Please help me welcome Jenna Sutton to the blog today 🙂 Jenna has agreed to let me ask her a few questions so we can get to know her better, and also learn more about her release Coming Apart at the Seams. If you spend any time here at all you know I have a love of covers, and I adore her cover. What do you think?
After you check out our interview, please look over her book and enter her giveaway 🙂 The link is included toward the end of the post.
Let’s get started …
Thank you for inviting me to stop by, Christine!
I’m honored to have you visit and so excited for our interview 🙂 Tell us something you love, something you fear, and something you wish.
I love my family. I fear people who are intolerant of other people’s choices. I wish my dad had lived long enough to see me achieve my dream to be a published author.
What’s the last thing you cooked?
A grilled cheese sandwich. Fancy, huh?
lol…that is pretty fancy, but grilled cheese sandwiches are so good. Care to tell us what’s under your bed?
Dust bunnies, most likely, and probably a stray sock or two. I haven’t looked in a while.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I don’t know that I can point to any particular moment in time. I’ve been a life-long romance reader, and a few years ago, after a book left me unsatisfied, I thought, “I could write a better book than that.” I’m a little ashamed to admit that because it reeks of arrogance and proves just how clueless I was about the amount of effort involved in writing a book and getting it published. For several years, I thought about writing a romance, but never actually did it. The turning point, or catalyst, I guess you could say, came in the form of an email promoting a romance writing class on mediabistro.com taught by one of my favorite authors, NYT bestseller Sarah MacLean. I saw it as a sign to stop thinking about writing a romance and start doing it.
Love that. Your writing journey sounds similar to mind. I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in COMING APART AT THE SEAMS.
I love choosing character names, too! It’s one of my favorite things to do. The heroine of COMING APART AT THE SEAMS is named Teagan O’Brien. Her father’s side of the family has Irish heritage, and I wanted her to have an Irish name. Teagan is an Irish name, and it sounded strong, feminine, and unique. And I loved that it could be shorted to T as a nickname. I’m a huge fan of nicknames and endearments. As for my hero, his name is Nick Priest. The name Priest has been a favorite since I saw The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel. (That’s still one of my favorite movies, by the way). In the movie, he refers to his fellow prisoner simply as “Priest” and it stuck with me. It’s not really a first name, though (although if Kim and Kanye can name their kid Saint, I guess anything goes…). Anyway, I wanted Priest to be my hero’s last name, and as a football player, most people refer to him by his last name. I have no idea where Nick came from. It’s not one of my favorite names, but I don’t dislike it, either. It just popped into my head one day: Nick Priest. And that was that.
I love the name Teagan. What makes your book stand out from others in the same genre?
I think the Riley O’Brien & Co. series stands out because it’s based on a unique premise – a denim empire rooted in American history and the challenges that the heirs must face to keep their family legacy alive and well. COMING APART AT THE SEAMS stands out because of its non-liner structure. It starts in the present, goes back into the past, and returns to the present. This structure allows the book to be both a friends-to-lovers romance and a second chance romance. And finally, I think Nick and Teagan are great lead characters—flawed, but lovable. And Nick in particular is unique because he has a severe stutter, not something you see very often in contemporary romance.
Which character in your book would you like to spend a day with and why?
I’ve spent months with my hero and heroine (in my head), so I’ve had plenty of time with them! I would probably choose to spend a day with a secondary character: Letty Andrews. Letty starts off as Nick’s personal chef and assistant and evolves into a surrogate mother. I’d love to spend the day with her because she’s a wonderful chef, and she has a generous spirit, so she’d make all my favorite foods, and I could indulge without doing any dishes! And if Letty weren’t available, I would spend the day with Teagan’s best friend, Bebe Banerjee. Bebe is the heroine of my next book, HANGING BY A THREAD. Teagan says Bebe has a “cheerleader personality,” a description that Bebe would deny vehemently. But Bebe does have great positive energy, and I would soak it up.
What’s the one scene from COMING APART AT THE SEAMS that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?
I can honestly say that I loved writing this entire book, from the first word to the last word. There are a lot of scenes made me laugh out loud and just as many that made my throat ache with tears. I think my favorite scene is one where Teagan and Nick go on a walking tour of historic Salem and end up exploring a cemetery by candlelight. Teagan trips, Nick catches her, and all kinds of awkwardness ensues.
Describe your writing space.
My house is more than a 100 years old, and my home office was originally a sleeping porch. For those of you unfamiliar with older houses, a sleeping porch is a room that has windows on three sides to maximize ventilation during the hot summer months. That means my office has plenty of sunlight and lovely views of my backyard. It’s a great place to work, although it’s quite cluttered because it’s become the “junk drawer” of our house. Sometimes I wonder if I would be more productive if my office weren’t so messy, but that would require me to de-clutter, and I’m too busy right now. Plus, I don’t love to organize like a lot of people (including my best friend).
I’d love to have a sleeping porch. Or a 3 season porch. lol How do you feel about writing love scenes?
I feel pretty fabulous after I’ve written one. LOL. Okay, I’ll be serious now… I feel the same about writing love scenes as I do any other scene. I know a lot of authors say they have to be “in the mood” to write a love scene, but that’s not an issue for me. But I do like to write a love scene all in one setting because I need to be able to keep track of where all the body parts and clothes are. Writing a love scene requires a lot of coordination – mental, not physical. LOL.
Love it! Why should we read COMING APART AT THE SEAMS?
Nick and Teagan’s story is one of deep friendship, intense passion, life-changing mistakes, hard-won forgiveness, second chances, and most important, it’s one of soul-deep love.
Please share the first sentence in your book.
All the books in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series start the same way – listing synonyms for a particular word. In the first book, ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, that word was butt, and it started with several words used to describe that particular part of the body. For COMING APART AT THE SEAMS, that word is mistake. So it starts like this:
Blunder. Gaffe. Misstep. Error. Snafu. Although plenty of words described the huge, life-altering mistake Nick Priest had made, none of them quite conveyed his stupidity.
I like that 🙂 Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
I’m working on getting the third book in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series, HANGING BY A THREAD, ready for publication. It’s available for pre-order now, and it’s scheduled for release on June 7, 2016. HANGING BY A THREAD is Cal O’Brien’s story, and I’ve paired him with his sister’s best friend, Bebe Banerjee. We get to know Bebe in COMING APART AT THE SEAMS, and I think she’s the perfect match for Cal. Bebe is a 30-year-old virgin with a turbo-charged brain who’s stuck in an arranged marriage. Cal, being the helpful guy that he is, offers to assist Bebe with her de-virginization plan. Who could resist an offer like that?
I’m also working on a new series, and if you want to be one of the first to hear about it, you can sign up for my newsletter here.
RANDOM FUN: FINISH THIS SENTENCE…
I wish I could: travel through space and time.
My best accomplishment of 2015 is: publishing my first book.
The last book I read was: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas. Next up is Corrupt by Penelope Douglas.
My car: spoils me with heated seats and satellite radio.
Yesterday I: wrote a freelance article, created and sent out my author newsletter, brainstormed the plot for a new novella, and watched my guilty pleasure TV show: Married at First Sight.
Dessert should always: be worth the calories.
Thanks again for joining us, Jenna. I loved getting to know you and hope you had as much fun as we did 🙂
Teagan rubbed her forehead with the tips of her fingers but stilled when someone came up behind her. She knew without looking that it was Nick. She instinctively recognized his scent and the heat of his body.
Stiffening slightly, she tried to move away from him. But he moved closer, placing his hand on her waist to stop her. He leaned down close to her ear, and his breath made her shiver.
“Stay,” he ordered quietly.
“I’m not a dog,” she snapped.
He chuckled softly. “Stay,” he repeated, dropping his hand to her hip and squeezing lightly to emphasize his command.
A flash of energy traveled from his fingers to all the nerve-rich places on her body—her nipples, her clit, her lips. Desperate to get away from him, she jerked sharply and stumbled into Amelia.
“Whoa!” Quinn exclaimed as he caught his fiancée against him.
Teagan blinked in surprise. She hadn’t even noticed her older brother was nearby. He glared at her, his protective instincts on high alert.
“Be careful, T. You almost knocked over Amelia.”
She managed to squeeze out an apology, and Nick, damn him, resumed his place behind her. He loomed over her by several inches even though she wore five-inch heels. His height made him one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Amelia stared over Teagan’s head, her brown eyes speculative. “Nick, I thought I’d see you here,” she said, a faint Texas twang in her voice. “How have you been?”
“Fine,” he said, drawing out the word, his baritone rumbling through Teagan’s body.
“I was sorry to see you guys didn’t make the playoffs,” Amelia said. “But there’s always next year.”
Teagan felt Nick shrug. “Not for me.”
At his announcement, Teagan, Amelia, and Quinn all chorused “What?” in varying volumes. Teagan’s definitely had been the loudest.
She jerked away from Nick, and this time, he let her go. She spun to face him, and even though she struggled to digest the bomb he’d dropped on them, she noticed how his expensive black suit outlined his broad shoulders. The dark color made his blond hair look even lighter, and his French blue dress shirt showed off his tan.
culmination of a lifelong dream, and she feels so lucky to be able to do it.
ALL THE RIGHT PLACES