Jill Mansell is the bestselling author of over 20 novels. Her new book, The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, is out on the 30th January. She tells Novelicious how Riders influenced her writing when she was starting out.
I honestly don't think I could describe how much I loved Riders, by Jilly Cooper, when it first came out. I'd enjoyed her earlier writings, but this was a revelation, a whole new level of fabulousness. Contemporary fiction with glamour, drama, sizzling sexual shenanigans and humour – well, I hadn't realised such a genre existed before. I was in love with the style of writing, the glorious Cotswold settings, the irresistible characters. It's no exaggeration to say it felt like coming home.
I was working at the time in a neurological hospital, longing to change my life. Reading an article in a magazine about women who had changed their lives by becoming best-selling authors, I decided that this was something I needed to try for myself. Having attempted a few Mills & Boons, I kept getting told I was putting too much humour into them. Eventually I decided to write the kind of book I would love to read, which was basically Riders, minus all the horsey bits because I knew nothing about horses. So that's what I did, and the end result was Fast Friends.