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. Elizabeth Litton

    I’m not sure I can pick just one as a favorite–they are all so good! I really enjoyed her lastest book, though, Flights of Fancy.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Elizabeth, yes it might have been a little mean of me to ask people to pick a favorite but Flights of Fancy is an excellent choice! Good luck in the drawing.

  2. Probably A Change in Fortune! This new one seems like such a fun book! Thank you for the opportunity to win!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Janette, Welcome to Romancing History! I’m totally loving Poppy’s story. A Change in Fortune is an excellent pick! Good luck in the giveaway!

  3. Tammy Lenski

    I would enjoy reading this and it would be my first one by the author . As I get older I just love history . Perhaps I always have .

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Tammy, Oh, you are in for a treat! Jen is an amazingly talented author. And I agree, I just love reading and learning about history. Good luck in the drawing.

  4. Christine Marriott

    This was a fun post! I’ve read all of Jen Turano’s books, except her newest, and I’m not sure that I could pick a favorite. I will say that A Match of Wits will always have a special place in my heart, though, because it was the first one I read by her!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Christine, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. A Match of Wits is one of the few I haven’t read yet. I’ll have to bump that one up my TBR pile! Good luck in the giveaway!

  5. Laura W.

    Funny enough, my Mother and Grandmother have read more of her books than I have, so I should ask them what their favorite is. I would say Flights of Fancy is my favorite so far!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Laura, Thanks for visiting Romancing History. I love that you mom and grandma read historical romance. That’s awesome! I’m curious now about what they would choose. Flights of Fancy is a great choice! Good luck in the drawing.

  6. Elizabeth Riggs

    I’ve read most of Jen’s novels and my favorite HAS to be After a Fashion. That opening scene is hilarious!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for visiting Romancing History. I think After a Fashion is one of the few I haven’t read yet. I’ll need to bump it up on my TBR pile. Good luck in the drawing!

      • Jessica Clark

        I don’t know if I can pick a favorite! They are all really good, and SO funny! But if I had to pick I think that After a Fashion would be one of my favorites.

        • romancinghistory

          Hi Jessica, yep, picking just one is kind of unfair, isn’t it? But the good news is, there isn’t one you could pick that wouldn’t be a good choice! Good luck in the giveaway!

  7. Jill Hacker

    I am a huge fan! I love to read Jen’s books and listen to the audible versions on my way to and from work each day. Hard to pick a favorite, but I do love Permilia in Behind The Scenes.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jill, I enjoy audio books as well. Great way to get a little extra reading. Hubby likes to listen during his commute as well.
      Good luck in the giveaway!

  8. Amy

    I’ve read all of Jen’s books! They are my favorites. Each time I think I’ve read my favorite book and then she surpasses herself. So therefore Flights of Fantsy is my current favorite and soon to change to Diamond in the Rough

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Amy, That’s so true and definitely a sign of master writer. Good luck in the drawing!

  9. Jennifer

    I love all of her books but my favorite is A Match of Wits!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jennifer, Don’t you just love her titles? You just know your in for a good time! Thanks for visiting Romancing History and good luck in the drawing.

  10. Abby Ortego

    I have never had the pleasure of reading one of Jen’s books, but now it looks like I must! I love books in which someone tries to fit into a role in order to save someone/thing, but it doesn’t quite go as smoothly as hoped. Haha

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Abby, Yes, I think you will definitely enjoy Jen’s books. She has a knack for painting her heroine’s into tight spots. Good luck in the giveaway!

  11. Rachael K

    Pick a favorite? Out of so many spectacular stories? Maybe A Change of Fortune, since it was the first I read and was absolutely hooked, though I think I laughed out loud the most with Out of the Ordinary. Love them all.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Rachael, I suppose it was sort of mean to ask folks to choose just one! LOL! Thanks for visiting my blog today and good luck in the drawing!

  12. I have never read one of Jen’s books, but I would love to. I’ve heard great things about them! I really enjoyed the interview.

    • romancinghistory

      Oh Mandy, you’re in for a real treat! But I understand, there are so many authors. I have a couple authors I can think of off the top of my head that I haven’t read yet but have been buying their books! I need to remedy that! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Good luck in the drawing!

  13. Lisa

    I loved After a Fashion!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Lisa, Thanks for visiting Romancing History. After a Fashion is a real hoot, I agree. Good luck in the giveaway!

  14. Carol Guthrie

    I have read all of her other books. I cannot pick a favorite, although ‘Gentleman of Her Dreams (Ladies of Distinction)’: A Novella, got me hooked!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Carol, I just realized through this blog interview with Jen and several of the comments, that I’ve never read any of her novellas. I’ll have to try Gentleman of Her Dreams. Thanks for the recommendation!

  15. This was a wonderful interview! I have Flights of Fancy on my TBR, but, alas, I haven’t read it yet. Soon, though!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Kristina, Thanks so much for visiting Romancing History today. I completely understand about the TBR pile. I have a whole shelf in my office dedicated to paper copies I haven’t read yet. The one on my Kindle is even worse because I buy them and the forget I own them. Thank goodness Amazon reminds me “you already purchased this item.” LOL! Good luck in the giveaway!

  16. Cathy

    Enjoyed the interview! I have read several of Jen’s novels, all of which were so good. Just to pick one – I might say Behind the Scenes.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Cathy, I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. Behind the Scenes is one of the few I haven’t read yet. Its on list (and probably on my Kindle already)! Good luck in the drawing!

  17. I haven’t read any of Jen’s books, which is kind of surprising because I love books with humor.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Teri, Well there are so many wonderful books and authors out there, right? I rarely read outside of my genre and I can’t even keep up! I hope you get a chance to read one of Jen’s books. I know you’ll enjoy it! Good luck in the giveaway!

  18. Emily S

    I’ve read and loved all of them! I don’t know if I can pick a favorite though, because they all resonated in different ways.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Emily, I know that is sort of an unfair question, isn’t it? Thanks for visiting my blog today.

  19. Vivian Furbay

    I have read a couple of Jen’s books but can’t recall the titles right now. She’s a good author and I enjoyed her books.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Vivian, Yes, she’s really funny. You never know what mess her heroine will get herself into next. Good luck in the drawing.

  20. Kathleen

    What a fun interview. I have just started the new book on my e-reader and love the characters already! I began with Jen’s books kind of in the middle with Out of the Ordinary and had to read the others. So hard to pick, but I think After a Fashion is my favorite. Thanks for the chance to win a paper copy!

    • romancinghistory

      Kathleen, Welcome to Romancing History. I really enjoyed Out of the Ordinary, too. I should have asked here where she gets her titles. I just love that one! Good luck in the drawing!

  21. Pam Kellogg

    I’ve read all of Jen’s novels except this one and I want to read it. I like them all, it’s too hard to choose a favorite. I just love the combination of humor, romance, action, and faith. It was fun to read the interview with Jen. Thanks also for the chance to win Diamond in the Rough.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Pam, I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. I got a kick of her saying that she’s frequently “stalked by chickens.” LOL! Good luck in the giveaway!

  22. Tabitha

    I haven’t read one of her books yet, but they sound great! This sounds like there’s plenty of amusement to be enjoyed 🙂

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Tabitha, thank you for visiting my Romancing History blog today. Yes, Jen’s books will keep you chuckling at the antics of her heroines. There is never a dull moment. And though I’m not finished yet, Miss Poppy Garrison, is not disappointing me in the humor and awkward moments categories. Good luck in the giveaway!

  23. Sarah V.

    I’ve read a good number of her books, but I don’t know that I have a particular favorite. I really like the humor that she puts into her books, and that she endeavors to sets her stories accurately (as far as the historical details go).

    I think I’ve missed a couple of the more recent ones, so I’m off to see if I can rectify that.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Sarah, That’s a great point. In addition to being known for the humorous antics of heroines, she does an immense amount of research and weaves it so seamlessly into her stories. That’s one thing I adore about historical romance — all the historical details, like the intricate steps of the quadrille and learning that it was a real honor to be chosen for those dances. Good luck in the drawing.

  24. Laurie Mullins

    I haven’t read one of her books yet, but all of these recommendations are making me head to the book store tomorrow!!!! 😉

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Laurie, That will be music to Jen’s ears! Yes, you can’t go wrong with any of her books. Jump in and come back and let us know what you think! Good luck in the drawing.

  25. Love Jens sense of humor..really liked Flights of fancy…got the audible copy!!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jojo, Agreed, she is the queen of historical rom-coms in my book. Thanks for visiting Romancing History and good luck in the drawing.

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