Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Author Interview: Jennifer Peel

Jennifer Peel
author, Professional Boundaries

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)

I hail from the lovely state of Colorado. I was the beginning of the fifth generation to be born there, my daughters were the beginning of the sixth, then we decided to break the mold and move to Chicago for six years. I’m not sure my family has ever forgiven my husband for moving me out of Colorado. But for the last eight years, we have called Alabama home; and we absolutely adore it. It has been a great place to raise our two daughters and our son. We are now entering the phase of our lives when our children are starting to leave the nest. And unfortunately, both of our daughters have chosen schools 1800 miles away from us. One has already left the nest and our second daughter graduates from high school in May. Thankfully, we still have our son, who is only in seventh grade.

As a family, we love beach and mountain vacations. My husband and I were able to travel to India for eight days and we fell in love with the people and culture there. We hope someday to be able to experience living outside of the country.

We also love music and theater and we try to go to as many plays and concerts as we can squeeze in.

Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?

Some of my “go to” books, for when I’m just looking to unwind and get lost for an hour or two, are: Sarah Eden’s

Drops of Gold and Seeking Persephone. Of course, I love Jane Austen, particularly Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.

I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan, book seven of that series was amazing; for me, it was one of the best written series endings ever.

I just finished Thirty-two Going on Spinster and Thirty-three Going on Girlfriend, both by Becky Monson. I adored both.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Ireland, for sure. My husband just went there on business and I was so jealous. I made him take tons of pictures and notes for me.

What got you started on your writing journey?

I started writing a couple of years ago, as a way to deal with the stress of my life. I had no idea, at the time, it would ever lead to me publishing anything I wrote.

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the next year or so? 

You can look for my next book, House Divided, to come out around Valentine’s Day. House Divided is about two young lovers torn apart by old rules and a town that’s deeply divided, but with some intervention from an unlikely source, they are given a second chance at love. I’m also working on my first series, The Women of Merryton. There will be three books and each will focus on a particular heroine, but their lives will all be intermingled throughout each book. Merryton is a fictional town set in the mountains of Colorado. Each woman will have her own obstacles and challenges to face, but they will find strength in one another.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

I love when someone tells me they were up all night reading because they couldn’t put my book down. Or when someone has tears in their eyes because they connected so much with a particular character and they felt like it helped them in their real life circumstances.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing? 

There’s definitely a lot of me in my characters, both the female and male ones. Some are obvious, but others are very subtle and you would have to know me very well to pick them out. My husband likes to tease me that I use all of his flaws in my male characters.

Where do your ideas come from?

I like to say my best ideas come from me lying out on the beach and relaxing, it helps incentivize me to go to the beach often. But, generally my ideas come from something that has impacted me on an emotional level, whether in my own life or someone else’s.

Please share about your book

Professional Boundaries is a romantic comedy that centers on Kelli Bryant and Ian Greyson. Kelli is a smart, savvy business woman who is ready to take over Chandler Media as their new Marketing Director. She’s confident her promotion is in the bag, but she’s severely disappointed when her promotion is given to someone else. To add insult to injury, the position is given to the one man she hoped to never see again, Ian Greyson, her one true love, the man who broke her heart in college.

Between Kelli’s determination to remain on top, and Ian’s strict new office policies, there’s no shortage of fireworks in the office. Their explosive relationship spills over into their personal lives as Kelli tries to keep Ian at arm’s length and Ian desperately tries to win her back (during off hours only, of course).

The book is filled with fun and humor as Kelli and Ian battle it out, both professionally and personally. It’s also heartfelt as you begin to understand Ian’s reasoning for not only leaving Kelli, but why he maintains such strict professional boundaries within the office. The relationship between Kelli and her sister Amanda, and Amanda’s husband and kids, also adds a layer of depth and sweetness to the story.

In the end, as Kelli and Ian come together, you see why they are such a great team as they face some of Ian’s challenges together.

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

Kelli is the five S’s - Sassy, Smart, Spunky, Snarky, and Sweet.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

It’s like watching a great romantic comedy at the movies or at home, but better because the ride lasts much longer than two hours.

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