By Rachel M. Anderson, Freelance Writer
There are certain experiences in life that affect us tremendously. A lot of people will never forget the day they graduated from high school, their first concert or their wedding day.
The experience that sticks with Justine Jones of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England is the visit she made to a charity thrift store when she was 11 or 12-years-old. "I thought it was exciting to rifle through piles of stuff and search for genuine bargains," she says.
Fast forward a couple of decades and that memory would surface again as inspiration for the novel Jones would start writing in 2006 and complete five years later. Genuine Bargains, published by eBooksforPleasure.com in the summer of 2011, is the story of Margaret Manley, a widow who moves to the small town of South Eamsley, England and sets up her own independent charity shop.
Margaret has very firm ideas about how her shop ought to be run, and they are entirely counter to the wisdom of the present day charity business. "I thought to myself if I could go to a charity shop and make it exactly how I wanted it, how would I make it? That was the starting point for my story."
Mrs. Manley's is a cute little shop where everything is orderly -- nothing is out of place.
The sparkling windows revealed a fine display '" on the left hand side cardboard boxes had been draped in fabric and items of jewellery clearly tagged and laid among the folds. A pair of green satin evening shoes rested nearby, and above these hung an almost-matching green evening dress, its hanger attached to a piece of string tied to a hook in the ceiling --
The first chapter in the novel is filled with descriptive details that do a good job of setting up the story. Readers are clued in to the love story that will soon develop. They are also introduced to the mystery that will unfold in the subsequent pages.
Jones says as she developed the plot and characters, she incorporated a lot of her own life experiences into the story. "The characters are based on bits and pieces of people I have met or experiences with people I have had over the years," she says, "and also of course to some extent on myself."
Take for example, the main character. Like a shop manageress Jones once knew, Margaret Manley makes a point of having her bleached blonde hair retouched every week. And like the author, she puts a lot of emphasis on making sure things are neat.
The other main characters are Gina Parfitt, a forty-something lady who helps out in the shop, James "Constable" Burton who is a would be amateur detective and Margaret's potential love interest, and Evelyn Todd, a woman with completely unrealistic expectations in life who has a reputation for being mischievous. Each plays a significant role in the plot.
In addition to wanting to calm Gina down and tidy James up, Mrs. Manley finds there are a number of challenges to overcome in South Eamsley, including a meddling local family, an equally meddlesome charity official, thieving customers and doubtful donors. Then there's the local coven of witches and a murder mystery. As more and more details are carefully revealed, readers are enticed to keep turning pages to find out what is going to happen next.
When she completed her manuscript, Jones set out to find a publisher. She submitted her manuscript to several traditional publishers but got no response. Then one day while surfing the Internet, she came across information about eBooksforpleasure.com, a small publishing company in Minnesota that is dedicated entirely to eBooks.
She submitted her manuscript, and it was accepted for publication. She couldn't resist the company's offer. "They said they'd convert my book to all the eBook formats, create an appropriate cover for me and post it on the Web. And just like any other professional publisher, they do not charge authors any fees," says Jones.
eBooksforPleasure.com offers a 50 percent royalty on all book sales. Genuine Bargains sells for $5.99 and can be found in the Mystery, Nostalgia and Romance sections of the site.
About the Author
Justine Jones lives in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England and works part-time as a medical secretary. On her days off, she spends a lot of time writing. She is married and has three adult children.
Ebooksforpleasure.com is an independent eBook publisher, offering the main eBook formats: ePUB, which has been established as an international standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) in an effort to standardize eBook formats; and Mobi, the format used by Amazon's Kindle. PDFs of some books are also available.
To learn more about how to submit a manuscript for publication, or to browse the site's available titles, log on to www.ebooksforpleasure.com and click on the "Author Resources" link.
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