Jennie Bentley is the author of the New York Times bestselling Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, while Jenna Bennett writes the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. Jenna is also the author of the upcoming Soldiers of Fortune series of futuristic romances from Entangled Publishing. The first book in the series, Fortune’s Hero, will debut in November 2012. In addition to futuristic romance, Jenna also has the first books in a contemporary romantic suspense series and a paranormal series coming from Entaqngled Publishing in fall 2012.
A former Realtor® and renovator and current full-time author, Jenna/Jennie lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with a husband, two kids, two frogs, two goldfish, a killer parakeet, and a hyper-active dog. Originally from Norway, she has spent more than twenty years in the US and still hasn’t been able to kick her native accent.
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Music City Romance Writers (MCRW), the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Women’s National Book Association (WNBA), the Author’s Guild, and two different PTOs.
What inspired you to begin writing and when did you begin?
I’ve always been writing. I can remember being about six or so, sitting on the floor of a friend’s living room, drawing and illustrating a book about a black poodle named Top.
More recently, after writing more or less seriously for a lot of years, I met an author named Tasha Alexander in the summer of 2005. Her first book was about to be released—And Only to Deceive; wonderful, if you like historical suspense—and she told me if she could be a published author, I could too. That’s when I finished my first manuscript, used it to find an agent—in 2006—and got my first contract, for three books in a cozy mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, in 2007. The first book, Fatal Fixer-Upper, was released in 2008.
Do you have a guilty pleasure
You mean like potato chips? Yeah. I also have an inordinate fondness for an old 1980s TV show called The Young Riders, and high octane Coca-Cola.
What Author is on your auto-buy list?
Too many to mention. Seriously. Jennifer Crusie. Elizabeth Peters. Lois McMaster Bujold. Heather Graham. J.D. Robb. Tessa Dare. Linnea Sinclair. And that’s just the beginning.
I see you write many different genres. Do you have a favorite?
Not really. It depends on my mood. I read in all different genres—also depending on mood—so I get ideas for all sorts of stories, and I often mash them together into something that doesn’t necessarily fit neatly into one genre or another. Like cozy mysteries with thriller elements or contemporary romantic comedy with a paranormal twist.
Does music inspire your writing?
Not usually. I need quiet when I write. Words distract me too much. That’s not to say that a good title or story-song couldn’t inspire a book. Once upon a time, I had every intention of writing a book called Jesse’s Girl. Maybe one day I will.
Do any of your characters resemble people in your life?
Yes and no. There’s a little bit of me in every character I write, even the men, since it’s hard to get into their heads otherwise. I’ve borrowed a few names I thought were especially cool from real life, and given them to characters that didn’t at all resemble the people who have those names. A few times, I’ve used real people for characters—with their permission, of course. In my latest DIY mystery, Wall to Wall Dead (it was released in September), one of the characters is a stripper whose stage name is Jamaica Lee, and whose real name is Jamie Livingston. The real Jamie is my critique partner, and a writer herself, as Jamie Lee Scott. And yes, I have occasionally been known to kill off people I don’t like. I change their names and descriptions, though. But the first corpse in my mystery A Cutthroat Business is a real person. She is, however, still alive and well IRL.
Do you have a favorite character of your own? If so, Why?
Very tough question, since it usually varies with whatever I’m working on. I’m partial to Rafe Collier, the love interest in the Cutthroat Business books. He’s a lot of fun to write, even if I never get to go into his head. Dion—Dionysus, Greek god of wine and debauchery, Eros’s best friend in Tall, Dark and Divine—is a hoot, too. And Quinn Conlan, the lead in Fortune’s Hero, is also very special to me. All men, as it turns out. All quite hot. And all with their own brands of snark. Also, there are hidden depths to them that you don’t see at first; only when you get past the exterior. I guess I’m a sucker for a semi-tortured alpha hero.
Your next release Fortune’s Hero begins a new series. It sounds very sexy and exciting. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Happy to! The four books in the Soldiers of Fortune series follow the crew of a space freighter called the Good Fortune. There are four of them: Captain Quinn Conlan, translator Holden Sinclair, mechanic Toby Flatt, and Isaac Miller, a mercenary turned ship’s security officer. Each book in the series is about a different crew member. Quinn’s book is first, and this is his blurb:
Last year, space smuggler Quinn Conlan was on top of the world. He had everything a man could want: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, lots of money, and adventure and excitement around every corner.
That all changed when he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the beleaguered planet Marica, currently under siege by Rhenian forces. Now he’s stuck in a prison camp on the moon Marica-3, subjected to weekly sessions with the camp’s “medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.
When the opportunity presents itself, Quinn takes a Rhenian med tech hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon. There, he has to keep himself and Doctor Elsa Brandeis safe from the deadly flora and fauna, as well as hidden from the prison guards searching for them, all while formulating a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit.
But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3?
*You can Pre-Order Fortune’s Hero at Amazon
Each book will have a happy ending as each member of the crew finds love, and each book will also get them closer to escaping the Marican planetary system and the people who are trying to occupy it. Although they’re billed as SF or futuristic, they’re very much just straight-up romances; the science elements are barely noticeable. I’m SO not scientifically inclined, so basically I wrote a romantic suspense novel that happens to take place in a galaxy far, far away, and that’s pretty much the extent of it.
I have also heard that you have a fantasy/romantic comedy featuring Eros the Greek God of Love that was recently released from Entangled Publishing. Can you tell us a little bit about it as well?
Sure. It’s called Tall, Dark and Divine, and yes, it’s about Eros. It takes place in Astoria, Queens, which is a neighborhood in New York City where I spent a few of my formative years, those in my early twenties. It’s a very Greek neighborhood, and seemed a good place to drop a bunch of the old Greek gods and goddesses, to see how they’d make out in the modern world.
Eros runs a matchmaking agency called Made in Heaven. However, he’s not particularly lucky in love. His wife, beautiful Psyche, has left him for another, a Viking godling with more brawn than brains, and Eros is drowning his sorrows in ambrosia and neglecting work. That’s when the minor and demi-goddesses who help him run the business talk him into going to Dionysus’s Bar for a change of pace.
Meanwhile, a young woman named Annie Landon is also at Dion’s looking for company. Eros tries to set her up with Harry Mitchell, a CPA from down the street, and when that goes horribly, hideously wrong and Annie’s feelings are hurt, he offers her his shoulder to cry on and a few other body parts to take her mind off Harry.
Things go from there. Annie falls in love with Eros, but Eros is bound and determined not to fall in love with another mortal, so he does his best to fix her up with Harry, to much hilarity.
Where else can your readers find you coming up besides the Olde City, New Blood conference in February 2013?
With the holidays coming up, I’m not planning to do a whole lot of appearances in the next few months, but I’m usually at the Coffee County Library’s author day in Manchester, Tennessee, the second Saturday of January every year. I’ll be at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Bowling Green the third Saturday in April. In May, there’s the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City as well as—I believe—the Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh, and then there’s RWA in Atlanta next summer. My website has an events page with all the details. www.jennabennett.com
Thanks so much for having me on Joyfully Reviewed; I really appreciate it!
Don’t miss your chance to meet Jenna Bennett and spend some time with her and other awesome authors and readers at the Olde City, New Blood urban fantasy / paranormal romance mini-convention this February 8-10th in St. Augustine, FL. We’ll have panels, readings, meet & greets and lots of time for everyone to mingle with their favorite authors. Check out http://OldeCityNewBlood.wordpress.com for all the details. Can’t wait to see you there!
We are hosting two giveaways today at Joyfully Reviewed.
The First is…
The Grand Prize Giveaway is…
Last weeks #OCNB
Prize Pack Winner is…
Congratulations Karina!! Email us HERE with your mailing info and we will get that to you asap!
Joyfully Reviewed would like to say a special thank you to all of the authors that stopped by this month for our
Olde City, New Blood Conference Fun!! We can’t wait to meet you all in Florida!!