Yes! Whooo! Today we have author Jen Turano as a guest for the blog! After professing my love for Jen’s work, an interview had to happen. It had to happen.
Well, *gestures at blog* here we are lol.
Jen was so kind as to give a signed copy of her book, Storing Up Trouble, as a prize for one US-based lucky winner!😭💕 *heart explodes*
It has been such a pleasure to interview Jen and come up with questions I think you guys will find more than interesting and give you a special insight into the bookish writing life of a historical fiction author.
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
For those who haven’t read it yet, can you tell us a little more about your latest book?
“Storing Up Trouble” is the third and final book in the “American Heiress” series. It tells the story of Miss Beatrix Waterbury, a grand American heiress who is an unconventional heiress to say the least. Because of a bit of a misunderstanding with her mother, well, not really a misunderstanding, she did get herself arrested twice while demonstrating in a few suffrage marches, she finds herself on a train bound for Chicago to enjoy a nice little bout of banishment with her aunt. On that train, she encounters Mr. Norman Nesbit, an eccentric scientist, and the next thing you know, Beatrix and Norman are thrust together in one adventure after another.
Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey?
I didn’t start writing until my son was in the third grade, (he’s recently graduated from college.) I actually majored in fashion while in college, worked in different department stores until I had my son, then settled into a stay-at-home-mom period. After reading this rather dreadful series about this bird, Dom and I decided to write our own story, and that’s when my writing journey began. The story I wrote with Dom never went anywhere, but I discovered that I enjoyed using my brain again. It took me five years, numerous genres, hundreds of rejections, and tons of time learning everything I could about the publishing industry before I finally signed with an agent. She then sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.
What inspired you to write a story with a scientist as one of the main characters? It must have been quite the experience to submerge into electrical research and such!
Most of my family have careers in science so I’ve been around eccentric scientific types forever. One of my brothers is absolutely brilliant, but charmingly clueless when it comes to normal life, and I’ve always wanted to create a character based loosely off him. Norman turned out nothing like my brother because once he showed up on the page, he seemed to have a mind of his own. I’ve learned not to argue with my characters when that happens because it saves me a great deal of stress, and overuse of the delete button. And yes, the books on Nikola Tesla I read were way over my head and I had to reach out to my son, who now has a degree in engineering, to explain the concept of double electrical currents. To this day, I still have no idea what he was talking about.
What is an interesting fact you learned about the time period while you researched this book?
The pay scale at Marshal Field & Company was fascinating. Women normally made well under ten dollars a week, whereas men made up to twenty-five dollars a week before they advanced into management roles, roles that women were rarely offered.
Which is your favorite scene from Storing up Trouble?
When Norman is trying on clothing at the department store and keeps sauntering past Beatrix to see if she approves of his choices – and, well, the cats.
To be honest, I absolutely loved all of the characters of Storing Up Trouble, but if you had to choose one as your favorite, who would you choose and why?
Norman is my favorite because I loved how his character grew and developed.
I just need to put this out there. I love Theo! She’s absolutely adorable! Is she inspired by someone in particular? Was she part of the story from the beginning?
Theo was not in the story at the beginning, wasn’t even in any of my notes. However, I wanted Norman to have a buddy. I tried giving him a male friend, but it just wasn’t working. From the moment I decided to make that friend female, Theo started taking shape and she was just a riot to write. She’s was partially inspired by one of my friends, but I never divulge what friends I use in my books – that could tend to get…messy if those friends didn’t like how I wrote the character inspired by them.
How do you research for your historical fiction books? I feel there are a lot of writers out there that are dying to know, myself included. It seems like such a vast amount of information and detail you have to consider before venturing to write such stories
I have a vast, personal research library I add to with every new book I write – historical tomes written during that time, memoirs, cookbooks, architecture, you name it, I have it. I’ve read every book I can revolving around members of the New York Four Hundred, and I get a lot of old fashion catalogues to help me with the particular styles of certain years. I also have numerous research librarians at our local library who are only too willing to do some digging for me, and they send me wonderful papers on different historical events that were happening in whatever particular city I’ve decided to write about.
What is your favorite thing about writing historical fiction books?
My favorite genre to read has always been historical romance, which is why I enjoy writing them.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received in regard to writing? And what is the best piece of advice you would give someone who wants to write a historical fiction book?
Best piece of advice – You’re going to get rejected…a lot. Don’t take it personal.
Best piece of advice to give – When you decide you want to be a published author, it’s not about you anymore, it’s all about the reader.
And last but not least, what is something you want your readers to take away from your book?
I always just hope that readers find a small escape while reading my books, and also hope that they might find a laugh or two between the pages.
Join our giveaway for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of Storing Up Trouble!
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. Readers may find her at www.jenturano.com – https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ , https://www.instagram.com/jenturanoauthor/ or on Twitter at JenTurano@JenTurano
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