Friday 29 May 2015

Today my guest author is...Ali Chrisp

I am delighted to welcome Ali  to Jaffareadstoo


From the age of three I have always had pets, and when I started writing Home Comforts I couldn’t contemplate creating the characters without including a few furry friends. In the book, Jo and her son, Tom own a large ginger and white cat, a border terrier, a three-legged rabbit and two guinea pigs, which are based mainly on pets that I’ve owned.

Since joining Twitter I’ve noticed that many authors state in their  profiles that they ‘love cats’ or ‘love dogs’; a few others declare a passion for guinea pigs and rabbits, and it made me wonder how these much-loved animals affect their owners’ writing habits.  Are they a help or a hindrance? Last year we bought our first dog, Lola the labradoodle, and we also own a feisty tabby cat called Winnie. Both of them are valued members of the family and, in my experience, have a very positive influence on my writing as well as other areas of my life.

Every morning, whatever the weather, Lola has to have a long walk, so lounging around in my dressing gown and procrastinating are not on the agenda. Instead, I get plenty of exercise and fresh air to kick-start my day and improve my motivation. Writing can be a bit isolating so a quick natter with other walkers is fun and gets my thoughts flowing. Sometimes I have my most creative ideas when I’m out marching through the fields and have to scribble them down as soon as I get home.

When I’m writing, Lola is great company and cocks her head on one side attentively when I am muttering to myself or reading parts of my manuscript out loud. Unlike Winnie, she has a short attention span and wants to be let in and out a lot more.  I think of this as a positive, however, because it forces me to get up and move around as recommended by my back surgeon! Always the clown, Lola can certainly relieve any boredom, but can also be distracting if she keeps plonking a slobbery ball or other toy in my lap. Unfortunately, I can’t think of any positive aspects to the bad smells she makes but it’s a small price to pay!

Winnie tends to fulfil a slightly different role because she is so relaxing. Who needs meditation when you can listen to the loud, steady purr of a contented cat or stroke its soft, silky fur? Whatever mood I’m in, I’m always cheered up by her miaowed greetings and her small furry body weaving around my ankles. Once I settle down to write, she curls up into a beautiful little ball and stays like that for several hours; I only have to glance at her to feel at peace. Sometimes it can be a bit too relaxing and I have to fight the urge to nod off! On the other hand, I soon liven up when she wakes up and pads across my keyboard, typing gobbledegook and causing me to lose any unsaved work.

At times she can be distracting, especially when she paddles defiantly at the window until I get up and let her in.  I wouldn’t mind, but she’s got a perfectly good cat flap. Her unexpected absences can also affect me - if she hasn’t put in an appearance for breakfast, I find it difficult to concentrate until I see her trotting across the front lawn and hear her announcing her arrival.

I have only scratched the surface of whether Lola and Winnie make good writing companions, but in a nutshell they certainly have a positive impact on my physical and mental well being, and provide me with entertainment, comfort and inspiration.  I’d be interested in hearing about your own experiences, whatever type of animal you own.

Lola and Winnie

Corazon Books
May 2015

A laugh-out-loud comedy about families, friendship and romance.

Jo Longford's life takes an unexpected turn when her bosses wrongly accuse her of stealing from a client. Suddenly, she needs to find a new job and a new home for herself and ten-year-old son, Tom. Not to mention their small menagerie of badly behaved pets.

Her selfish mum isn't much help; obsessed with keeping up appearances, nothing her daughter does is ever good enough for her. But at least Jo can rely on best friend Val for support. They've been getting themselves into mischief since they were teenagers, and that includes joining a cringeworthy dating agency and an eventful school reunion. Some things never change!

Life certainly doesn’t get any easier for Jo. Will she be able to fend off her sex-mad landlord – a retired businessman who struts around in Lycra and thinks he’s God’s gift to women? Are her new employer and quirky clients at the Handy Jobs Domiciliary Care Agency all they seem?

And will Jo ever be able to sort out her chaotic love life when two equally unsuitable men gatecrash her world?

Home Comforts is a heart-warming tale with a cheeky twinkle in its eye.

My thanks to Ali for this charming guest post
and to Ian at Corazon for his help with this interview.

Great Stories with Heart



  1. Hello Ali (and Jaffa), I know exactly what you mean with how brilliant animals can be. I've got two dogs, a cat and some chickens, and they make such a difference to our family life - certainly couldn't imagine life without them! Give Lola and Winnie a fuss from me, and all the best with your book ��

  2. I'm glad you value your pets as much as I do. I've always wanted a few chickens and a couple of Indian runner ducks (they look so funny). If only my garden was bigger so I could have a donkey!

    1. Thanks mrscarlielee and Ali - I don't know what I would do without Jaffa. If I had room I would have more pets and especially some chickens and a donkey :)


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