I met Jen Turano a few years ago at a writing conference. She took me to coffee and told me about how she started as a writer and asked me about my own projects. I am very excited to have the opportunity to interview her about her latest book, Storing Up Trouble. Make sure you leave a comment to be entered to win a copy!
I noticed you dedicated this book to your husband. I have to ask, was your meet cute and romance as crazy as some of your characters?
In all honesty, no, it wasn’t crazy at all, although the first time I met Al, I turned down his invitation to dinner. We met at a bar in Buffalo, NY, and he came up to me about a minute after I arrived at that bar with my sister. I thought it was rather strange that he asked me out to dinner so quickly, so I turned him down. What I didn’t know at that time was that he was actually late to have dinner with another lady that night. He left soon after I refused his dinner invitation and I ended up going out to dinner with one of his friends (which didn’t work out because I just didn’t feel a connection to that man.) Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I went to this event called The Up-Downtown Party that Buffalo held for professionals every month, and the first person I saw was Al. He just had such a wonderful smile, and seemed genuinely delighted to see me again. We started talking and I definitely felt a connection with him. We’ve been together ever since, which is now going on thirty-one years.
I loved the cats, especially Phantom. Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I’m a dog person, although I don’t currently have a dog. My favorite breed is Australian Cattle Dogs, but after my Cattle Dog, Sasha, died three years ago at the ripe-old age of fifteen, I decided to wait a while before getting another dog. Al and I were thinking about getting a dog during this whole shelter in place business, but dogs are rather hard to come by these days, so we’ll be waiting a bit longer.
What’s your favorite part about writing?
Writing “The End.” Hahahaha – not really. My favorite part is editing because, for me, at that point I’ve gotten the hard stuff out of the way, and it’s really fun to go back through and fluff everything up.
I have never heard of a pistol purse before this book. Where did you discover this weapon?
I was researching different pistols that ladies frequently used during the Gilded Age and I found this picture of a pistol purse, and then I found a video of a man demonstrating how one worked. I knew I needed to fit one of them into a story, and “Storing Up Trouble” seemed the perfect place for me to do that.
Have you ever done something crazy in the name of research?
Not really crazy, although I have been known to drag my friends to historical sites, no matter if they’re history buffs or not. I normally bribe them with lunch, dinner, or whatever enticement I think is needed to get them to accompany me.
Who is your favorite classic author?
Edith Wharton, although Charles Dickens is also a favorite.
I know one of your treats of choice is potato chips. What is the weirdest flavor you’ve ever tried?
Those Flaming Hot ones are interesting – and not in a good way.
I appreciate that all your books have an interwoven spiritual truth. Do you have an idea of what it will be before you start, or does it flow from the character’s journeys?
I rarely know what the spiritual arc is going to be when I start the book – they just seem to show up as I’m writing and I take it from there.
The scenes in the store fascinated me. If you had to choose one of the jobs to work, what would it be?
Since I have a background working in department stores, I’ve done all of the jobs Beatrix works on in the book, except for the coat check because none of the stores I worked in offered that service. Frankly, though, I don’t really care for sales at all, so I wouldn’t want to work any of the positions I gave to Beatrix, preferring the buying offices to anything on the floor.
You are known for giving your characters unique–but historically authentic–names. What is the absolute favorite name you’ve ever found/used?
Gertrude Cadwallader – probably because my sister used to have a hamster named Gertrude.
Storing Up Trouble was the last book in the series, do you ever feel sad to let the characters go?
Nope – by the time I’m done with a series, I’m normally tired of the characters and am perfectly happy to see the last of them. I also never read my books once they go into print because, well, it’s not like I don’t know how they end.
Can you share any teasers about your next book?
My next series surrounds a group of ladies who, because of necessity, form a most unusual agency – The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency. The first book in the series, “To Steal a Heart” releases in November, 2020, and it’s about Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who spent her childhood living on the means streets in Five Points as a thief. Gabriella has some interesting skills that aid the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency, and when she runs into Mr. Nicholas Quinn, a friend from her past, while in a rather tricky situation, they soon find themselves embroiled in a mystery that could very well see both of them dead.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Some special notes.
- My review of Storing Up Trouble is included below.
- As a lover of happy endings, I was excited to hear that Jen and her husband adopted a sweet new dog! There was a slight delay in posting this to make sure the post office open.
- The post office needed to be open because Jen has offered to send out Storing Up Trouble. To enter to receive a copy of Storing Up Trouble, comment below. A smiley face, photo of your pet, or emoticon are also acceptable. 🙂
When Storing Up Trouble started out with a Frankenau Pistol Purse packing heroine, I knew I was in for a fun read. From the zany supporting characters to the fascinating historical details to the interwoven Spiritual truths …well, this book was just what I needed right now.
So, what were my favorite parts?
I love the hero and heroine, but I also adored the supporting characters. More than one romantic pairing meant more opportunity to root for Happily-Ever-Afters.
The cats. Yes, this book features heroic cats. As a cat lover often saddened by the heroism attributed to dogs that is denied to cats, I appreciated that in Storing Up Trouble cats get the full credit all felines will tell you is their due.
I liked the relationships beyond the romance—siblings, friends, and a man and his mule—to name a few.
I came away grateful that I do not have to wear a bustle, secure 200 buttons on my dress with a buttonhook, or work in a meat-packing plant.
This book is a fun and light-hearted read, but it also includes truths about caring for others, relationships, and finding the path God has for you in life. I highly recommend it.
I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.