Jenn McKinlay makes her return to Contemporary Romance (more specificially Rom-Com) today with About a Dog, and let me assure you my fellow readers, you are in for a fun ride! (You can read my review here.) Ms. McKinlay doesn’t completely desert her mystery roots, though, as there is a conundrum in need of solving that involves a sort-of puppy theft and the hilarious tale of retrieving her! If you’re a fan of friendly antics and puppy love, you’re not going to want to miss out on this one!
Hi Jenn! Thanks so much for visiting Books & Beauty Are My Bag and taking the time to answer my questions today! Since you’ve never visited Ba_BAMB before, can you tell the readers a little about yourself? What made you decide to write, how many books do you have under your belt – that sort of thing?
Thanks for inviting me to visit Ba_BAMB! I love your blog. In my next career I want to be the person who gets to name nail polish colors. My people usually leave me at the nail polish section in the store because I have to read them all. Ridiculous but there it is.
I decided to become a writer when I saw the movie Romancing the Stone. It was the first time I saw a woman writing the books I spent my hours devouring and I thought THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO DO! (yes, all in caps). Of course, I was a genre reader so it could have been romance, mystery, or sci-fic/fantasy but I decided to start with romance. I sold three rom-coms to Harlequin before I was let go, so I turned my attention to mystery. Amazingly, I managed to get published and have written over thirty traditional (cozy) mysteries. Not surprisingly, I started to get burnt out so I asked my editor what else I could write. She said romantic comedy (oh, the irony!) and here we are with my first of three rom-coms about to come out. Needless to say, I am a nervous wreck.
I don’t think you have anything to work about! Gavin and Mac are going to steal readers’ hearts!
Strong female friendships is one of the central themes in your new series. About a Dog kicks off with a girls night out as Mac catches up with her friends. What would be a perfect night out with friends be like for you?
My husband is a musician so any night out where I get to watch him play is a spectacular night for me. When our sons were younger, I couldn’t go out as often but now our boys are musicians in bands, too, so my alternate night out is a date night with the Hub where we watch our boys play. Music is a very big thing for me.
The dynamic between Gavin and Mac is hilarious; he seems to stump her quite often. What was your favorite Gavin/Mac moment to write in About a Dog?
Oh, I love this couple so much! There are so many scenes that were precious to me, but I think my favorite is when Gavin is watching Mac walk toward him and he’s remembering how she was the one who helped him cope with his mother’s death when he was a boy. And she did it just by being there and being steadfast and letting him grieve. He wonders if that is when he fell in love with her. (Yes!) I just love their history together.
I loved that scene, too! A hero who’s been carrying a torch always manages to steal my heart.
You’ve taken several things I love – gal pals, best friends brother, and of course, Maine – and put them all together into one book. What are some of your favorite tropes and story locations?
My favorite tropes are second chances (clearly), enemies to lovers, and friends becoming more than friends – those are my top three. For settings, I’m pretty wide open. I’m a CT girl by birth, so I’m partial to New England. But I’ve lived in the desert in AZ for over twenty years now, so I enjoy the west, too. My books have been set everywhere from Scottsdale, AZ to London, England, so I am always willing to travel.
Looking at your backlist, you’ve written a few genres which seems like it would shake things up and keep it more exciting writing-wise. Do you have a favorite genre to write? And to read?
Genre fiction is my bag. I love it all. If there was an advanced degree in just reading genre fiction, I would sign up – repeatedly. If a writer loves multiple genres, I think it’s important to be writing several of them from the get go, otherwise publishers don’t like to let you out of your designated fictional area. So, it is a happy circumstance that I’ve tried a variety and haven’t been told that I couldn’t try others. Mysteries and romance are my favorites, with romance edging out mysteries right now, but sci-fic/fantasy, if done with romance and mystery interwoven, can beat out the others.
What was the biggest surprise revealed to you by a character you were writing? Something even you didn’t see coming?
I was working on a mystery and the character who was supposed to be the murder victim straight up refused to die. I’m a plotter who works off of an outline, so this mutiny of character threw off my whole manuscript!
Haha! I love when a character gets their own way!
What is the most interesting piece of information you’ve come across while researching a book?
That poison is the preferred method of killing by women, and that anti-freeze seems to the poison of choice. I had no idea!
I actually knew that! I think I learned about it during a Snapped marathon.
Do you need it to be quiet while you’re writing, or do you like something going on in the background?
I live with three musicians in what I call the “frat house” so I have learned to work in chaos. I can work in either environment but I am used to having music in the background, whether I like it or not.
So then every night in is like a night out for you! 😉
About a Dog kicks off your Bluff Point Romance series. What can readers look forward to in future installments?
More shenanigans, laughs, and love! The next two books in the series are Barking Up the Wrong Tree (Sept 2017), in which Carly one of the gal pals from About a Dog has a one night stand that refuses to stay one night only, which is followed by Every Dog Has His Day (Jan 2018), where Zach one of the guys from About a Dog finds himself playing Dad for the lonely little girls next door when he unexpectedly falls (literally, actually) for their mother.
I’m looking forward to reading them, especially Zach’s book! It’s going to take a special woman to put up with him and his antics!
Are you able to share a bit about what you have in store for readers next?
Along with the above mentioned romances, I have more mysteries with Death in the Stacks (Nov 2017) and Wedding Cake Crumble (April 2018). After that, I really have no idea what I’ll be doing next. My readers will have to let me know what they’re hankering for and I will, as always, be happy to oblige.
Thank you so much, Jenn. I’ll be sure to check them out! (And I’m just saying, Sam and Jillian…)
Thank you! It was delightful!
About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay | A Bluff Point Romance #1
Publication Date | May 30th, 2017
ARC from Netgalley