ABOUT AUTHOR: Jen Turano, critically-acclaimed author of A Change of Fortune and A Most Peculiar Circumstance, is a graduate of the
with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She is a member of ACFW and makes
her home outside of University of Akron with her husband and
teenage son. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com
What inspired you to write A Most Peculiar Circumstance?
Mr. Theodore Wilder was the driving force behind the creation of A Most Peculiar Circumstance. He was such a fun character to write in A Change of Fortune, that I knew he had to have his own story almost from the moment he appeared on the page of that book. The problem was I didn't quite know who I was going to create to pair him up with considering he has such a contrary personality. Miss Arabella Beckett popped to mind while writing A Change of Fortune, and I thought it would be rather amusing to write her as a suffragist and put her into direct proximity with Theodore.
were certain to fly and their initial disdain for each other allowed me a lot
of opportunities to develop their characters. I've always been a fan of
stories where opposites attract, and Arabella and Theodore didn't disappoint in
Women dressed very differently in the 1880’s. What do you think you’d enjoy wearing? What do you think you’d dislike wearing?
Society ladies who lived in
New York City during the Gilded Age changed
their outfits numerous times per day. There were morning dresses, dresses
made for paying calls, and spectacular evening gowns that were a must for going
to dinners, operas or balls. I would have enjoyed the evening wear
because I do like to dress up, and would have certainly enjoyed traveling to Paris to secure these
gowns, especially from the House of Worth. However, wearing corsets
paired with bustles would not have been pleasant in the least. Breathing
was difficult, as was sitting, and in the summer, I’m quite sure corsets were
plastered to a lady’s skin with perspiration, something that wouldn't have been
exactly pleasant. I wouldn't have minded the hats, but while doing
research, I discovered that there were entire species of birds that were
brought almost to extinction because of ladies demanding bird feathers attached
to their fashionable creations which was rather disturbing to learn,
so…hmmm…maybe I wouldn't have enjoyed the hats now that I think about it.
What has surprised you the most about being an author?
I think the thing that has surprised me the most about being an author is the reaction of the readers. They've been fabulous and incredibly enthusiastic about my stories. I love when they write to me and want to discuss the characters and tell me what books they’d like to see from me in the future. I wasn't expecting so much support and encouragement and it’s been beyond anything I could have imagined.
Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on now? When will it be out?
This week I’m going back and looking over book four in the Ladies of Distinction Series. I finished it months ago and it’s due soon to the publisher, so I’m giving it a last polish. It’s Miss Agatha Watson’s story and she’s gotten herself in a bit of trouble which has caused her to leave
New York City
for a spell until it’s safe for her to return. While she’s in Colorado sniffing out a
story, she runs into Mr. Zayne Beckett, the gentleman she’s always held dear to
her heart, but a gentleman who left her for another lady. To her
amazement and dismay, she finds him in a rather sad state and not behaving at
all like the Zayne she’d come to adore. Getting him back to New York leads them into
one misadventure after another, and to add a bit of sweetness to this story, I've
included an adorable pink pig by the name of Matilda. The book is due to
release sometime in 2014. I've also recently finished a first draft of
another book, currently untitled, but this one centers around a young lady by
the name of Miss Harriet Peabody. She works in a hat shop, has a rather
mysterious past, and she strikes a deal with Mr. Oliver Addleshaw, one of the
most powerful and wealthy gentleman in the country (he’s sort of based off of
Andrew Carnegie,) and from the moment they strike their deal, mayhem begins.
Your bio says you were a manager for many years; can you tell us what you did? How did you make the change from manager to author?
|Jen's son Dominic Paddle boarding|
When my husband and I moved to
, I began working for B.
Forman, a family owned department store and my job there was that of store
manager. We employed a cast of true characters, from the lady who worked
in dresses who could only work until five because her husband had to have a
cocktail at six and couldn't drive after that, to the elderly lady who worked
in sportswear who had a slight case of Parkinson’s but who snuck her coffee out
onto the sales floor everyday even though her shaking caused her to leave a
tell-tale trail of coffee after her. She pretended it wasn't hers, I
pretended I didn't see it, and the maintenance man pretended it was a normal
occurrence for him to mop that particular stretch of marble every time she
worked. My job was to oversee the entire store, as well as employees, and
also help department managers with merchandising their areas. We offered
free gift wrap at our store, so there were many times when I had to help there
when we were short-staffed, even though I readily admit I’m not the best at
wrapping, something our customers were always quick to point out. Rochester,
company was bought out by the May Company, but instead of simply coming in and
taking over the store, they decided to close it down. I’d never been
involved with a going-out-of business sale, and quite frankly, I never want to
go through that again. A liquidation company came in to run the sale, all
of our policies changes, especially in regard to customer service, and it
seemed to me as if our old customers emptied out their closets and decided to
try and bring back everything they’d ever purchased at our store even though we
were no longer accepting returns. The end of my career came when a woman
marched in with a mink coat slung over her arm, threw it on the counter,
demanded $10,000 for it, and when I told her we weren't taking returns any
longer (and that we hadn't carried mink for over fifteen years) she hit me over
the head with her overly large purse, and right there and then I decided I’d
had enough of retail. My husband and I decided we might as well get
around to starting a family, and a year later, my son, Dominic was born.
I settled in to being a stay at home mom, although I must admit it was a
little odd to go from being a career woman to spending all my time at playgrounds,
but I wouldn't have changed a thing about spending all that time with my son.
|Jen's husband Al on recent vacation|
When he reached third grade, we finished book six in this series about birds, and I have to say, it was a bit of a struggle to get through that book (and I have yet to admit to my son that there are at least seven more books in that particular series.) After we read the last page, Dominic looked at me and announced that the stories I used to tell him to keep him occupied in his jogger stroller while I got a bit of exercise were more interesting and we decided to write our own book. That was the beginning of my pursuit of a writing career. I loved using my brain again, loved creating outlandish characters, and tried many different genres before I finally settled on historical romance, something I read most often. I had tons of scathing rejections at first, which caused me to really buckle down and learn my craft, and then I finally signed with Mary Sue Seymour of the
Seymour agency and she very kindly sold my
work to Bethany House. It’s been an absolute blast so far and I've been
very fortunate to discover a new career that I truly love.
What movie affected you most when you were young?
The Apple Dumpling Gang was my favorite movie when I was young. My older sister took me to see it at the drive-in theater, and there was just something magical about that night. We put blankets on top of our station wagon, got huge buckets of popcorn and sodas, and the movie had both of us laughing out loud numerous times.
You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?
I definitely wouldn't want to take over the role of cook because everyone would starve pretty quickly since I’m a horrendous cook. I like to build things though, so perhaps I’d take over the job of securing everyone shelter, although I don’t think I’d be up for building anything like what was found in The Swiss Family Robinson movie. That would be cool, but way beyond what I’m capable of crafting.
A friend of yours has a time machine and they will let you use it for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?
I’d go back to when my mom and dad were still alive and just spend more time with them. There are so many things that we never got to say to each other, and I’d love to be able to see their faces once again and hear them laugh.
What was your favorite suspense show on TV when you were growing up? Why was it your favorite? If you didn't watch TV, what were your favorite books?
When I was younger, we only got two TV stations out where we lived, so I didn't watch much TV at all. (We also had to walk to school, uphill both ways and…well, okay, that’s not really true.) My favorite show was Bonanza because I had a huge crush on Little John, but I spent more time reading. My favorites were Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and my mom’s old collection of Beverly Gray books. When I reached my teens, I began to read light romances, and then my mom lent me her copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower, and I've been hooked on historical romances ever since.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS JEN?
It’s been an honor being here and I’d like to take a moment to thank the readers. I do hope all of you will enjoy A Most Peculiar Circumstance, as well as the other stories in The Ladies of Distinction Series. My hope is that my stories will make you smile, or better yet, laugh out loud.
|10 Book Giveaway @TBCN www.bookfun.org|
Thanks Jen for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your new book. THRILLED that Bethany House has a 10 Book Giveaway Opportunity at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK Right Now!!
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