I’m so excited to welcome today’s guest, Jennifer Probst, who has not only spent time at the top of Barnes & Noble’s best selling chart, but is now a *USA Today* best seller. Is that incredible or what? Stay with us today and you’ll find out how *she* found out, plus learn what’s next for Jennifer and her new series. But first, let’s learn more about her bestselling title, THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN. Welcome, Jennifer!
First off, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah for allowing me to visit her blog today. I had a great time with her thoughtful questions!
Aw, thank you! I guess, then, you know by now I stalked your bio and your list of career paths is amazing. I love what you said about trying new things out through your characters—I feel the exact same way! Which of your characters has given you the wildest adventure throughout your writing career?
Good, because in all my clips I say stalking is highly encouraged here! Oh, this is so hard, because each time I write a book, I become so immersed in my characters and their occupations! A few stick out in my mind. When I wrote my first book, Heart of Steel, my hero was the CEO of a finance company, and I had a blast researching and imagining the stress and lifestyle he needed to lead in order to be successful. Then I wrote about a vineyard owner in a book that hasn’t seen the light yet (maybe one day!) and I became completely drawn into the tight social circles of the wineries and vineyards. Finally, I just finished the sequel to The Marriage Bargain called The Marriage Trap, and Maggie is a photographer who shoots designer underwear for men. Must admit I’m having the most wild ride with her right now – she’s a hellion!
Oh, dear. I don’t doubt that for one moment! What a great career path she chose! LOL. As for THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN, just looking at the blurb, I’m lovin’ it already. Can you introduce our readers to the story?
Sigh. I love this book. It’s fun, sexy, with lots of heart. At least, that was my intent! You’ll meet Alexa who is an open hearted, free spirited soul desperate to save her family home. She has a past with Nick – he was her best friend’s brother and they grew up together – and he was also the first one to break her heart. Flash forward years later, and he needs a wife in order to save his architectural firm. Problem is, Nick doesn’t believe in love. He doesn’t believe in anything. They set up a marriage of convenience with firm rules in play. When they’re forced together on a daily basis, slowly you see Nick become unraveled as Alexa teaches him about love. But it’s a long road, filled with tons of snappy dialogue and sexual tension, and real life obstacles. I had so much fun writing this book and the characters haunted me for months afterward, making it extremely hard to write anything else!
Oh, WOW. They’re engaging me already, and that’s pretty good to do through a third party (you), LOL. And clearly I’m not the only one, as I do believe some congratulations are in order. How, exactly, did you feel when you learned it was #1 on the Barnes & Noble best seller list? (I think I’d still be dizzy from the cartwheels.)
Thank you so much! And I was dizzy – but at first it wasn’t from cartwheels – it was from the wicked virus that struck my family household! The book launched to good sales, and a few days later I came down with the virus and literally stayed in bed for two days. Finally, I crawled to my computer while my husband yelled at me for being a workaholic, and saw my email had exploded. My book was climbing up the list and had hit #1! So, as the room spun around me, I asked my husband if I was hallucinating! Fortunately, I wasn’t, so it’s been an amazing journey from there. In the past week, I must add that I got the most wonderful news a writer can hear. The Marriage Bargain hit the USA Today bestselling list! This has been a dream of mine since I was young, so I’ve been doing some major celebrating!
WOW! That’s incredible – BIG congrats to you! I’m sorry about the virus part, but boy does that ever make it memorable, LOL! Hopefully there will be many more such moments in your future, as THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN is Book One in the Marriage to a Billionaire Series. What can readers look for in the rest of the titles? How are they related?
In The Marriage Bargain, I introduced Alexa’s best friend Maggie and the sexy Count. The sequel is called The Marriage Trap, and it details their story. Maggie is a completely different personality than Alexa so it was a blast exploring her personality and their relationship. The bulk of the story takes place in Bergamo, Italy, where you will meet Michael’s family and hopefully have lots of laughs along the way. Each one in the series will revolve around a marriage between the characters – but they will be done in a unique, individual way to keep the theme fresh and fun. The third one I have planned is called The Marriage Mistake and it will follow one of Michael’s sisters.
That sounds fantastic! I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, and THE MARRIAGE TRAP sounds like a great alternative. (*glares at husband for refusing to fly*) What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN?
The humor and byplay between Alexa and Nick. Readers have told me they laughed out loud at some of their ridiculous fights which seem transcended from their childhood past.
Oooh, I LOVE it! That kind of history is bound to make for some entertaining moments, and it sounds as if that’s certainly the case here! *grin* Let’s have some fun with THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN. What’s the first sentence?
She needed a man.
Oh, yes, honey, you do! LOL. What’s your favorite line in the book?
He was in love with his wife. (There’s plenty of great lines, but the simplicity and power of Nick’s realization always resonates with me.)
That’s a truly excellent line considering the premise of the book. I love it! How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!
His fists clenched and he let out a roar, which the dogs must have liked because they all started to howl at the same time and bounced around his feet in a whirl of fuzz and tails and paws.
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? You’re insane—you need to be locked up in the loony bin. Lie to me, wreck my house, then compare me to a children’s villain, all because you can’t be a normal person and take responsibility and apologize?”
Yowza! LOL! And I LOVE the howling dogs! *grin* Which scene of THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN was most difficult for you to write? Why?
The beginning. In my first draft, I had a lot more detail when we met Alexa and Maggie, but it dragged down the story so I had to cut a lot of it. It was difficult because I needed to balance the story and the mood of my characters quickly in order to pull the reader in. That is why I always believe the beginning of any book is the hardest, and I revise numerous times to get the feel right.
I always have the most trouble with my opening scene. (Now I feel legit benchmarking myself next to a *USA Today bestselling author* <<Does that sound great or what? LOL!) Which scene of THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?
Umm, this one’s easy! The scene where Nick and Alexa finally take all that sexual tension and let it explode! The tenderness he finally shows her, and her sheer vulnerability in this scene makes me sigh in longing each time I read it. And of course, I want to be Alexa! I’m madly in love with Nick (shhhh, don’t tell my hubby!)
Oh, my yum. That sounds DELICIOUS. (And your lurid secret is safe with me, LOL.) What are you currently working on?
I’m editing the Marriage Trap which should be out in a few months, and then will begin working on The Marriage Mistake for the series. I also have another erotic series with Decadent for their 1Night Stand. The Steele brothers are dealers in Vegas and they work with a matchmaking business to be set up with a woman for the night. This of course, turns into more, with unique obstacles for each of the brothers. It starts with Catch Me, and Play Me will be out March 30th. The stories are short and hot for lovers of the erotic romance genre.
I’m a big fan of the 1NS series—I’ve had the honor of hosting a lot of their authors and the stories all look fantastic, as will yours by the sound of it. It sounds like your career is absolutely exploding, Jennifer, and I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have you here to talk about it. Let’s take a closer look at THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN.
THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN | blurb & linkage
A marriage in name only…
To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.
Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.
A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?
Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…
JENNIFER PROBST | bio & linkage
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons, one 4 and one 6, keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
Her publications with Red Sage include “Masquerade” Secrets Volume 11, The Tantric Principle, and Sex, Lies and Contracts. Her 1NightStand series include Catch Me and Play Me in The Steele Brothers series with Decadent, and her #1 Barnes and Noble bestseller, The Marriage Bargain, from Lori Wilde’s Indulgence line at Entangled. She has also written a children’s book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story about a shelter dog, “A Life Worth Living.” All of her books are available at her website or Amazon.
Anyone else feeling thoroughly wooed by Jennifer? I know I am. As far as my readerly aspirations, she’s found her way to my TBR list while my writerly side is totally inspired by her success. (Meanwhile, my inner editor is trying to decide if wooed is a word. It looks funny, LOL.) Jennifer, I’m truly honored to be a part of your tour. Thanks so much for being here! Readers, give her a warm welcome. (And no one tell her husband *anything* mkay? LOL!)
FOR MORE FROM JENNIFER PROBST, CLICK BOOK COVER IMAGES BELOW