Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano

Name of the Book : A Talent For Trouble
Name of the Author: Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House


Miss Felicia Murdock firmly believed her destiny was to become a minister's wife. When the minister on whom she had set her sights marries another lady, Felicia is forced to take a close look at her life and comes to a few uncomfortable conclusions. Determined that something needs to change--and soon--Felicia discovers she is finally ready to spread her wings and embrace life the way she's always wanted.

Grayson Sumner--or Lord Sefton, as he's officially known--has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a normal, respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some well-meaning friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter a young lady who seems to have become quite adventurous and quite determined to get herself into all sorts of troublesome situations.

Intent on remaining independent, Felicia is reluctant to accept Grayson's help, especially as she finds herself developing feelings for him. However, just as Grayson decides he's had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in her life has endangered Felicia. Will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?

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The Reveiw

Miss Felicia Murdock wanted to marry the minister. But he had other plans and marries someone else. This brings Felicia’s world crashing down. Not in a sorrowful way. Oh, she does pine for the thought of the love she had lost or rather the way of life, she claimed she was suited for, was gone. But for all who knew her whispered one thing- if Felicia was unsuitable for something, then it was for being a minister’s wife. She was too high spirited to have a demure life.

When Grayson Summer meets her, he is all ready to lift the spirits of the dejected lady. What he had not expected was to encounter a lady whose spirit needed taming down! Here starts a hilarious encounters between Grayson and Felicia.

Dear Jen, the way you have portrayed her singing abilities, I had stitches on my side. Don’t do this to your readers J It was too funny. But then I should thank you, for I had a smile on my face for many days.

Grayson had never met  a lady like Felicia. One who would walk straight inside a bar to entertain men with her singing..( I am still laughing) or would search for an adventure in an opium den or who would have the guts to enter a fight without even thinking about it but scream terrified of rodents in the alley. A pure, simple, heartwarming character.

Grayson, being the lord too had a tainted past. He is really a delightful character. His past makes him a relatable character. And of course it was no ordinary flaw. A great risqué, I would say, to have tainted the male protagonist with such a past. A bold move.



The ending was a bit long drawn or was it my thoughts which hated being shifted from the love story even for some time? But when the climax of the story came.. (and there was a notch up in the octave) I hated to shift my focus away from Felicia and Grayson- even if it was only for a few pages. It is not my fault that Jen has created such wonderful characters, is it?

Meet The Author

Jen Turano, acclaimed author of A Change of Fortune, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and A Talent for Trouble, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. Her fourth book in the Ladies of Distinction Series, A Match of Wits, will release from Bethany House in July, 2014. She is a member of ACFW and makes her home outside of Denver, Colorado with her husband and teenage son. 

Hi Jen,

Welcome to The Book Club.

1)         I just finished reading your book. Felicia is a wonderful character. Tell me how she was visualized by you at her inception?

Felicia’s character began developing the moment she showed up in A Change of Fortune – she was dressed in an outlandish gown and the question that suddenly started bothering me was why…what would cause a lady born into a well-established society family to dress in a manner that wasn’t fashionable?  Felicia and all of her quirky ways took off from there.

2)         You have balanced both your protagonists with respect to their fiery nature and wittiness. But I do have a question on that. Felicia walks up to a pub, an opium den - given the time this novel is set in, isn't that a bit bold?

Part of Felicia’s charm is that she manages to land herself if troubling situations without really understanding how she got there.  In regard to the pub, she ends up there all due to the fact she was helping an elderly gentleman who’d fallen on the sidewalk.  She obviously knows that it’s hardly the place to be, but since she’s drawn to people from all walks of life, she just can’t seem to help herself from mingling with the patrons of the pub, even though doing so puts her smack dab in the middle of mayhem.

3)         Would you call yourself a spontaneous writer or detailed writer? How much planning would you put in a manuscript in the initial stage?

I’m not a huge plotter, but I always know where the story starts and how the story is going to end.  The ideas for a story normally hit me when I’m cleaning the house.  There I’ll be, scrubbing the shower and…a character waltzes through my thoughts.  Since I’m not a woman who can just stop a task to write, that would drive me crazy, I carry post-it notes around the house, even have them attached to the vacuum.  When I get these ideas, I scribble them down and after I’m done cleaning, put them in order.    From that point, I usually do an outline for three to five chapters, but those outlines normally go by the wayside once I begin writing.  Characters seem to take on a life of their own and sometimes they insist on turning into someone I never even considered – which can be somewhat amusing, but does demand quite a bit of rewriting.

4)         How did Jen Turano become a writer?

I never really had any thoughts about becoming a writer growing up.  My family was always very business/science oriented – one of my brothers is a surgeon, two others are engineers and my sister is a CPA accountant and an attorney.  We really weren’t steered toward the arts, and, quite honestly, I do believe my parents were appalled when I decided to major in fashion – but, since I wanted to become a buyer, they were appeased by the idea that at least that was finance, in an odd sort of way.  After the department store I work at went out of business, I decided to hang up my heels and become a stay-at-home mom.  When my son was in the third grade, we were struggling through this series about this bird – we were on book six and he’d read a chapter out loud, I’d read a chapter out loud, and by the end of that book, I was just about to lose my mind.  It wasn’t that interesting, the writing was just okay, and I have yet to admit to my son that they’re seven more books in that series.  But, when we read The End, my son mentioned that he thought the stories I made up to entertain him in his jogger stroller so I could get some exercise in were more interesting – so…we decided to write our own story.  It was horrible, but he enjoyed it, and I really did like using my brain again.  After numerous genres, I finally settled on romance, something I read all the time, and I’ve been writing ever since. 

5)         What made you taint Grayson's character a bit? Not that I am complaining :) But aren't our heroes supposed to be perfect?

I don’t like perfect heroes.  I enjoy men who are a bit sulky, grumpy, and even downright rude upon occasion.  By tainting a hero’s character, it lets me allow them to grow, and it’s always so fabulous to watch them change when they come into contact with a good woman. 

6)         Do you have a new book coming up? Any chance for a sneak peak for The Book Club?

My fourth and final book in The Ladies of Distinction Series, A Match of Wits, is coming out in July, 2014.  It’s Miss Agatha Watson’s story, and I do believe Mr. Zayne Beckett might show up.  He’s a mess and Agatha, being Agatha, takes it upon herself to bring him back up to snuff.  After that, I have a new series that will begin releasing in 2015.  It’s a little different.  The heroines are not wealthy, society ladies, but work for a living.  The first book, currently untitled, revolves around Miss Harriet Peabody.  She works in a hat shop and when she forms an unlikely alliance with Mr. Oliver Addleshaw, one of the wealthiest gentlemen in the country, well, her life takes a turn for the unusual. 

7)         Have you ever experienced writer's block? How do you cope with it if yes.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had writer’s block – but writer’s avoidance – yep, that happens every so often.  It’s normally when I’ve written a few chapters that I know aren’t working, but I’m stubborn and I’ll keep changing them – until I finally just walk away from my computer for a day.  Then, wincing ever so slightly, I delete every word of those chapters and start again and then I’m fine. 

8)         Amongst the contemporary writers whom would you say - 'Yes I am impressed with your work."

I would highly recommend anything by Lisa Wingate.  She’s an amazing author and her latest book, The Prayer Box, is well worth the read. 

9)         Any advice for the new writers?

It’s a tough business to break into, but you just need to keep writing.  Finish your manuscript, send out query letters, and then…start something new – but not that second book in the series – you don’t want to do that until you sell the first book.  I’ve seen far too many writers write an entire series before they even attempt to sell the first book and then that book doesn’t sell – It’s a rare day when an editor buys a second book in a series without the first. 

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At January 22, 2014 at 10:15 PM , Blogger Sundari Venkatraman said...

Humour I like; romance too yes! I am sure I would love this one. Let me check your review first :)

At January 23, 2014 at 12:14 AM , Blogger The Book Club said...

I know you will like it Sundari. Some of the scenes had me laughing my head off. The ways Jen writes is what we can term as a serious quiet humour which will force you to laugh.


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