Welcome Jennifer. A Reckless Heart is your eleventh contemporary novel. What motivates you to write?
Well, thanks to the pandemic, my writing motivation has pretty much flown out the window. I’m jealous of authors who are inspired and can take advantage of this time to settle into a manuscript. However, before the pandemic, I’d just get this urge to write something down. A voice would pop into my head and repeat itself until I sat down and wrote what he or she was saying. Usually it’s the male character who speaks to me first, and they’ll whisper a scene or the black moment or just a chunk of dialogue. Once I write it down, I have to figure out if it’s enough to take me through the rest of the book.
That leads me to my next question. Without giving away too many details, what was the main factor that helped you choose the MC for this novel?
He entered my head and wouldn’t shut up. I love the beauty and the beast trope, and Simon presented himself as the perfect “beast”—outwardly forbidding, but with plenty of heart so the reader hopefully falls as deeply in love with him as I have. He likes to keep to himself, and he has a guesthouse he rents, so of course, I gave him a tenant who was exactly who he said he didn’t want—young, pretty, and personable. Once the pins were lined up, I basically just shoved him into the situation and watched him squirm.
What was your most memorable moment from writing A Reckless Heart?
The Scrabble scene! I love playing Scrabble (or similar word games) and I thought it would be a great way for my characters to bond and flirt. It probably couldn’t happen in real life—no one would be lucky enough to get those tiles in that order—but I loved writing it.
That is a great scene. What would you like your readers to take away as a lasting impression of A Reckless Heart?
With times the way they are, I think kindness matters. The premise of the Scarred Hearts series, of which A Reckless Heart is the first in the series, is four friends from college who are wildly successful in their fields, and who use the money they’ve made for good. All of the heroes require the women who fall in love with them to dig deep and to see below the surface. And I think that’s an important lesson to take away as well. People are not always as they seem, and the truly worthy ones require a little effort.
You are so right. Just for fun—if you had one superpower while writing this novel what would it have been and why?
Oh, that’s a great question. I’d love the ability to enter the world I created, just for a little while, to experience what my characters were going through.
Jennifer, please drop by again. Best wishes for lots of sales!
Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she's found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.
Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he's lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he's not lonely.
Simon's new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg's secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg's love?
Nervous laughter bubbled in her chest. They’d been close before and held hands. Granted, he’d covered hers on the ladder, but still. It wasn’t the first time they touched. Why was this different? She remembered the sensations when he’d covered her hand on the roof— warmth and roughness and safety. And she wanted it. She bumped her hand against his, on purpose, to feel his skin. It wasn’t smooth like hers. Its texture, unique to him, fascinated her. A moment later, he rubbed his arm against her.
Was it accidental, too? She snuck a glance at his profile. Although his hair blocked most of his face, she’d swear when the wind blew it, a ghost of a smile hovered, like they shared a private joke. Her belly warmed, and the air between their knuckles, where they almost touched, crackled with electricity.
The next time their bodies touched, she slipped her hand through his elbow. His body jolted before he pressed her arm against his side, and they walked to the curve of the shore connected.
When they stopped, they watched the waves lap over the rocks, their froth sputtering into the cracks.
“This is the only place I’ve ever not felt alone,” he whispered.
“How long have you been alone?”
“Too long,” he replied. “This is the only place I’ve ever felt seen.”
“I can’t imagine you invisible,” she said.
“When “It Girls” and camera bulbs surround you, it’s easy to fade into the background.”
The sky and water darkened as the light faded, and she shivered in the chill air. Her hand grew icy as he pulled away from her. As she was about to complain, a weight landed on her shoulders. His arm drew her close. He remained still, as if he waited to see if she’d object. Instead, she leaned against his side. Heat emanated from him, and tingles ran through her body. A desire to turn into him, to press her body against his, to kiss him, overwhelmed her. He positioned her in front of him and rested his chin on the top of her head. His heart beat against her back. A soft moan escaped her lips, and they both froze. All of a sudden, she was aware of how close she was. His jacket was warm from his body and smelled like him.
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I can't think of a better way to kick off this lovely St. Patrick's Day than with guest author Margot Johnson. Today, she's sharing details about her latest sweet romance Love Leads the Way.
Margot Johnson on Love Leads the Way
For many years, I worked in a busy corporate environment, and I left a leadership role in human resources and communications to focus on writing. Now instead of guiding employees, I create characters who have minds of their own!
In LOVE LEADS THE WAY, Tessa coaches Mark in leadership, but they both need lessons in love! I hope you have fun with these clashing coworkers as they discover where love leads.
The story is fiction but draws on some of my experiences at work and at home. I’d love to have lunch with Tessa and compare notes on office gossip, single parenting, family quirks, and cute golden retrievers. One key difference is I didn’t meet my handsome husband at work!
Tessa and Mark both support a mother with dementia which brings some tough but also light moments. My late dad died of complications from Alzheimer’s, so that part of the book is close to my heart. He was a journalist who always encouraged me to read and write.
My characters love dogs, and my loyal, old golden retriever, Sophie, is the inspiration for the adorable dogs in my books.
When not writing, I love to travel. One of my more unusual adventures was appearing on the TV game show Let’s Make a Deal where I almost won a car! You can often find me reading a good book for my monthly book club while munching on a large bowl of popcorn.
Don't miss this blurb:
She coaches him in team leadership, but do they both need lessons in love?
Single mom Tessa Shore runs a successful leadership program at work and supports a mother with dementia. She can handle any challenge in her jam-packed schedule as long as nothing spins out of control…especially her feelings.
Engineer Mark Delaney is an expert on pipelines at the same company, but his interpersonal skills need a makeover. Advancing to an executive job requires enrollment in a leadership course he doesn't think he needs.
When their professional and personal issues entangle, life at the office gets a lot more complicated. Romance is impossible…or is it?
Enjoy an excerpt:
Pacing around Crescent Park in moonlight trimmed with stars, Mark breathed fresh air and slowed his erratic heartbeats from the shock of Tessa’s invitation. Apparently, the woman who directed the class with the precision of an air-traffic controller could flex…at least, a little. She wanted to spend extra time with him, and he couldn’t refuse.
“I didn’t think we’d bump into other participants at this late hour.” She hugged tighter her windbreaker against the cool breeze. “We won’t mix business and pleasure. I’m strictly off duty, and so are you.”
“Okay, Tessa, whatever you say.” Zipping higher his jacket, he strode and sniffed moisture riding the wind. Guilt tiptoed around his collar, and he couldn’t escape the feeling this outing was a bad idea. He should avoid her, except in class, yet he accepted her invitation. But why did she break her own rule and contact him?
“If I can’t discuss work, can I ask you a personal question?” He admired her profile with pert nose tipped to the sky, breathing the fresh night air.
“I guess so since I’m the woman who persuades everyone else to dish.” She laughed and brushed a curl from her cheek.
Streetlights alternated with a full moon to light the pathway. Their footsteps crunched on gravel, and their murmured voices broke the peaceful silence.
“Ready.” She tucked her hands in her jacket pockets.
“Is Mr. Shore waiting at home?” He winced at his forward question. No sense beating around the bush. He shouldn’t pine for someone else’s wife.
About Margot Johnson:
Margot Johnson grew up in a family of writers and has always loved books and writing.
She is the author of LOVE TAKES FLIGHT and her new release LOVE LEADS THE WAY. Before turning her focus to the fun writing life, Margot held leadership roles in human resources and communications. Her motto is "Dream big and work hard."
When not writing, she loves to connect with family and friends, volunteer with SK Writers Guild, and walk at least 10,000 steps a day (except when it's minus 40!) She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada with her amazing husband and adorable golden retriever.
Social Media Links:
Facebook - Margot Johnson Author
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AuthorMargot