It’s Christmas in July! OK, so it’s a Christmas book in July. But I do love to read Christmas books in the middle of summer. I think it helps to give me cool thoughts on hot days like today. So enjoy this excerpt from The Widow’s Christmas Surprise by Jenna Jaxon, as well as an interview with her. Check out the rest of the tour and best of luck in the giveaway!
The death of her husband has thrown Lady Maria Kersey’s future into doubt—and her heart into the arms of a man she cannot have. But Christmas with the Widows’ Club will bring choices—and surprises–that may change all her holidays to come . . .
Maria just gave birth to her first child, a beautiful daughter—but the event is shrouded in sorrow. A month earlier, Maria’s husband, Lord Kersey, was killed in a duel under compromising circumstances. Worse, Maria’s failure to provide a male heir has stripped her of any hope of an inheritance. Scorned by the ton, one of her few allies is her late husband’s steward, Hugh Granger. Hugh is everything her husband was not—warm, charming—and penniless. . . .
Hugh has fallen desperately in love with Maria, but has little to offer but comfort. As their attraction becomes impossible to resist, Maria flees to London to spend Christmas with her dearest friends, a group of widows who lost their own husbands in the Battle of Waterloo. Little does she know the holidays will reveal a twist of fate she never expected—proving that the greatest Christmas gift is the magic of true love . . .
Read an excerpt;
“Shall I have the carriage brought around?” She wrinkled her brow, an eagerness in her face and an excited tension in her slim body. “Oooh, I would love to ride, but my cousin might prefer the carriage. Let me return to the house and ask her.” A gleeful smile spread across her lips and she placed a small hand on his arm. “Thank you so much, Mr. Granger.” Their eyes met and Hugh had the sensation of falling into dark pools that might be fathoms deep. To have made this lovely woman happy seemed now to be his greatest accomplishment. “You are most welcome, my lady.” She picked up her skirts and scampered up the steps, outdistancing him in moments. Mouth dry and heart beating a painful tattoo in his chest, Hugh let her go. As he had said, he knew better than to borrow trouble, but he knew it when it came knocking at his door. Nothing could come of these unexpectedly tender feelings for Lady Kersey. He was a gentleman, to be sure, but his prospects were as uncertain as the lady’s own future, and both dependent on the next Lord Kersey’s goodwill. On which neither of them could count to any degree at all. Best to treat this budding tendre as nothing more than a fleeting notion that was not to be pursued. He started for the house, all too aware that what he thought with his head might not make a bit of difference to what had taken up lodging in his heart.
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What was the inspiration behind this book?
I suppose the inspiration came from the first book in the series, To Woo A Wicked Widow. That is where Maria made her first appearance and ended up married at the end of the book. I originally thought that was the end of her story, however, the more I thought about the man she married, the more I knew he would not be her happy ever after (that rake was a rake through and through). So, I started thinking about how she could get her HEA and ended up adding her book to the series.
Will we see these characters again?
Yes, readers of The Widows’ Club series will see Maria, Hugh, and Hugh’s sister Arabella again in the final book of the series, The Widow Wore Plaid, which released last December.
What is your writing routine?
When I’m writing to a deadline my writing routine takes one of two routes. Either I get up early, feed animals and get my breakfast, then go to the computer/bunny room and sit down to write. It usually takes me about four hours to write a 3,000-word chapter, although I take breaks when I need to think about a particular scene. If I have something to do in the morning, I’ll shift my writing time to nighttime, usually starting around 11:00 pm and work until 2:00 or 3:00 am (when it is particularly quiet at my house.) I try to write a chapter every day (although life gets in the way of that quite often). Once the first draft is done I’ll go back through, looking for typos, missing words, bad phrasing, and then ship it off either to beta readers or my editor.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
I love answering this question because I received this advice at the very beginning of my writing career, at the very first writing conference I attended. It was from author Judi McCoy, who became a mentor of mine, and she gave a workshop in which she wrote this on a huge piece of paper: “You can fix crap; you can’t fix nothing.” Get the words down on the page, no matter what. Give yourself permission to write crap, because you can go back an make the words not crappy. But a blank page remains a blank page, no matter what.
What is your favorite part about writing?
My absolute favorite part of writing is plotting! Yes, I am a plotter through and through. I cannot begin to write until I have a complete outline (usually about 10-12 pages for a full-length novel) done. This becomes my road map, so I know at a glance what I need to write. I don’t mind it when new ideas about the plot pop up—I incorporate them if they look like they’re going to work out. But I have to have that outline before I write the first word on the page.
What are you currently reading? Up next on your TBR?
I’ve just started the latest Outlander novel, Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. I’m a huge Diana Gabaldon fan and have waited until I have time to sit and read the book (a hardback book so big you could use it as a weapon), which is now. After TTBTIAG I mean to continue reading the Bridgerton series. My next one is When He Was Wicked, which is Francesca’s story.
What book and/or author changed your life?
Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Everlasting. That’s the book that inspired me to become an historical romance author. I’d read and loved her Wolf and the Dove as a teenager, but had stopped reading romances once I discovered Stephen King. Then, after Christmas 2008 I bought a copy of Everlasting on clearance at B & N and couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with romances again and when I finished reading it I thought, “I could write something like this.” Then sat down and started to write my first romance novel, which became Time Enough to Love.
What is one skill you wish you had?
I wish with all my heart that I had the ability to learn languages well enough to be fluent in them. I’ve had classes/instruction in a variety of languages: French, Russian, Gaelic, Italian, but I can only really speak English. As I love to travel, having language skills would be extremely helpful.
What is something on your bucket list you have accomplished? Want to accomplish?
Something I have accomplished on my bucket list was to visit Egypt, see the pyramids, and ride a camel. My husband and I visited that country in 2000 and I accomplished all three of those things our first day there. As to what else I want to accomplish: visit Australia, ride in a hot air balloon, ride the Orient Express, visit all 50 United States (I’m currently about half-way there!).
Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories.
She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets–including two vocal cats, one almost silent cat, two curious bunnies, and a Shar-pei mix named Frenchie.
Jenna Jaxon will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway