Follow me home: Book review and author interview

My name is Jess and I am a reading addict. If I start reading something I just HAVE to finish it. In 24 hours I have read the book ‘Follow me Home’ by Jen Benjamin.

Generally I’m not one for RomCom’s, my husband flat-out laughed when I told him the genre. I like to read Crime novels mostly and I’m a BIG fan of James Patterson although trying to keep up with his book releases can be exhausting.

follow me home cover photo

I will admit that I am less girly than most women, I’m not one to ooh and aah over handbags or shoes, or shopping in general. I don’t follow fashion trends religiously.

My hair and makeup routine are minimal at best, and by that I mean I generally don’t have one. Something important is happening if I have done my hair and make-up.

So, you can kind of understand why the husband laughed at the prospect of me reading this genre.

Nonetheless, I snuggled myself down into the sofa (later relocating to my bed because distractions were annoying me!) opened up ‘Follow me home’ and started reading.

The story follows writer Katie Kendall after she has moved to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film. Her husband suddenly files for divorce and she begins to wonder if she’s made a big mistake.

As a big ‘no spoiler’ type person so I won’t go into too much detail. People should experience things for the first time without any bias. I will elaborate in my upcoming Suicide Squad review.

In terms of first impressions; mine of Katie were not great. I thought that she was a bit whiny and harsh on her husband much like when I would watch Sex and the City. I’d get annoyed by Carrie because even when her boyfriends were great she always found a problem with them. I found it hard to relate to Katie, I may be a blogger but I am not a writer. I don’t have the same drives that she does and it is a completely different discipline.

Luckily for me, after the first few chapters this calms down as she relaxes into the storyline. There is more and more of the character that I like and think ‘well I do that too!’ Crazy friends included!

I liked the ensemble cast too although I would have preferred a little more exploration into some of their backgrounds as well as the husband’s motives and reasonings.

The Follow Me Home plot itself may be a little predictable but it is nice for a story to go the way you want it to go and not just have a plot twist for the sake of it.

It is a humourous and fun take on what is basically every teenage girl’s (and some women’s) fantasy that your heart-throb celebrity is actually a really nice guy behind the fame and fortune. Rather than being interested in the type of girls you see in magazines, he likes you. You know, thin, gorgeous, roll out of bed in the morning looking perfect. Not at all like they were in some sort of accident during the night.

This book is definitely a good holiday read, it’s light, witty and not too lengthy (we don’t need War and Peace on our Holibobs!).

Following on from reading her book, I was able to wrangle a mini interview with Jen Benjamin to answer some questions from me about her, her writing and the book itself.

Jen, I’ve just finished reading your book and the thing I just have to ask as my first question is; when you were deciding on character names did you know about the real life actor Jesse Spencer (Neighbours, House, Chicago Fire? And if so, was your Jesse Spencer in any way based on him?

I did not know about Jesse Spencer the actor, but I did find out about him after the book was published. I actually used to watch House but never paid attention to the actor’s name. So, it’s just a coincidence and my character is not based on Jesse Spencer even though he is really cute!

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

I think it is just part of my daydreaming nature. I’ve been filling notebooks with made-up stuff since I could write complete sentences. I enjoy it, so I do it.

Who are your favourite authors?

Charlotte Bronte and Mary Shelley are high on the list. I read a little bit of everything, so it’s hard to pin down favorites. It really depends on my mood. I like Judy Blume because I think that coming-of-age voice she uses is a magical skill that I could never emulate.

This book seems like aspects of it could be from first-hand experience, how much do you draw from your own life to put into your writing?

I am ridiculously awkward, always tripping over things or saying things the wrong way. And when something I say comes out wrong, I always keep talking to try to fix it which just makes it worse. Then I obsess over what I should have said for about a decade. So, when I write awkward characters, I generally just imagine how horribly I would mess up if I were in their situations. I can’t think of anything off-hand in my stories that have come directly from my life, but I’m sure there are little things here and there.

Would you ever try writing for a different genre?

I do write different genres under another name. Mostly speculative fiction. I haven’t “come out” yet, revealing the two names to be the same person, but I’m sure that’s inevitable. If anything, I’ll just get tired of trying to be two people!

Something that definitely affects me is writer’s block, what do you do to get past it?

I’ve been a news writer for about ten years, working for several newspapers and a local magazine, and I have a lot more trouble with writer’s block in that aspect of my writing life. Even things like this, interviews, are harder for me that just making up what happens. I won’t say I never stare blankly at the screen when I’m writing fiction but it’s less often and doesn’t last as long. I guess I just power through it and let the characters dictate what happens next. Does that make me sound crazy? I guess I am a little crazy.

Something else I struggle with; are you able to stop yourself procrastinating?

I am the Queen of Procrastination. I tend to write in the dead of night and I can always think of reasons to put off writing until tomorrow, like I need my sleep. But then I don’t sleep because I’m a night owl. So, basically I lie to myself a lot and eventually I feel guilty enough to actually get something done.

I won’t ask what your writing process is, but how would you advise others to get started?

You just have to start. Don’t over think it. There are many different ways writers get their stories down. Some start with outlining the entire plot. Not me. For me, outlining is the fastest way to kill a story. Some write various scenes as they come to mind. Some have the basic story in their mind and just sit down and start hammering it out. But you have to start to figure out what works for you!

How can my readers find out more about you and you work?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin

Twitter: @authorjenbenjam

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

I do have another book coming soon, so watch for it!

 

@Fordith

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Follow Me Home to read for the purpose of this review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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