Jennifer Youngblood - Goodness, True Love and Happily-Ever-Afters
Jennifer loves reading and writing clean romance. She believes that happily ever after is not just for stories. Jennifer enjoys interior design, rollerblading, clogging, jogging, and chocolate. In Jennifer’s opinion, there are few ills that can’t be solved with a warm brownie and scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream. Jennifer grew up in rural Alabama and loved living in a town where “everybody knows everybody.” Her love for writing began as a young teenager when she wrote stories for her high school English teacher to critique. Jennifer has a BA in English and Social Sciences from Brigham Young University Hawaii where she served as Miss BYU Hawaii. Before becoming an author, she worked as the owner and editor of a monthly newspaper named The Senior Times. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family and spends her time writing and doing all of the wonderful things that make up the life of a busy wife and mother. As our Author of the Day, she tells us about her book, The Persistent Groom.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Persistent Groom is about.
Ace Sanchez is a superstar running back for the Texas Titans and one of Texas’s most eligible bachelors, but his heart belongs to only one woman—Silver Coulter, the one who broke his heart. When Ace and Silver get a second chance, they must decide if they’re willing to give up on their dreams or lay it all on the line for love.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there something in particular that made you want to write a second chances romance?
I’m a big fan of second-chance romance. There’s something rewarding about fixing something that went terribly wrong the first go-around. The hero and heroine have a much clearer perspective the second time around and recognize the importance of rekindling and preserving their relationship. Also, it’s fun writing about characters who share a rich history.
Tell us more about Ace Sanchez. What makes him tick?
Ace came from a hardworking Latino family that owns a restaurant. He has worked hard to get where he is. While he’s at the top of his career as a celebrated running back for the Texas Titans, he remains true to his roots and never forgets where he came from. He has a close relationship with his large, lively family.
What makes Silver Coulter so special?
Silver has lots of regrets, especially where Ace Sanchez is concerned. They started out as best friends in high school, and then their relationship evolved into something more complicated. Silver and Ace parted ways when she chose Riley, the golden boy jock, right out of high school and married him. Silver and Riley are divorced but have a daughter named Gracie who has Downs syndrome. Silverworks hard to build her events’ business and take care of her young daughter. Her ex-husband is a perpetual thorn in her side who gets great pleasure out of making her life difficult and using Gracie as leverage.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I enjoy cooking, especially healthy recipes. I considered it a huge feat when I came up with a healthy recipe for Southern Cornbread. I love many different styles of dancing. I grew up clogging and still enjoy putting on my tap shoes and clogging as hard as I can go to get a good workout. Before becoming a full-time writer, I worked as an interior decorator. My specialty was putting together fabrics, designing window treatments, and arranging flowers.
Why clean/sweet romance? What drew you to the genre?
The world is a scary place. Bad things happen. I choose to focus on the good. It is my hope that my books will leave readers inspired, perhaps even better than they were before. I believe in God, goodness, true love, and happily-ever-after and will never apologize for putting these themes into my books.
Silver has had a difficult past. Why did you write her this way?
Whenever I create characters, they take a life of their own. I don’t know that I consciously decided to make Silver a certain way. Her character just evolved as the story unfolded. With my background in interior design, it was fun to explore the world of event planning. There’s a point at the beginning of the story where Silver steps back to admire her handiwork. The event is about to start, and everything is pristine—ready and waiting for the guests. I have felt that same sense of accomplishment after completing decorating projects.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Yes! There are times when my characters refuse to behave! They take a life of their own. I’m often surprised at the things they do.
What has been your greatest challenge while writing The Persistent Groom?
It was challenging and rewarding to write about an NFL player. As part of my preparation, I interviewed a well-known NFL player to get the inside scoop. It’s so nice to have first-hand knowledge. It was super helpful in crafting not only The Persistent Groom but also the entire Texas Titan Romance Series. I wrote this series with some of my closest writing friends. We enjoyed collaborating as we created the world of the Texas Titans.
This is the first book in the Texas Titans Romances. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Yes, The Persistent Groom can be read as a standalone romance. All of the books in the series have characters that interconnect, but the books are designed as standalones.
The story contains quite a couple of twists and secrets. Did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
Some of it was planned and some of it was spontaneous. Whenever I begin writing a story, I do an in-depth synopsis that involves lots of research. I normally know have a firm grasp of where the story is going. When I get about 2/3rds done, I re-evaluate the story and flesh out the synopsis for the end to make sure that I’ve covered all the points, and that I don’t have any loose ends, etc.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I don’t write a word without first praying for inspiration. I work 8-10 hours a day. A good third of that time is spent on marketing and the rest on writing.
What are you working on right now?
I just started a new series that’s set on a fictitious island in North Carolina. The first book in the series is out now. Chasing Whispers has mystery, intrigue, and romance. It fits into the women’s fiction category. I’m about to start writing the second book.
Chasing Whispers Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09153VVQ4 Also, I’m writing a Romcom series that’ll be coming out this fall. The first book in my romcom series is part of a 20-book boxset that I’m writing with a stellar group of other clean romance authors. The boxset is available for preorder for only 99¢. All preorder proceeds will benefit Pets for the Elderly. Link for the boxset: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094TFL86B
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’m thrilled about a new project that I just launched. It’s called The Blue Chair Book Review. I do virtual visits with book clubs that are reading my books. It’s a fun way to connect with readers around the world. Anyone who has a book club or group of readers interested in meeting with me virtually can learn more at https://www.readsweetromance.com/book-club I love communicating with readers through my newsletter. Everyone who joins will get a Free Copy of my book Beastly Charm.