Monday, March 12, 2018

Candid moments with CFRR author Jen Turano

Jen, thanks for sending this great candid of you ready to attack the pumpkin!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

JT: My first experience with CFRR happened in 2017. In all honesty, I was certain I was not going to be able to make the retreat because of scheduling conflicts. But, at the very last minute, I rearranged my schedule and freed up some time. After that, I sent Carrie a text to see if she could squeeze me in and…she did. Funny story with that, though – you see, Carrie was worried I might be a tad upset that she couldn’t squeeze me in as an author, but after I told her that I do read, which means I’m perfectly content to attend retreats as a reader, and that I don’t always like being Jen the Author Person, well, everything fell into place and I was on my way to my first CFRR retreat.
Since I’m scheduled to be one of the speakers in 2019, I do believe I’ll be attending that retreat for sure!
Jen and The Rach(a)els at CFRR 2017
Rachel: Best surprise EVER! Seeing you at CFRR 2017 is a memory that will live on in infamy! And you'd better be there in 2019 hehe!

What is your favorite aspect of CFRR? Are you a hugger?
JT: My favorite aspect of CFRR is getting an opportunity to hang out with so many readers and authors. It’s such a relaxed atmosphere, and so much fun, and I have to say that the 2017 retreat was a highlight of my year. As for whether or not I’m a hugger – it depends. I was not a hugger before I married Al, but his family is filled with huggers, so while I have gotten better with hugs – meaning I don’t completely freeze up, hugging is not always my first option when meeting a person for the first time.
Rachel: Oh I hear ya! I am a hugger...big time...BUT only people I know...

Just for fun...
What secret talents do you have?  
JT: I can shrink anything in the dryer – and sometimes by several sizes.
Rachel: So do you purchase clothing a couple sizes up then?
If you were an animal in the zoo, what would you be?
JT: A penguin, because penguins are super cool and quirky.
Rachel: Good choice! They are fabuous!
If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?  
JT: Well, first off, I don’t always enjoy writing books, especially first drafts. But, if I chucked my writing career, I’d go back to being a buyer for a department store. That’s a great job. Someone gives you a budget and you get to go out and buy the latest fashions with that budget.
Rachel: Ah! That sounds perfect! Love it!

About reading...
What’s your favorite genre to read?  
JT: Historical romance, followed by contemporary romantic comedies.
Rachel: You have such good taste in books! 😉
Describe your favorite reading spot.  
JT: I like to read outside in the summer, preferably by a stream. In winter, I do a lot of reading on my bed.
Rachel: Hopefully that warm weather isn't too far off!
How do you organize your books?
JT: My fiction books aren’t organized very well at all – although I do stack them in the order I’d like to read them. My non-fiction research books are organized by subject – such as Balls of the Gilded Age, Tycoons of the Gilded Age, and then location, such as Newport, Chicago, and just recently, books on Pittsburgh.  
Rachel: I think my brain just had a heart attack...BUT at least there is order to it haha!

How often do you pleasure read?
JT: Every night before I go to sleep.  
Rachel: Right answer!
About writing...
How many books have you written?
JT: That’s a little tricky to say. I wrote a ton of books before I got an agent, so…if I count those, plus the ones I’ve had published and then the ones that are turned in to my publishing house but haven’t come out yet – ahhh….probably around twenty-two????  Maybe???? It might be more. I wrote some really awful books back in the day – ones that will never get into print, but ones that were great stepping stones and really helped me develop that thick skin every author needs to develop in order to maintain their sanity in this business.
Rachel: Stepping stones...I think that is a great analogy. We all have to start somewhere right?

JT: Ten full-length published, plus two novellas.
Rachel: Three of which I still have yet to read...*hangs head in shame*

What are you working on now?
JT: I just turned in the first book in a new series, so now I’m laying out the groundwork for the next book in the American Heiress series. This one centers around Miss Poppy Garrison – she’s somewhat of a hesitant heiress, having accepted her grandmother’s offer of a season in New York City in return for her grandmother saving the family horse farm. It’s early days yet, so not much to say about the plot, which will certainly change from what I thought it was going to be at some point in time.  
Rachel: I am SO.EXCITED.for this series!
Amazon | Goodreads
What is your next release?
JT: Caught by Surprise coming out July 2018.  
Rachel: I have cleared my calendar for the week this book comes out hehe!

What part of the publishing/writing process do you most struggle with?
JT: First drafts – I loathe them. There’s just something about seeing that blank page staring back at you day after day after day, and then knowing it’s up to you to fill that page up with…words.
Rachel: But what beautiful (and FUN) words they become!
Are you more comfortable working in solitude or in a crowd?
JT: I only write in my office, and I don’t play music, have snacks, or anything I might find distracting around me.  
Rachel:  That is very interesting. I love working with music on, but I can see how it can be distracting too.
Thank you for joining us Jen!

About the author...
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her ninth full-length novel, “Out of the Ordinary” released in November 2017. Her next novel, “Caught by Surprise,” releases in July 2018.  She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

Say "Hi" to Jen in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we have enjoyed with her stories!


  1. Hi JEN! Fangirling here! Eek! LOVE that pic by the way!

    1. That is some serious pumpkin carving, right?!

  2. Hi Jen!!!! SO lovely to meet you in person at CFRR! A big surprise for sure and an unforgettable one.

    1. The Rach(a)els are not lacking in the enthusiasm department!

  3. Hehe. The really awful books are necessary to keep you humble. I still retain an attempt at writing for jr. high and pull it out every so often for a good laugh.

    1. Our junior high selves are always good for a laugh.

  4. Hi Jen! What a pleasant surprise to see you and speak with you at CFRR! I have to say, as much as you dislike first drafts, I am so thankful you stick with it and give us these beautiful stories to read :) see you in 2019!

    1. YES! Thanks for putting yourself through those first drafts, Jen!

  5. Hi Jen! What a fun post! I love that you were able to make it to CFRR last summer. I simply adored meeting you. You're an amazing person and writer. I'm definitely looking forward to CFRR 2019.

    1. I can't wait to hear Jen's presentation!

    2. I can't either, Beth! I'm sure it will be amazing!

  6. Great interview! I agree with Jen. CFRR is a great day, casual and fun! I highly recommend it!
    (Waves to everyone).

    1. Hi Susan! It was such fun to meet you and chat with you. I'm looking forward to the one next year.

  7. It was such a pleasant surprise to see you at CFRR2017! I loved meeting you!