Friday, December 6, 2013

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A: Interview with Jo Kessel, author of 'Weak at the Knees'

We welcome Jo Kessel to PUYB Virtual Book Club!  Jo is here today to talk about her new book, Weak at the Knees.

Here's what Weak at the Knees is all about:

We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.

Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story of love and loss set between London and the heart of the French Alps.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON US or AMAZON UK

Thanks for coming to the book club today, Jo!  I have to admit – new adult fiction has taken off with a bang.  Why did you decide to write new adult fiction?

Jo: I think of ‘new adult’ as covering quite a broad age span, from 18yrs – 30yrs even. This is such an exciting time in a person’s life. It’s when there are infinite possibilities and a myriad of different paths to take and choices to make. This marks the beginning of our adult journey which I find a very powerful, pivotal and emotive period to write about, full of angst and dilemmas. I also think it has a very broad appeal for readers. Anyone from 18+ will either reminisce or relate as they read.  

You chose the French Alps as your setting. Have you ever been there and why the French Alps?

Jo: Yes, I worked for a couple of years as a ski guide in the French Alps, doing pretty much the same job as Danni Lewis (the heroine of Weak at the Knees) does in the book. I’ve always been a big fan of France, but it was the mountains where I worked which really struck me. I found them so powerful and dramatic – a silent, powerful force of nature. I think of them as sleeping giants who watch and observe everything going on. Ohhhh, and they know everything. They’ve seen it all before. I’m telling you, if mountains could speak………………….they would hold a billion secrets.

Who is your main character and would you like to tell us more about him/her?

Jo: Danni Lewis is our heroine. She’s very real and relatable to. She’s been stuck in a long, stable (and a bit boring) relationship with boyfriend Hugo, when her life is struck by tragedy. And it’s this tragedy/death which forces her to re-evaluate her life and be brave. She makes the decision to leave everything she’s always known behind and flee to France, to try to follow her dreams. It’s here that she meets sexy French ski instructor Olivier. Cue a romance filled with new adult angst and drama – because nothing in this period of a person’s life is straightforward.  

What about secondary characters?  Would you like to introduce them?

Jo: Danni has a couple of girlie friends (Amber and Gina) who act as her moral barometer/conscience. And she also has a few very important men around her. Most important are her long-standing boyfriend Hugo and the man she falls head over heels for: Olivier. Both of them have a lot going for them, but they are so completely different to each other. 
There are a couple of hotties in the supporting cast too. There’s Michel, Olivier’s brother, whose feelings for Danni are completely unrequited. And there’s Australian stud Rod, who injects a lot of humor into the story.  

Every book of fiction has a pivotal point for the reader that they can’t forget.  What do you think is one of the pivotal points in your book? 

Jo: I think the pivotal point in Weak at the Knees is *spoiler alert* when the person close to Danni dies. Tissues when reading are very necessary. There are a few very raw, emotional scenes.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

Jo: If you’re looking to go on holiday this Christmas, Weak at the Knees is your ticket. It will cost a fraction of the real thing, but you’ll still feel as if you’ve been to France. Ooh, and the French smexy time is well worth immersing yourself in too.

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