Romancing History

Interview with Author Jen Turano and a Give Away!

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author, Jen Turano, to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Jen at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat last spring. I think my jaw nearly came unhinged when she sat down at our table. I distinctly remember telling myself to “play it cool.” LOL! I don’t know if I managed to pull that off or not, but I did manage not to fall out of my seat so at least there’s that!

Jen’s newest release, Diamond in the Rough, released September 3rd and is the second book in her American Heiress series. Before we chat with Jen, here’s a little bit about Jen and her new book.

About Jen


Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist.  When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. Readers may find her at or or on Twitter at JenTurano@JenTurano.

About the Book



To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Interview with Jen


Fast Five

Dogs or Cats? Dogs because, well, I don’t think that needs explaining.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee, but only one cup, two cups can make me rather…edgy.

Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth

Puzzles or Board Games? Board games – Clue being my favorite, although Al (husband person) is notorious for messing up the clue cards, which makes it all the more interesting.

Sound of Music or Hello Dolly? Sound of Music – I once sang the title song in a choir competition – had to dress in an outfit that looked exactly like Maria’s when she was twirling around in that grassy field.

Q & A

RH:  Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in?

JT:  I’ve been married to Al for thirty years, and yes, of course I was super, super young when we got married – okay, not really, but that’s what I tell people. “Diamond in the Rough” is my twelfth full-length novel with Bethany House, although I do have two novellas with them as well, but I usually don’t count those. I write Gilded Age Historical Rom-Coms (romantic comedies) and have discovered that I’m a complete history nerd.

RH: I’m a huge history nerd, too something else we have in common. Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

JT: I don’t like bacon.

RH: You don’t like bacon? Really? What about book boyfriends? Who is your favorite literary heart throb?

JT: Is it weird that I don’t have a favorite book boyfriend? Hmmm…

RH: Uh, yeah! LOL! Nah, its probably wise. Then you won’t have drool and ruin your book! LOL! Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your hubby, Al, meet?

JT: We met in a bar in Buffalo, NY – although I didn’t agree to go out with him at first. I actually accepted a date with one of Al’s friends instead. That date was only okay, but then I ran into Al at another event a few weeks later. He gave me this great smile, and we’ve been together ever since.

RH: Poor Al. You made him sweat a little. Your books make me laugh out loud. Are any of the funny incidents in your novels based on events from your real life?

JT: I seem to have a lot of run-ins with animals – I’ve gotten chased by dogs, peacocks, and had to rescue my son from a beaver pond when he sank in the silt. Horses are not my friends, they tend to like to chase me, and don’t even get me started on chickens – can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stalked by chickens.

RH: My, you really have had quite a few misadventures where animals are concerned. That definitely sounds like fodder for your one of your future heroines. What was the inspiration behind Diamond in the Rough?

JT: When I decided to write an American Heiress series, I knew it would be tricky to keep each story fresh, which is why I thought it would be amusing to include a heroine who was an unexpected heiress, and then throw her into New York high society.

RH: I love that twist. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for your story?

JT: Hero would probably be someone like Clive Owen, while the heroine could be someone like, ah…Jennifer Lawrence? I don’t normally use images when I’m writing a story, nor do I give too many details about appearances because I want the reader to form their own image of what they think my characters look/act like.

RH: What fun! I can totally see Clive Owen as Reginald and Jennifer Lawrence as Poppy. I think its pretty cool that you don’t overload your readers with the physical description of your characters. I often see characters differently than an author paints them. Sometimes I’ll be reading along and the author will mention that the heroine is a brunette and I’m like, what? I could’ve sworn she had red hair!

In Diamond in the Rough, your heroine, Poppy Garrison, interacts with New York high society. What did you learn about the New York Four Hundred during your research?

JT: I do a ton of research about the Gilded Age, and with each book, I always learn something new – in this book, I ran across this mission house, The House of Industry, in Five Points. That establishment offered immigrants classes in English, while also offered school to children. They placed orphans when needed, provided job opportunities, and helped those immigrants transition to life in America.

RH: I’m such a history nerd and I’d never heard of The House of Industry before. That’s really interesting. I do know that etiquette was an important aspect of life in the Gilded Age. In Diamond in the Rough, Reginald Blackburn, agrees to give etiquette lessons to Poppy. Can you share some of the societal expectations for meals or balls that would’ve been part of his instructions?

JT: The quadrille dances were incredibly intricate – the young ladies and men who were chosen to participate in these were required to practice for hours on end, and then they had to go for fittings because each quadrille was really a stage production if you will, complete with costumes and makeup. As for the expectation for meals, it was not uncommon to have twelve courses served, which meant cutlery was excessive, and one had to learn how to properly negotiate around a table setting.

RH: Twelve courses? I can’t even imagine! I loved the opening scene in Diamond in the Rough when Poppy snags her tiara on her dance partner’s jacket. It must have been a challenge for the young women of Poppy’s day to learn all those intricate dance steps. What was your biggest challenge in writing Diamond in the Rough?

JT: Oddly enough, this particular book didn’t give me as much trouble as some of my books have in the past. Yes, the characters didn’t want to behave at first, but all in all, it was an easy write.

RH: Diamond in the Rough is the second book in your American Heiress series. Will any of the characters from Flights of Fancy make an appearance in book two? If so, who can we look forward to seeing again?

JT: Miss Beatrix Waterbury is seen throughout the book, and then she’ll get her story in book three, “Storing Up Trouble.”

RH: I really like it when characters reappear throughout a series. What do you hope readers will take away from Diamond in the Rough?

JT: I always hope readers will take away a few chuckles with any of my books, as well as enjoy a few amusing hours spending time with my quirky characters.

RH: I had so much fun chatting with you, Jen. Thanks for visiting with my readers.

JT: Thanks for having me Kelly!!  Always fun.



Congratulations to our winner, Mandy Bentley!!!

Jen has graciously agreed to give away a paper copy of Diamond in the Rough to one Romancing History reader. To enter the giveaway*, tell us if you’ve had the opportunity to read one of Jen’s novels, and if so, which is your favorite.

*Giveaway ends midnight, September 11, 2019.


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  1. Mary Noble

    I read all Jen’s books several times! I absolutely love all of them. But for some reason, Out of the Ordinary and Harrison just crack me up!! Every time I get to the horse scene I have to stop 3 or 4 times to wipe my eyes so I can focus on the words. I hope to eventually read it all the way through in one sitting. Thank you, Jen, for your awesome writing!

    • romancinghistory

      Hahaha! That is a great story and you made me chuckle all over again just thinking about it. Good luck in the drawing!

  2. Anne Rightler

    I’ve inky read two of Jen’s books. Finding Margo and Flights of Fancy. I enjoyed them both. Such a great interview. Thanks for sharing!!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Anne, Thanks for visiting Romancing History. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview and good luck in the drawing!

  3. Jen Turano is a total delight just like her books. I have read them all and “Talent for Trouble” is still my favorite!

    • Hi Jackie, Thanks for visiting Romancing History. Agreed. All of her books are delights. I definitely think “A Talent for Trouble” is my favorite title. Good luck in the drawing.

  4. Kelly Tyree

    I loved this interview! Jen Turano is such a great author and it is so fun to learn more about the person behind the book. This book is definitely on my TBR list.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. I always enjoy learning about the authors of my favorite books too! Good luck in the giveaway.

  5. Faith Marshall

    I’ve read A Most Peculiar Circumstance, A Talent for Trouble, Playing the Part, and Flights of Fancy. The latter was the most fun and romantic of all. I enjoyed how something was always going on and you had to keep reading!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Faith, Aren’t her titles fun? I should have asked her where she gets the inspiration for those! LOL! She definitely keeps the reader turning pages and chuckling as they do it! Good luck in the giveaway!

  6. Diane Estrella

    I’ve loved her writing since the first book. Each one is unique and memorable which I’m sure this one is too. Can’t wait!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Diane, Welcome to Romancing History! Agreed, Jen does have a way of writing unique and memorable characters. Good luck in the drawing.

  7. Stella Potts

    I have read a few of your books. I don’t think I can pick a favorite as I enjoyed all of them that I have been privileged to read. This one sounds great too.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Stella, Thank you for visiting my blog today. I agree, its hard to pick a favorite. Good luck in the giveaway!

  8. Andrea Stephens

    This was a fun interview to read! Thank you, Kelly and Jen!
    Good job staying in your chair Kelly. I’m pretty sure would have fallen out of mine if I wasn’t on my scooter when I met Jen.
    I’ve read all but one of Jen’s books and can’t possibly pick a favorite. I love each for different reasons.
    *No entry needed*

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Andrea, I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Meeting Jen was so fun! The rest of that story is that as the evening went on more people joined us. They kept sliding tables over and the next think I know I’m not only sitting in a group with Jen Turano, but Dani Pettrey, Kimberley Woodhouse, Connilyn Cossette, and Kristi Ann Hunter! Crazy right?

  9. Debbie N

    I’ve read 5 of her novels and 2 novellas. Choosing a favorite is so hard! I’ve loved them all! I think Flights of Fancy might be at the top of my list, though.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Debbie, Welcome to Romancing History. It is hard to choose one favorite, isn’t it? Almost unfair to make the reader choose. Good luck in the drawing!

  10. Geneva Hall

    I love Flights of Fancy! It is incredibly funny, and highly entertaining. It is the most incredible book, I believe I’ve ever read.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Geneva, What a wonderful compliment. I’m sure that will bless Jen’s heart. I’m certainly enjoying this next book in the series. Good luck in the drawing and thanks for visiting my blog today.

  11. I have not read any titles by Jen Turano yet but would love to add her to my list of favorite Christian historical fiction writers.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Sue, Welcome to Romancing History. I can’t recommend her books enough. You won’t be disappointed no matter which one you choose. So many good recommendations from the commenters here. Good luck in the drawing.

  12. I read ‘After a Fashion’ in August, 2015. I just reread my Goodreads review of the book and had to laugh at the first paragraph of my review: ‘Have you ever done this? After I had read about three chapters of this book I asked myself, “Self, where have you been? This is Jen Turano’s fifth novel and this is the first time you’ve read one of her books.” Trust me, I won’t miss any of this author’s books again.’

    I read Book 2 in that series, too, and enjoyed it just as much. I need to read some more of this talented author’s stories.

    Thanks for the nice giveaway.

    • Hi June, I love that you went back and looked at some of your old reviews for her books. And yes, I have a few authors like that – authors who’s books I buy but haven’t made time to read yet. Regina Jennings for example. I find it especially tricky when I buy them on Kindle. I don’t see them like on my bookshelf. I need to read one of hers! Thanks for inspiring me and good luck in the giveaway.

  13. Amanda Robertson

    I so admire you beautiful writing talent and I adore your good clean stories!

    • Hi Amanda, that is why I love Christian fiction — it lifts our spirits and points us toward our Heavenly Father to find solutions for our problems. Good luck in the drawing!

  14. Lori Wachtman

    “Playing the Part” and “After a Fashion”, so far are tied…

  15. Lori Wachtman

    “Playing the Part” and “After a Fashion”….

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Lori, Excellent choices. Thank you for commenting today. Good luck in the giveaway.

  16. Kim Bakos

    I have read a number of them. I love Playing the Part!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Kim, I agree. It is wonderful to read something that lifts our spirits, isn’t it? Good luck in the drawing.

  17. Perrianne Askew

    I think A Talent for Trouble is my favorite so far. I think the title is my favorite too. Who doesn’t have a talent for something, but a talent for trouble is funny. I haven’t had a chance to read a newer one yet.

    • Maria

      I don’t have a favorite because I have loved all I’ve read but the Go As You Please quadrille made me laugh a lot so it is memorable to me.

      • romancinghistory

        Hi Maria, Jen gets her heroine into trouble with a heroine again in Diamond in the Rough. I’m sure you’ll love it! Good luck in the giveaway.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Perrianne, I haven’t read that one either but I LOVE the title! Good luck in the drawing!

  18. Lisa

    I have read almost all of Jen’s books and I Love them,it’s hard to pick a favorite. But if I had to choose I think I’d go with A Talent For Trouble.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Lisa, thanks for visiting the blog today. I haven’t read A Talent for Trouble! The title sounds like a great read! Good luck in the giveaway!

  19. Melissa Andres

    I haven’t! I’ve been dying to and have several on my kindle. I’ve got to get to them!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Melissa, I haven’t read them all either and like you, probably have most of them on my Kindle! I’m really enjoying her heroine, Poppy Garrison. She may be my new BBFF! Good luck in the drawing!

  20. Jenny Deane

    I have read all of Jen’s books! Love them! My current favorite is Flights of Fancy.

    • romancinghistory

      Welcome to Romancing History! That was a very good one, Jenny! Good luck in the drawing!

  21. Amy Etner

    Okay….This is my third time trying to answer! LOL (Keep getting an error mesage). Anyway….I have laughed, therefore enjoyed each book Jen Turano book I have read. But if I have to pick one, I pick A Most Peculiar Circumstance.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Amy, I had to chuckle at I “keep getting an error message.” No doubt if one of Jen’s characters lived in the computer tech age she’d get lots of “error messages,” too! LOL! Thanks for visiting the blog and good luck in the giveaway.

  22. Linda

    I have read nearly all her books and…It is impossible to have a Jen Turano favorite. Each is uniquely wonderful!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Linda, what a lovely thing to say. I’m sure that will warm Jen’s heart. I agree though. Wasn’t it mean of me to ask y’all to pick a favorite? Thanks for visiting my Romancing History blog and good luck in the drawing!

  23. Amy Etner

    I’ve equally laughed, therefore enjoyed, each book I have read. Butnifni have to pick just one, A Most Peculiar Circumstance.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Amy, I just love that title. Her titles alone make me want to purchase and read her books. Good luck in the giveaway!

  24. I’ve read all of Jen’s stories today. They all are fabulous and bring smiles and laughs. If I had to pick one….this is hard…Caught by Surprise. I loved Temperance’s story.
    Can’t wait to read this newest release.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Katie, Agreed. Reading Jen’s books will bring hours of good entertainment mixed with romance and chuckles. I think she is definitely the Queen of Historical Rom-Coms! Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to get her a tiara (just like Miss Poppy Garrison)! Good luck in the giveaway!

  25. Alyssa Tillett

    Out of the Ordinary is one of my “favorite” books of hers. I say “favorite” because I love all her books so far.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Alyssa, That is one of my favorites, too. I agree, its too hard to pick just one. Thanks for visiting Romancing History today and good luck in the giveaway!

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