Categories
Book Reviews Home

Mayhem and Moonlight Interview and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Mayhem and Moonlight

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, and Southern Fiction

Release date: April 16, 2024

Left at the altar holding the bill, a boatload of college debt, and piddly librarian salary has her praying for a miracle.

Lillian Murphy takes her life verse from a book title—A Series of Unfortunate Events. Could be it was on account of her jumping into things without first dipping a toe in to test the waters that landed her in such a position. A cozy, cardboard box would suit her just fine if she could find a way to heat it, but she’s hoping the good Lord will do some better. She’s done dreaming of happily-ever-after – She’d settle for just debt- and drama-free.

Luca Giordano knows the minute he lands in Shelbyville, Tennessee with his three young boys that he’s in over his head. Leaving the pain of his past behind, he’d also left his parents—and they’d done the heavy lifting. All his charts, graphs, and scheduling expertise isn’t enough. What kind of a productivity expert is he if he can’t be…productive? What he needs is a part-time Mary Poppins to swoop in and fill in for his gargantuan gaps—and Librarian Lillian seems the perfect solution.

But when Luca’s past converges with the present—and Lillian’s the catalyst—everything he loves most is at risk. How will a free spirit and fusspot find a way to happy ending?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Award-winning author Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance, and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational women’s fiction. Two of the three novels in her Apple Hill Series (set in Northern California) were inspired by actual events. Her Southern fiction Bedford County Series is set in Tennessee where she now resides with her real-life hero (and husband).

 

More from Jennifer

I’m often asked where I draw inspiration for my stories. It was easy when I was writing the Apple Hill Series, because the Lord took me through a long season of loss ripe with emotional angst and faith building. So, two of the three novels in that series were inspired by actual events I lived through—my daughter’s traumatic brain injury and my brother’s suicide. Not exactly the stuff of happily-ever-afters. But being a romantic, I’m a sucker for a happy ending. It took quite a bit of spiritual growth and creative ingenuity (she says tongue-in-cheek) to be able to move past the pain and find the blessings for my characters. Proof that God uses every tear for our good and His glory.

The story behind Mayhem and Moonlight came from a friend of mine. Annie. Not long after I met her (at my release party for Night Songs) she told me about how she and her husband Peter came to be together. Annie was a school psychologist who had been left at the alter years before. Peter was a single father of three boys whose wife passed away from cancer. Annie loved children but was past her child-bearing years, so she was as enamored with Peter’s three boys as she was by the man himself. Inept in the kitchen, she shared many hysterical culinary malfunctions with me, including how she almost burned the house down on more than one occasion.

Main character Lillian was also inspired by an actual person—my daughter Nikki. Yes, this is the same daughter who suffered a near fatal car accident and went through months of rehab for traumatic brain injury. What a sweet thing to be inspired by her when she was dealing with a disability and again years later with master’s degree for library and information science—just like main character Lillian. That’s how our good God works, though, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

But of course, a romance needs a protagonist, and Lillian’s is Luca Giordano—single father to three young boys (just like Annie’s Peter) and a productivity expert in serious need of help. It wasn’t until after I started fleshing out ideas for this book that I’d even heard of a productivity expert. It was through one phone conversation with old friends who told me their son had written a book titled Winning the Week: How to Plan a Successful Week, Every Week. I could’ve never imagined purchasing this book to show support to my friends would lead to the inspiration I needed for Luca’s career.

And guess what? Using the techniques laid out by authors Demir and Carey Bentley helped me become a more productive writer, too! It was a win-win.

Once I got to know the characters, I let them loose in my imagination and had to race to keep up with them. That’s when I know my writing is in conjunction with the Lord. I literally cannot make this stuff up. I pray you will enjoy reading Mayhem and Moonlight as much as I did writing it.

Interview with the Author

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

One would think choosing names for characters is an easy task—and maybe it is for some—but I struggle with it. You know the Shakespeare quote from Romeo and Juliet, “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”? It’s not true! Names matter, at least when we’re talking about characters. So, it often takes me a long time to come up with a name that will match my character’s personality. I have been known to change a name or two partway through the book because it no longer fit.

  1. What is your favorite childhood book?

I read so much when I was a child, it would be hard for me to choose one book. I devoured the Nancy Drew Series. But the very first chapter book I remember reading was A Room for Cathy by Catherine Woolly. Of course, being the competitive person that I am, I read it in one night to win a reading contest in my fifth-grade class. I mentioned this on my About Me page on my website, and two other women have contacted me to tell me they read that book, too, and it obviously made a lasting impression. I think it stands out because being the middle of five, as a child, I always dreamed of having a room of my own.

  1. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

It’s so different now than it was when I was growing up. We didn’t have the Internet to do research, and I had no idea how to become a better writer. Whenever I go to a writer’s conference and see young people there, I am envious of their early start. When I started college, the closest thing I could find for a degree in writing was journalism. It didn’t take me a week to know that wasn’t what I was looking for. I didn’t want to report stories—I wanted to create them. If I could go back now, I would find someone willing to mentor me. I would read every book I could find on the craft of writing. I would study fiction—not just read it for pleasure—to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

  1. What comes first, the plot or characters?

Generally, the plot comes first. I get an idea for a story and then I search out the characters that would best fit. In fact, I will often dig into my books on personality traits to see what weaknesses I need my characters to have in order to make the story believable. However, I have been known to start with a female character and create a story for her. This is what happened with Surrendered, Book 1 in my Apple Hill Series. I actually wrote Book 2 first, but because it was inspired by my brother’s suicide, it took extensive rewrites before I was satisfied with it. In its first draft, I had a character named Tess who made a very brief appearance. I changed some of the plot ideas, and she was cut in the second draft. But she stuck with me. She also stuck with my critique group because they thought her part needed to be expanded. So, instead, I created Surrendered to give her a story of her own.

  1. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have so many things I love to do apart from writing, I exemplify the saying, Jack of all trades, master of none. I like to read, of course, but I usually do that in the evenings. When the weather is nice, I love to work out in the garden. My husband and I just had a new house built, and I’m itching to start landscaping while he’s excited to start a vegetable garden. I love home décor, crafts of all kinds, furniture refinishing, and I’m in the process of making a dollhouse. I am also learning to play the piano. My grandfather was a professional who never learned to read music—he could hear something once and be able to play his own arrangement of it. I, however, did not inherit his talent. I need a lot of practice, but I do enjoy it, even if I’m just playing for an audience of One. Although, my husband loves to hear me play—bless his heart.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 21

Stories By Gina, May 22 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, May 22

Sylvan Musings, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 25

Artistic Nobody, May 26 (Author Interview)

She Lives To Read, May 27

For Him and My Family, May 28

For the Love of Literature, May 29 (Author Interview)

Lakesidelivingsite, May 30

Beauty in the Binding, May 31 (Author Interview)

Karen Baney Reviews, May 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 1

Back Porch Reads, June 2 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2b9d2/mayhem-and-moonlight-celebration-tour-giveaway