At this summer’s RWA17 I got to chat with the funny and totally wonderful Peggy Jaeger, author of Passion’s Pallet! I’m excited to share some of her stories, tips on writing and info on the new book with you!
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not quite sure it was ever a conscious thought. Ever since childhood I’ve loved to read and being transported away from reality was a favorite thing for me. It seems I’ve always had the notion to write my own words down as well. I’m a life long diarist, so really, I’ve always written in some capacity.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
Believe it or not it’s the fangirling moments. And I mean MY fangirling moments. The first time I met and spoke with Nora Roberts is a day that I relive frequently. When Kristen Higgins knew my name? Yeah, I lost consciousness for minute! And when Jill Shalvis recognized me from a prior conference, well, I almost cried!
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I face, and I think all writers face, is that sense that this will be our last book, We won’t have any more ideas after this one, or the ones we have won’t be good enough for our readers. That fear of failure is a common theme in my life and I struggle daily to barrel through the inadequacy feeling and keep going. I come from along line of strong women who faced higher hurdles than simply my fear of not living up to snuff. I remember how they pushed through their problems and that helps me go on. Even when I feel like there’s no bloody reason to!!
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I’m a nurse so I have a scientific background. That means I plot everything. I usually take about 2 weeks when a new idea comes to me and troll through Pinterest looking for images of my hero and heroine as I picture them, places for the setting, and the occupations my characters have. Then I make new boards based on the title of the book. I used to make actual poster boards of all the info I gathered, but it’s so much simpler now doing it on Pinterest. As far as research, when I wrote about a veterinarian, I took my local vet to lunch and picked her brain on details. I did the same with the book I’m currently writing about a lawyer. Panera is a great place to meet, feed my research people, and extract info from them!
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Don’t give up. No matter what. No matter what people say to you about your writing, your voice, anything connected to your dreams. I was 55 years old when I got my first book published by a traditional press. I’m 57 now and have 10 books behind me. I was an overnight success that took 30 years to come to fruition!! No one has the right to stamp on your dreams and if someone does, well, you gotta say adios to them or love them from a distance because you don’t need that negativity squishing your hopes and desires.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
I’m lucky enough to have my own office in the third floor of my home. My office window overlooks our forest ( I live in the woods!) so it is a very serene setting in which to write. The only noise I hear most days is from the birds chirping and the squirrels frolicking. I try not to snack while writing because I sit so much and you know…ass spread! But when I need a pick me up, anything chocolate will do.
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
OMG that’s like asking who your favorite child is!!! I would want to date all of them at varying times, that is, not at the same time. That’s another kind of romance I don’t write! HeeHee.
What project are you currently working on?
I’ve got 2 I’m in the process of writing. One is the next book in my COOK WILL LOVE series that isn’t contracted yet ( Keeping fingers crossed) and another new series I’m starting about a family of wedding planners. Don’t want to say too much about that one because I’m still mulling.
What’s next for you?
Well, my second WILL COOK FOR LOVE Book releases on 10.3.17 from Kensington Publishers and I just had book 5 in the MacQuire Women Passion’ s Pallet go out into the book reading world on 8.4. Busy times with all the media promo, that’s for sure.
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
About the Book!
Tell us a little about your new release: Passion’s Pallet!
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
This is the second prequel to my MacQuire Women Series. I wrote about the children of these two sisters, Carly and Serena, but then wanted to go back and explore their own Happily ever afters. Passion’s Pallet is Serena MacQuires’ and Seamus Cleary’s love story.
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
I always plot. Extensively. Like, obsessively. Plus, it was easy with this book because there was so much of the story that had already been told in other books, that it was like visiting an old friend and catching up.
How did your characters come to life?
With difficulty! Heehee. Seriously, Serena is such an extension of my own moodiness that at times I felt as if I was writing in a diary, especially when I explored her mercurial moods and emotions.
Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn?
My lovely mother-in-law is an artist, so I had a lot of first hand knowledge about Serena’s process just by watching her paint over the years and listening to her talk about her art. Some of the things Seamus needed to do in the book regarding his practice I gleamed from my local vet, who I took to lunch one day and grilled about procedures. She was thrilled to talk to me.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
Favorite part was getting to show how Tiffany and Cole from Skater’s Waltz ( my first book) developed their love for one another. It was fun writing them as kids, knowing what their future lives were going to be like. The most challenging aspect had to be dealing with Serena’s “loss” in the story. I don’t want to give too much away but there is a death in the first third of the book that sets the tone for her relationship with Seamus for the rest of it. I shed a lot of tears when I was writing a few of those scenes and had to step away from the laptop for a day or so until I could get a hold on myself again.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
As of right now it’s the last book in the MacQuire Women But Serena does have two more sons left at home, and Tiffany has 4 kids so…
Their eyes met and Seamus registered the silent “O” of surprise on her mouth.
“I’m sorry I startled you,” he said, drawn to her as an errant moth would be to a ghost of moonlight. “Addie told me you were out here.”
Serena reached over to her sketchpad, open at her feet, and closed it with a flick of her toe. He was rewarded with a lengthy view of thigh as she stretched.
“Doodling, mostly. I wanted to do some preliminary sketches for a commission I have.”
“Mind if I sit?” he asked, and without waiting for an answer, did.
When he reached for the pad and said, “May I?” she shot her bare foot on top of it.
“Sorry.” Serena reached over and grabbed the book. When it was safely tucked behind her back, braced against the tree, she added, “I’m a little schizoid where my work is concerned. I don’t let people see it when it’s in the planning or beginning stages.”
He looked across at her, lifted one brow slightly, then glanced around. “This is nice,” he said. “Quiet. Peaceful.”
A fist of pure desire punched him in the stomach, the muscles contracting in response to the challenge in her eyes.
“Was there something you needed to see me about?”
He considered her again, before replying. For someone so young she could act as regally as the most aged dowager.
And she was young; much younger than he was. It wouldn’t do to start anything with her. Besides, she was a client. He had to keep it professional.
But dammit, those eyes speared right through him, impaling him with their beauty, and were hard to ignore. As was the gentle swell and shift of her breasts with each breath beneath her barely modest halter top. And her legs, well, just forget about those. Legs like that were destined to be his downfall.
Find Passion’s Pallet on Amazon and Wild Rose Press