JENSEN WEEK DAY THREE
Louise Jensen shot to fame last year following the release of her debut novel The Sister.
Selling just short of half a million copies within six weeks, Jensen’s psychological thriller was the book on everyone’s lips and kindles!
And now, just over a year later, Little, Brown imprint, Sphere have purchased the rights to the paperback and it hit the bookshops and supermarkets on Thursday! This is obviously VERY exciting for both Louise and the publisher. The Sister is available in Asda, Sainsbury’s, and WH Smith now and in Tesco from 7 September!
To celebrate this wonderful news, I will be posting an exclusive character spotlight or guest post every day for the next week, each one will focus on a different character from Jensen’s books, The Sister, The Gift, and her next novel, The Surrogate, which is out on 27 September.
On Thursday, Louise joined me to talk about Charlie Fisher, one of the lead characters in The Sister and you can read that here.
Yesterday I was joined by Grace’s grandma from The Sister and you can read that post here.
Today, we move to The Gift and Louise joins me to talk about main character, Jenna McCauley …
The Gift’s protagonist is Jenna McCauley, a thirty-year-old woman who, six months prior to the story starting, underwent a heart transplant.
Ever since I’d heard about cellular memory, the phenomena of cells retaining memory (if a heart is transplanted the recipient could inherit some of the donor’s memories and tastes) the subject has fascinated me, and researching the documented cases made me determined to write a novel centred around this subject. I wanted to write another book that was a blend of emotion, but would also unnerve people.
The Sister was my debut, heart and soul novel, and I was so attached to the protagonist, Grace, at first I tried to make Jenna a carbon copy of her, but as the story evolved Jenna really developed her own personality and is far stronger than I’d envisaged her being, perhaps, in part, because she was battling against the mould I wanted to fit her in to.
Writing Jenna, I drew upon my own experiences with my health, although I didn’t realise I was doing this at the time, and writing this novel was cathartic for me. Although I have never come close to death I had an accident in my thirties which left me with a disability and I know the bewilderment a change in health can bring, particularly at a young age, where you don’t quite know where you fit anymore. I have felt the guilt Jenna feels when she believes she is letting those around her down, by not being able to do the things she could before. It felt quite open and raw creating Jenna.
In an early version of my story, Jenna was quite vulnerable, grieving almost for the person she was before surgery, the life she had lost. I had spent so many hours researching and speaking to transplant patients my manuscript was packed full of medical information and the emotions relating to adjusting to life as an organ recipient. Early readers fed back Jenna was too reflective which did slow the pace down and I took this feedback on board and made some cuts. Despite my wanting this book to be moving in parts, ultimately it is a thriller.
Jenna took on a life of her own once the first draft was completed and I completely fell in love with her determination to do what she feels is the right thing, although her black and white thinking contributes to her isolation and eventually her losing her grasp on reality. Jenna ends up not being able to trust anyone, she can’t even trust herself. Should we trust her? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
The Gift is an amazing book and I would you all to click below and get your copy if you haven’t already! Here’s the blurb …
The perfect daughter is dead. And a secret is eating her family alive…
Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets…
Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.
Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.
A compelling, gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist from the author of the Number One bestseller The Sister.