Get into Bed with Pam Jenoff (Author Interview)

PamJenoffKeira: If you could go back in time and give advice to your 12 year old self what would it be?

Pam Jenoff: I don’t think I would give her advice. My 12 year old self if a lot like me now (at 41!) – impatient and high-strung, trying to do everything at once. I’ve certainly made plenty of mistakes but I don’t regret them, as they’ve all contributed in getting me to this point. So I’d tell her she was doing just fine and send her on her way.

Keira: Share an interesting excerpt from The Ambassador’s Daughter:

Pam: I like this excerpt:

In England, it had been bad enough—though Papa’s academic status prevented him from being interned like so many German men, we were outsiders, eyed suspiciously at the university. I could not wear the war ribbon as the smug British girls did when their fiancés were off fighting because mine was for the wrong side. But outside of our immediate Oxford circle it had been relatively easy to fade into the crowd with my accentless English. Here, people know who we are, or will, once the conference formally begins. The recriminations will surely be everywhere.

ambassador's daughterBook Blurb:

Paris, 1919.

The world’s leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.

Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.

Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.

Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.

Buy: The Ambassador’s Daughter

Giveaway: 1 copy of The Ambassador’s Daughter is up for grabs! Open to US and CAN. Enter by asking Pam a question or leaving a comment! Last chance to enter: February 15, 2013.

Review: A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff

by Mandy Dougherty, guest reviewer

Jordan Weiss is an agent with the U.S. State Department with a broken heart and ghosts from her past haunting her every step.  Nearly ten years ago, she was a carefree twenty-two year old at Cambridge University in England with a promising future within the United States government.  Today Jordan, now thirty-two, is a shell of her younger self.  After losing the love of her life, Jared, when he drowned in the River Cam, Jordan has worked hard to build walls that keep not only her heart but herself guarded.  Her world is suddenly turned upside down by the shocking revelation that Jared didn’t drown in the river all those years ago.  Determined to find answers she sets out to find her lost love at any cost.

Jordan walks away from her position within the government and begins her hunt.  Betrayed by those closest to her, she carries with her a file that contains Jared’s last known whereabouts.  Her travels bring her to Monaco, where in attempts to find Jared she runs into the mysterious and beautiful Nicole.  Confronting Nicole, the woman who may hold both the key to her past and her reunion with Jared, may not be an easy task.  For Jordan, knowing that the man that she once loved lives and breathes is not enough.  As Nicole refuses her and denies all ties to Jared, Jordan is left hopeless until her  path collides with Aaron, a man that is on a mission quite similar to her own.  Teaming up they follow Nicole as she flees across Europe and Aaron exposes the truth behind the mysterious blond and her connection to Jared.  Will the words of a stranger change the course of her quest for answers and the man she loved?

As the tales spin deeper, Jordan is left to judge the truth from the lies and whether the connection that she feels to Aaron can outweigh the love she lost so many years ago.  Is Aaron the man he claims to be? After finding that Jared is shrouded in this web of lies and deceit, is he really the man that she fell in love with nearly a decade ago?  Will love prevail even through the years or will Jordan succumb to the passion she finds in the arms of Aaron, the handsome, Israeli operative that may have a hidden agenda?

Pam Jenoff  mildly impresses with this suspense filled thriller that pulls readers into the dark world of espionage, fraud and secret lies. Though the world building is essential to the plot at times, the reader is left overwhelmed by exorbitantly detailed descriptions and the main characters sub par internal monologue.  A Hidden Affair is filled with jet-setting, counterfeiting, and a somewhat confusing plot line.  I was hoping that the climax would tie all of the details together nicely, but instead the author expanded on the confusion with more twists and turns.  Though some would say that the ‘multi-layered’ effect in Jenoff’s writing is unique, I find that it created a slew of unnecessary questions for the reader.

Rating: 3 Stars

Buy: A Hidden Affair

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Review: Almost Home by Pam Jenoff

By Susan S., Guest Reviewer

Almost Home is a beautifully, captivating read, with plot twists galore and a who done it feel until the very end!

Jordan Weiss (heroine) is an intelligence officer from Washington, D.C. She’s about to embark on a journey, which terrifies her, more than any covert operation she’s ever had. One where she must travel to London and confront a painful past.

Her new assignment is to find the person(s) responsible for a money laundering scheme. Money which is being funneled for illegal activities. But, when her main lead goes missing and people start turning up dead, it’s a race against time to find answers. After all, the Albanian mobsters aren’t known for their kindness. They’ll shoot to kill if anyone stands in their way.

When an old rowing buddy from Cambridge (Chris Bannister) rips open old wounds, Jordan will have to uncover dark secrets, before she can begin to heal. Her ex-boyfriend’s drowning 10 years ago hasn’t been easy on either of them. Jared’s death left grief and unanswered questions in its wake. Chris’s re-emergence has brought along a slew of dangerous potholes. Will Jordan complete her assignment, and maneuver them like a professional operative? Or, will she find herself on the wrong side of a gun wielding mobster.

Recommendations:

You “should” read this novel, if you enjoy Harlequin Intrigue and romantic suspense. Almost Home intermingles elements from the movies Clear and Present Danger and Oxford Blues. Jenoff’s novel “may not” be for you, if you like short reads like categories. Or, if you’re hoping to read erotica scenes, or are eager for that happily ever after.

Pam Jenoff is a new-to-me author. Can she write? Oh, absolutely! In fact, her writing is almost poetic. While reading, she had me so engrossed in the story; I’d lose all track of time. Be forewarned though, there is “no” happily ever after. The author leaves us with an unanswered question in the end. Leaving a door open for a sequel, maybe? I’d like to read it, if she does write one.

POV: Heroine’s, first person.

My favorite scene: Jordan has a flash back of an intimate moment spent with Jared. It’s raining; they’re in the ruins of a chapel, making love. The author does a beautiful job of setting that scene up for us.

Almost Home does not have a “developing relationship” between a hero and a heroine. As a contemporary fiction with suspense elements it garners a 5 star rating. As a romance novel, it earns a 2 star rating.

2 Stars, 5 Stars, Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, ATRIA Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., Copyright 2009, Print Pages, 376. ISBN-10: 1-4165-9069-2 ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-9069-9

Buy: Almost Home: A Novel

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How To Catch An Author

by Pam Jenoff, guest blogger and author of Almost Home.

After the publication of my first novel, The Kommandant’s Girl, I was thrilled to be invited to speak at a number of events, ranging from small book clubs and library gatherings to larger fundraisers.  I gamely accepted every invitation, participating in well over 60 events.  By the end of the year, I found myself exhilarated but also, well, a little burned out.  I realized then that promoting oneself as an author is an important, but time consuming job of its own.

As an author, there is nothing I like better than meeting readers in-person.  But these days, with two jobs and a baby at home, I’m much more selective as to the invitations I’m able to accept.   I think for most authors, there is a cost-benefit analysis that goes deciding whether to participate in an event.  So if you are planning one, the following are my brutally honest tips for maximizing your chances of getting an author to attend:

Ask about timing.

Consider the author’s schedule.  For some authors that also have a day job, an evening appearance may be the only option.  Does the author prefer an early evening in order to get home to put her kids to bed or a later evening to allow her time between work and the event to eat and regroup?  For example, I get up to write at five a.m., so staying late at an event is often not feasible.  Also, to the extent you have control over the date, consult early with the author about whether some days are better than others.

Keep it short.

Even if your book normally meets for two hours, understand if the author may only be able to stay for the first forty-five minutes or an hour, and start promptly.   This will also give your group a chance to candidly discuss the book further after the author has left.

Consider location.

I am far more likely to be able to travel to an event that is fifteen minutes from my house than an hour and a half away.  Perhaps offer to meet at a restaurant or coffee shop closer to the author’s residence.  Of course for a remote author, phone or videoconferencing can be a great alternative.

Have food.

Shallow, perhaps, but true.  I spent a lot of nights during my first year as an author choking down a salad in a supermarket parking lot because there was no other option for managing dinner between work and a book event.  I was always so grateful for the hosts that had light appetizers or even dinner.

Think about group size.

While small, intimate gatherings are fun, it is almost always more beneficial for the author to have a slightly larger turnout.  Consider merging with another book club or reading group for the night to ensure a good crowd.

Plan promotion.

Are you going to advertise the event?  Have books for sale?  If so, discuss these things with the author when extending an invitation.  For most of us, writing is the way we make a living and we are usually thinking about how an event can support book sales.   I am frequently asked by inviting groups if I have books to sell.  I don’t, but I’m so grateful when the group can arrange with a book store or the publisher to have them on hand for people to buy.  And I am always happy to promote an event I’m attending on my website and Facebook.

Contemplate contingencies.

I kept participating in book events almost until the day my son was born, and when I couldn’t attend due to early labor contractions, the group I had to postpone was very understanding.  Another group however, expected me to travel in a dangerous ice storm rather than reschedule.  Take unexpected events into account!

I hope these suggestions don’t sound demanding or petty; that couldn’t be further from what I intended.  I love participating in book events and meeting readers and plan to keep doing so as much as my crazy schedule will allow.  Hopefully armed with these insider tips, you will have a great deal of success in bringing authors to your future events.  I welcome your comments (and invitations of course :)) here or through my website www.pamjenoff.com.

Buy: Almost Home