Friday, 14 May 2021

Faults of Understanding by Jennifer Altman - Author Interview and Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Jennifer Altman back to the blog. Jennifer has joined us with a post to celebrate her upcoming book, the Pride & Prejudice variation Faults of Understanding. Jennifer subjected herself to an interview, which I hope you will enjoy. She’s brought an ebook giveaway with her too! I’ll share the blurb with you and then we will move on to the interview.

Book Cover: Faults of Understanding by Jennifer Altman
Book Description

“I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding.” – Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice 

When Fitzwilliam Darcy makes an impetuous offer of marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, he is convinced they have as good a chance as any for a harmonious life together. That is, until an overheard conversation changes everything, and Darcy realizes he is now joined in perpetuity to a woman who loathes the very sight of him.

Elizabeth Bennet’s expectations for matrimonial accord were never very high, having accepted Mr. Darcy’s proposal in a fit of pique, not love. Still, she is determined to make the best of her situation, despite having tied herself to such an arrogant, disagreeable man.

But life at Pemberley is not at all what she imagined, and Elizabeth soon finds herself with more questions than answers about the enigmatic gentleman she agreed to wed.

Trapped in a marriage founded on misunderstandings, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy struggle with deepening attraction while confronting self-doubt and old betrayals. But is love enough to heal the wounds of the past? What will it take for two people bound by duty to find their way home to one another?

Author Interview with Jennifer Altman

Jennifer, thank you so much for joining me here today at Babblings of a Bookworm, and thanks also for subjecting yourself to my nosey questions!  

Let’s begin by finding out more about your newest book. I know that this book sees the Darcys after they marry; Is it a sequel to P&P or a variation that sees an early marriage? 

Hi Ceri! Thank you so much for hosting me today. Faults of Understanding is a Pride and Prejudice variation featuring what I’m calling an “early marriage scenario.” I know the term “forced marriage scenario” is more common, but in this particular novel, there is no real force causing Darcy and Elizabeth to marry. Darcy offers for Elizabeth of his own free will (to pre-empt a proposal from Mr. Collins) and Elizabeth accepts for a multitude of different reasons (which you will see in the beginning of the book). The proposal and marriage occur shortly after the Netherfield ball, and as in a traditional forced marriage scenario, neither Darcy nor Elizabeth believe themselves to be in love at the time of their marriage. Of course, as we know from canon, Darcy is in love with Elizabeth at this point in the story, but still unwilling to admit to those feelings, even to himself. And Elizabeth still professes to disliking Mr. Darcy… but even she is already beginning to feel the first stirrings of attraction, although she is also in denial about that! So, it’s definitely a situation where the marriage comes first, and the love follows afterwards. :)

You mentioned to me that you hate writing blurbs. Why do you think this is? As a non-writer I can’t imagine having the creativity to write a novel. I would have thought if you can write an entire novel another paragraph or two wouldn’t be so bad, yet a lot of authors say how much they hate writing blurbs! 

Hahaha! Yes! I detest writing book blurbs and I know I’m not alone in that. Most authors will tell you they don’t enjoy writing them. But I can understand how, as a non-writer, writing a one or two paragraph description would seem easier than writing an entire book, but for me it’s definitely not. It can actually be much more difficult to condense a 400-page novel down to a handful of sentences than you think. You need to be concise, explain the premise without giving away the plot, and try to create intrigue without any spoilers. It usually takes me many, many revisions to get it right (or at least to come with something passable!). Having said that, there certainly are some writers who do enjoy writing book descriptions. I guess I would say that writing a book blurb or a synopsis is less like creative fiction writing and more similar to writing advertising copy or a review. So, an author may be skilled at one style of writing and not another. Personally, I would rather write an entire novel than a review, but I assume that reviewing comes easily for you… so perhaps you would be good at book blurbs too!

Well… I’ve heard people say they hate it so much that they’d pay somebody to write their blurbs, so maybe I should give it a go and then I’ll probably find out just how hard it is! 😊

As a non-creative person, I am always interested in how writers come up with their ideas. Was there something that sparked this idea for you, or did it just arrive?!

As a writer, I live by the old adage: “Write the book you want to read.” When it comes to Pride and Prejudice variations, two of my favorite premises are Darcy and Elizabeth being trapped alone somewhere, and the forced or early marriage scenario. Since I explored the first concept in my debut To Conquer Pride, I figured I’d take a stab at an early marriage scenario for my follow up. :) However, when I conceived of the idea, I really didn’t have much more than that very loose premise. I tend to be one of those writers who starts out with a basic concept and then goes wherever the story takes me, so that’s pretty much what happened here. 

Although I really didn’t have much of a plot when I started writing, there were certain themes I wanted to explore, one of them being the plight of women during that period in history. The reality of the situation being that when a woman married, she (and any funds, property, etc. that she had in her name) immediately fell under the control of her husband. He essentially owned her, and there was very little she could do without his express permission. So, that really got me thinking about what it would mean for a woman like Elizabeth to consent to marrying a man she did not know well and did not particularly like. She was basically putting her entire life in his hands. And I also wondered how this would affect Darcy—to realize, as he does in this book, that his new bride actually dislikes him, yet to still feel responsible for her. To have these opposing emotions of anger and humiliation warring with his innate sense of honor and responsibility… From there, the plot just sort of came together as I wrote.

For me, this is one of the most frightening realisations of life back then, that a woman was regarded as her husband’s property. It was really a leap of faith on the woman’s part to marry. Pretty much the only free women were widows; I wonder that any widow was brave enough to marry again! It strikes me that in this book they are both taking a leap of faith but for different reasons. 

Right, next question: I know that you are a person who does research – and let me thank you for that, because writers who research have taught me so many things about the past, while having the enjoyment of reading a story! Were there any interesting facts that you came across during your research for this book?

I have to admit that compared to some other authors, I actually don’t do an extensive amount of research for my books. For me, it’s more about not getting anything completely wrong. For example, I know there are Austenesque authors who will have Darcy and Elizabeth stop at an inn between London and Derbyshire, and will actually research the names of inns that existed along that route at the time. Or, if Darcy and Elizabeth go on an outing on Easter Sunday of 1812, they will make sure the weather on that date in history is accurately portrayed in their novel. I don’t really take it that far. But I do want to make sure I’m generally portraying things accurately. For this particular novel, I did a fair amount of research on food, which was a lot of fun. Darcy and Elizabeth have some elaborate dinners, so I wanted to get an idea of what types of dishes would have been enjoyed by the upper echelons of society during that time period.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of research is that sometimes you find out something that ends up contradicting one of your story elements, which is exactly what happened with this book. In Faults of Understanding, Darcy and Elizabeth attend a St. Valentine’s Day ball at the home of Darcy’s aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Matlock. It’s kind of a turning point in their relationship, as it’s at this ball that they each start to realize/admit/understand that they have feelings for one another. As such, I really wanted them to dance a waltz together. However, when I began to research the origins of the waltz, I realized that most scholars believe the dance was popularized in England around 1812. Since the ball in my novel is taking place in February of 1812, it made it somewhat unlikely that (A) a waltz would be played and (B) that Darcy and Elizabeth would both be familiar enough with the dance to already know the steps. But as I said, I was pretty set on including it, so, although I did make a few minor adjustments to the scene, I kept the waltz in the book. Hopefully readers will forgive me for taking a tiny bit of poetic license in this one instance. :)

Considering that many of us won’t have known this fact I think we can forgive you! 

You wrote this book in 2020 during the pandemic so the world around us was very different while you writing compared to your previous book; did that affect your creative process at all?

Yes, it definitely did, and not in a good way. I’ve heard some authors say that writing during the pandemic provided a means of escape—especially those who were writing fantasy or historical romance novels like mine that take place in a different time period far removed from the modern world. However, for me, writing just became one more responsibility at a time when I was already feeling overwhelmed with everything that was going on in the world. As much as I tried, I just didn’t seem to have the stamina to be creative when I was emotionally exhausted and all I wanted to do was lie on the couch and watch TV. Which is why this novel took so long to finish—although in all fairness, it also turned out to be way meatier than I had originally intended. The finished manuscript weighs in at 130,000 words—30,000 words longer than my previous novel To Conquer Pride, which wasn’t exactly short either!

I had the exact same problem with reading during this time. Reading would have given me some escape and helped me be less stressed, but I was too stressed to have the mental energy, so I completely understand. 

You’ve written two books based on P&P. I know that P&P variations are what most JAFF fans prefer, but do you have any stories in your mind based on any of Austen’s other novels?

Luckily for me, I think my taste in Austenesque fiction tends to match what a lot of readers want to read. :) While I love many of Jane Austen’s novels, there’s just something about Pride and Prejudice (and Darcy and Elizabeth as protagonists) that makes it almost the perfect story to adapt. There are so many well-drawn characters, and so many possibilities for new and altered storylines, it really is an ideal narrative to work with. I guess I would say that if I ever did attempt to adapt another one of Austen’s novels, I would probably do a crossover between Pride and Prejudice and something else, perhaps Emma or Sense and Sensibility. But I still have quite a few more ideas for P&P variations I’d like to tackle, so I think I’ll be sticking with Darcy and Elizabeth for a while. :)

I think that’s understandable. P&P is definitely light, bright and sparkling and there are so many potential avenues to explore. 

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog today, Ceri! I had a lot of fun answering your questions.

Thank you so much for joining us, Jennifer! I loved reading your answers and I hope my blog visitors enjoy reading them too.

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Author Bio

Jennifer Altman is a novelist, an anglophile, and a lover of all things Regency. After a long career in the television industry, Jennifer shifted to book publishing in 2016. She currently works in the corporate division of a large publishing company. Jennifer makes her home just outside New York City, where she lives in a compact apartment with a considerable collection of books. When she’s not writing, Jennifer can be found reading, watching British period dramas, and not cleaning her house. Her debut novel, To Conquer Pride, released in 2018.

Facebook Author PageAusten VariationsTwitter


Book cover: Faults of Understanding by Jennifer Altman
Buy Links

Faults of Understanding is due out in ebook on 27 May and is available to pre-order now, with paperback and audio to follow:

Universal Buy Link Amazon US • Add to Goodreads shelf


Giveaway Time!

Jennifer is kindly giving away an ebook of Faults of Understanding on this stop of her blog tour, open to worldwide entrants. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post before 20 May 2021.

If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)


Blog Tour Schedule

The other stops on Jennifer's blog tour are listed below.  

April 29th – Austenesque Reviews: Cover Reveal, Giveaway

May 6th – Austen Variations: Excerpt, Giveaway

May 14th – Babblings of a Bookworm: Author Interview, Giveaway

May 20th – From Pemberley to Milton: Excerpt, Giveaway

May 27th – Austen Variations: Book Release, Excerpt, Giveaway

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75 comments:

  1. The book sounds wonderful, like you Ceri, I have read less while in the lock downs, most of my reading seems to be at 4 in the morning when sleep alludes me. I love the cover, I live in Denmark and the Danish, Skagen School artist, P S Krøyer is one of my favourites. Good luck with the launch.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:40

      Thank you, Hazel! I really love the cover, too! I was not familiar with PS Krøyer until I happened upon this painting. But I think it's beautiful! I hope you enjoy the book if/when you get to read.

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    2. It's so frustrating, Hazel, because I know that reading would help alleviate my stress but it turns out I need to be at a certain level of de-stress to read :( Glad you manage to get some reading done, and also very impressed that you knew the artist of the cover!

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  2. I have a comment to add from Glynis:

    I loved this interview Ceri, thank you. As usual no comment on the post😢😢😢. I always love early marriage between ODC so this is a definite winner for me, especially when they finally realise their true feelings 🥰🥰. I’m definitely with Jennifer on ‘not cleaning the house’ especially when you know for a fact that there can be no unexpected visitors 😂🤣😂🤣

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:41

      LOL! Thank you, Glynis! Even less cleaning than usual is happening now as I race to get last minute corrections made to this book before it releases. :) I hope you enjoy it if/when you get to read.

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    2. I know this is terrible but it's definitely one of the upsides of lockdown, no unexpected visitors seeing your house on a messy day!

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  3. Good luck with this book's release. I would love to read it and even if I don't win a copy will do so.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:42

      Thank you, Sheila! I hope you enjoy it!

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    2. Hope you enjoy, Sheila!

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  4. Congratulations. I am looking forward to reading this book.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:43

      Thank you, Patty! I hope you enjoy it! :)

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    2. Hope you enjoy it when you read it, Patty.

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  5. The more I hear about the book the more impatient I am to read it.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:44

      Thanks so much, Gina! Only 6 days left to go! :)

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    2. Hope you enjoy it when you read it, Gina!

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. There was a mistake so I deleted it. What I meant to say is that K really enjoyed To Conquer Pride and that I'm looking forward to readong this book. Best wishes in all your endeavours.

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    2. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:45

      Thank you, Laura! I'm so glad you enjoyed To Conquer Pride! I hope you like this one just as well. :)

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    3. Hope you enjoy, Laura!

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  7. Lovely interview!
    I am entirely with Jennifer on the subject of the two preferred situations. FMS is by far the favourite, I just love to see their discovering themselves, the other and their feelings from the safety of their marriage....
    Can't wait to see your take on this and while waiting I think I will be re-reading your first book.��

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:47

      Yay! Always a huge compliment to hear that someone is re-reading me book. :) And, yes! I love a good early marriage scenario. It's so fun to see D & E forced to live together and to really see each other clearly for the first time. I hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. I love an early marriage scenario too. :)

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  8. I always enjoy a FMS, and I think this "early marriage scenario" fits that bill. I'm curious to learn what impels Elizabeth to accept his offer.

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    1. Yes, this is pretty much the same as a FMS. And you'll definitely find out why E accepts fairly early in the story. I hope you enjoy the book if/when you get to read!

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    2. Me too, Ginna, FMS is good but early marriage is even better.

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  9. I love the cover and I always love books where Darcy and Elizabeth marry before they settle their differences! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the book!

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:50

      Thank you, Cyndy! I'm glad you like the cover. Me too! :) Yes, I love stories like that as well. I hope you enjoy this one!

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    2. Thanks for commenting, Cyndy. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  10. I loved To Conquer Pride and I am anxious to read your new book.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:51

      Thank you, Regina! I'm so glad you like To Conquer Pride. Hopefully this one will be just as good. :)

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    2. Thanks Regina. Hope you enjoy this new book just as much.

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  11. What an enjoyable commentary you have given us. I certainly look forward to reading the book. Thank you for sharing your talent.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:52

      Thank you so much, Betty! :)

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the post, Betty!

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  12. What an enjoyable commentary you have given us. I certainly look forward to reading the book. Thank you for sharing your talent.

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  13. More, please and thank you!

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:52

      Only 6 more days! :)

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    2. Thanks for commenting, Joyheart!

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  14. ODC will resolve their differences - and it will be an enjoyable read to see how they achieve this. Best of luck on the release and thanks for the giveaway

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:53

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. I agree! Thanks for commenting.

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  15. I tried unsuccessfully to comment.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:54

      Well, I see this one! :) Which is enough to have you entered in the giveaway. I hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. Same here, I can't see your original comment, but this one has showed up fine.

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  16. I think this is a book I would love to read!

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:55

      Thanks so much, Gail! Best of luck in the giveaway and I hope you enjoy it if/when you get to read. :)

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    2. Hope you enjoy it when you read it Gail.

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  17. I have not read this book and will do so either with a win or just by downloading it.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:56

      Thank you, Sheila! :)

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  18. Love the excerpt. Am looking forward to reading it.

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  19. Wow, thanks for this post. Looking for this new variation

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:57

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

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    2. Hope you enjoy it, Buturot

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  20. I love the premise of this and will definitely be putting it on my wishlist. Congrats on the release!

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:57

      Thank you so much! :)

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    2. It's on my wishlist too :)

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  21. I like the premise! Like another person commented, I also read around 4am - these days, more like 6-7am, which is not when I'm getting up, which I guess some people do at that hour, but before I go to sleep! I've always been nocturnal and since retiring about a year ago have become even more so.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:59

      Wow! I'm impressed. I can stay up until 1:00 a.m. or so, but that's about it. :) I hope you enjoy the book, and best of luck with the giveaway!

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    2. Goodness, I have always been a bit of a night owl, but not that much! Glad you've found a time to read :)

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  22. This story sounds interesting. I enjoy forced marriage scenarios. Thank you for the generous give away.

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 19:59

      Thank you for stopping by to read! Best of luck and I hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. Thanks for commenting, Deborah Ann, and good luck in the giveaway!

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  23. This story sounds interesting. I enjoy forced marriage scenarios. Thank you for the generous give away.

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  24. I have a comment to add from Sabrina:

    Thanks for the very interesting interview! I've read a lot more than usually since Lockdown. For me it's definitely great to relax and to escape reality, if I need a break. The blurb doesn't matter very much to me, if I already know and like the style of the author. I'm counting the days till book release day!

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    1. Jennifer Altman21 May 2021 at 20:01

      Thank you so much, Sabrina! Only 6 days to go! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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    2. I think the blurb can definitely draw you in, but agree that once you know the author that's a huge draw too :)

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  25. What an interesting post, Ceri and great questions. You always know what to ask. Congratulations to Jennifer on the launch of this new book. I look forward to seeing what happens to ODC. Sounds like it will have a bit of angst. Lovely. Blessings on its success. Stay safe and healthy. Good luck to all in the drawing.

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    1. Thanks Jeanne, I am glad you enjoyed the questions and Jennifer's answers.

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  26. Books sounds lovely.

    I love helping author friends by writing blurbs.

    denise

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    1. I bet that makes you popular, if writing blurbs is something that authors find hard!

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  27. I want to congratulate you on the new book! That interview was quite informative in helping me see the process of writing and what else goes on inside the author's head. Thank you for the interview and the chance at the giveaway.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed, thanks for commenting Jen.

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  28. Jennifer chose a winner, which was Mihaela. Congratulations to you! Please can you email me at babblingsofabookworm@gmail.com to claim your prize. If we don't hear anything by Tuesday we will choose another winner. Thank you!

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