Interview with Extraordinary New Adult Contemporary Romance Author Jo Kessel + Win Prizes!

I’m real excited to have Jo Kessel with us today as part of her tour with Pump Up Your Book.  Jo is the author of the new adult contemporary romance, Weak at the Knees.  She is also a journalist in the UK, working for the BBC and reporting and presenting for ITV on holiday, consumer and current affairs programs. She writes for several national newspapers including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Express and was the anonymous author of the Independent’s hit column: Diary of a Primary School Mum. When she was ten years old she wrote a short story about losing a loved one. Her mother and big sister were so moved by the tale that it made them cry. Having reduced them to tears she vowed that the next time she wrote a story it would make them smile instead. Happily she succeeded and with this success grew an addiction for wanting to reach out and touch people with words.  And, Jo’s pretty certain one of her daughters has inherited this gene.  Proud mama! Other books by Jo Kessel include Lover in Law.

I’m telling you, this book is fantastic. 

Weak at the Knees
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 at AMAZON (US) & AMAZON (UK)

Visit Jo’s website at         

Jo Kessel
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Jo!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Weak at the Knees is about an English girl who travels to France where, against her principles, she falls in love with a married man. I would never want people to think that this story is autobiographical, but the idea of setting the novel in the French Alps came as a result of living there for a couple of years. And also I did once fall deeply for a man who was already taken and found it utterly devastating. So marrying the setting with the man seemed an obvious choice for the book and it was very cathartic to write. 

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

As well as being a novelist, I’m also a freelance print journalist for national newspapers in the UK and do a lot of travel-writing. But I’m used to composing much shorter, 1000 word features which is quite restricting and so, setting Weak at the Knees in France, and being able to describe scenes in much greater detail, felt very liberating. Sometimes I would sit at my computer, eyes closed, and would imagine that I’d been transported to France – this technique was so successful I could literally smell the croissants baking and taste the fabulous red wine. In fact, this is my writer’s tip. Close your eyes and transport yourself to the scene. Then literally embody your characters to feel how they might react to things being said to them and things going on around them. Call it Stanislavski’s ‘method-acting’ technique – or perhaps we should say ‘method-writing’.  That’s how I write.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I’m self-published. I did nearly get a conventional publishing deal. I was signed up by a top literary agent in the UK who was certain that a deal was on the cards, but it sadly never happened. But seeing as I already had the manuscript for my first novel Lover in Law already written I decided there was nothing to lose and I might as well give self-publishing a go.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I found self-publishing incredibly easy. Because my manuscript was already well edited, it took little more than a month from no-one having read my book to it suddenly being available worldwide. It was very exciting.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

Holding an actual, physical copy of your own paperback in your hand is like all your Christmases coming together. I love my cover for Weak at the Knees –it’s sexy and stylish and evocative. It makes me incredibly proud to have my name on it.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m about to work on moving the story of Weak at the Knees along and telling it from Olivier’s point of view (he’s the French married lover) too.

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

I’m not sure my book makes the world a better place (that’s a tall order for a novel!) but I think (and hope) that the story will transport readers to a different, intoxicating place and bring a smile to their faces. So at least I will bring some happiness and pleasure to the world – does that make it a better place?

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

People are very quick to judge others and I think that the message to be learned from this book is to not be so judgmental (we’re all guilty of that from time to time) because none of us ever know the full truth behind other peoples’ lives.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I’m an unknown author - readers are unlikely to have heard of my name, so my final words are: please take a chance on me. 

Pump Up Your Book and Jo Kessel are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card & a French Gift Basket of French gift basket that includes a whole lot of goodies associated with the book, including a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a famous wine from the Rhône wine region of southeastern France!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $100 Amazon Gift Card and one winner will be chosen to win the gift basket.
  • This giveaway begins October 7 and ends January 18.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, January 20, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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