Romantic Novelists' Association

Jennifer Bohnet   A French Affair.

7 August 2020

Today we welcome Jennifer Bohnet.


Jennifer, what was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?

A French Affair is set mainly in a rundown campsite in Brittany. Belinda, the main character, grew up in France until she was 17 when her mother, for reasons she’d never fully explained, suddenly left her husband and took Belinda back to the UK and all contact with her father was lost. When nearly forty years later Belinda finds herself on a campsite, not a million miles from where she spent a happy childhood, she begins to wonder about the things her mother had told her. As for the inspiration behind it, I wanted to write a story set in Brittany and thought a campsite would make for an interesting setting. I like writing about women well over the age of 21, women who have possibly been hurt by life events either as a child or as an adult. I’m very fond of one of the minor characters in A French Affair, Anouk, who is nearly 90 but doesn’t let that fact stop her from enjoying the life she now has.

What kind of research did you do before beginning the book? 

I write contemporary books, set in places I know quite well, so the research usually relates to things that crop up in the storyline as I’m writing. With storylines set in France I have to make sure I know enough about their social culture i.e inheritance laws which are so different to the UK.

 What was your journey to publication?

I started off writing fillers and lifestyle pieces for anyone who would publish them — local paper, national papers, magazines etc, before moving into short stories. I’d written several hundred stories for various women’s magazines both in the UK and internationally, including 5 serials for The People’s Friend before I wrote my first novel. Can’t believe that I’m about to start writing my 16th.

What book do you wish you had written?

Veronica Henry’s The Forever House. I love all her books but particularly that one. Although, How to Find Love in a Bookshop comes a close second.

If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?

Don’t leave it so late to follow your dream!

 What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I’m going to pinch a quote from the blog I belong to, Novel Points of View. There are seven of us, all published in one form or other and we each write a blog once every seven weeks. Rae Cowie recently wrote a blog about how hard it is to keep motivated and believe in yourself. Above her desk she has now pinned the following quote from Kate Mosse: ‘Keep your eyes off the horizon, Down on the screen, writing sentence after sentence.’ I too now have this pinned in a prominent place above my desk because some days I still need a prod to remind myself I can do this and to keep motivated.

 Can you tell us what you are working on now? 

I’m just starting my summer release for 2021. My working title is A Wedding at the Weekend so you can guess the premise of the story. This one will be set between Devon and the French Riviera and will tell the story of 3 or 4 of the guests and what happens over the course of the weekend on the Riviera. I’m looking forward to writing this one.

About Jennifer:

I find it hard to believe but I’ve lived in France now for twenty-one years. After eleven years down on the Cote d’Azur where Richard was a guardien for a villa, we moved from the Mediterranean coast to a small quirky cottage in the depths of Brittany. A bit of a culture shock to say the least! I’ve sold hundreds of shorts stories to the women’s magazine market in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark – I even had my own newspaper column in a group of local Devon papers at one time. My latest book A French Affair is published by Boldwood Books on 4th August.


Belinda Marshall’s idyllic teenage life in Brittany, France, fell apart when her parents dramatically separated and her mother took her back to England. Fast forward thirty-five years when Belinda’s world is once again turned upside down.

It’s the week before Christmas and Belinda’s employer ‘surprises’ her by asking for her help to rejuvenate their latest investment, a run-down campsite in Brittany. Memories and anxieties that had lain dormant for years suddenly begin to resurface. As secrets from a lost life threaten to overwhelm her, there is a realisation that maybe she wasn’t told the whole truth by her mother all those years ago.

Can Belinda reconcile her emotions and find happiness once more in the place she so loved and once called home?  



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About the interviewer.


Catherine Lawless lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and their three border terriers. She writes novels, journals and children’s books. Catherine’s career started out as a singer/songwriter in a rock band. She toured extensively throughout Europe and the UK before settling down and following her childhood dream of writing books.