Jenn McKinlay: On Going Home in Romance Novels

New York Times bestseller Jenn McKinlay discusses writing her new romance novel, Wait For It, and choosing her home city as its setting.
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Jenn McKinlay is the award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of several mystery and romance series. Her work has been translated into multiple languages in countries all over the world. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets, and her husband's guitars.

Jenn McKinlay: On Going Home in Romance Novels

In this post, Jenny discusses writing her new romance novel, Wait For It, and choosing her home city as its setting, and more!

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Name: Jenn McKinlay
Literary agent: Christina Hogrebe
Book title: Wait For It
Publisher: Berkley
Expected release date: August 10, 2021
Genre/category: Women’s Fiction/Romance
Elevator pitch for the book: Nick Daire, a bitter recluse recovering from a stroke, thinks he doesn’t need anyone. To repay a debt to a friend, he rents his guesthouse to Annabelle Martin, a fixer, who believes if she can fix the broken men in her life they won’t leave her. They are both so very wrong.
Previous titles by the author: Paris is Always a Good Idea, One for the Books, For Batter or Worse, Buried to the Brim, The Good Ones, About a Dog, and 40 other titles.

Jenn McKinlay: On Going Home in Romance Novels

Wait For It by Jenn McKinlay

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What prompted you to write this book?

I wanted to write a rom-com set in my city—Phoenix, AZ. There is so much to love about the desert, and it doesn’t get used often as a setting, so I wanted to share it with my readers using a transplanted Bostonian new to Arizona.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

The idea came to me in January of 2020, I wrote it a few months later, and it will hit the bookstores in August of 2021, so about 20 months total. The concept did not change, but I’m a heavy outliner, so none of my books ever really change once I’ve fleshed them out.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

After 50 books, not much surprises me in the publishing process anymore, but for the first time a landmark closed—a restaurant called the Top of the Hub in Boston—between the writing of the book and the page proofs, and I wondered if I needed to remove the reference before publication. I decided to let it stay as a reminder of the restaurant which had been in the Prudential Center for 55 years.

Jenn McKinlay: On Going Home in Romance Novels

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Not so much from the writing but definitely the research. There’s an architectural subplot about net zero builds, and I learned so much about environmentally friendly architecture that I am considering solar panels and gray water irrigation for my own house.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Laughs, mostly, but also some inner reflection about life and the choices we make. The book is anchored with several heavy duty topics like opioid addiction, climate change, rebooting your life, and asking for help when you need it, so there is much to unbox as the characters navigate life and love and letting go.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Every single writing cliché is annoying, particularly because they’re all true. Write every day. Write what you want to read. Make every book better than the last. And the most important of all—never give up!

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