**Beth Erin, you are our winner! Enjoy!
On this fall-like Friday, I am having coffee with the beautiful and wonderfully talented Jen Turano! We are talking all sorts of things from her cooking skills to her upcoming books. Plus…Shhhh!!! There is a freebee 🙂 Pull up a chair, let me pour you a cup as we learn more about Jen.
Will you tell us about your books?
I’m best known for my historical romances set during the Gilded Age. My plan is to slowly move through the Gilded Age which gets more and more outlandish as the years trudge on. Right now I’m only up to 1883 – that’s when my new series coming out in 2017 begins – and it begins at Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of 1883. There’s a prequel novella, “At Your Request” releasing for e-book Jan. 4, 2017, followed by the book set at Alva’s ball, “Behind the Scenes” releasing in April, 2017. But, before that, my very first contemporary romance, (mixed with a bit of intrigue) will be releasing this November. That’s right – “Finding Margo” will hit the shelves November, 15, 2016, and I’m hoping readers will enjoy the story of Margo Hartman. She’s an international superstar who just happens to stop in Millersburg, Ohio, that stopping due to a bit of a run in with a…duck. After she arrives in Millersburg, things get rather peculiar, especially when she realizes someone seems to be trying to kill her.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
I would have to say I’m a little of both, a hybrid if you will. I always know how the book starts, how it ends, and I plan five chapters at a time. There’s no saying that planning will stay on course, but with the amount of deadlines I have these days, and trying to fit edits, marketing, and time for fun into my schedule, I find that having a better idea of the entire storyline makes everything go a lot smoother. Although…if say a goat happens to show up that I wasn’t expecting, I will find a way to add that goat to the storyline because…goats rock, right?
Do you like to listen to music while you write?
I don’t listen to music when I write. In fact, I’ve been known to wear earphones in order to have absolute silence. I have the attention span of a gnat, so music distracts me. I will listen to music when I’m catching up on emails. I bought a record player for Al (husband) for Christmas because we love to browse through second-hand music stores and they have all these fabulous old records which we couldn’t listen to since we got rid of our record player years ago. However, since I love the old records, we set Al’s present up in my office, and I’ve been getting a kick out of picking up music that takes me back to…the eighties. There’s just something about early Madonna, The Cars, and The Psychedelic Furs.
If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
Since I do so much historical research, I think I’m good living in this time period. There were a lot of less than hygienic practices back in the old days, and I just can’t imagine how smelly those ballrooms were at times, what with no one using deodorant and no air conditioning around. And don’t even get me started on the whole not shaving your legs business, not having hot water with a turn of a knob, or trying to cook with an oven that heated with fire. Now that’s a catastrophe in the making if you ask me.
What is your favorite food?
My very favorite food is chips, but since I had to give those up due to the idea I was becoming far too plump, my favorite food these days is probably yogurt, although I won’t say no to pasta every so often, paired with a nice salad topped with ranch dressing.
Why did you decide to become a writer?
It was kind of a fluke, this whole writing thing. I never aspired to become a writer, although I’ve always had stories running around my mind. My family is more scientific minded, which is probably why I never even considered pursuing a career dealing with the arts. But, when my son was in third grade, we, after reading a horrible series about birds, decided we were going to cobble our own story together. “Fanglers” was born out of that cobbling, and while that middle-grade book never saw the light of day, I realized I enjoyed creating stories. After what seems like a million genres and five-million rejections, I finally landed an agent when my son got to middle school, and then she very kindly sold “A Change of Fortune” about a year after I signed with her.
What are your hobbies?
I used to enjoy cross-stitch, but with so many demands on my time, I’ve set that aside for now. I’m an avid hiker, love to read, although I can’t read in my genres while doing a first draft because, well, I end up mimicking what I’m reading, and…nope, I can’t think of any other hobbies I have at the moment.
Do you like to cook? Would you share with us a favorite recipe?
I’m a horrible cook and I’ve learned to embrace that idea. I’m incredibly sensitive to smell, so when I’m trying to cook something, I can’t taste it to see if I’m making it properly. In all honesty, I’ve pretty much given up at this point. I can whip up a tasty salad and throw some chicken on the grill, but since it’s just me and Al, our son abandoning us for college, we pick up stuff at the deli or meet friends out for a quick bite, which is far tastier than anything I could make and Al is worse than I am in the kitchen. So…obviously sharing a favorite recipe with all of you is really not a good idea.
If you could pick any genre to write in besides your current genre, what would it be?
Since I’m now doing two genres, historical and contemporary, I’m pretty set for now, although…I’m not completely giving up on “Mildred Mystique and the Curse of the Goblins,” one of those middle-grade stories I wrote clear back in the day. The title alone just cracks me up, but I’d have to completely rewrite the story since, wow, did I have a lot to learn back in the day.
Can you tell us about your current work in progress?
I’m just finishing up today with Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s book – the book that will release from Bethany House after “Behind the Scenes.” Then, next week, I’m going to dive into the second book in my contemporary series, currently untitled – and it picks up where “Finding Margo” left off – with Raven Vanderlyn – after that, and after I do content edits on the books that are currently with editors, I’ll jump into Miss Temperance Flowerdew’s story. She’s a wallflower who has been forced to assume the role of poor relation, but…not for long.
Thank you so much for allowing me to chat with you, Sandra. Hope you have a fabulous fall season!
~ Jen ~
Jen Turano is an USA Today best-selling author. She writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at jenturano.com.
In honor of our coffee chat, Jen is giving away a copy of Playing the Part. To enter, leave a comment sharing with us your favorite food. This giveaway will end on Monday, Sept 12 at 11:59 pm.