Welcome to CABR, Jennifer 😀
If you could only use 20 words to describe your debut novel, THE DIVORCE PARTY, what would you say?
The Divorce Party is the love story after the love story. How two people who love each other immeasurably, but perhaps cannot be together, fight to save their marriage.
Tell us about the hardest scene to write.
Definitely the scene where Riccardo, my hero, must confess to his biggest mistake. In this book, I didn’t just want the reader to think the hero crossed the line, I wanted him to cross the line.
I wanted the reader to know what it was like to stand in Riccardo’s shoes and what it was like to stand in Lilly’s shoes by the end of the book. Infidelity is a complex and painful subject. I think you can never make a judgement on someone else until you stand in their shoes. I hope I achieve that in the end for the reader.
‘Why wasn’t I ever enough then?’ She yelled the words at him, her control snapping. ‘If you think I’m beautiful, if I’m enough for you, then why did you have to have an affair with Chelsea Tate?’
All the colour drained out of his face now. ‘It didn’t happen. You’re the only woman I want, Lilly. Chelsea never came close to meaning anything like that to me.’
‘Then tell me the truth,’ she raged, pointing a finger at him. ‘This is my life, Riccardo. Not a tabloid page. When I left you I was in the fetal position for three days. Three days. And if Alex hadn’t come along to dig me out, I might still be there. So do not tell me any more lies. I can’t take it.’
He stared at her with the glazed look of a man who didn’t know where to go. What to do. She watched him take a deep breath and steady himself and felt her heart sink into the depths of hell. ‘You need to give me a chance to explain.’
She bit back the bile that rose in her throat. ‘Believe me–you have my full attention.’
Was there a section of the book or a particular scene that “flowed” from your mind, onto the screen? 🙂
This scene where Lilly walks into her divorce party was like a movie reel in my head.
She paused at the entrance, taking in the glittering colour and jewels of the beautifully dressed crowd, set off by the muted glow of a dozen priceless, antique chandeliers that dated back to the English Regency period. A jazz band played in the corner of the room, but the buzz of a hundred conversations rose above it.
Her back stiffened. She hated jazz. Was Riccardo trying to make a statement? To illustrate to her how he’d moved on?
Alex grabbed her arm and propelled her forward. ‘You need a drink.’
Or ten, Lilly thought grimly, as dozens of curious gazes turned on them and a buzz ran through the crowd. She switched herself on autopilot—the only way she knew how to function in a situation like this and started walking.
She lifted her chin when she saw Jay Kaiken. Kept walking. Then the wierdest thing happened as they moved toward the bar at the back of the room. Like the parting of the Red Sea, the crowd moved aside, divided down the centre of the big room. On her left, she recognized friends and acquaintances who had chosen to keep in touch with her rather than Riccardo after their separation. On her right, she saw Riccardo’s business associates; his brother, cousins and political contacts.
‘It’s like our wedding all over again,’ she breathed, remembering how she’d walked into that beautiful old Catholic cathedral on the Upper East Side to find her family and friends on one side—the neatly dressed, less-than-glamorous Iowa farm contingent–alongside her girlfriends and school mates, and Riccardo’s much larger, understatedly elegant clan on the other, all ancient bloodlines and aristocratic heritage.
As if their marriage had been divided from the beginning.
Maybe that should have been her first clue.
The hero in TDP has two younger brothers. What can you tell us about their upcoming books? Also, is there an official name for this 3-part series?
It’s the De Campo brothers triology. Gabrielle, the middle brother and genuis winemaker, is the hero of book two set in Napa Valley called An Exquisite Affair, out in Feb 2014. Matteo, the youngest playboy De Campo brother, but with perhaps the darkest secrets and demons is out in May 2014 – his story is called The Truth About De Campo.
When/where can fans meet you in person?
Hoping to be at the RT Convention in New Orleans next year and at RWA in San Antonio!
How has winning Harlequin’s 2012 So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) competition changed your life?
Immeasurably 😀 I received a two book contract for winning the contest, then recently, received another four book contract with Harlequin Presents. I am writing for the line I have always aspired to write for – the glamorous, exciting stories I love.
“You threw your fifty-thousand-dollar engagement ring off the Brooklyn Bridge?”
Lilly shows up to her lavish divorce party with one goal in mind—to leave as quickly as possible minus a husband! Except he has other plans…and Riccardo De Campo isn’t easy to say “no” to.
Forced back into Riccardo’s glittering, gossip-fueled world, the price of perfection is still too high and Lilly’s old insecurities resurface. An unexpected consequence of their reunion raises the stakes even higher, and the media’s golden couple must finally confront the truth behind the headlines.
Congratulations to Jennifer Hayward, winner of Harlequin’s 2012 So You Think You Can Write competition!
JENNIFER HAYWARD has been a fan of romance and adventure since filching her sister’s Harlequin Presents novels to escape her teenaged angst.
Jennifer penned her first romance at nineteen. When it was rejected, she bristled at her mother’s suggestion that she needed more life experience. She went on to complete a journalism degree and intern as a sports broadcaster before settling into a career in public relations. Years of working alongside powerful, charismatic CEOs and traveling the world provided perfect fodder for the arrogant alpha males she loves to write, and free research on the some of the world’s most glamorous locales.
A suitable amount of life experience under her belt, she sat down and conjured up the sexiest, most delicious Italian wine magnate she could imagine, had him make his biggest mistake and gave him a wife on the run. That story, The Divorce Party, won her Harlequin’s 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest and a book contract. Turns out, Mother knew best.
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