[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Jennifer! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Jennifer McQuiston] Multi-tasking creative scientist. With migraines.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?
[Jennifer McQuiston] I am really glad I don’t have to do this in five words or less! Moonlight on My Mind is the third and final book in my debut series, and I am describing it as a “marriage of inconvenience.”
Briefly, the book’s hero, Patrick Channing, marries the heroine, Julianne Baxter, to keep her from testifying against him. Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. When she appears out of nowhere in the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin, Patrick wants nothing to do with her. But a clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.
Julianne Baxter has spread her share of gossip, but none she has regretted as much as the debacle with Channing. When Patrick suggests marriage as a solution to their problems, she has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Jennifer McQuiston] In my first book, What Happens in Scotland, Patrick Channing is a secondary character who is hinted to be hiding in the isolated Scottish town of Moraig and being very tight-lipped about his recent past. In my second book, Summer is for Lovers, I introduce readers to a feisty Society miss named Julianne Baxter, who on the surface appears to be something of a manipulative “mean girl.” In Moonlight on My Mind, I bring these two questionable characters together and have them battle it out for a “happy ever after”.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
[Jennifer McQuiston] In Summer is for Lovers, Julianne is a bit of an enigma. She stirs up trouble, and serves as an antagonist toward the heroine. But I love the idea of taking a character who is superficially unlikable, finding a quality that will redeem them, and then showing them as heroic in their own right. At her core, Julianne is defined by loyalty. Crafting Julianne properly, in a way that you could appreciate both her attributes and her flaws, was the challenge I enjoyed most about this book.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?
[Jennifer McQuiston] The plot of this book involves a rather complicated murder mystery, and I would love to say that it gave me the most trouble (given that I had never written anything like that before).
But alas… it was actually the love story!
One of the problems was that I had created two characters at such odds with each other, I had to build some big bridges toward reconciliation. Another issue was that in the first draft, I was far too focused on wrapping the murder mystery up, and my poor beleaguered editor (the amazing Tessa Woodward) had to point out that while I had done a good job with the mystery, I needed to go back and show these characters falling more effectively in love.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?
[Jennifer McQuiston] I am not sure I would be the sort of person to have a theme song, but I have one for Julianne and Patrick. ?
Julianne’s is How to Be a Heartbreaker by Marina and the Diamonds (and I predict you will hit replay on this one, if you’re anything like me!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKNcuTWzTVw
Patrick’s is Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, by country artist Luke Bryan, because the words capture the pain of feeling a strong attraction for someone, even as you dislike the person you think they are. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5M_rT89kxY
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
[Jennifer McQuiston] Definitely my Nook. I snatch moments to read whenever and wherever I can find them!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Jennifer McQuiston] Tea Bags (4 of them, Lipton, because I drink hot tea when I’m writing).
Donna Thorland’s Advance Reader Copy of “The Rebel Pirate” (soooooo good, I am interviewing her for an upcoming blog post)
And around 15-20 post it notes and scattered memos (because I am a list maker, through and through).
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Jennifer McQuiston] I would love to trade places with Angelina Jolie for a day. Preferably on a day she a) wins another Oscar, b) visits a refugee camp in her role with the United Nations, or c) has mind-blowing relations with Brad Pitt. I think she is a pretty amazing role model, even with the controversy and drama that so often follows her, but I think a single day would be *just* enough.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Jennifer McQuiston] I mentioned I had just read the ARC for The Rebel Pirate, by Donna Thorland, and I highly recommend it. It is sexy historical fiction, based in the Revolutionary War era.
I am currently reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and it is making me laugh out loud (probably because I work with about 10 scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who totally fit the profile of the main character).
And though I should probably be slapped for admitting such a delinquency (especially as I wrote a book about Scotland), I have recently been sucked into the Outlander series by Diana Galbaldon, and have a serious crush on one Jamie Frazier now. In fact, I am cyber-stalking Sam Heughan, the delicious Scot who is playing him in the upcoming STARZ series on YouTube. Yeee-um. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOR_8tLUMTo
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Jennifer McQuiston] Anyone who’s followed my writing story knows that I promised my kids a pony with my first book deal, and delivered on that promise. But what they may not know is I am completely in love with our family’s horse myself… I would spend every free moment I have at the barn, riding with my kids, if I thought I could get away with it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Jennifer McQuiston] I love hearing from readers, and engage with followers on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jennifermcquistonauthor), Twitter (@jenmcqwrites), and via my website (www.jenmcquiston.com). Readers who want regular updates (and special sneak peeks for upcoming books) can subscribe to my newsletter, at http://eepurl.com/LgUkT.
About the book:
Moonlight on My Mind
By: Jennifer McQuiston
Releasing March 25th, 2014
To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.
To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.
Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.
Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…
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 www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.
(Paperback Copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND & SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS, Pack of Mother Mae’s Chocolate Chip Scottish Shortbread Mix and Delightful Ceramic Shortbread Pan)