INTERVIEW: Jessica Redland

Thank you to the lovely Karen Louise Hollis, author and reviewer, for this interview which I’m re-blogging on my website x

I Heart Books

Jessica Redland is one of my favourite authors. Her books are so real that you feel you are in the settings and the characters are your friends. I was thrilled when she agreed to answer some questions for me. I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did.

Which childhood books and authors were your favourites? Do you think they influenced you in wanting to become an author?

I was a massive Enid Blyton fan and particularly devoured the Faraway Tree series, Malory Towers and the Famous Five. I also read a couple of books by Sheila Lavelle called My Best Fiend and The Fiend Next Door. They’re amazing stories of Charlie and her best friend Angela who constantly gets her into trouble and is therefore more of an enemy than a friend, hence the use of ‘fiend’ in the title.

When I was thirteen, a…

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The one where I have a Valentine’s Day plea for everyone to #RespectRomFic

Today is Valentine’s Day and I have a special Valentine’s Day wish this year. It’s not a wish for me personally but one for the genre in which I write and it’s a two part wish.

My first part is that I would wish for everyone who reads and loves this genre to declare it loudly and proudly. Many already do. They champion romance from the rooftops, they share their love for romantic books with anyone who will listen, and they (quite rightly) unashamedly immerse themselves in the genre for which I thank you so much. But there are those who see romantic fiction as a ‘guilty pleasure’. Please don’t! There is nothing whatsoever to feel guilty about when reading a genre that brings so much joy. Just see it quite simply for what it is – an absolute pleasure.

My second part is that I wish for those who haven’t tried this genre – possibly because of preconceived ideas as to what they’re getting or a negative experience with a book that wasn’t for them many moons ago – to give it a try. Because they might just be very surprised.

The romance genre is so incredibly diverse and there’s something in here for absolutely everyone. Whether you want to laugh until your sides hurt, immerse yourself in the world of billionaires, make an erotic connection with a shapeshifter or find hope and belief from a character going through the same life challenges as you, this is your genre.

Romance books, love stories, women’s fiction or whatever label you want to use are essentially stories of relationships – of love, friendship, family and community – and are therefore something we can all relate to.

What I find odd is that this genre is disregarded by so many yet stories which explore relationships are not unique to romance fiction. Pick up any book from any genre and, at its heart, it will be a book about relationships. Even in a gangland crime book, you’ll find love, friendship, family and community in among the drugs and violence. Our relationships are what make us human. Sometimes they’re amazing but quite often they can be messy, complicated and even toxic and romantic fiction explores this. It explores real life.

I’m immensely proud of what I write but I have, sadly, experienced looks of disgust and expressions of disinterest when I’ve shared my genre. ‘Urgh,’ said someone I met in a bookshop when signing copies of my latest release, ‘I can’t stand romance.’ I had the same reaction in a library when helping to promote my audio provider’s library app. I don’t understand this reaction. There are genres that don’t personally interest me as a reader, but I’d never be so dismissive or disrespectful of those who write them. I’d know the same care, attention, thought, research and effort has gone into writing them as has gone into writing mine.

Writing a book isn’t easy. I can’t compare genres because I’ve only ever written romance but I do stacks of research for every book I write and I feel every emotion my characters experience. As my books tend to be emotional ones, I go through a stack of tissues and paracetamol with each one, and it takes it out of me emotionally as well as mentally. I do this because it makes a difference to my readers. They connect to the characters because they feel what they’re feeling … because I felt it when I wrote it. Every time I read a review or receive a message from a reader thanking me for covering a particular subject which has personally resonated with them, lifted them, given them hope, it’s encouragement to keep going. This genre is wanted, needed and it genuinely makes a difference to readers. It can even change lives.

Romance fiction is about life. It’s about everything we experience every day. It’s escapism. It takes readers away from all that is bad in the world. It doesn’t avoid the bad stuff but it shows that there is hope. I couldn’t be more proud to write it and to read it.

A movement has started calling out the snobbery which dismisses romance books as somehow inferior using the hashtag #RespectRomFic It was started by Sara-Jade Virtue, Brand Development Director at Simon & Schuster UK and is championed by publishers and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s gaining increasing momentum with support from so many who love this genre. We’re not saying it’s for everyone but why dismiss something you haven’t tried? You might discover that this is the genre you’ve been missing all your life!

Big Valentine’s Day hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I thank everyone for the Bumblebee Barn Blog Tour

I’m soooooo late with this post but better late than never.

The blog tour for my latest release Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn was a whopper with 48 stops scheduled across 16 days. There were a couple of no-shows but I was thrilled with the 46 lovely reviews.

It was lovely to see familiar faces but also great to see some new readers for my books and hear their thoughts on my writing as a new-to-them author. This was overwhelmingly positive with only one new reviewer giving it a lower rating because she doesn’t enjoy slow-burn romances and this particular story happens to be a slow-burn but not all books are going to be for everyone and I’m delighted that most loved this new story and new setting.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the blog tour, to the fabulous Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it, and for anyone who commented/shared the review posts.

I’ve shared a selection of quotes below, trying to pick on a range of different points. Thank you for all the book love.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Monday Merry Meets: Jessica Redland

I had a very special cuppa and chat with the team at The Enchanted Emporium. Here’s what we discussed in our Monday Merry Meets…

The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf

Welcome to our next Monday Merry Meet where we celebrate author’s who write romantic fiction. We’re excited to chat to Jessica Redland who has written many bestseller novels based in our beloved North Yorkshire and the Wolds.

Grab a cuppa and relax for five minutes while you discover what she has to say about her books, writing, the romance genre and of course, spells.

Monday Merry Meets: Jessica Redland

Vincent looking grumpy in a pink frame with love is in the air wording
Love from Vincent

Willow: Welcome Jessica, have a seat. We’re thrilled to have you this month to celebrate romance books to coincide with Valentine’s Day. While the Enchanted Bookshelf has oodles of fantasy and paranormal books, Rosa’s Box of Romance is full of romantic novels, including yours. Talking of romance, I apologise if Vincent, our Maine coon, is extra affectionate. The catnip we’ve used in some of our love potions has made him high. Amber has cast a no stick spell…

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The one with a heads up on some dates for your diary

I should be writing today but I’ve got the lurgy and am feeling sorry for myself so I’m having an admin day while I’m too fuzzy-headed to create. I swear I’ve cracked all my ribs from coughing so much!

Today’s post is just a quickie with some dates for your diary if you’re in the North Yorkshire/Teesside area or could be later this year. None of these events have tickets for sale just yet as it’s too early for that, so this is very much just a dates notification.


I’m thrilled to be involved in two events at the 2023 Crossing the Tees Festival which is a week of events run collaboratively by Stockton, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Darlington, and Redcar & Cleveland Library Services. You can check out their website here although the programme and tickets won’t appear until late April.


My first event is a workshop for writers/aspiring writers as follows:

  • Saturday 10th June 2023
  • 10am-12pm
  • Guisborough Library

This interactive workshop will explore how to create a memorable setting for your writing which will leave readers wanting to come back for future visits. It is best suited to those wishing to write a novel or series rather than those writing short stories.

I was particularly excited when they confirmed the local of this workshop as I was raised in Guisborough and, in the days before the Internet, spent a lot of time in Guisborough Library conducting research for my school homework, as well as being a borrower of fiction.


My second event is participating in a Romance Author Panel as follows:

  • Sunday 11th June 2023
  • 2pm-3.30pm
  • Ormesby Library, Middlesborough

I’ll be joined on the panel by fellow Boldwood authors Jane Lovering and Lisa Hobman and we’re really looking forward to being interviewed by one of the library team.


This is a ten-day event with a range of book-related and walking activities. The programme for this festival won’t appear until the spring (at which point tickets will be available) but you can look at their website here.

Last year, I was excited to be secured as a speaker in what would have been my very first festival appearance. Unfortunately my slot clashed with the Queen’s funeral and needed to be cancelled but I’m so pleased to have been invited back this year.

  • Thursday 21st September 2023
  • 11am-12pm
  • The Station, Richmond, North Yorkshire

I’ll post with further details when the programmes for both events are released.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where a decision 4 years ago changed my life

Today is a special day because it’s the four-year anniversary of the first day of business for Boldwood Books, marked by them opening up for submissions.

Back in early 2019, my dream of being able to write full-time wasn’t looking good. My original publisher had ceased trading eighteen months after the release of my first book through them. Four books had sold less than 2,500 during that time and, with my rights back, I’d been even less successful as an indie author. Each new book released failed to have the impact I’d hoped and I wondered if it was time to call it a day. I’d written a new story – at the time called Wish I Could Tell You Goodbye – and I thought it might be my best yet … but the small number of publishers I’d already submitted it to didn’t agree and had passed on it.

I remember seeing the adverts for Boldwood Books in January and wondering whether I should submit. The idea of joining a brand new publisher made me a little nervous as doing that hadn’t served me well before but, as soon as I clicked onto Boldwood’s website, I could see a massive difference. This was a forward-thinking company with impressive credentials who were looking to do things differently and they immediately felt like home.

So I stayed up until midnight to be the first with a submission in their inbox on 1st February 2019 … then panicked later that morning when I saw a message on Twitter that they were now officially open for business and accepting submissions. Might mine have been too early and disappeared into the tech underworld? So I submitted again just to be sure.

Best decision I ever made.

I was so thrilled to be taken on as one of Boldwood’s first twenty authors, offered a nine-book deal for five of my backlist and four new titles (later extended to twelve books to add in the rest of my backlist). Wish I Could Tell You Goodbye was renamed as The Secret to Happiness and released in September 2019.

On the four-year anniversary of submitting this manuscript, I’m thrilled to announce that it has sold 75,000 copies across all formats. Woo hoo!

This was my second bestselling title behind Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow for quite a long time but Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café has now passed it and pushed it into third place.

It remains one of my favourite stories and is the only one told with three perspectives and the only one written in third person.

Four years on from first submitting to Boldwood, I’m more than halfway through my second twelve-book contract and couldn’t imagine ever wanting to leave the fabulous Boldwood family.

Happy anniversary, Boldwood Books. Without you, I’m not sure I’d still be writing. Thanks to you, that dream of writing full-time has happened… with interest.

Big hugs
Jessica xx