Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jana Richards And Always A Bridesmaid #contemporaryromance #newrelease

Today we have Jana Richards in the hot seat, discussing her latest release, Always A Bridesmaid. I love the concept of this story. I'm a sucker for the ugly duckling, and I'm interested to see how Dani learns to see her own beauty! Have a gander (no pun intended) at the blurb and excerpt, and enjoy! 


Quick round for Jana Richards...

Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice? Coffee in the mornings, wine in the evenings
Favorite Movie: Jerry Maguire
Favorite Color: blue
Favorite book/author: Today it’s “Smooth Talking Stranger” by Lisa Klepyas. Might be different tomorrow. I’m very fickle.
How do you feel about bacon? Love it. Doesn’t everybody?

The REAL questions… 

*Tell us a little about yourself.

A perfect size 2, I’m a five foot eleven international supermodel with glorious flowing blonde curls and delectable blue eyes. In my spare time I write best-selling, award-winning romance novels, and save the whales. And I’m 25.

Oh, wait. That’s my fantasy life. Sorry.

My real life is a little more boring. I work as a bookkeeper/admin assistant part-time and devote the rest of my working time to writing. I have two grown daughters and I’ve been married to the same man for 35 wonderful years. I guess that makes me…not 25. Where does the time go?

When I’m not glued to my writing chair or at my day job, I try to keep from turning into a blimp with regular yoga and Pilates classes and trips to the gym. I like reading (naturally), going to movies and concerts and hanging out with family and friends.

What’s under your bed?
Good grief, I haven’t looked under there in ages. (runs next door to check) As far as I can tell, there’s nothing but dust and enough dog hair to knit a completely new dog.

What comes first, plot or characters?  
Usually plot. For instance, for “Always a Bridesmaid” I wanted to examine how a girl who has always considered herself an ugly duckling finally learns to see herself as a beautiful swan. Then I create characters who support the question or idea I want to talk about.

Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process.
I’m mostly a plotter, but I will wing it on occasion. As I said in the last question, I start with an idea or premise or ‘what if?’ question. Then I think about my characters. What kind of people would work in this story? What sort of background would they have? What are their goals - what do they want, and how are they going to get it? From there I make myself a synopsis of sorts, and tell myself the story before I start the actual writing. I like having a roadmap I can follow while I’m writing; it keeps me from staring in panic at the blinking cursor. But it doesn’t mean I can’t take a side trip on my journey if something catches my fancy. If a better idea, a better plot twist, a better backstory for my character occurs to me as I’m writing, I’ll go with it.

Oddest thing on your desk?
I have a bowl of rocks on my desk. I’ve collected them from different places I’ve been. For example, I’ve got some rocks from a beach in Nova Scotia, some pieces of granite from a beach in Manitoba (Victoria Beach, for those of you who know Manitoba), and a rock that comes from the retreat house near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where my writing group, the Saskatchewan Romance Writers, has an annual fall retreat.

What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in?
I write in a few different romance genres – contemporary romance, historical romance set in World War Two, romantic suspense, and romance with paranormal elements such as angels or psychics. Lately, I’ve been in a contemporary state of mind, so I’ll say the best thing about this genre is being able to talk about the real world as I know it. It’s exciting to make up worlds inhabited by angels or people who can ‘see’ things that others can’t, and I love history, especially WW2 history. I also love the excitement of romantic suspense. But there’s a special challenge in creating believable contemporary characters who face the same kinds of problems with money, jobs, friends, family and lovers that the rest of us face. The characters have to grab readers on the strength of their personalities alone, without the benefit of a shoot-‘em-up suspense plot, an imaginative fantasy plot, or an interesting era in history. A contemporary romance doesn’t have anything to fall back on, other than strong characters and a great story.  

What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Switching from the shy, introverted writer to the outgoing promoter and marketer of my books, as I’m required to do in order to get my work out there. Honestly, I’ve got more of the shy, introverted writer in me.

What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
Being able to write in my pajamas till noon.

What do you wish someone had asked you for an interview question?

I wish someone would ask me what I’d like to write if I could write something outside of my normal genre. I’d love to write a mystery series, perhaps a mystery set during World War Two. Or because I love history, maybe my sleuth would be a medieval knight or a Victorian dandy. So many books to write, so little time.

Tell us about your latest release!
I’m very excited about “Always a Bridesmaid” because it’s the third and final book in my Left at the Altar series, and this is also my first series. I wanted to write a series of books, each starting with someone being jilted at the altar. I wanted to explore first, how painful and humiliating that would be, and second, how someone would come back from an experience like that and learn to trust and love again.

I’d always intended these books to be a series, but it took me forever to finish. “Her Best Man” was published in 2007 but the second book in the series, “There Goes the Groom” wasn’t published until May 2013. I got a little sidetracked in-between! But I’m thrilled this trio of stories about facing humiliation and coming out the other side whole and happy and ready to love, is finally seeing the light of day.

Blurb for Always a Bridesmaid...
Dani Dipietro has always considered herself an ugly duckling in a family of swans. She's the bridesmaid her friends count on, but never the woman any man wants for his bride. So she plays the funny girl and guards her emotions, and her secrets, closely.

When Zach Morrison was dumped at his wedding, Dani was there to help him through the humiliation. A year later they meet again and once more Zach needs her help. To fend off the unwanted attentions of his former fiancĂ©, he asks Dani to pretend to be his girlfriend. They play their roles a little too well, and make believe turns into reality. But their relationship comes crashing down around them when Zach's trust issues cause him to accuse Dani of cheating. Telling the truth means that Dani will betray a friend, something she will never do. But keeping her secrets means she may be destined to remain a bridesmaid forever. 

Excerpt from Always a Bridesmaid...
The door swung open, and for a moment Dani could only stare. Zach Morrison stood holding the door and looking even more handsome then he had a year ago. She’d learned from Fiona that he’d be here, that they’d be paired together in the wedding party. But even though he’d had a starring role in her fantasies for the last year, she hadn’t expected her insides to go all mushy at the sight of him.

Finally, she remembered her manners and held out her hand. “It’s nice to see you again, Zach.”

He took her hand and held it tightly. “It’s nice to see you, too. In fact, I’m really glad you’re here.”

Her mouth went instantly dry. “You are?”

“Yeah.” He squeezed her fingers, the look on his face intense. “I know we don’t know each other well, but I have a favor I need to ask you. A really big favor.”

“Okay.” She couldn’t imagine what kind of favor he’d want from her. “Why don’t I come inside and you can tell me about it.”

He looked furtively over his shoulder. “I haven’t forgotten your kindness when I saw you last. My mother told me how considerate you were to her and Camp as well. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. But I really didn’t do anything.” Her heart pounded so hard she was sure he could hear it.

“It meant a lot to me. Listen, there’s not much time. I wanted to ask you–”

“Zach! Who’s at the door?”

Dani started. She knew that voice. Chantal.

Zach visibly shuddered at the demanding tone in his ex-fiancĂ©’s voice. His blue eyes implored her.

“Please, play along with me. I’ll make it worth your while.”


“Daniella, help me, please!” he whispered.

How could she say no to a handsome man asking for her help?

“Okay, but–”

Before she could articulate a question, he pulled her into his arms, his mouth descending on hers. Dani was too shocked to object. For a full ten seconds she remained rigid and unyielding. Then she relaxed slightly, sighing at the sweet sensation of his lips touching hers. Her hands seemed to move on their own accord, first exploring his muscular chest, then winding around his neck. Her body trembled as it molded itself against his.

“Dani? Is that you?”

Chantal’s voice doused the pleasant awareness. She stepped back with a jolt, shocked that she’d been so intimate with someone she hardly knew. She cringed. And in front of an audience, too.

Zach put his arm around her waist, pulling her against him and kissing her cheek. “Just follow my lead. Please,” he whispered urgently in her ear. Dani looked up into his eyes and saw his desperation. Without thinking, she gave an imperceptible nod. He grinned and turned to face Chantal.

“I was just saying hello to Daniella.”

Chantal looked her up and down. “Since when do you say hello to Dani by sticking your tongue down her throat?”

Where to find Always a Bridesmaid...

More about Jana Richards...
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

Thanks for stopping by! 

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