Idyllic Setting Inspires Not Romance
But Practical How-to Guides
Tiny villages with quaint parish churches, cottage gardens scented with roses and pinks, and
shallow streams where kids can muck about in Christopher Robin style. An idyllic scene worthy of
romance novels, this is exactly the world that Roni Jay lives in.
Fifteen years ago she fled the bustle of London for the quiet of the English countryside. Today
she’s settled into what she calls a “higgledy-piggledy” farmhouse started in the 16th century and added onto here and there
through Queen Victoria’s reign.
Her desk overlooks a restored Victorian walled garden dominated by a 300-year-old tulip tree.
The remnants of a long-ago orchard fill her view with pink blossoms in the spring and her larder
with vintage apples come harvest time.
But Jay is no romantic heroine. Nor, despite three young children, does she spend her time as a
stay-at-home mom. She does stay at home–but to write. And most of what she
writes is intensely practical, oriented to the businessperson, the parent, the gardener who wants
straightforward how-to advice. Jay’s goal is to help you solve specific
problems—and to solve them right now.
An efficient writer who can produce on deadline, she’s written or edited some four
dozen books since 1993. They are quick reads: Family Matters: Parenting Tips from the Business
World is only 128 pages. Jay’s books are fun to read, too: she eschews theory,
emphasizes examples—and incorporates a dry English wit. But short
doesn’t mean skimping on information, and humorous doesn’t
mean silly. In Family Matters, Jay uses anecdote after anecdote to show how business techniques
can be brought home to handle kids. And she has plenty of anecdotes to share. Reared in London,
Jay left school at 16 to train for stage management. Nine years later, she took a public relations
job and then turned herself into a PR consultant and business writer. That led to a book on
business presentations and then another one on low-cost marketing. Jay credits her success in this
series of careers to her natural creativity–and the stage management training that
forced her to prioritize and make decisions. As she points out, you don’t have an
unlimited amount of time or money to get a theater production ready. By the time
you’re hired for the job, the opening date has already been set.
“I make decisions on instinct and I have the confidence to follow them
through,” she adds. This characteristic also helped her as a publicist and when she
began writing books. “Sometimes,” she reminds,
“it’s more important to get the story out than it is to review and
polish every single word.”