Today’s Featured Author: Jennifer Garcia

I would like to welcome author Jennifer Garcia to my blog. She is promoting her book, My Mr. Manny, which comes out on August 27th.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m a wife, mother, business owner, full-time college student, and an author. I lead a very busy life, but, to tell you the truth, I accomplish so much more when I’m busy than when I’m not. My husband has taken the majority of the household duties on and has helped me immensely.  Rocco, my one hundred and eighty-five pound Mastiff, is my writing partner and keeps me company while I’m in my writing room.

Where were you born and where do you call home?  

Well, I’m a California implant, originally from a small coastal town in Northern Massachusetts. I have been in the Los Angeles area since I was sixteen, so, for about twenty-some-odd years.  

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Most likely, in my upcoming release, My Mr. Manny, Mia, the main character experiences the loss of her family from moving so far from home just like I did when I was sixteen. It is difficult to miss out on accomplishments, family gatherings, births, weddings, etc. My family still lives in the Boston area and they get to enjoy each other’s company while I get to see pictures and hear the latest from my mother. Mia goes through that as well, and tries really hard to keep them all together.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

My next project has been started but not put on paper yet. It’s a long mental process for me. However, I do have a couple of things that I fiddle with when I have time between projects. My first two books were written, mainly, for Open Calls. But a big story I’m working on is so out of my genre it’s scary, intimidating. It’s about a Los Angeles gang, one gang member and his lug life. However, when he goes to jail for murder, he learns he wants redemption. The jailhouse librarian teaches him all about Dante and The Divine Comedy and the MC finds himself in that world. There may be a little bit of romance in it, but it’s gritty and a lot of fantasy all wrapped up in this raw story.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

My plot ideas come from writing prompts or Open Calls. If I see something I think I can work with I begin writing it in my head.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?  

Outlines are definitely not for me; I’m much too lazy. However, I don’t just start writing either. It takes me time to write the story in my head, or at least several scenes. When I believe I have a good plot and a few scenes that work, I’ll start writing and let it flow from there. It’s unbelievable how the characters take over and write a lot of it.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release, In My Mother’s Footsteps by Forbes Arnone (a pseudonym) is about a girl that was raised solely by her mother. She yearned for a father all her life but was told he had died. However, about a year before her college graduation, her mother tells her she knows where her dad is and he’s not dead. Yeah, talk about betrayal. So, Anela, so angry with her mother for the lies and deceit, doesn’t speak to her ever again. But the mother dies eight months later from an aneurism. An incredible graduation gift from mother to daughter sends Anela to Hawaii to find her father and the journey really starts there. It’s a novella and can easily be read in one day.

What inspired you to write this book?

Again, I think the importance of family came to mind when I plotted this story. Not wanting to be alone and trying to find your place in this big world. It’s also set in Hawaii, which is one of my most favorite vacation spots and I was inspired by the aura of the island.

How did you come up with the title?

With Anela’s trip to Hawaii she is following in her mother’s footsteps, literally.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

My cousin’s husband was based at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu. Since Anela’s father is in the Army, I needed to know all I could about those barracks and the Army itself. So I spoke with my cousin’s husband and also my nephew who was in the Army as well. They gave me a ton of info and I thank them so much for their help.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I love my main characters but Private Takata “Dragon” is my favorite. He is such a sweet boy, young man, but has some mental issues. His kindness and innocence just won me over.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

I think the black moment in the book is when Anela’s mother dies. Anela had no spoken to her in almost a year and the last time she did, it wasn’t pretty. Imagine living with the regret that you never get to say you’re sorry or make amends. Not only that but to have the only family member, your rock, just disappear. It was difficult, but since it’s a novella, I really tried to convey the pain but not make it the majority of the book.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

I do, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani.

What book are you reading right now?

I just finished, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Adriana Trigiani and Jane Austen would be my picks. Austen because there is so little knowledge about here out there and I’d love to know so much more about her. Also, I’d love to pick her brain. Adriana Trigiani, well, because I admire her immensely and get a lot of my inspiration to write from her. She’s an Italian American like me and I relate to her books so much. I’d love to know her. 

Book Description

My Mr MannyMia Balducci misses her childhood days and yearns for the big, Italian family that she left behind in small town Massachusetts. At the tender age of sixteen, Mia moves with her bachelor father to Los Angeles, but no matter how many years pass, it never becomes home to her. The years spent living with her father aren’t easy, especially since she can’t stop thinking about what she once had. Her enrollment in the University of Southern California promises to bring exciting changes to her life, but Mia winds up with big problems instead. When she runs into an old friend from her old hometown of Winthrop, she gets swept up in nostalgia, and she soon loses herself in a quickly-progressing romance. When the fantasy falls apart, she is left to raise her precious little girl, Lucia, on her own. The demands of Mia’s work schedule and Lucia’s needs increase, and their lives become increasingly hectic. It is soon clear to Mia that she needs help. Luckily, her life-saving cousin saves the day and brings the mother and daughter a male nanny – their new “manny.”

After losing his high-pressure job on Wall Street, Dominic Roberts wants to follow his dreams to have a family. He’s already one fiancée down, and there are no likely prospects for another. In order to find the family he so desperately wants, he finds himself getting into the manny business. Since he is fully qualified to provide child care and is eager to leave New York City behind, his sister-in-law is able to land him a job in California working for his first client – the beautiful and intriguing Mia Balducci.

Will Lucia like the new man in her mother’s life? Will Mia? And will this new trio discover the happily ever after they all so desperately seek?

About the Author

Jennifer GarciaJennifer Garcia’s (aka Forbes Arnone) love of travel began when she went to the West Coast to visit her father at the age of three. Her home until she was sixteen was a small coastal town near Boston. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.

Her lifelong love for reading and writing was put aside for many years while she made her way in the world and nurtured her young family. Even though she is older, and life never seems to settle, she’s finding her way while attending college full-time in pursuit of a B.A. in English Literature. She also runs a business, and is still caring for her family. Believing she can do it all, with the help of her family, she worked on her first novel during the late hours of the night while balancing the rest of her life during the day. Her hard work paid off, as her first novel, My Mr. Manny, will be published August 27, 2013.

You can find out more about Jennifer on her blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can purchase In My Mother’s Footsteps on Amazon and don’t forget to check out My Mr. Manny when it comes out later this month.

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