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 keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.
Own Your Setting
I have to admit this.
I’m not a setting sort of girl.
Let me explain. I’ve always been more focused on the characterization and dialogue of a story. I cannot tell you how many times my editor has reminded me to describe the scene, or her little scrawly notes on the margins that say: Where r we? Show me!
What I love so much about writing is growth. I’ve learned over many years of practice to grow to love the setting of my books, and make them more crucial to the overall story. With the Marriage to a Billionaire series, Italy became my Muse and resonated with readers. With Beyond Me, the first book in the Sex on the Beach series, my writing partners and I decided to set it in Spring Break in Key West.
We dove into a colorful world of rollicking bars, beach, sand, and cocktails. When we decided to write the second books in our series, we faced a unique challenge. Spring break was over, and our characters were continuing their journey somewhere different.
Quinn and James ended in Chicago. When I first started writing the book, I remember feeling a bit intimidated by switching the setting from a beach to a bustling, popular city in the depth of winter. Shiver. Definitely not the perfect setting for a Sex on the Beach book.
But I owned it. After researching, I delved into the fascinating city where art, deep dish pizza, and endless opportunities abound. As the story evolved, the setting became crucial to my characters trying to find their way together in the “real” world outside of vacation. It faced the challenges of their own relationship.
At the end, we go back to Key West, of course. I think books are stronger when the setting brings something rich to the reader and fits the characters, and I continue to grow in this aspect and push harder to keep doing better.
Next time you read a book you love, think about the setting and how it affected the story. I think it’s a great exercise for both readers and writers to find what they love and sometimes, take a leap in a new direction.
I hope you enjoy Chasing Me!
Quinn and James' Story Continues in Chasing Me...It was supposed to be a love story....I knew she was out of my league but I didn’t care. Looking back, I wonder if I hadn’t pursued her, would things have turned out differently? Is it Fate that determines our choices in life? God? Free will? Or just plain old innate selfishness?I got her, of course. There hadn’t been a girl I wasn’t able to seduce. Problem was she seduced me right back, body, mind, and soul. She possessed me, tormented me, and showed me a world that was so bright and pure I was almost blinded.Didn’t she know after such a drug I could never settle for less? Didn’t she realize no matter how many times I screwed up, or broke her heart, or bent her to my will, I’d never be able to let her go?If I hadn’t known such intensity existed, would it have been better for both of us?True love, the real kind, isn’t nice and sweet and pure. No, it’s dirty, and sinful, and messy. It’s like ripping a chunk of flesh from your body and watching yourself bleed out in slow, helpless intervals until you thankfully pass out.This isn’t a love story. But it’s the only story I got.
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- 1 Signed Book of Choice from Jennifer Probst & Jen McLaughlin
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