The Romaniac Shorts Interview spot

Jan Author Pic (1)








Today, in celebration  of our anthology’s launch, I’m interviewing my friend, co-author and fellow Romaniac Jan Brigden. As one eighth of the Romaniacs, Jan’s quirky sense of humour and endless kindness are always much appreciated within the group and by all her other friends too. I don’t see her nearly often enough, but here are some of her thoughts. Thanks for answering my nosy questions, Jan!


s1)      When did you discover your talent for typo-busting and so on?

At work, I suppose, although I’ve always had a good eye for detail. Typos seem to shriek at me from the page. A previous boss used to call me his ‘chief checker’ and would get me to run an eye over any mammoth reports he sent out. More recently, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed proofreading some of my writing friends’ novels, and intend to obtain a professional qualification.

2)      What are you most proud of writing?

My first novel. It has taken me ages. Too much stop-starting and tweaking and thinking, “I’ll never get there” and then bursting with pride and excitement that I persevered, received a glowing report from the RNA New Writers’ Scheme reader, and am now on the verge of submitting it in the hope that someone loves it enough to publish.

3)      Who is your writing hero/heroine?

Ooh, I have several from different eras, for various reasons. To pick one of each, I’d say Bill Bryson for making me laugh out loud whenever I read and re-read his travelogues, among other works, and Lisa Jewell whose stories, characterisation and writing voice I absolutely love. It was Lisa’s invaluable encouragement that inspired me to pen my own novel.

4)      What/where would be your ideal writing space?

Probably sitting in a comfy chair at a big desk in a nice warm peaceful hotel room with beautiful views of the countryside. Or the sea. Either would be heavenly!

5)      What/who makes you laugh?

My husband on a daily basis with his quick, dry sense of humour. My best friend when we reminisce about hilarious times past. Corny jokes. Re-runs of old sitcoms such as Only Fool and Horses, Frazier, etc. And, of course, my fellow Romaniacs.

6)      How has being a Romaniac affected you?

It’s given me more confidence both as a person and as a writer and has blessed me with seven super-supportive, fabulously talented buddies whom I cannot imagine being without.

7)      Are you a lark or night owl when it comes to writing?

A bit of both. It’s quite noisy where we live so I tend to be guided by that.

8)      What are you reading at the moment?

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Finally!) and loving it.

9)      Do you always finish a book even if you’re bored?

I used to feel guilty if I didn’t stick with a book as I truly appreciate the hard work that goes into producing it, but I get so little time to read for pleasure now, that I do occasionally *ahem* skip the odd paragraph or two. Thankfully, it’s a rarity.

10)   Complete this sentence – A Romaniac is …

A giver and receiver of unyielding friendship, support, endless laughs and writerly reassurance, whose cake tin overfloweth.

Thanks, lovely Jan – have another piece of chocolate brownie before you go? No/ Well, I’ll just pack you

  some up for the train then. Much love xx


  1. suefortin

    Lovely interview Jan and Celia.


    • Celia J Anderson

      Thank you Sue! Fun to do xxx

  2. Lizzie Lamb

    You end this blog by saying: “A giver and receiver of unyielding friendship, support, endless laughs and writerly reassurance.” Well, I think that sums Jan up perfectly. She is a wonderful person to have as a friend and although we don’t see each other more than a couple of times a year we keep in touch via the phone. She has really helped me by proof reading my novels and has a gimlet eye for errors. Her sense of humour is legendary and I can’t wait to read her finished novel as I know it will be GREAT. Without the RNA I wouldn’t have met the lovely Jan or you other Romaniacs . . .

    • Celia J Anderson

      Jan told me lots of lovely things about you too, izzie, before we met. The feeling’s obviously mutual! xx

      • Celia J Anderson

        I mean Lizzie – wonder where your L went then??

  3. June Kearns

    Your warmth and lovely personality shine out of everything you write, Jan – can’t wait to read that book!

    • Celia J Anderson

      I’m just going to tell Jan about all these lovely comments – thanks, June! xx

  4. Adrienne Vaughan

    I too have met Jan and many of the other Romaniacs through the RNA, and they really are a fab bunch of super supportive gals – flippin’ talented too. I know Jan is a highly talented copy editor and a great writer, so bring on the book Briggers, we’re waiting! X

    • Celia J Anderson

      The Romaniac collective ego is loving this – thanks so much, Adrienne! We’ve had oodles of support from the RNA NWS so we hope we can give something back with this charity anthology. 🙂

  5. Jan Brigden

    I’ve just been reading these lovely comments and have a tear in my eye. Thank you so much, ladies. Your friendship, support & encouragement is and always has been invaluable. Thanks for taking the time to comment and thanks to Celia for having me on her fabulous blog. 🙂 Xxx

  6. Yasmin Selena Butt

    So nice to read this interview with Jan. I met her via Lisa Jewell, we’re both huge fans of the lady. I’ve watched Jan’s journey with her own behemoth and it’s been aces to see her confidence blossom, seriously excited for her and her debut novel! Oh and Me Before You was my favourite read of 2012, when I published Gunshot Glitter I rewarded myself with my own, fresh, brand new copy of the novel. I hope you love it as much as I did. I feel positively evangelical about that book!! I bought my best gf a copy for Xmas and it knocked her for six, xx

    • Celia J Anderson

      Thanks Yasmin – I totally agree, Jan is an absolute treasure! 🙂 xx

      • Jan Brigden

        Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Yasmin. I remember meeting you at Lisa’s West End Lane Bookshop event in Hampstead and we just clicked. I really appreciate your friendship and support Xx

  7. Mags Cullingford

    Lovely blog, Jan – your warm, fun-loving personality shines through. Just like to take the opportunity of wishing you the best of luck with getting your first novel out there. Now have Romaniac Shorts on my Kindle and looking forwarding to dipping in.

    • Celia J Anderson

      I’ll pass this on to Jan, Mags – thanks for dropping in! xx

    • Jan Brigden

      That’s so lovely of you to say, Mags. Thank you. Thanks too for your good wishes re my novel and for your support with Romaniac Shorts. We’re all thrilled to bits with it. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Xx

  8. Chris Stovell

    Jan, I’ll never forget your great kindness and friendly smile when I walked into an RNA meeting (my first in a very long time) feeling nervous and apprehensive and you instantly put me at my ease. Cx

    • Jan Brigden

      Thank you so much, Chris. I remember us standing there, huddled together in the foyer, chatting away like we’d known each other for years! The feeling is very much mutual. Xx

  9. Suzie Tullett

    Good luck with your book, Jan. Like everyone here,I shall look forward to reading it x

    • Celia J Anderson

      Thanks for popping in, Suzie – I can’t wait to read it either! xxx

    • Jan Brigden

      Thanks so much, Suzie. I can’t wait to start submitting it (and then crossing everything on show that someone likes it – lol!) Your comment is very much appreciated Xx

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