FOR THE RECORD
Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: December 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 336
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Rather Than Wait for a Hero,
She Decided to Create One
Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.
Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.
The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.
PRAISE FOR FOR THE RECORD:
“Jennings creates a perfect blend of love, mystery, and wit in this 19th-century romance.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
“Jennings’ latest is a delightfully entertaining historical romance featuring charismatic humor, unpredictable thrills, and vigilante justice. The plot is tense and exciting, and the novel sparkles with the wit and charm of its spirited heroine. It is more romantic and less stuffy than your average inspirational, and Jennings uses classic western touches like six-shooters, spurs, and white Stetsons to land readers squarely in the Ozark Mountains of 1885.” —Booklist
“This is such a delightful read with an adorable romance and a fun and entertaining story line. . . The interactions and dialogue between the main characters are sheer perfection. The mystery and drama with the hero’s backstory and the masked marauders keep the momentum of the story going at a nice pace and allows for no dull moments. There is so much to love here in this little gem, it is easily one of Jennings’ best.” —RT Book Reviews
Author Interview 1: Regina Jennings
Where did your love of books and storytelling come from?
Storytelling comes from both sides of my family. My dad’s family likes nothing more than gathering together and spinning yarns. We almost prefer hardships, mess-ups and mistakes because we know that they’ll make for hilarious telling when we’re all back together.
My mom’s family is less gregarious. They are more likely to swap books than tales, but they have a deep appreciation for the written word and a sly sense of humor. Both sides have contributed to my sense of humor and love of stories.
How long have you been writing?
I studied writing in college, but I didn’t have any information on the actual business side of it, so I didn’t know how to get started. Once my kids were old enough that I regained my sanity, I started writing skits and newsletter for my church but it wasn’t until 2010 that I attempted my first novel. That attempt turned into Sixty Acres and a Bride and the beginning of a three-book series.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I write humorous historical romance, but not all times and situations throughout history are that funny. The reason that the Bald Knobber gang formed in the Ozarks in the 1880s was because of rampant violence and corrupt law enforcement. It was a challenge to be true to the times and yet keep the story light-hearted, but I had a great cast of characters to work with. It’s a good reminder that no matter how tough times are, people have always been able to find humor in the situation.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
When the main character, Betsy Huckabee realizes there’s no interesting heroes around to write about, she decides to create one. At first she’s inspired by the handsome new sheriff, but he’s forever frustrating her by not saying or doing the appropriate swoon-worthy things. Knowing that her readers would never find this real man appealing, she has to improve him in her stories.
Through this set-up, I enjoyed poking fun at our expectations for our romance heroes. There were several times in the story when, as a dedicated romance reader, I knew exactly what the hero should say, but instead I had him say something totally doltish. Of course, Betsy turns his bluntness into charm in her stories, so I didn’t have to. It’s a nod to all my readers who enjoy a hero who’s got some real-life grit to him. It’s also a reminder that the fake men in our stories can never compete with the real-life heroes we live with.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I don’t think I could ever call myself a full-time writer because I can’t imagine writing eight hours a day. I just couldn’t stay focused that long. Thankfully, I homeschool our kids so I don’t have to ever worry about having eight hours of uninterrupted writing time.
What are some day jobs that you have held?
If any of them impacted your writing, share an example. While in high school I was the “cub reporter” at our local newspaper. Honestly, I did very little reporting, mostly proof-reading the legal notices and setting the classified ads. Still, the experience gave me some insight into Betsy’s job of gathering information for her uncle’s newspaper. While Betsy is getting reports on the price of cattle, she’s dreaming of writing something more interesting, and ends up turning her experiences into ladies’ fiction. Yes, I’d say I can see a correlation.
What do you like to read in your free time?
I read historical romance…surprise, surprise. Inspired by the Poldark series that’s showing on PBS, I started reading those books this fall. Note to self – before starting a series always check to see how many books there are! In this case there are 12 books with the first one written in 1945 and the last one in 2002. I can’t imagine writing a series over fifty years! It might take me that long to read them.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride, Caught in the Middle, and At Love’s Bidding and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! THREE WINNERS EACH WIN A 3 BOOK SET OF THE OZARK MOUNTAIN ROMANCE SERIES WITH AUTHOR SIGNED BOOKPLATES:
(US & INTERNATIONAL; INTERNATIONAL WINNER WINS $30 AMAZON CARD IN LIEU OF BOOKS)
December 1 – December 12, 2016
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