To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Stone Broke Heiress, we asked author Danielle Owen-Jones to open up not only about the book, but about herself, so readers can get to know her. Here's what she had to reveal...
1. I'm a proud northerner: My family are Scousers, and I grew up in Southport – a seaside town outside Liverpool. I now call Cumbria home, and I love living here. I believe it has everything you need for an excellent quality of life – a friendly community, stunning scenery, brilliant walks, fantastic pubs, and a fabulous foodie scene. You can’t beat it.
2. I started my career as a newspaper journalist: I was only nineteen when I got my job as a journalist for my local newspaper. I had tunnel vision when it came to my career ambitions – I was determined to get my foot in the door of the competitive media industry. I did an NCTJ course in journalism and 100 words-per-minute shorthand at Liverpool Community College. At the same time, I worked in a newspaper office to gain as much experience as possible.
3. I did some hilarious things while working as a journalist: Taking part in a medieval re-enactment and being one of the first people in the UK to try out fish pedicures are just a couple of fond memories. I’ve also interviewed Europe’s tallest man – his 7ft7 height to my 4ft11 diddy-ness made for great photos. Interviewing H from Steps was a definite highlight (I was a massive Steps fan growing up!) I also interviewed my rom com writing idol, Sophie Kinsella. But, of course, the light-hearted side went along with the more challenging parts of the job, like the dreaded ‘death knocks’ and reporting on tragic court cases.
4. I don't have a degree in creative writing - or any degree at all! The highest qualification I have after A levels is my NCTJ qualification in journalism. I think it’s important to talk about career routes that don’t require a degree because I believe young people can sometimes feel pressured into going to university when it might not suit them. I attended university for only two months before quickly realising it wasn’t for me. Since then, I’ve enjoyed a career in newspaper journalism and agency public relations before starting my own business and, most recently, getting a book deal. I honestly don’t think a degree would’ve made much, if any, difference to my chosen career path.
5. I finished writing Stone Broke Heiress during lockdown: I’m a freelance PR consultant and content writer, working primarily with hospitality businesses. Unfortunately, like many other people, my work practically ground to a halt during the first lockdown of 2020. So, (after watching a lot of Netflix), I spent most of the time tucked away, working on my book, and vowing to finally write the words ‘The End’. It was an ideal distraction during those uncertain times. However, I’d been writing the book on and off for years. So, when I finally finished it and read it back, I ended up deleting the first half of the manuscript and re-writing it all over again!
6. I wish I hadn't taken so long to write my debut novel! Looking back, I want to shake myself in frustration because I first started plotting the concept of Stone Broke Heiress TEN years ago. My mysterious novel used to be a running joke with my loved ones. My new year’s resolution was always predictable: this would be the year I’d finish my book! I’d start strong in January, stumble in spring, then by summer, my goal would be demoted to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list – only to reappear on my new year’s resolutions list, and the cycle would start again. It was a classic case of shelving the manuscript when life got busy, but now, I wish I’d finished it earlier!
Stone Broke Heiress is available now, published by Bookouture.
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