Jennifer McQuistion is one of my favorite authors ... and a true champion of our community:
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Jennifer: Thanks for having me on with you Kim! Wasn’t that a fun meeting? I met so many great people at last year’s Romance Writers of America, especially the librarians. The romance community couldn’t ask for a better bunch of supporters. So, my personal library is groaning under the weight of my to-be-read pile. At present, I am partway through Tessa Dare’s newest historical romance, Say Yes to the Marquess (and I am enjoying it very much!) I just downloaded A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains (the real life memoir of Victorian traveler Isabella Bird), and I can’t wait to read it. And in today’s mail came the nonfiction book “How the Scots Invented the World” by Arthur Herman. How’s that for an eclectic reading mix?
But the truth is I am under deadline for writing my next book, so reading for pleasure is on temporary hiatus until I can get my butt in gear.
Kim: Since our last meeting, you have traveled half way around the world to combat Ebola. Can you share a funny or heartwarming moment in Sierra Leone?
Jennifer: I had so many memorable moments while I was working on CDC’s team fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone, but one story stands out. The whole team really became close with our driver, Ibrahim. You cannot imagine how much you rely on your driver when you are working in Africa… they are your translator and your friend. They guide you through riots, they wait for you to come out of long, long meetings, and they make sure you are never, ever unsafe or alone. Before Ebola hit, Ibrahim had worked as a driver for a tourist company, but there was no tourism happening in Sierra Leone while we were there, and there probably won’t be for a very long time. He was grateful for the chance to be employed—so many in the country had lost their jobs because of the devastated economy, with no hope of finding a job in the near future. But beyond his work, he was absolutely committed to helping his country defeat Ebola, and proud of the role he was playing in it. At the end of my month in Sierra Leone, Ibrahim brought his children to the hotel to meet us all. He was so proud to be working with us as part of the effort…and prouder still to show off his family. I will never forget them!
Kim: You survived your first romance series, book reviews, and fan interaction. What did you learn from the experience?
Jennifer: I survived, and I have to say, now my skin is a little thicker! Striking out in this business isn’t for the faint of heart, and book reviews can sometimes be hard, especially given how talked about my first book, What Happens in Scotland, was. People either loved it or hated it, and there didn’t seem to be much in between. Some reviews were glowing and some were terrible. You can’t let it get to you, and the most important thing I learned was to write the best book I could, each time I was fortunate enough to have a chance.
But truly the most gratifying part of the experience was meeting and getting to know honest-to-goodness fans. Romance readers are the absolute best, and they don’t hesitate to reach out to authors with a kind note or an email. You can’t imagine how much it makes my day to get an actual, honest-to-goodness email from excited readers!
Kim: BTW, I loved WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND (link). I am excited to dive into your next series with DIARY OF AN ACCIDENTAL WALLFLOWER.
Jennifer: Diary of an Accidental Wallflower tells the story of a London “it” girl who sprains her ankle on the eve of the biggest event of her year, and finds herself relegated to the wallflower line. Here’s a little blurb:
Pretty and popular, Miss Clare Westmore knows exactly what (or rather, who) she wants: the next Duke of Harrington. But when she twists her ankle on the eve of the Season’s most touted event, Clare is left standing in the wallflower line watching her best friend dance away with her duke.
Dr. Daniel Merial is tempted to deliver more than a diagnosis to London's most unlikely wallflower, but he doesn’t have time for distractions, even one so delectable. Besides, she's clearly got her sights on more promising prey. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?
All Clare wants to do is return to the dance floor. But as her former friends try to knock her permanently out of place, she realizes with horror she is falling for her doctor instead of her duke. When her ankle finally heals and she faces her old life again, will she throw herself back into the game?
Or will her time in the wallflower line have given her a glimpse of who she was really meant to be?
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
Jennifer: Book #2 in my new Seduction Diary series is called The Spinster’s Guide to Scandalous Behavior, and features Lucy Westmore, the sister of the heroine in book #1.
When her eccentric aunt dies suddenly bequeaths her the key to a falling-down cottage in Cornwall, Lucy Westmore is surprised. After all, she scarcely knows her aunt, and her memories of Heathmore are murky, at best. But even more surprising is the part of Lucy’s inheritance that doesn’t come with a key: an old leather journal that provides the details of her mysterious aunt’s life and—for better or worse—gives Lucy all the instructions she needs to live the life of a scandalous spinster.
Lord Thomas Branston has spent the last five years in Cornwall, hiding from his painful past. Nothing has been tempting enough to lure him back to London…until now. He alone knows the real value of the property, and he’s determined to buy Heathmore before Miss Westmore ruins everything and sells it off to the highest bidder.
Emboldened by the guidance in her aunt’s diary, Lucy refuses to sell the property, not even when Lord Branston’s offers escalate, and not even when the house turns out to be truly uninhabitable. When the negotiations turn heated, Lucy suspects something more sinister is afoot. Branston is offering her far more than the property seems worth. Worse, he seems willing to stoop to less than gentlemanly means to scare her off the land.
But Lucy has no intention of giving up her one chance for independence. And Thomas has no intention of abandoning his suit. But is it the property or the spitfire of a spinster that’s got his heart all tied up? And what is he willing to offer for both?
Mahalo, Jennifer, for joining us at SOS Aloha!
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Jennifer offers an excerpt from DIARY OF AN ACCIDENTAL WALLFLOWER ...
May 2, 1848
If a man’s worth is measured in pounds, a woman’s is measured in dance steps.
And if those dance steps are with a future duke, surely they are worth all the more.
Mr. Alban, the future Duke of Harrington, asked me to dance again last night, the third time since the start of the Season. My friends are abuzz with what he might ask next, and I must confess, I hope it is something more significant than a dance. I know the Season has just begun, but surely a proposal cannot be far from his mind?
When I feel the sting of jealousy from the less fortunate girls lining the walls, I remind myself some casualties are inevitable if I am to dance all the way to a ducal mansion. Any girl who feels tempted to accept the first offer that comes their way would do well to comfort themselves on the arm of a mere marquess.
The Future Duchess of Harrington