Welcome back, Jennifer! It’s always a pleasure to host you here at the Romance Dish.
Thank you! It is good to talk to you again, PJ! It is always such a pleasure to be on The Romance Dish – I love your site, and always visit for great recommendations!
Your new book brings readers the story of the third Westmore sibling, Geoffrey and Miss Mary Channing, younger sister of one of my favorite McQuiston heroes, Patrick Channing, Earl of Haversham. What should readers expect from The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel?
At its heart, The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel is a crusade story set against a backdrop of political
In this book, the hero, Geoffrey Westmore, is a bona fide scoundrel known for his crazy pranks, while Mary Channing is more of an innocent who daydreams about the characters in her books. From the moment they meet, Mary is convinced he must be a villain, and when he traps her in the library and kisses her senseless, he seems to be living up to that reputation. But when they hear whispers of an assassination plot, suddenly her villain must play the hero—whether he wants to or not.
Readers will see a return of some of my past characters, including Dr. Daniel Merial and Clare (from Diary of an Accidental Wallflower). There are some strong secondary characters – in particular, the stoic butler, Wilson makes a return appearance, and you get to know Eleanor, Mary’s twin sister as well. Alas, Patrick Channing doesn’t make an appearance, although you do catch glimpses of his happy life).
Before coming to London to help her sister, Mary lived her life through the pages of her books. What role did books play in your life while growing up?
Oh, I was always that girl imagining herself as the character on the page! I have vivid memories of draping a blanket over the side of the bunk bed and pretending it was a covered wagon. This, of course, is the oh-so-normal reaction to reading the Little House on the Prairie series. I also used to imagine that my dark room held a black panther, waiting to pounce on me, and my older sister was almost certainly going to go blind from scarlet fever. I was a voracious reader as a child and young adult, and it takes me back in time to see my own daughters lose themselves in their beloved books.
I enjoy the links you post on social media of obscure historical facts, mostly medical or scientific. What fact(s) have you uncovered that most surprised you?
I’m constantly amazed by your ability to effectively manage all the different facets of your life: CDC researcher, NYT bestselling author, mom, wife, and more. How do you balance it all?
Oh, I don’t know that I do any of them particularly well! I just try to hunker down and invest my energy into the most pressing need at any given time. When Ebola was raging in West Africa, that clearly consumed all my time, and I had to leave my family to give it my all. When I am writing I become a bit of a hermit, holed up in the basement of my house and typing in the wee hours of the morning. Right now, I am focusing more on my job at CDC (which gets crazy some days), and I am also enjoying focusing on my family—my youngest just started middle school, and both of my girls have joined the volleyball team, so I am enjoying cheering them on. To me, the most important thing is to not beat yourself up when some things slide. There is no way on earth to stay sane if you expect to do everything perfectly! For example, my house is a rolling bit of cat hair and dust balls. I have decided to let that go.
You’ve mastered many skills in your life. What new skills are waiting for you to give them a try?
I love this question, because learning how to write (romance or otherwise) was a late event in my life. I published my first book when I was 40 years old, and just started typing stories a few years before. I firmly believe we humans should constantly be trying to master new skills – it is part of what makes us unique as a species to be able to learn new things, no matter how old we are. I am trying to learn how to incorporate some better fitness into my life at present (with variable results). I sure would like to be able to master the skill of making myself do situps! I would also like to learn how to properly operate the sewing machine my mom… straight lines (no corners!) are about all I can do. I would love to be able to make a bona fide quilt some day with all the beautiful fabrics I have from Africa.
Your wonderful sense of humor is once again on display in this book. Whose books make you laugh?
Sarah MacLean’s books always make me chortle out loud. She has SUCH a lovely voice for humor. Julia Quinn’s dialogue brings a huge smile to my face, her characters always have the wittiest retorts. I also love funny memoirs: Tina Fey’s Bossypants is one of my favorites.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am taking a bit of a much-needed breather and focusing on cheering for my daughters’ volleyball team. I am reassessing this work-life balance thing and trying to get some out-of-control migraines back under wraps. So, I would say check back in with me in 6 months… by then I should have a better idea of what may lurk in my future!
Thanks for visiting with us today, Jennifer! Would you like to ask our readers a question?
Thank you so much, it was a pleasure. And I would love to ask a question! I am intrigued by your new skills question, so my question to readers is, What new thing would you like to try this year?
The deadline to be entered into the giveaway is 11:00 PM (EST), September 29, 2016.