, two shades of pink O’Neill boots that I wear as slippers in the winter because I love them so much that I don’t want to ruin them by wearing them out in the rain and mud!
Dream vacation spot?
 I’m torn between somewhere tropical like
Hawaii and a snowy log cabin somewhere cold so we could wrap up warm in front of the fire! 
Favorite time period in history?  I’m not a big history girl, but I grew up in the 90s and everything seemed much more fun and uncomplicated then! 
Favorite girl's night out drink?  I’m a bit boring and don’t drink much, so whatever everyone else is having! 
Favorite date night activity?  Can’t go wrong with a movie! Especially a horror movie, so I can hide behind him and he can be all protective and manly!
Favorite song?  Recently, I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz. Of all time, maybe Defying Gravity or For Good from Wicked, Seasons Of Love from Rent, and Never Forget by Take That! 
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Christian Kane. He played Lindsey in Angel and now plays Eliot on Leverage. He’s absolutely gorgeous!
Novel hero crush?  Luke Brandon from the Shopaholic series!

Book blurb:  Finding the perfect man isn't easy. Especially when it's for your mother... 

Mothers. Can't live with them, can't live without them, can't live three doors down the road without them interfering in every aspect of your life.

Mackenzie Atkinson's mother has meddled in her love life once too often and something has to be done. Mackenzie decides to turn the tables and find love for her lonely mother.
Her lonely and very fussy mother.
Surely finding an older gentleman looking for love won't be that hard, right?


If you've ever thought that boys grow up, here's the problem: They don't. Ever.

And Mackenzie is about to learn that the hard way.

Faced with a useless boyfriend, dressed up dogs, men who wear welly boots on dates, men who shouldn't be seen outside in daylight, and men who make reptiles seem like attractive company - will she ever find the perfect man for her neurotic mother?

Purchase Kismetology:  


Where you can find Jaimie Admans:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I adore the cover, and Jamie is a crack up!

  2. Oops, commented before I read the Rafflecopter thingy. These days, I look for men who are available to actually date. I've broken up with my last 3 BFs because they never had time to spend with me. :(

  3. Great post! Love Jiamie but won't enter the competition as I already have a copy on my Kindle.

    Jaimie, we have so much in common... like being a bath-thinker and Enid Blyton fans. I *always* wanted to go to Mallory Towers. And when Tracie asked me what book I wanted to be plunked down in, I picked Five Go Down to the Sea. Kindred Spirits!

    Good luck with Kismetology and thanks to the awesome Tracie for hosting. xx

    1. Aww, thank you, Nicky! Yay for kindred spirits! I adored Malory Towers - I read them all again last year after not reading it since I was young - and I still wanted to go there! And Bath-thinking is brilliant! It's amazing the amount of plot holes that can be sorted out in the bath!

  4. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Tracie! It's been so much fun!

    1. **waves** Hi! We commented at the same time. Sorry I mistyped your name above. Typing faster than I can think, LOL. x

  5. The Perfect Man has to be honest and reliable. There's a long list, which my other half is getting used to (after 11 years), but that's the short list!
    Great interview as always, Tracie. So glad I dropped by today, as I hadn't heard of Jaimie, even though she's just down the road in Wales! Love the premise for the book. Off to add it to my unmanageable Goodreads TBR. Fingers crossed I win! Jaimie, well done on the cover, excellent, particularly as you did it yourself. And I, too, am a Malory Towers and St Clares girl!! Sooz

    1. Hi Sooz! Thank you for the lovely comment! I've just realised we follow each other on Twitter and we've never chatted! Another Malory Towers girl too! Brilliant!

  6. A perfect man would have a sense of humor. Not take things or himself too seriously

  7. Replies
    1. Oh, and the perfect man would be my best friend and know how to make the perfect drink!

  8. One big thing that made me fall in love with my husband was his sense of humor, so obviously that is what I looked for!

  9. Thanks for the great giveaway! This book sounds so adorable!! And seriously... That cover is perfect! I just adore it!!

    Let's see... I think I'd say the thing I look for the MOST is honesty. That's such a huge part of a healthy relationship. You have to have trust and loyalty to make it in this crazy world! ;)