Monday, February 6, 2012
Interview with Regina Jennings
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write the type of books that I like to read. My goal is that they would have a compelling conflict, a humorous voice, and that they would be blatantly romantic. I can’t imagine writing anything besides historical romance. There are so many eras and cultures out there that I’d hate to limit the stories to the here and now.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Since I’m a romance writer I should say my wedding day, but I tend to think of happiness in terms of moments. Some happy moments include sitting on the porch with my husband in the evenings and watching the bats swoop, singing hymns in Mexico while the rest of the congregation is singing in Spanish, and floating in inner-tubes down the Gasconade River with family members of all ages.
How has being published changed your life?
I’m busier than ever, I have a huge circle of new friends and co-workers who share my love for books, and now strangers know way too much about me.
What are you reading right now?
The Hunger Games books. Somehow I got the impression that the first book ended differently than it did. I don’t want to talk spoilers, but I was convinced I’d hate the book, only to find out that I’d misunderstood. I’m glad I gave it a chance.
What is your current work in progress?
We are staying in Caldwell County for the next book so we can watch as Molly Lovelace struggles against her parents’ expectations and her own misguided sense of adventure to find lasting love.
What would be your dream vacation?
A tour of the great libraries of the United Kingdom. I’d love to see the French, Italian, German, etc., but I couldn’t read the books so I’d be content to stay in Great Britain.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Sixty Acres and a Bride takes place in two actual Texas towns—Lockhart and Prairie Lea. The story needed a place along the Chisholm Trail and the name Prairie Lea caught my eye. It sounds idyllic and also contains my middle name—Lea, not Prairie. I started researching and found several events in Prairie Lea that made their way into the story—a fire that destroyed all 17 stores in town, a bustling sawmill and families that left to find a better life in Mexico after the Civil War. I’d struck gold. And when Rosa had to pay her property tax, she would’ve gone to the courthouse in Lockhart. Go ahead, Google “Caldwell County Courthouse.” Have you ever seen a prettier courthouse? True, it wasn’t built until a decade after this story, but Rosa and Weston went to the dedication service, I’m sure.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’m not going to waste this wish on someone that I could see on any old day, so I’m going to say Princess Kate Middleton or the Duchess of Cambridge as she likes to be called. She seems nice. I would love to know what her life is really like and I could sell my story for lots of money to trashy gossip magazines. (Please don’t tell her that’s my plan.)
What three things about you would surprise readers?
I hate to shop. I’d rather go to the dentist than the mall. (Does that count as one or two?) In High School I was named “Best Rising Political Star”. It was a new category of Senior Favorites made up for an ambitious young man and they needed a girl to crown, too. I haven’t run for office yet. Third, my music of choice is usually Gilbert & Sullivan’s operettas, anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber, and bluegrass.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I relax by playing the piano and I like to travel.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Lack of time and an abundance of guilt are my obstacles. When I’m in a crunch I feel guilty that I’m short-changing my kids because I’m not spending enough time with them. Then I remind myself that as a home-schooling Mom my children spend more time with me than they want, and I stop pestering them and let them go outside and play.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Join a knowledgeable critique group. You might think you know all the rules of writing, but until someone carves up your manuscript, you don’t know if you’re applying them correctly.
Tell us about the book.
Sixty Acres and a Bride is a historical romance set in Texas in 1878. It’s about a good man trying to recover from a personal tragedy and a beautiful, Mexican widow who finds herself in a desperate situation. While Weston’s family welcomes Rosa, he isn’t prepared for his reaction to her. Rosa needs a hero. To what lengths will she go to catch one?