If you like intrigue mixed in with your romance then there’s a book releasing today that’s perfect for you. And I’m thrilled that author Jennifer Young agreed to stop by to answer a few questions 🙂
*What do you like best about writing romances?
I’ve dabbled in various genres (and read various genres, too) but it’s the happy ending that draws me back to romance. I’m a realist so I like to write about real people with faults, not perfect but unrealistic people — but I’m an optimist, too. Real life can be pretty miserable: romance can remind you of the best bits of it.
*What is your favorite romantic story?
This is really tricky, and I’m going to answer by choosing something that isn’t usually thought of as romance. In Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels, there’s a developing relationship between Peter and Harriet Vane, the woman who he saved from hanging after she was accused of murdering her lover. Some of the scenes between them are extraordinarily passionate, although there’s no explicit sex in the books. But the slow-burn of their relationship is wonderful.
*If you could be any romantic character, who would it be and why?
Hmm… that’s not easy either. I’m going to go back to the classics for this one and say Jane Eyre. She may have had a terrible upbringing and been initially unlucky in love — but she’s a shrewd judge of character and eminently sensible, which isn’t true of that many romantic heroines (sorry, but it isn’t!). And, of course, she gets her happy ending.
*Which of your characters/books was the most fun to write?
That’s an unfair question — like asking me which is my favourite child! I love all my books equally, for different reasons. But I’m going to go with the latest one, Blank Space, because it’s the first one set wholly in my home city of Edinburgh. Plus, because it involves undercover policing, about which there’s very limited available information, I was able to let my imagination run riot. I’m deeply attached to both my hero and my heroine, Marcus and Bronte, so much that I’m going to be taking them on a long and sometimes difficult emotional journey in books to come.
*If you weren’t a writer and could be anything you want, what would it be?
In a perfect world, I would be a countryside ranger, teaching people about the geology of some of the most stunning places in the world, up in the Scottish Highlands. I wouldn’t be able to live without writing, though, so I expect I’d have to produce a few leaflets and guidebooks to help me with my work!
Dangerous Friends, Book One
by Jennifer Young
When Bronte O’Hara finds an injured man in her kitchen in the run-up to an international political summit in Edinburgh, a world she thought she’d left behind catches up with her. When the man makes his escape, the police seem less interested in finding out where he went and how he came to be there than they are in Bronte’s past – more specifically, her ex-boyfriend, Eden Mayhew. Eden’s an anarchist, up to his neck in any trouble around — and he’s missing. The police are keen to find him, certain that he’ll come back. Who can she trust – and what has Eden’s disappearance got to do with the handsome stranger?
Marcus ended the call, stood up, picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder, then paused to watch a heron standing poised at the edge of the river. It was waiting, waiting, waiting with instinctive patience, for things to fall out the way it wanted, for a fish to swim into its range. After a while he lost interest in it, setting his mind instead to the fruitless chase of a lost memory, and always failing to see beyond Bronte O’Hara’s bewitching dark eyes.
He’d see her again, if only because they lived just streets apart. Had she recognised him? When she’d been with Eden she wouldn’t have given him a second glance. Eden had that entrancing effect on women, at least until they realised that they weren’t the only one in his life, and sometimes even beyond then. He’d seen her at other times, too, and he’d deliberately looked away because it never suited him to establish any kind of eye contact. She might have seen him. If she had, did it matter? Should he have a story ready for the moment when she would challenge him with his actions?
There was no need for lies, or not too many of them, he reminded himself. He had nothing to hide because he could remember nothing. When he thought about what had happened to him, he only embarked upon a struggle against the enduring blank space in his memory and the stubborn refusal of both his conscious and his subconscious mind to look any further back than the moment when he’d opened his eyes to find Bronte staring into them. And if that wasn’t what people meant when they talked about thinking they’d died and gone to heaven, then what was?
The more he fretted about it, the harder it became. He had to remember what happened, if only because the one thing he was sure of was that it was something to do with Eden’s disappearance. Ultimately, it might be something which would compromise the police operation and, in the worst case, cost Eden, his friend and colleague, his life.
You couldn’t force memory, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t offer it some key prompts. It was almost a fortnight since he must have seen something suspicious and followed the trail into Bronte’s flat. An accident? A trap?
He glanced at his watch. Six o’clock on a Friday; she’d be on her way back from work. He strolled casually along through Stockbridge to Comely Bank, and hung around on the corner tapping his watch as if he were waiting for someone. She came past, a little later than usual and with a Waitrose bag swinging from her hand. Eden had boasted that she was a good cook, salivating over his own good fortune.
He took a consoling pleasure from watching her. Short brown hair curled down to the nape of her neck. She’d swapped her work shoes for trainers, but the high heel of one designer sandal stuck out of her open handbag. Unaware of his presence, she strolled along without a care, so clearly freed from the stresses of his unwelcome visit.
He watched until she’d let herself into her flat and there was no more to be gained. Even when she’d thought he was threatening her, she’d regarded him with what was, at worst, interest. But it didn’t help. His memory remained locked.
Jennifer Young is an Edinburgh-based writer of romance novels. She has published six novels in contemporary, romantic suspense and new adult romance genres with Tirgearr Publishing. Blank Space, the first in a series of romantic suspense novels set in Edinburgh, is her first self-published novel.
Jennifer loves reading, travelling and cats — and you’ll find one of the latter concealed somewhere in all but one of her books. Sometimes they’re significant characters but mostly, like all cats the world over, they’re just keeping an eye on things.