Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jillian Brookes Ward discusses Saving Nathaniel

Author Jillian Brookes-Ward stopped by Page Readers to discuss her book Saving Nathaniel.

Welcome Jillian!  Let's start by having you tell us about you!

I was born and raised in an industrial town in the North of England. My mother was a housewife and my father a fireman. I have one younger brother.

I attended the usual educational establishments, leaving college at 18 with secretarial qualifications. I worked as a clerk at the local fire station where I met my future husband.

I took a career break in order to bring up two of my sons before returning to work as a Medical/MedicoLegal Secretary at the local general hospital. I then had my third son, but carried on working, managing also to fit in a two year course to upgrade my qualifications.  I also managed to study for and acquire a BS in Natural Sciences along the way.

Six years ago I gave up the nine to five and moved to a pretty village in Royal Deeside in Scotland. It was the best move I ever made. It was then that my writing really took off, being inspired by the locale and the people. I am not working at the moment, preferring to concentrate of keeping house and writing, but if the right job comes along, I'll consider it.

When I'm not writing, I like to walk in the hills and woods around my village, taking my little dog Archie with me. I like photography and the company of friends.

What is your story about?

SAVING NATHANIEL is the story of a man who is being consumed by unresolved guilt and grief over the death of his wife and baby.  He is gradually starting to lose his grip on normality. One rainy day, Megan Thomas literally bursts into his kitchen to take up her position as his temporary housekeeper.

Megan has a caring, compassionate nature, and soon bonds with the troubled man and he in turn, despite still loving his dead wife, becomes attached to her. Under her gentle guidance, he slowly begins to come to terms with his past and to take the first steps towards a fresh start.

When the time comes for Megan to leave her temporary employment, Nathaniel has become dependent on her and is reluctant to let her go.  When she has gone, he realises he loves her and wants her back. Whether she feels the same about him with all his accumulated baggage, is the question.

How did this story come to you?

I don't remember when it happened, only that all of a sudden it was there and I acted on it.

The idea for the story is based on a common misconception that men should be tough enough to handle grief at the loss of a loved one.  This is not the case at all, and often, hidden from view behind a veneer of coping, they are barely muddling through, their emotions in tatters, their confidence shattered and their hearts ripped in half. What they really need is a kind word, a gentle touch or even just a quiet presence. I suppose I just wanted to bring that fact to the fore and to show what a difference simple human contact can make in such a situation.

What compelled you to write it?

I wanted to tell a story to show what a difference compassion, empathy and gentle understanding can make and that loss need not be the end of the world. Although it may not seem like it at the time, it can be overcome and coming out the other side, there is more life to be lived.

Who is your favorite character?

Nathaniel of course. I had only got halfway through the book when I realized I was already in love with him myself.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The fight scene in chapter 14 between Nathaniel and his now ex-friend Phil McNeil. McNeil was a really sleazy, unpleasant character who insulted Megan, and it gave me great pleasure to allow Nathaniel to punch him in the face.

I also rather enjoyed writing the sex scenes, but don't tell anyone.

How long did it take you to write the story?

From first word to final period, about two years. There were several rewrites, a new title, and severe and comprehensive edits, but eventually it all came together and I am rather pleased with the result. I have had some good reviews, so it seems others are happy with it too.

When was it released?

Saving Nathaniel was released in October 2010 first in its e-book format, followed a couple of weeks later by the paperback edition.

How is it available?

The book is available both in paperback and e-book formats.

Where can we find it online? 

Published by Night Publishing, the book is available as an e-book from Smashwords:

In Kindle format from


For NOOKbook from Barnes and Noble:

What was your publishing experience like?

My publishing experience has been quite a...well, quite an experience, and an incredibly good one, thanks to Tim Roux and Night Publishing.

The first chapter of Saving Nathaniel was voted on by members of in their monthly 'First Chapter of the Month' poll, and after an almost landslide victory, was selected for publication by Night Publishing.  

I expected the editing process to be fraught with difficulties.  I'd heard stories about how manuscripts were mangled and almost rewritten beyond recognition by editors, but my editor, Genevieve Graham-Sawchyn ( was brilliant. She worked with me every step of the way to guide and advise me and together we polished Saving Nathaniel to publication sparkle and I can't thank her enough.

Where can we find you online, include your website, facebook, Twitter or anywhere else you reside online.

I'm in quite a few places, too many possibly. I seem to spend more time online plugging and publicizing the book than I do writing nowadays. Let's see...

I'm on Twitter at @jillywrites
and I am a member of quite a few networking/social sites such as SheWrites, BookBlogs, PolkaDotBanner, Authors on Show, Goodreads, Scribd and Nightreading.

What else have you written and what are you doing now?

I have just uploaded my second novel Linda Loves...? to Smashwords and Kindlestore at Amazon. My third work is lighthearted comic/erotic romp, On The Fly, and is available to download from Smashwords and Kindlestore.

I recently completed the first draft of my 4th novel, Three Way Street, which is now in consolidation, awaiting editing. Meanwhile, I have a work in progress. Watch Your Back, which is a change of genre for me. I usually write romance, but WYB is a psychological revenge thriller. I also write tongue in cheek observational articles for a fishing website,

Words of wisdom - share with the readers your inspiration, setting goals, helpful words for other aspiring authors.

I can't give advice about goals, planning and plotting, because I don't use them. The only deadline I've ever worked to was for NaNo.

My writing philosophies are simply, 'Go for It' and 'Never Give Up'.
My method is to just put my fingers on the laptop keys and begin, let the story all fall out and sort the words out later.

If I could offer one small pearl of wisdom, it would be to those who want to write but haven't got around to it yet. They often say, 'I want to write a book, but I don't know where to start.'  The answer is simple. Pick up a pen and get a fresh pad of paper, or start with a new blank document and write.  If you have the story in you, get it out, get it in the laptop or on paper. It doesn't matter if it isn't in any particular order or doesn't make much sense at first, just get it down and sift through it later. You'll be surprised and what gems you can uncover.  There should be no barrier to getting the story out. They say everyone has a book in them, all it takes is the opportunity to let it out.

GREAT words of wisdom!  Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story with Page Readers.


  1. Great interview Jillian and nothing wrong with that mug shot either.:-) x

  2. Many thanks for the opportunity, Nanci. I very much appreciate it.
    Jill x