Wednesday, March 23, 2016

PLAYING THE PART - Jen Turano - One Free Book

Bio: Jen Turano is the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, will release in the spring of 2016, followed by a new four-book series, Apart from the Crowd. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She may be found on Facebook at or visit her on the web at She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. Her books may be found in most fine bookstores, or follow the Baker House Publishing link to find additional places to purchase her work -

Welcome, Jen. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I’m sure there’s always a small bit of me in all of my characters, but for the most part, they decide exactly what personality they want to embrace. After that decision has been made, it’s next to impossible for me to get them to change into the character I originally thought they were going to become on the pages of my stories.

I so understand that. I’ve had some of those characters. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky has just always been a way of life for me, so to claim one thing as being the quirkiest would be difficult. To show why my days are quirky—let me tell you about a week ago, when it snowed, something it does often out here in Denver. I’d been shoveling snow for a few hours—we have an elderly lady who lives a street over whom I’ve been helping for years—she’s a stubborn sort and if I don’t get over there, she’ll pull out her own shovel, at 89 years of age no less. But … I digress. After finishing the shoveling, I came inside and was soaking wet, so slipped on a pair of super comfortable pajamas pants. Unfortunately, those pants were missing their drawstring, but … I wore them anyway and didn’t experience any difficulties until my dog needed to go outside. My dog is a spoiled girl, and old, and she apparently took issue with the part of the yard I’d shoveled out for her. So, grabbing a shovel, I went to widen her spot, and the next thing you know … my pants fell off. There I was, faux fur coat, Ugg boots, and … yes, pants pooled around the top of those boots for everyone to see because … of course, all the neighbors were out doing their shoveling. I laughed so hard as I retrieved my dog and then waddled up the driveway and back into the house. You may very well ask why I didn’t pull my pants up while I was outside, but that would have caused me to have to lift my coat. And, well, I thought I’d been exposed quite enough as it was, especially since I’m sure my very white winter legs were gleaming in the dimness of that particular day. J

LOL. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but since my family was more on the scientific side, I never considered writing as a career choice. With one of my brothers being a surgeon and my other two brothers being engineers, I’m fairly certain my parents were beside themselves when I had the audacity to announce I was going to major in fashion—I’m sure if I would have chosen writing over fashion, well, I shudder to think what their response would have been to that. But, while I was in college, I found the English classes to be remarkably easy, and because of that, I’m afraid I might have gotten a bit … smug … until I walked into a creative writing class and met my nemesis. That professor and I seemed to loathe each other on sight because she was a throwback from the sixties and I was your typical sorority girl with a proclivity for wearing bows in my hair—think Madonna. Well, she assigned the first paper and I pulled out my tried and true method of writing, one that had always stood me well up until that point. I handed in the paper, confident I would see a lovely A marked on it after she graded it, but instead of an A, the professor gave me a big, fat D. I’d never had a D in my life, so … armed with righteous indignation, I set about on a quest to do better. That quest, in hindsight, taught me about writing for a target audience because the next paper I turned in was dark, creepy, and perfectly suited to that particular professor’s personality. I took Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell Tale Heart,” and rewrote it, using a giant eye instead of a heart. After I turned it in, I went back to class the next week, only to soon find myself in the dean’s office. My professor was certain I had stolen the work, or paid someone to write it for me, because she felt a sorority girl could not have penned such a piece. Luckily for me, this was before computers, so all I had to do was run off to my dorm room, grab my waste basket, and bring it to the dean’s office, the proof of my being the author seen in the many crumpled pieces of paper I’d used as a first draft. From that point on, I was the professor’s favorite student, and that is when I realized I might have an aptitude for writing—not that I acted on that realization for many years, but …

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ll read just about anything except Science Fiction and naughty. I really enjoy romances, both historical and contemporary, love suspense, and I’m a huge fan of YA—I was really into the dystopian books, but I’m a little bored with that theme now.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I rarely keep my sanity when I’m in the midst of a first draft, but after I get that done, I can socialize with people again, and try to limit the hours I work in any given day. I will work on the weekends while doing a first draft or if I get galleys back from my editor, but other than that, I take that time for family things.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I use a lot of old census data from the 1800’s, or scroll through old newspapers. I also really like asking readers to submit names to me—I’ll be having a character by the name of Miss Temperance Flowerdew in my next series. It’s just a fabulous name and was given to me by a friend of mine from high school. She’s been researching her ancestry and came across Temperance. From the moment she told me about her ancestor, I knew I had to have the name, and luckily, my friend gave me full leave to use it.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My son has to be my greatest accomplishment. He’s a sophomore in college, majoring in engineering, and he’s just a great guy. My husband and I aren’t actually certain how he turned out the way he did, especially since he was a complete terror in his younger days.

I have a daughter like that, but now she is a responsible adult, grandmother, and able to minister to young women in ways many of us can’t because of her wild years. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’ve never actually thought about that before, but, if I had to choose an animal to be … I say I’d be a penguin because … well, who wouldn’t want to be one of those?

What is your favorite food?
Oh, food … I love food, all kinds of food, but the older I get, well, I just can’t eat the way I used to eat. Some favorites would be pasta, and then there’s peanut butter, but … don’t get me started on chips. I adore chips, although they seem to adore my hips, so … it’s a rare occasion indeed when I allow myself to have chips.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Since I write comedies, I’m always second-guessing whether or not I’ve written an amusing scene, or just dumb. I normally have to hit the walking trails and puzzle the scene out, talking out loud as I walk, which normally brings about some unusual looks from fellow walkers. When I return home, I’ll open the scene up again, and if it makes me smile, I’ll keep it, but if not, I delete and start again—hoping for the best.

Tell us about the featured book.
Playing the Part is the third and final book of the A Class of Their Own series. It revolves around Miss Lucetta Plum, one of the most sought-after actresses of the day. Because she’s so sought-after, she attracts quite a bit of unwanted attention from the gentlemen, and when one of those gentlemen, the dastardly Mr. Silas Ruff, turns threatening, she’s forced to abandon the theater and flee the city. She soon finds herself, at the suggestion of her very good friend, Mrs. Abigail Hart, standing before a rather intimidating castle by the name of Ravenwood, a castle that just happens to be owned by Abigail’s rather mysterious grandson, Mr. Bram Haverstein. It quickly becomes clear that something is gravely amiss at Ravenwood, but before Lucetta can puzzle that out, or come to terms with the feelings she’s developing for Bram, her past comes back to haunt her.

Historical romantic suspense. One of my favorite reads. Please give us the first page of the book.
October 1882 – New York City
“Forgive me, Miss Plum, but there’s a gentleman outside demanding to speak with you. He claims to be your father.”

Miss Lucetta Plum paused in the act of removing her stage makeup and turned, finding Mr. Skukman, an intimidating gentleman she employed to manage her overzealous admirers, standing in the doorway of her dressing room. “How fascinating, Mr. Skukman, especially considering my father died years ago.”

 Mr. Skukman arched a single dark brow her way. “Fascinating indeed.” With that, he withdrew, pulling the door firmly shut behind him. Seconds later, the sound of what was surely some type of a scuffle drifted into the dressing room.

“This is an outrage,” a man bellowed. “I demand you unhand me at once, sir.”

Recognition of the voice was immediate. Rising ever so slowly from a vanity stool upholstered in red velvet, Lucetta navigated her way across the cluttered dressing room. Stepping over a pair of high-heeled shoes she’d slipped off her feet the moment after she’d taken her last curtsy, she drew in a steadying breath and yanked open the door.

We must find out who is on the other side of the door. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is

My Facebook author page is or readers may write to me at –

Thank you, Jen, for spending this time with us. I've loved chatting with you.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Playing the Part -
Playing the Part -
Playing the Part - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Anonymous said...

would love to win. angela in ky

Pam Graber said...

I loved your story about re-writing "The Tell Tale Heart" and your professor not believing that came off of your pen. I feel a little like I've come "late to the party" because I don't think I've read any of your books in the past. Would love to start with this one! Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

Pam in OH

Kathy Anderson said...

I always had trouble writing on my Creative Writing Classes at college. I had plenty of ideas but struggled putting them to paper.

I definitely like reading humorous books. Thank you for sharing about your writing process. I talk to myself a lot to as I am drafting the book reviews I write. I even read the reviews aloud to my neighbors.

Kathy Anderson
Neosho, MO
phoneticpanda ( at ) gmail ( dot )

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this. It sounds so good!
J.C. -Indiana-

Anonymous said...

I am home from hospital recovering from pneumonia and reading your books. You are helping me keep an upbeat attitude - you and the library. This new one sounds like fun. Wish I had it now. Thanks for doing so much good writing your stories. :) Harriette. Indiana.

Melanie Backus said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Jen and her sister last spring at RT in Dallas. She is the type of person that you feel like you have always known after first meeting. Great smile and great sense of humor...that is Jen!

Jen, I love your snow shoveling, drop your drawers, story. That sounds like something that would happen to me and I can just hear you laughing at yourself. I do that a lot! Would love to see you again!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mikal said...

Loved this, Jen! And that story with your professor cracked me right up!! <3

Thank you for a fun interview, Lena!! :D

Pam K. said...

I've read all of Jen's books and absolutely love them! Her characters are so delightful. No need to enter me in this drawing since I already have this book. Your readers are in for a treat! Thanks for the interview with Jen.

Pam K.

blueshel said...

I LOVE Jen Turano's books. I just found her books a couple months ago and have read them all. Michelle in Kansas City, MO

Caryl Kane said...

Lena, I love the interview with Jen! Playing the Part sounds intriguing! I would love to read it! Thanks for the giveaway.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Mary Preston said...

Historical romantic suspense - a favorite of mine too.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I would love to win a copy of Jen's book. Thank you for the chance,

Cindy W. from Indiana

Kate said...

Jen is one of my favorite authors. I can't wait to read this!

Kate from WI.

Sandy Quandt said...

what a fun interview. Love your character's names. Playing the Part sounds like a must read. Thanks for the interview, Lena.

Sandy Q from TX

apple blossom said...

sounds like a book I'd love to read thanks for the chance to win
live in ND

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me your book looks awesome!!
Conway, SC.

Loraine Nunley said...

I love love love Jen's stories. What a fun interview as well. I would love to add Playing the Part to my library. Thanks for the giveaway!

Loraine in TX

Susan P said...

Love all her books!
Susan MI

Anonymous said...

This book sounds absolutely delightful. I would love to read Playing the Part. Thanks for the chance to win.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Winnie Thomas said...

What a fun interview! This book is on my to-read list, so I would love to win it. I love her books. Thanks for the chance to win.

Winnie T. from Utah

Melody said...

Speaking of loving chips, I must confess something terrible! We're missionaries in Nicaragua, the other day we found Lay's Bar b que. My husband napping in the hammock, I snuck past him to the unopened bag, back to my reading spot. I was only going to eat 10, but I ate the whole big bag. The guilt.... and I his the empty bag at the bottom of the trash. I'm sure I gained 10#'s. If I win your book, I refuse to buy more chips!

MeLoDy from Donna, TX

Melody said...

Speaking of loving chips, I must confess something terrible! We're missionaries in Nicaragua, the other day we found Lay's Bar b que. My husband napping in the hammock, I snuck past him to the unopened bag, back to my reading spot. I was only going to eat 10, but I ate the whole big bag. The guilt.... and I his the empty bag at the bottom of the trash. I'm sure I gained 10#'s. If I win your book, I refuse to buy more chips!

MeLoDy from Donna, TX

Kim hansen said...

Love the time period. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom. North Platte Nebraska.

Beth Gillihan said...

Love your books Jen!! Can't wait to read this one!

Beth in Montana

Brenda Arrington said...

I love Jen's books. Would love to win this one. I really enjoyed the interview.
Brenda in VA

Kelsey Perkins said...

I love your books, would love to win!
Kelsey P. Colorado Springs, CO

Kelsey Perkins said...

I love your books, would love to win!
Kelsey P. Colorado Springs, CO

Abigail Richmond said...

Looks awesome! Please enter me.
Blanch NC

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds like a lot of fun.


Beth Schwarzlose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Erin said...

I always enjoy Jen's books! Thank you for the giveaway!
Beth in Illinois

Connie said...

This sounds like another great book by Jen. Thanks for sharing!
Connie from KY

kam110476 said...

Hi Jen & Lena! I absolutely loved the Ladies of Distinction series and can't wait to dig into A Class of Their Own series once all of the books have been released!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Terrill R. said...

I love the cover on this book, but forever I thought it was an old woman when looking at the thumbnail size picture online. It wasn't until I saw an enlarged picture that I finally realized that it was a young woman. Now, every time I see this cover, I think of that.

Terrill -WA

Raechel said...

I've heard good stuff about this book and can't wait to read it!
Thank you for the interview and giveaway!
Raechel in MN :)

Trixi said...

Yep, definitely want to see who's on the other side of the door now! :-) Thanks for the author interview and giveaway chance.

Trixi in OR

Alisha said...

Nice interview! I read "In Good Company", the second book in this series, last year and really enjoyed it. It was quite funny and was one of my favorite books of 2015. I would love to read "Playing the Part". Thanks for having the giveaway!

~Alisha L. in Florida