Weak at the Knees Blog Tour

Authors to Watch is part of the Pump Up Your Book blog tour for Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel. We've got a Q&A with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway! Before we begin, let's have a look at the book...

“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.

Only she must resist, because he has a wife - and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story of love and loss set between London and the heart of the French Alps.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON (US) or AMAZON (UK)

Q: Hi, Jo. Please tell us a little about yourself

A: Hi there, well, what’s to say? I’m from across the pond and live in London. I’ve got a typically British accent, very curly hair (which I spend my life straightening), three small children who keep me on my toes and a passion for romance – hey, that’s what makes the world go round, isn’t it? What would life be without love? Oh, and in true Brit form I’m a big lover of tea. I can’t start my day without drinking a big steaming mug of the brew.

Q: When did you begin writing?

A: I began writing short stories pretty much as soon as I could put pen to paper, age five. And I’ve just never stopped. I’ve been lucky in that I was able to turn my passion for writing into a career and work as a newspaper journalist in the UK. But more recently I found myself longing to dig deeper and create a full and multi-layered storyline which would take the characters on a much longer journey than a short story will allow. That’s when the novel-writing began. My first novel Lover in Law came out almost a year ago and now I’m celebrating the release of Weak at the Knees.

Q: Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

A: I prefer to call my style of writing ‘organic’ rather than ‘seat of your pants’! Whilst I do begin the whole process with a rough structure of the entire novel and a very detailed first three chapters, once I’ve progressed beyond that I like to write organically and see how the characters relate once they’re actually there on the page. I live in a leafy suburb of London and my study is at the front of the house, overlooking the quiet road. That’s where I write every day, with that big mug of tea by my keyboard.

Q: Can you tell us about your most recent release?

A: Weak at the Knees follows the emotional journey of Danni Lewis after she suffers a tragedy and tries to make sense of her life. It’s very real and raw (I’ve been told that a box of tissues must be on hand when you read it!) and yes, it does deal with the issue of cheating. But like it or loathe it, people do cheat in reality and so this story deals with that, warts and all, and believe me, Danni suffers with the whole moral dilemma/angst of the romance. One reviewer said that it never feels like ‘cheating’ because Danni and Olivier feel so ‘meant to be’, but I guess readers will just have to make up their own minds on this. The book is half-based in France and also gives an insight into life in that beautiful and most romantic of countries.

Q: How did you get the idea for the book?

A: I spent a couple of years working as a ski chaperone in the French Alps when I’d finished college. I lived in a small, village community whose people were very insular and gossipy. The mountains make for such a powerful, emotive backdrop, especially for romance, that I knew it would be a great place to base a story – and there’s something about forbidden love (i.e. the cheating angle) that I thought would be fascinating to explore.

Q: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

A: I love Olivier, the male French married love interest. Not only is he sexy, hot and dreamy, he’s all the more exciting because he’s out of bounds. He wears that gold band on his wedding finger.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

A: Actually, I think this book felt very easy and fluid to write. I suppose the ending was challenging – should it have a happy ever after when cheating is such a taboo subject? I battled over this for a while, but don’t want to give anything away………..

Q: Which authors have inspired your writing?

A: I’m a big Jane Austen fan.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: I’m working on a sequel to Weak at the Knees which will move the story along as well as including Olivier’s POV so that we will get the chance to hear his side of things.

Q: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

A: Don’t give up. Follow your dreams and keep writing. Whilst obviously we all dream of becoming bestselling writers, I still believe that if you touch just ONE person with your story, then it’s a job well done.


Olivier sits next to me on the piano stool. We’re even closer than that day up the mountain and it’s even more intoxicating. His body is so close to mine that the slightest adjustment would have us touching. I can feel his heat, an electrical charge which makes the side of my leg that’s almost brushing his tingle all the way down. He pulls up his woolly, navy sleeves. “Shall we?” I note the gold wedding band on his dark, manly hands as his fingers hover above the keyboard. I nod, not trusting myself to speak, thinking the sooner he starts playing piano the better, to distract me from this powerful attraction. He crashes both hands down with flair and starts playing his version of the Boogie Woogie. It’s slightly jazzier and more sophisticated than mine. I let him play by himself for a while, enjoying watching him, surprised by how good he is.

The rhythm gets to me, my upper torso unconsciously pulsing forward, toes tapping in my shoes. I put my mug down on top of the piano and start trying to improvise a Gerswhin-esque melody line, fluttering my right hand up and down the keyboard in syncopation to Olivier’s beat. For about ten minutes we thump away, cheesy grins on our faces, occasionally catching each others’ eye. We play whatever comes into our heads, changing the mood and key from time to time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a discordant mess, but it doesn’t matter. By the time Olivier eventually tires and crashes a final chord, our bodies are touching all the way from our shoulders to our knees. I don’t want to move, which is exactly why I do. I stand up, to recover my senses and my drink.

About the Author:

Jo Kessel is a journalist in the UK, working for the BBC and reporting and presenting for ITV on holiday, consumer and current affairs programs. She writes for several national newspapers including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Express and was the anonymous author of the Independent’s hit column: Diary of a Primary School Mum.

When Jo was ten years old she wrote a short story about losing a loved one. Her mother and big sister were so moved by the tale that it made them cry. Having reduced them to tears she vowed that the next time she wrote a story it would make them smile instead. Happily she succeeded and with this success grew an addiction for wanting to reach out and touch people with words.

P.S Jo’s pretty certain one of her daughters has inherited this gene.

Other books by Jo Kessel include Lover in Law.

Her latest book is the new adult contemporary romance novel, Weak at the Knees.

Visit her website at www.jokessel.com.
Connect & Socialize with Jo!

Rafflecopter $100 Amazon Gift Card & Gift Basket Giveaway:

Pump Up Your Book and Jo Kessel are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card & a French Gift Basket of French gift basket that includes a whole lot of goodies associated with the book, including a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a famous wine from the Rhône wine region of southeastern France!

Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $100 Amazon Gift Card and one winner will be chosen to win the gift basket.

This giveaway begins October 7 and ends January 18.

Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, January 20, 2014.

Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for featuring my new release Weak at the Knees on your blog today. I'd love to hear from your readers as to whether THEY think cheating should be a taboo subject in literature?!

  2. In real life I am absolutely opposed to cheating, but in my books I love the angst and emotions that come along with the story- although I do always secretly hope for the Happy Ever After.. :)

  3. Thanks for hosting Jo today, Tricia!


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