Chatting with Jen Turano

Posted by abakersp in Historical, Reviews / Spotlights / 49 Comments

Oh friends, it’s time for a chat with my favorite friend Jen Turano. Her books are just amazing, and if you haven’t read any of them, well what are you waiting for!? Her latest release, To Disguise the Truth is next on my TBR list and I cannot wait to dive into it. I already know I’ll be giggling like a school girl. I’m delighted to have Jen here today. And she has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of her book, so be sure to check out the giveaway!!

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About the Book

Chatting with Jen TuranoTo Disguise the Truth (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency)
Author Jen Turano
Published by Baker Books
on January 18, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Christian / Historical, Fiction / Christian / Romance / Historical, Fiction / Romance / Historical / American
Pages: 352

When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.

Arthur Livingston's goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family--but he's left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life--and the lives of those she loves--in jeopardy.

Amazon | Baker Book House

Interview with Jen

Welcome back!!! I’m so glad to have you back on the blog. Let’s get right to it. I know that whenever I pick up one of your books, I’m going to be rolling on the floor with laughter. Does adding humor in your stories come naturally? Where do you draw that humor from?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had what can only be considered a very weird sense of humor, which has come in handy over the years because I seem to experience the most unusual circumstances. Take for instance this one – there I was, in college, strolling across this field that was a shortcut to get to a class. And, okay, it was rather blustery, and as I strolled, I noticed all these newspapers flying around. The strange thought crossed my mind that it looked like one of those comedic scenes about to happen in a movie – you know, where the character suddenly finds herself with a newspaper molded around her from the wind. Well, before I knew it, yep, one of those newspapers blew right into me, covering my face and obscuring my view and…it was next to impossible to get the pesky thing off of me. It also didn’t help that I started cackling like a crazy woman, that state only increasing when this poor guy tried to come to my assistance. Stuff like that happens to me all the time, but I never get mortified, only amused because weird circumstances are simply a part of my life. Those circumstances are incredibly handy with my writing because all I have to do to craft an outlandish scene is take a trip down memory lane. I also watch people, and some may say I’m rather stalkerish in this regard, but I look at it as merely inspiration for my job.

It’s only one question in and I’m already laughing! You always have such unique character names in your books. What’s been your favorite name so far?

My very favorite name so far is Miss Temperance Flowerdew. I took a ton grief about that one because a lot of people thought I simply made the name up. Nope, not the case at all. A friend of mine from high school was digging into her ancestry and found Temperance Flowerdew in her family tree. Well, as soon as she mentioned her extraordinary find, I knew I just had to have her. This same friend also gave me Mercy Miner, who is also in that very same book.

Besides shaking down friends and family for names, which I insist have to be historically accurate, even if some of them seem completely far-fetched, I scour through old obituaries and moldy research books, jotting down any name that immediately makes me smile. Now, there’s no saying that once I start writing a book that the characters are going to accept the names I’ve chosen for them, but that’s all part of the fun – arguing with characters no one can see but me. (And, yes, I know, that makes me sound as if I should be on some manner of medication, but trust me, talking to invisible people when you’re a writer just goes with the territory.)

Ha! I admit, I thought perhaps that name was made up too. Those who follow you on social media have seen your beautiful new she-shed. Has being out there changed your writing routine at all? Does Al know to stay out 😉

I would have to say that, yes, writing in a shed has definitely changed my writing routine. For one, I never expected that I’d have to shovel the backyard to get to work if it snows, and then, well, even though I have heat and air, it occasionally takes an hour to heat or cool off the shed, during which time I’m either sweltering or freezing to death as I try to knock off a chapter. All in all, though, having a place where I can be by myself has more perks than disadvantages. I have to be completely alone to write effectively, so high-tailing it across the yard is a small price to pay to find peace and quiet. As for Al? Yep, he knows he’s only allowed to visit if I extend him an invitation. In all honesty, I’m fairly certain he enjoys me being out in the shed as well because he doesn’t have to listen to me wandering around the house, talking to myself.

I think my husband wishes I had a she-shed! The Gilded Age is clearly your jam, and may I say you are fantastic at writing in that time period. But have you ever considered writing in a different era, or even genre?

I actually have written in other genres. When I first started writing, I dove into middle grade fantasy. Those didn’t amount to anything, but then I moved on to Young Adult. Again, no luck finding an agent. After that I went contemporary. Same thing, agents seemed to like my writing voice, but my writing craft just wasn’t perfected enough to be considered publishing-worthy. I then decided to try historical, and that’s where I found my sweet spot. I did have a contemporary book published, “Finding Margo.” Unfortunately, things went wrong with the publishing house I sold the series to, so it was pulled from stores and if you ever see it in a library…hmmm… It ends on a cliff hanger and at this point, I don’t see myself ever finishing the series.

Going forward, I do have an idea for another contemporary. I simply need to find time in my rather hectic schedule to write it. We’ll see if I find that time this year.

I’ll have to check in with you later in the year to see if you’ve written it or not! You’ve visited tons of blogs over the years, and share lots with us on social media. But what’s one thing readers still don’t know about you?

Hmmmm…tricky question. There are so many things I could mention but…one thing. Okay – confession time – I do not like bacon.

Jen, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Who does’t like bacon!? The last time we talked you told me about a funny (well maybe more disturbing) story about one of your walks – a man who decided he just wanted to take his pants off lol. What have the adventures in walking brought you lately?

You know, the trail has been relatively quiet of late, probably because I’m out there before six and it’s still dark. The most interesting adventure Remee, my neurotic Cattle Dog, and I have had in the past month is when she decided she wanted to herd an eight-point mule deer. Unfortunately, that deer didn’t want to be herded, and I was forced to pick my fifty-pound pooch up and hightail it down the trail with this monstrous deer trailing behind us for a good mile. I was not amused.

You may not have been amused, but I bet those who saw it (or imagine it like I’m doing right now) were! Can you share what’s in the pipeline? We need more books to look forward to! 

I am currently working on a new series – The Matchmakers. I turned in the first book, currently untitled, and have now started the second book. That first book won’t release until 2023, though, because I was in serious danger of suffering from a nervous breakdown due to Covid and daunting deadlines, so for this series, instead of releasing two books a year, I’m going to release one every nine months. That schedule may change for the next series I write, but for now, I’m kind of digging the more relaxed pace. I think the first book is rather amusing, and Adelaide Duveen is the heroine in the second book and, wow, she’s a bit of a hot mess, exactly how I like my heroines. So many dastardly situations I can throw her into.

Oh my goodness I cannot wait!!! Thank you so much for chatting with me today Jen!

Thanks for having me, Jessica! Always delightful.


One lucky commenter is going win an autographed copy of To Disguise the Truth! (US residents only)

To enter, comment below with your favorite part of this interview! Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win!!

Giveaway ends Wednseday January 26th at midnight.

49 responses to “Chatting with Jen Turano

  1. Kay Garrett

    LOVE Jen Turano’s books and so looking forward to reading “To Disguise the Truth”.

    Enjoyed the interview. It’s always fun to learn more about the person behind the books we love. I must say first off – BACON?? Wow! 🙂 Love the way you find real names for your characters. It is true that truth is stranger than fiction because you probably couldn’t make up better names – names that stand out and are memorable. Isn’t it funny how our four legged children pick the worse times to be heroic. Ours is Snickerdoodle, a 17 year old chihuahua with very little vision left. Imagine my surprise when the one thing he was was a bobcat that came to visit our property. Thankfully he weighs a lot less than Remee.

    Thank you for the interview and the fabulous chance to win an autographed copy of “To Disguise the Truth”. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Jean

    Oh my I loved everything about this post but I will have to say, my favorite is the time she was walking and newspapers were flying by and one smacked her in the face. Lol.

    I love Jen’s books and Jen and I actually grew up in the same town and graduated the same high school!! I graduated in ’90 and I think she was ’87, not 100% sure though.
    Go, Red Devils! 😃

    But how cool is that to have an author from the same small town?!

  3. Perrianne Askew

    The bacon comment caught my attention because most people are mad about bacon. Thank you Jen for not liking it because I’m allergic to it! My Mom gave me some as a kid and my eyes swelled shut. That’s not something I want to repeat. I did get tested for the allergy but the final test was to eat some in the doctor’s office. I politely declined as my doctor is Jewish and I didn’t want to offend. I can now eat a couple of bacon bits, but I’m not brave enough to eat more than that.
    Congrats to Jen on the new release, one I’m sure will make me smile. I also look forward to her new series! I hope she enjoys a bit of a slower pace because I have no idea how she keeps her pace.

  4. Roxanne C.

    I enjoyed the entire interview. I can’t choose which part is my favorite, Jen’s movie-worthy run-in with the newspaper or how she comes up with her characters’ names. So looking forward to reading this series in its entirety!

    Luvthots (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. kris brown

    LOL, love the deer story! I’m a bit trail walker too, but haven’t run into that kind of mischief. Looking forward to Jen’s latest book 🙂

  6. Megan

    Great interview! I loved the story about the newspaper flying up and covering your face. I can just picture it too.

  7. Patricia Finnegan

    I like finding out about the middle grade books that you wrote. Now I’m interested in them lol.

  8. Misty

    Thank you for the opportunity to win!! I’m so sorry about the Covid. It’s a very nervous time for sure for everyone. God Bless and stay safe!!

  9. Annie Clark

    I loved the first question because the humor Jen puts in her books is so unique and one of the many reasons why Jen is my favorite author. When I read a Jen Turano book, I always know that I am going to find myself laughing out loud at least one. I also loved learning that Jen has had many humorous encounters.

  10. Jennifer G

    My very favorite name so far is Miss Temperance Flowerdew!! I love that name too!

  11. Donalyn Paulsen

    I love the newspaper story. I can picture it happening and I love that she can find the joy in all the crazy situations that she gets into.

  12. Crystal Clamp

    I always enjoy Jen’s books! I’ve read them all and am revisiting them via audiobook now. I enjoy listening to them so much, especially when I’m cooking or prepping school materials. I just love the part about her dog and the deer on the trail. I can just picture it.

  13. Tracy

    I love Jen Turano’s books and can’t wait to read this new one. I enjoyed reading about the upcoming books she will be writing.

  14. Laura

    Oh, my goodness, her stories are so funny. I could imagine the newspaper flying around and laughed out loud. As for the bacon, I get that. I’ll eat bacon but it’s not my favorite.

  15. Mrs Brent Magers

    I love the stories of laughter. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

    • Shonda Fischer

      Love Jen’s books, they always make me laugh. Such a great interview, she had me laughing with the newspaper, I have weird stuff like that happen to me too. Glad I’m not by myself. I love how she gets her names from old obituaries. I like bacon but its not all its cracked up to be. Really enjoyed this interview.

  16. Martha

    Such a fun interview to read! My favorite part was learning how Jen names her characters.

  17. Khyrzie

    I love her books. After hearing her talk about them more frequently, and watching her videos, I like Jen Turano even more, and I am excited to read more of her books. She makes the stories so fun, and I thoroughly enjoy it!

    • abakersp

      You are the winner!!! I’ve sent you an email – please be sure to respond asap so I can forward the information to Jen. Thanks for stopping by 💜

  18. Colleen Hudson

    I loved the entire interview! I did really enjoy how you go about picking names for the characters. It’s awesome that they are not all made up!

  19. Karen Steinberger

    I love the part about the shed! I’d love a shed myself, but this is the first I’ve heard of a real author who has one. It would be the only way I could get the focus to write!

  20. Joyce Olsen

    Love Jen’s books!! You would never think that time period could be so fun and adventurous!!! Love the trail stories !!

  21. cheryl willis

    I love how she comes up with names for the characters in her books. Jen is such a gifted author.

  22. Diane

    Can’t wait for her next series… the matchmakers. Sounds like trouble and lots of fun!

  23. Joy

    Jen Turano is by far one of my favorite writers. I even bought “Finding Margo” a few years back, which she mentions in this interview.
    The weird thing for me with that one book is, I live near Millersburg, where the action in her book takes place. So it felt odd to me.
    I prefer her historical books because I’m fascinated with the 1800’s, and the majority of her books take place then.


    So many parts of this were hilarious! The newspaper in the face, herding deer… I’m interested in reading Finding Margo even if it does end on a cliffhanger! Thank you Jen for writing such amazing books!

  25. Charlyn Green

    I liked the whole interview, but I’ll pick the part about Flowerdew being a real name

  26. MS Barb

    I enjoyed reading about how Jen finds names for her characters! And, the story of the newspaper wrapping around her–wow! At least a young gentleman tried to help her! 🙂

  27. MS Barb

    oops! I forgot me email address! (I so thankful my parents didn’t name me some of the names Jen has come across! badawson16 at aol dot com

  28. Connie Saunders

    Jen, your walking adventures rival those of your characters. Loved this interview and I look forward to your new book! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Kimberly S

    Such a wonderful interview with one of my most favorite authors! Can’t wait to read this one!

    • Mary

      Not sure if this is how to leave comment. Favorite part was the names and the perhaps hint of a new contemporary book. Love all of jens books.

  30. Kathleen Clark

    I love Jen’s stories! My favorite part of the interview was the incident on the trail. A writer, a Cattle Dog, and a mule deer meet on a trail . . . Just too funny!
    kclarkholly at toast2 dot net

  31. Betsy Tieperman

    Love hearing where she gets her inspiration from and what projects are in the pipeline.

  32. Sandi Pascarelli

    I have to say the newspaper story because the way she described was like how she writes and had me laughing out loud.
    spasc65 at gmail dot com

  33. Deborah Phillips

    My favorite part of the interview was the story of your Cattle Dog trying to herd an eight-point mule deer. Im sure it wasn’t funny to you at the time, but it is now.

  34. Amelia C

    I absolutely love when Jen’s dog, Remee, tried to herd the mule deer. First off, I love animals and her dog reminds me of one of my sister’s dog who chases birds, cows, squirrels, and sometimes even humans! Secondly, having a mule deer chasing Jen while carrying 50 lbs was hilarious but probably not at that time for her though. The story sounds like it was from a book! I love her funny stories she tells us of whether it’s in her books or in life. Very interesting to learn that Jen does not like bacon! I am not a huge fan of bacon either but I do recommend the applewood smoked thick sliced bacon! Delicious ( at least in my opinion)!
    Some days we just need a laugh to brighten up our day! Thank you for the giveaway! It was fun reading the interview and replying!

  35. Teri DiVincenzo

    What a fun interview! I was especially fascinated by the personal anecdotes(the newspaper and the deer, for example). I was also horrified that you don’t enjoy bacon!

  36. Talía

    I thought how you the background story of how Temperance’s name was created was really cool! It was a unique name when I first read it but when learning the name was from someone’s history made it even more special! A name should almost describe that specific person and her’s does! Thank you for the giveaway!