Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Break Out the Bubbly & the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Jennifer McQuiston's Debut Novel WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND

Debut Author Jennifer McQuiston

      Hi Everyone: Please join me in welcoming one of my favorite people in my Georgia Romance Writers of America Writing Chapter, Jennifer McQuiston. She's a wonderful person and now I'm thrilled to announce that she's published her first historical novel with Avon! How cool is that? I'm stoked for her and can't wait to share her writing journey toward publication with you. Pop*Pour*Clinking Glasses and pass the Dark Chocolate now! 

      Welcome Jennifer. Tell me, how did you end up becoming a writer?
Well, clearly I didn’t set out to do this… if I had, I would have gotten here about 20 years earlier, LOL! I followed the science drum, studying veterinary medicine and establishing myself as an epidemiologist specializing in tickborne diseases. Looking back, though, I should have known this was going to be part of my future… I always won the school Young Author’s contest and spelling bee, and scarcely ever did well in Science Fair (I was far too focused on making my display beautiful and my experiment creative to worry about the actual mechanics of the thing.) Around the time my youngest daughter became self-cleaning, I realized I was indulging in a lot more reading, and discovering some truly stellar historical authors. I visited a few of their websites, and many of them had advice for aspiring writers. The bug grabbed hold of me and never let up.
Reading again is what hooked me into the writing world, too. After you finish writing, how do you relax?  
My writing “day” is actually two hours – I write from 4-6am, and then flit off to the day job. Needless to say, by 8pm I am the Walking Dead. So, I relax the good old-fashioned way: sleep. When I take a break from writing and life, I love to travel with my family. We recently took a trip to Belize, and I felt entirely recharged when we returned.
I am impressed with your dedication and motivation to write so early!! Wow. Now that you're recharged from your trip to Belize, what is your current project?
Gorgeous cover!!
My first book, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND, was just released by Avon in March, 2013. Many reviewers have compared it to a madcap, Victorian version of The Hangover. In truth, it is somewhat of a “she woke up married” story… only set in 1842 Scotland.
When recent widow Georgette Thorold wakes up in a Scottish inn with a wedding ring on her finger and lacking all memory of how she came to be there, she does what any well-bred lady with a modicum of sense and a distrust of marriage would do: she panics, clocks the wickedly handsome stranger in her bed over the head with a chamber pot, and runs.
James McKenzie, Esquire has either spent the evening protecting a very naïve, and—dare he say it—very drunk young lady from the advances of every disreputable character in the town of Moraig, or he has gone and married a pretty, scheming thief. Not that his own head is entirely clear on the matter, but when the woman in question repays his kindness with a knock on the head, the bill for her room, and the theft of his purse, an embarrassed James is determined to track her down and show her she picked the wrong solicitor to swindle.
As Georgette sets out to discover exactly what happened during her forgotten night, she uncovers a man that seems far more a hero than a rake. But when they finally meet, instead of sweeping her into his arms and kissing her senseless, he serves her with a summons, claiming she is a thief. Now the fight is on, and the only question is was it a night worth remembering? Or a mistake they would both rather forget?

Oh, the blurb makes me want to run out and buy this book right away. Sounds like so much fun!! Tell me, what is your next project?
I was fortunate enough to find myself with a three book deal, although that means my last year has been spent in a frenzy of writing (and I am madly marching toward deadline to turn in book #3). My next book, SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS, will be released September 24, 2013. Having just finished the copy-edits on Summer is for Lovers, I will confess I am excited to share it. It was a hard book to write, but I am so pleased with how it turned out! This is an unrequited love story set in the Victorian seaside resort of Brighton. The hero is David Cameron, who is actually somewhat of a questionable character in my first book. In giving him his own story, I hope I explain some of the history that shaped him and give him a chance to redeem himself. The heroine, Caroline Tolbertson, is rather unique – she is a swimmer, which is highly unusual for the time period. And boy oh boy, is this unconventional miss going to turn this rake’s world inside out! 
I love unconventional heroines. Can't wait to read the next book!!  How did you celebrate the new book contract?
I celebrated my new book contract in a few memorable ways. The first thing I did was buy myself some Victorian bling… in the form of a cameo ring. This has become my talisman for good things, and I wear it to all my writing events. The other celebratory thing I did was buy my kids a horse.
Jennifer and her children's brand new horse.
Yup. That’s right: I bought my kids a horse. We used the windfall that was my book deal to finance the care and keeping of said horse. I grew up with horses, and my girls are certifiably horse crazy. To be able to give them something like this, simply by indulging in a hobby I love, was one of my proudest moments as a mom.
Awe, how sweet! I'm so glad you were able to reward yourself and  your family for all the hours of sacrifice you put into your writing world. Now that you've crossed the threshold into the publising world, what advice would you give aspiring writers?
The gorgeous cameo ring which inspires Jennifer!
This one is easy: SHOW EVERYONE YOU CAN YOUR WORK!!! So many writers treat this as something secret, and are afraid to show their work to others. I get it – it is hard to risk rejection, hard to think someone will think less of you once they see (and critique) your best work. But if you want to be a writer, you MUST overcome this. After all, the point is to share it with the world. If you can’t share it with friends and the occasional stranger, how will you ever survive publication? You need to become terribly promiscuous, propositioning everyone. And then develop a tough skin, practice wading through well-meant crap and true nuggets of inspiration, and begin to hone your voice. Because in the end, it is your VOICE that will sell your book. And that voice needs to be loud and proud. J

Thank you so much for that very timely advice. I believe that rejections are our badges of courage. The more we send out into the world, the greater chance we have to become published. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!! Everyone, Jennifer McQuiston writes laugh-out-loud Victoria-era romance, and embraces her promiscuity by sharing her work with anyone with a pulse. Her first book, What Happens in Scotland, is available in most bookstores and e-retailers.
Twitter: @jenmcqwrites


liztalley said...

What a lovely story to publication. And I love the blurb for the book. I started writing historicals before switching over to contemporary, so I have a great love for the genre...and yours sounds like such fun. Congrats on the contract and the horse. I also use my writing money for the fun things in our life like vacations, golf carts and pianos. One day maybe I can afford bigger pleasures, but it will never be a horse. LOL.

Carla Swafford said...

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Wow! What a great mom! I was horse crazy when I was a kid too. Actually that hasn't change. LOL!

Jennifer McQuiston said...

Thanks for stopping by! Oh... I say the horse was for my girls. But it was really for me (shhhhhh). He is 14.2 hands, and jumps, which means I get plenty of riding time in, too!

Barbara said...

Love the blurb, Jennifer. The book is sitting in my TBR pile. I'd better move it to the top :) Best of luck with the release.

Christine said...

I'm adding it to my TBR pile as well!! Great blurb and great story to publication!!

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