The Next Big Thing – revisited

Yes, I’m doing another round of The Next Big Thing, courtesy of the fab Jane Sevier. You can learn more about her latest release, A Billy Sunday Kind of Love, (and her other titles!) on her website

As for me, I’m officially the chain-breaker this time around. I’ll answer the questions – again – but I’m not nagging – um… tagging another round of victims… writers. Everyone I know has already been tagged more than once. You can get a list of other participating authors on Jane’s site, though.

But I will answer the questions, since I never pass up an opportunity to talk about my books. 🙂

Here goes:

1: What is the working title of your book?

Friends with Benefits. It’s a category romance novel contracted to Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence imprint. It was supposed to be released in October, but for one reason or another, at the moment it’s up in the air.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
From the title, actually. We all know what friends with benefits are: two friends who sleep together because they’re not in a romantic relationship with anyone else. I’m a sucker for a good word-pun, though, so the benefits in this case are a different kind.

3: What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a contemporary category romance, short and fairly sweet.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

You know, I don’t really think like that. I always have the hardest time coming up with actors to play the parts of my characters. Kaylee is 25 or 26, cute and blonde and pregnant. Owen is about 28, with light brown hair, blue eyes, and glasses. How about Chace Crawford? Just imagine that he’s wearing glasses, if you don’t mind. And if she were a few years younger, AJ Cook would make a fine Kaylee, I think.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A modern-day Cinderella story about a pregnant waitress who marries her nice but boring neighbor for his health insurance only to realize he’s everything she’s ever wanted.

6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s contracted to Entangled Publishing. Unless they change their minds about publishing it, that’s what’ll happen. If they do and give it back to me, I’ll either try to sell it to someone else, or publish it on my own. 

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This was one of the quickies. 54,000 words, 13 days, last June.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Christine Bell’s Wife for Hire. Cindi Myers’s Always a Bridesmaid. It’s light and pretty funny in tone, but with some underlying serious issues, like most of what I write.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Entangled was seeing a lot of success with their Indulgence imprint, and I thought it might be fun to see if I could write a category romance novel. Something that wasn’t a series. Everything else I’d tried to do – the cozy mysteries, the not-so-cozy mysteries, the SFR, the paranormal, the romantic suspense – all had series potential and a series bent. Friends with Benefits doesn’t. It’s a self-contained story that I never intended to develop into more. And I started out with category romance fifteen years ago, but ended up in mystery instead. It seemed a good time to see whether I’d gotten any better at it. 

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a light and somewhat funny read, sweet and romantic, with a couple of medium-to-hot love scenes and a really great leading man! Here’s some of what people have said:

“My favorite kind of story is one where the hero is so into the heroine right from the start and has to spend the rest of the book overcoming other obstacles to get to her. No jerks allowed! I really loved Owen, and Jenna Bennett made Kaylee so well-motivated and sympathetic. I really felt for her. Lots of nice surprises and plot twists, too!”

“The writing snaps, the tension crackles, and the plot pops. I’m a sucker for the guy next door, and Jenna Bennett hit the nail on the head with dreamy Owen Taylor. If you love a juicy marriage of convenience story, Friends with Benefits by Jenna Bennett is a must read!”
Keep an eye out for it!