For anyone who hasn’t heard, Jen Turano has a new book out called Behind the Scenes! That is always a happy event for me as I read to escape and for entertainment and I can ALWAYS count on Jen for both. Her newest series features wallflowers during the Gilded Age and is called “Apart From the Crowd.” I am so excited to have Jen on the blog today for an interview, plus, Jen has graciously agreed to give away a copy of Behind the Scenes to a lucky reader! Keep reading for Jen’s interview, my thoughts, and to enter the giveaway.
Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind “The Quill” gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she’s determined to warn him. Away from society’s spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there’s more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.
Jen has joined us for an interview. We like to start all authors out with a couple fun questions.
1. Open your text message app. What are the first 10 words that come up automatically?
Jen: I don’t have a text message app – texting is just on my phone😊
Kat: Don’t feel bad, my hubs still has what everyone refers to as a “dumb phone.”
2. Here are Kat’s Corner Books we’re partial to cats, but love pets of any kind. Do you have a pet?
Jen: I do not have a pet. My Australian Cattle Dog, Sasha, died last year. She was fifteen, lived a great life, was a great companion, but I don’t think I’ll get another dog for a few years.
Kat: So sad. It’s always hard to lose a member of our family.
Now onto book questions!
3. Many of your readers know that you’re working your way through the Gilded Age, but I must confess, other than the late 1800’s, I don’t really know what that means. Can you give us a little summary?
So the Gilded Age – cliff note version. Right after the Civil War, and because of the advances within industry, gentlemen began making fortunes at an unprecedented rate. Because taxes were not paid on a lot of that newly acquired money, conspicuous consumption became the norm for the privileged in the country. Mansions were built without a care to cost, wardrobes were acquired for every season, most high society ladies traveling to Paris to shop from Worth, and established society members had to work incredibly hard to prevent the newly rich, and as they thought of them, uncouth industrialist, from entering their hallowed circles. Rules did begin to relax when the fortunes being made were so large they could not be ignored, and with that relaxation came incredibly ridiculous society events and a disregard for common sense, something that helped bring an end to the Gilded Age, right around the start of World War I and the passing of income tax laws which had these very wealthy Americans no longer able to keep every cent they made.
4. I know that you enjoy contemporary stories as well (a là Finding Margo), how did you pick the Gilded Age for your series?
When I first tried my hand at writing historical, I wrote Regency, although I had absolutely no success procuring the interest of a publisher, but I did manage to snag an agent with a Regency story I wrote titled “A Marriage of Inconvenience.” While she was shopping that book around, we discussed what I should write next, and she suggested setting a story in America since she’d been successful placing quite a few of her clients with American-set stories. Since I’m all about high society, I knew I wouldn’t be good at a Western, so got a friend of mine who is a research librarian to pull a bunch of books in different American eras, finding myself enthralled with the Gilded Age. It’s a fascinating period in time, overlooked in my humble opinion, and since it does stretch all the way up until World War I, I have plenty of fodder for my stories. I’m looking forward to doing a series about working women in industry, but that will be a few years from now.
5. As a researcher myself, I know that you can come across some really…interesting…stories and photos. Can you share a unique one? (You can’t use any that are in the book. 😉)
One of the most disturbing stories I’ve come across is that of Eve Nesbit. She was the most photographed woman of the era, becoming famous at the ripe-old age of sixteen. Men took advantage of her, especially Stanford White. He was a famous architect of the day and designed Madison Square Garden. Eve and Stanford were involved with each other for years, but he was already married, and disturbingly enough, he seemed to have a propensity of taking young girls under his wing. As Eve began to age, he lost some of his fascination with her, which is when she decided to marry Mr. Harry Thaw. Unfortunately, Harry was an incredibly jealous man, and he hated the idea she’d been involved with Stanford White. On a hot afternoon in 1906, while enjoying a performance at the Madison Square Garden rooftop theater, Henry shot Stanford at point blank range, killing him. All the sordid details of Eve’s past with Stanford came out at trial, and the rest of her life was spent under a cloud of scandal, with Henry spending eight years after his murder trial committed to an asylum. They never lived as husband and wife again. When he died in the 1940’s, Henry left Eve $10,000 – the same amount he left a waitress he barely knew.
6. If there’s one lesson you’d like readers to walk away with after reading this story, what is it?
I don’t really expect readers to walk away with a lesson from my stories. What I’m hoping is that they’ll be entertained by my characters and will have found a brief respite from any problems they may be facing.
Kat: This is exactly why I love reading your books. Though, I feel like I do always walk away from something. Your characters always have such a great perspective on faith and insight on life and God without getting preachy. It’s just part of who they are. I want to be more like that.
We first met Asher and Permilia in the (free!) prequel novel At Your Request, in January. I was intermediately intrigued by the interaction between these two characters and could not wait to read their story. Jen is known for her strong female leads who ahead of their time and Permilia is exactly that. And Asher. He is just so sweet. Unlike many of the heroes in Jen’s book, Asher is smitten from the start and steadily pursues Permilia, which is a refreshing storyline in Jen’s novels, and isn’t a rugged “manly man.” Though his pursuit of the title is quite humorous.
Readers often put pressure on their favorite authors to churn out another story they love, and Behind the Scenes is another classic Jen Turano story without getting repetitive of earlier stories. It is an absolute delight that I will reread for several years to come.
Jen has graciously agreed to giveaway a print copy of Behind The Scenes! Click on the link below to enter. Due to shipping costs and international regulations, this giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway is subject to Kat’s Corner Books’s giveaway policies which can be found on the Disclosure and Policies page. The winner will be announced next week. Giveaway open until midnight on 5/15/2017.
Enter via the Rafflecopter form here.