Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Author Spotlight on JENNIFER MCQUISTON & a Review of her debut Novel WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND

Hi  Jennifer! Thank you so much for joining me at Book Obsessed Chicks.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself? When did you become a writer?

Hi Kimberly, thank you so much for having me on! Hmmm… let’s see. I am a veterinarian who mostly works on people (I track zoonotic diseases, which are those swapped between animals and humans). I work for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and have been lucky enough to travel the world as part of my job. I am also a wife and mother who hates to do laundry.
See? Perfectly normal.
I never imagined I would become a writer—writing scientific manuscripts doesn’t exactly provide the skills needed to pull off a full length genre fiction novel. But I have always been a voracious reader, and romance has been the type of fiction I always reached for when the day job got too stressful. I found myself discovering more and more amazing authors, and they, more than anything else, inspired me to try it myself.
Please tell us about your inspiration for your new book, What Happens In Scotland.
What Happens in Scotland is a historical romp that was inspired by the movie The Hangover. I conceived it when I was planning my 40th birthday party in Vegas, and wrote it in a frantic 2.5 months. It is a classic “she woke up married” story, only set in the decidedly proper Victorian era.Which is, of course, wicked fun. As you can tell from this decidedly unproper book trailer! 

I have always had what I would loosely term “an inappropriate sense of humor”, meaning my mouth opens to insert a snarky comment before my brain can shut me off. With What Happens in Scotland, I just turned off my filter, and the result is something pretty close to how my imagination rolls. I didn’t specifically set OFF to write a comedic historical, but once I started, my internal GPS took me right there.

I have to tell you, I love Lady Georgette. How did you come up with her?

Lady Georgette is one of those fun characters who comes up with you. I had no idea who she was when I started writing, but from the first sentence (Though she would never admit it to polite Society, Lady Georgette Thorold hated brandy almost as much as she hated husbands), her character took on its own life. She is proper, widowed, a little prudish, and aching for something more after a disastrous first marriage. She is horrified to wake up in bed with someone she doesn’t know—but also can’t help but wistfully imagine what she might have done.

Can you tell us your favorite character from your book so far and why?

Honestly, my favorite character is William MacKenzie, the hero’s brother. A strong secondary character in What Happens in Scotland, William is a burly, comedic presence of a guy. He has a big heart, a big laugh, and strong protective instincts toward his family. William is not currently slated to have his own book, but I am secretly plotting him a novella, and already know the perfect woman for him.

Who are your heroes? Mentors?

My hero would be former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter. Not because of his political views, per se, but because of the incredible things he has done since his presidency through the Carter Center. His world vision, commitment to basic public health, and conciliatory approach to conflict resolution has changed the lives of millions of people all over the world.
For writing mentors, I would have to say my critique partners provide me with amazing inspiration alongside their raw criticism, and I count myself fortunate to have them!

Was it difficult for you to get published?

The honest truth is that it wasn’t easy. I wrote five books before I wrote one that was accepted for publication. I more or less had to retrain my scientific writing persona to write something people would want to read. I am probably lucky it didn’t take ten books! 

How many more books are planned in this series?

A 3 book series is planned. Book #2 is called Summer is for Lovers, and will be published September 24, 2013. Summer is for Lovers is an unrequited love story set in the Victorian seaside resort of Brighton, and features David Cameron, the almost-villain from book #1, as the hero. Can he be redeemed? You’ll have to read to find out! 
Book #3 is called Moonlight on my Mind, and will be out in Spring 2014. It features Patrick Channing, another character you meet in book #1, as its hero. Patrick is hiding from a murder charge, and he has just been discovered by the most notorious gossip in Britain.

Who are your favorite authors/reads?

My favorite author is Ken Follett (whom I am convinced actually writes romance…..shhhhh.) My favorite historical authors include Meredith Duran, Sarah MacLean, Joanna Bourne, Madeline Hunter, and far too many to actually name.


Writing is my hobby! You really need to be careful of hobbies like this, though, they hijack your life. I also love spending time with my girls and their horse. My family also loves to travel, and we do it every chance we get.

Do you use an inspiration board for your characters? Who do you picture as your characters?

Sometimes I will see a picture (usually a model in an Eddie Bauer catalog or something of that ilk) and tear it out and save it, but mostly I just have the characters in my head. My lead males do tend to resemble hunky country music stars… what can I say, I love me a country boy.
What’s next?
Finishing book #3, the planned novella, and then taking a big, big breath to figure out what I want to do next. The pace of writing under deadline with the day job has definitely proven more challenging than I imagined… and I am someone who normally thrives on challenge. Whatever I do will involve writing, but I am hoping for a slower pace.

Where can readers find you?

My website, is open for business! I also love connecting with readers on Facebook ( and Twitter (@jenmcqwrites)

Recent widow, British, Lady Georgette Thorold groggily wakes up naked, in places unknown with feathers everywhere,and a very large man sleeping by her side. When she realizes she also has a wedding ring on her finger she panics and wonders what in heavens name she has done. Especially after the fact that she is finally free from an awful marriage and never wanted to marry again.

As Scotsman, James MacKenzie awakens from his apparent drunken stupor he can hardly tell what has happened when Georgette clocks him with a chamber pot and makes a run for it. When he finally is revived by his brother William, he tries to piece together the puzzle that is before him in the room that has been left in complete disarray. When he finds his money missing, he is sure that the missing woman has stolen it so he angrily sets off after her, his only clue, her very beautiful corset.

Georgette in the meantime, while making her swift exit, comes face to face with her cousin, Randolph, who has his own plans for his disheveled cousin of means. Great, yet another dilemma facing the evidently newly married woman. She quickly realizes that she must find this handsome stranger and get out of this marriage.

What Happens in Scotland continues to be a whirlwind trek of discovery. Once James finally finds Georgette,  mishaps continue and they have more than one mystery on their hands, primarily, are they married or are they not married? Can these two people from two totally different walks of life come to terms with what fate has dished out for them or will they throw in the towel? This very important question and many more will be answered in the immensely entertaining What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston.

From page one I was enthralled with this McQuiston masterpiece. What Happens in Scotland evokes a large spectrum of emotions as it brings these quirky characters together. I had just come from reading some disappointing reads and was so relieved when this book had me laughing only a few pages in. I am very much looking forward to the next Jennifer McQuiston read, SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS. Thank you Jennifer McQuiston, for such an entertaining ride.

5 Stars (Hook Line and Sinker)


  1. Jennifer, congrats on your first book! I loved it and can't wait to read more.

    1. Maria, thank you so much!!! I am writing more... I promise!

  2. OMG~! I can't wait for William's novella! I was hoping he got his own HEA. Thank you so much Jennifer! Now my brain is scattering about who the lucky lady will be to take his heart~ I have an idea but....hmmm. :)

    1. Kipha, I promise, I will give William his time in the spotlight!! But I can tell you this... you did not meet the lucky lady in What Happens in Scotland. :)