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Wednesday 8 July 2015

ℚ♫ The Jacks of Her Heart: Capehart Bay [1] - Virginia McCullough

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Jacks of Her Heart, her latest romance novel (, VEM Books, 314 pages).  

A pure delight! I fell in love with Jack instantly—and the storybook town of Capehart Bay.” —Lily Silver, Author of The Rock Star Next Door

The Jacks of Her Heart is a romantic tale with two very different people trying for a second chance at love.

This is a contemporary romance in which 'opposites attract' when the owner of a local nostalgic music cafe and rescuer of stray dogs falls for a professional organizer. Will this second chance romance survive the resistance of their adult children and their own personal quirks?

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Hello Virginia, many thanks for joining us today on BooksChatter.

What was the inspiration for your latest series, Capehart Bay, and The Jacks of Her Heart?
"The Jacks of Her Heart was born after overhearing a couple of sisters in their twenties complain about their parents’ “behavior.”  I’m talking about relatively small choices, too, like the parents heading to Vermont to ski, when they’d never been skiing before.  And these parents had a lot of nerve putting their house on the market!  Without that huge home available, where will the whole extended family have Christmas?

My eavesdropping spurred my imagination, with Lorna and Jack the result.  They’re two fiftyish people who fall under the spell of moonlight and dancing on a tropical cruise—and get married on impulse.  Whoa!  What will the kids think of that? And how will this couple make sense of their own actions, especially when they discover their differences—big ones?  The new book was born, and now The Jacks of Her Heart is available, and Book 2 of The Capehart Bay series is underway (The Icing on her Cake)."
How much of yourself is reflected in the book, and how?
"Well, I’m an unapologetic lover of ‘60s and ‘70s music—and clothes.  I sang those songs and wore those clothes.  I also brought in a little of the element of social change and the music that went along with it.  This isn’t a political book, by any means, but the era itself is all about moving forward, and I like to think that’s a theme in everything I’ve done in my life, too.  I’ve also experienced some of the same “sandwich” generation issues that Jack and Lorna face in the book.  Between them, they have two elderly parents, three grown children, and one granddaughter."
And on that note, Virginia has shared with us a playlist of some of those music tracks from the 60s and 70s.
"The Jacks of Her Heart is a lighthearted story about finding love, the second time around. The romantic lead in this story is Jack, a laid back café owner who loves the nostalgia of music popular in the sixties and seventies.  Listening to these songs provided great inspiration while I was writing the book, and they served as namesakes for the menu items in Jack’s café. Listen —or sing— along with these classic tunes."

The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Ed Vincent of Encircle Publishing has done the last four covers for me.  I love them all.  But if I had to choose a favorite, I think I like The Jacks of Her Heart the best.  My main characters fell in love on a cruise with all the romantic trappings of moonlight, music, dancing—and champagne.  In the first scene champagne glasses are sitting on the nightstand when Lorna is “facing the music” about her impulsive marriage.  The idea carried over to the cover. "

Why should we read The Jacks of Her Heart and what sets it apart from the rest?

"Lorna and Jack have grown kids, so they’re in mid-life, and he’s experienced divorce and she’s a widow.  But their hearts are open, and they have powerful chemistry, and they married, more or less on impulse.  It was great fun to create Jack, an intuitive laid-back kind of guy, who owns his café and is a dedicated dog rescuer, and then pair him with a woman who loves order and organization so much she created a business as a professional organizer/lifestyle coach called Your Sweet Life.  She’s had some bad experiences with dogs, too.  Lorna and Jack are a classic opposites-attract duo, but because they aren’t in their twenties or thirties, they soon find themselves entangled in each other’s families—the disapproving elderly parents and kids end up needing them both.  So they have to adjust to being newlyweds—or not—but they imagine other things will stay the same.  They’re wrong, of course! And it was a surprise, even to me, that the more I wrote about their journey, the more “heart” they revealed, even in the midst of what looks like hopeless conflict. "
Can you tell us something quirky about The Jacks of Her Heart, its story and characters?
"I always knew “Jacks” would be lighter fare than my usual focus on serious topics, like loss or illness.  Both Sides Now, Jack’s popular ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia café gave me a chance to have great fun with the era’s music and clothes.  Every dish on Jack’s café menu, from the “Love me Tender Roast Beef Sandwich” to “Happy Together Mac ‘N Cheese” to the “Brown-eyed Girl Bran Muffins,” are named after popular songs of the era.  I ended up creating a Playlist of more than 50 songs mentioned in the book.  There’s even a Bob Dylan Lookalike Contest.  To add to the nostalgia theme, I wove a vintage clothing tent sale into the story—so I could dress up the characters in swing coats, midi-skirts, and bell bottom pants. "
I love that idea :-)

Who would you recommend your book to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"Well, my definition of romance and women’s fiction is “the fiction that women are drawn to and read,” and I expect all my books draw an audience of women from their mid-thirties up. From what people tell me, my books embrace and address a full range of events and emotions that occur in everyday life.  Reviewers have said my characters could be their neighbors or friends or coworkers.

Everyone eventually faces problems that won’t go away on their own.  But we also have hope that we can heal our wounds, experience joy with our families, develop careers we love, and try to grab the second chances life offers us.  And most of us try to bring humor and laughter to whatever comes up.  My characters sure do.

My novels are known to deal with hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.  The Jacks of Her Heart is simply a lighter look at these concepts.  It includes four generations, though, so there are bound to be a few challenges, but the emphasis is on the romance. "
If you could / wished to turn the Capehart Bay series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Well, for sure the movie would need to be filmed on location in Lake Geneva and Williams Bay, lovely towns on Geneva Lake in southern Wisconsin.  I patterned Capehart Bay after a combination of these wonderful small towns on this lake, which has an unrestricted walking path all around it.  I think Tim Daly is my dream Jack.  I’m not sure about who should play Lorna, but I think Lauren Graham would be great for Lorna’s friend, June. "
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"My books tend be considered romantic women’s fiction.  If I had to put a label on them, I’d call them family drama/love stories, although The Jacks of Her Heart is at its heart a true romance.  Other than contemporary women’s fiction, I’m most interested in historical novels set in the first half of the twentieth century.  I have a World War I era book in its early stages, along with a book following a group of women during WWII.  Those will need to wait, though, because I’ve got a couple of series to finish and other contemporaries waiting in line. "
What is your writing process?
"Since I write for my living (nonfiction books as a coauthor and ghostwriter), I write full-time, and I keep daytime work hours.  I believe in muses, but I also know for sure they reward action.  So although they deliver answers to writing problems when I’m out walking or making soup or doing other unrelated things, the muses tend to really come alive when I’ve been working hard on a project.  They reward me by helping me bring a topic to life—whether it’s a 700 word article on a medical topic or a 100,000 word novel.  I’ve had to adjust to a schedule that includes regular ghostwriting and coaching, fiction writing, and promotion.  That can be difficult, but in the end, as working writers, we have to adjust to all the demands on our time."
What is in store next? 
"I’m working on Book 2 of The Capehart Bay series—The Icing on Her Cake.  Lorna’s best friend, June Angleton, needed her own story.  June is a serious attorney and devoted to her daughter, but a mystery man suddenly comes into June’s life.  He turns out to be celebrity chef Campbell (Camp) Swift, whose Boston-based TV show was recently cancelled. June needs some fun in her life and learn to trust, and Camp needs to face some big mistakes. Neither wants to fall in love, but when their daughters are best friends, how can they avoid each other?"
Once again thank you so much for joining us today, and for that playlist - we really enjoyed that! We wish you all the best with the remainder of the tour and with the next chapter in the Capehart Bay series.

The Jacks of Her Heart - available NOW!

UK: purchase from US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads


Victoria Alexander said...

Great interview - thanks for sharing!

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Virginia McCullough said...

I enjoy seeing the Mammas and Pappas singing--and the actors, too. Thanks for that.

I'm glad you enjoyed the interview...I keep trying to expand Jack's menu with more dishes based on songs!


Unknown said...

Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the post and the giveaway!