23 & 24 August 2018


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European Lesfic Literary Conference

Meet Em, Jody’s suffering half

Ever wondered what keeps a writer going? Who is their other half, the one who makes the endless cups of tea and props them up when they feel down? Us too! Which is why we have been extra nosy and gone asking questions on your behalf. Joining us this week is Em, Jody Klaire’s partner – let us give her a warm welcome.

Em – how long have you known Jody?

Em – Too long..sixteen years!
Jody – Thanks .

Em – What? I could have been released for bank robbery by now.

Jody – You’ve been released from somewhere I know that much.

Em – Says you who creates people in your head?

Jody – They’re characters. It’s allowed. I think they *points to screen* would rather know where we met.

Em – In football… and before you say it, I wasn’t intending to hit you in the back of the head with that ball…

Jody – Uh huh.

Do you read Jody’s books?

Em – Yes. Every idea, chapter breakdown, draft version, vague idea, beta copy, proof read, line edit, typeset… I’m so overworked.

Jody – You should try writing them sometime.

Em – I do. I write non-fiction in the form of free-poetry.

Jody – The shopping list doesn’t count.

Em – Whatever. I suffer for my art. Sometimes I even compose the DIY jobs’ list.


What is the best thing about getting to know Jody, the writer?

Em – We have Ferb and gerbils… and I discovered Melissa Brayden.

Jody – She’s very loyal.

Em – You didn’t have puppy fangs in your butt, did you?

Jody – No… He likes me.

Em – Only because you bribed him.

Jody – It’s called positive reinforcement.

Em – It’s bribery. I told him to stand strong.

Jody – *Holds up a chocolate bar* Strong?

Em – Fine. It’s positive whatever… hand it over.


How much ice cream/chocolate/wine gets consumed when writing the first draft?

Em – Fifteen plus chocolate bars a week, plus daily chocolate fudge, Magnums, Cadbury’s Cream Eggs, a bowl of crisps, grated cheese and tomato ketchup… that’s my daily intake anyway. Jody gets a crisp now and again.

Jody – I’m lucky to get that.

Em – You are. Write faster.


How do you keep Jody the writer in a good mood?

Em – Plenty of fluids (soft drinks etc.) I’m thinking of buying her a Camelbak… and I leave her alone… do not disturb her while she writes!

Jody – Or… do not disturb Em while she watches Grey’s Anatomy.

Em – Yeah, that’s what I meant.

Jody – I do get let out… sometimes…

Em – Only when I’m not looking and you’ve gone rogue with Ferb.

Jody – Us? Never. We’re innocent… right, Ferb? *Whistles*


Do you get jealous when she spends too much time with her characters?

Em – No.

Jody – That’s it? You talk more to unsuspecting strangers on dog walks.

Em – I don’t… all the time… sometimes I know them.


What is her more adorable/irritating quirk as a writer?

Em – Her adorable quirk… is there one?

Jody – Just try or I’ll hide the Cadbury’s Cream Eggs.

Em – You wouldn’t! *Shocked*

Jody – Calm down, drama queen. Just answer the question.

Em – If I could scrape the barrel to find adorable… I’d say Jody wrote romances because I like them and I heckled until she put romance in her thrillers too. So maybe that’s my adorable trait? Hmmmm. Irritating Trait…? How long a list do you want…?

Jody – As a writer… Cadbury’s Cream Eggs will be confiscated.

Em – *holds up hands* Okay, okay… um… We tend to publish and edit at 3am and on school nights

Jody – You sleep on the couch… I edit.

Em – Same difference.


Do you ever have to try out certain scenes from her latest book?

Em – No, but she writes thrillers so I hope not. Plus, I don’t do acting. It’s more realistic in Jody’s head than if I try helping.

Jody – *nods* I tried to get her to read through a scene with me… FYI Aeron sounds crazy in a thick Welsh accent.

Em – It does.

Jody – I do write romances too.

Em – Yeah but if you think I’m bad at Aeron’s voice. I’m really bad at romantic comedy.

Jody – You do slapstick better than anyone I know.

Em – The lamppost assaulted me. I don’t care what anyone saw.


Is Writer’s Widow a real syndrome?

Em – I don’t know what that is. *Clueless*

Jody – It’s when people don’t see their writers for months because they are writing, Numbskull. *whispers* I so didn’t need to ask ELLCon that.

Em – What? Are you kidding? I get peace and quiet to read Melissa Brayden… or watch Gray’s Anatomy… or eat chocolate.

Jody – *To ELLCon* Yes, so as you can see, she’s distraught I work so much.


What do you think writers are doing when they stare blankly into space?

Em – With Jody, probably plotting the next seven books… Which I’ll then hear ALL about… .

Jody – You’re a constant source of support.

Em – I know.


What’s Jody’s biggest writing secret? Something she has never spoken about to her readers. Something nobody knows … until now!

Em – Rebecca’s fashion sense in La Vie en Bleu and Best Maid Plans is based on my wardrobe and what Jody thinks of it…

Jody – Or how little I think of it…

Em – I’m cool.

Jody – In your head, dear.


How do you feel right before Jody’s book is released? Is it as stressful for you as it is for her?

Em – Apart from tired? I need matchsticks to work the next day. Anxious that people will see it because once they start reading it, they’ll love it.

Jody – You’re ALWAYS tired. I’ve seen sloths with more energy.

Em – Maybe they lived with you?

Jody – Yes, I always have sloths hanging around. Anyway, did you actually say something nice? *grips chest*

Em – *Fans Jody* No, figment of your imagination. Just breathe… you know Ferb will pounce you.

Ferb – *Cocks head*


Do you organise something special to celebrate, like a party, when her next book is released?

Em – No. I normally tell her to get on with the next one – especially if it’s romance.

Jody – Like I said. She LOVES Grey’s Anatomy.

Em – I do. You need to write medical dramas.

Jody – I think we have enough of our own.

Em – Yeah, but on Grey’s, they look better.

Jody – And they aren’t real. When have you ever seen a doctor like that?

Em – In my head?

Jody – *Pats her on the back*


What is the best thing Jody does for you to make you feel appreciated?

Em – Write romances and sometimes Jody slips in references to Ferb and I’s adventures… just so I can be re-scarred.

Jody – I do. Sometimes I insult her dress sense or the fact she’s a redhead.

Em – *Dabs at eyes with hanky* She’s very sweet.


What advice would you give to significant halves of aspiring writers?

Em – Learn to live with sleepless nights, random conversations in the middle of the night about characters as if they’re real people. Learn to have in depth conversations about the book because “I like it” won’t cut it. And “I don’t like it” DEFINITELY won’t cut it. (Unless you you really like sleeping in the dog basket.)

Jody – We don’t have a dog basket. Ferb sleeps on the bed. You’re so dramatic.

Em – Notice how you didn’t argue about random conversations.

Jody – No, I get more sense out of you when you’re sleeping.

Read Jody Klaire’s spotlight interview here.