What was the best road trip you ever took? Interview with Jennifer Allee + Giveaway!

Jennifer AlleeDo you remember the very last road trip you took with your sister?  It’s been many many years ago for me but boy you sure do get to know that person more even though she was a kid still in diapers.

Jennifer Allee is here today to talk about her new book, The Mother Road, and give us an inside glimpse of the author behind the book (have you ever lived above a mortuary?  Jennifer did!).

As a child, Jennifer Allee lived above a mortuary in the heart of Hollywood, California, which may explain her unique outlook on life. She has written skits, activity pages, and over one hundred contributions to Concordia Publishing House’s popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, November 2007), The Pastor’s Wife, (Abingdon Press, February 2010), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, April 2012), and the upcoming A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, book two in the Quilts of Love series (Abingdon Press, November 2012). She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Jennifer resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son.

You can find out more about Jennifer’s writing and speaking at www.jenniferallee.com.

The Mother RoadBefore we get to her interview, let’s find out more about The Mother Road:

Within the course of a week, marriage expert Natalie Marino is dumped by her husband, receives an urgent call home from her father, and discovers her estranged sister, Lindsay, is pregnant.

A road trip on Route 66 may not help, but it sure couldn’t hurt. Or so Natalie thinks, until Lindsay’s boyfriend starts stalking them. Will their trip down the Mother Road bring the two sisters closer, or turn out to be the biggest wrong turn of their lives?

See what I mean?  Wow, what a book.  If you’d like to win a copy for your very own, fill out the Rafflecopter form below the interview and good luck!  This contest is only open to U.S. and Canadian citizens (sorry!) and ends on midnight May 25 so hurry!

Thank you for this interview, Jennifer. Okay first of all, I have to know what all this is about living over a mortuary as a child?

Jennifer: Thank you for hosting me :+) Yes… the mortuary thing is weird, isn’t it? At the time I was born, my grandmother was married to the man who managed the Utter McKinley mortuary on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Argyle, which is one block east of Hollywood and Vine. There were four or five apartments on the second floor. My parents lived in one, my grandparents lived in another, and my great grandmother lived in another. So really, a big chunk of my family lived up there.

Did you see any ghosts?

Jennifer: Not that I could prove, no. LOL But my childhood has given me a unique perspective on the paranormal. My grandfather (grandma’s first husband) was from Hungary and was good friends with Bela Lugosi, the actor who played Dracula. He died before I was born, but I heard stories about him and saw his movies. And my mom and I always watched Dark Shadows together (yes, the original gothic soap opera). So ghosts and vampires never scared me. In fact, my mom tells a story of taking me to a park and I was sticking popsicle sticks into a sandbox. One of the other moms asked me what I was making and I said to her, “A graveyard.” Freaked her out just a bit.

Okay I’ll be serious. I absolutely love your book cover! Whose idea was it and did you have any input on the design?

Jennifer: Thank you! The Abingdon team always does a tremendous job on cover art. I filled out an information sheet, sharing key points of the story, descriptions of the characters, and ideas I had for the cover. Then the art department ran with it. I’m very happy with the result.

I love road trip stories! Are you a traveler?

Jennifer: I do enjoy traveling, but I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I’d like. When I’m on a road trip, I absolutely must have a good collection of CDs in the car, especially musical soundtracks that I can belt along with. My favorites are Moulin Rougue, Spamalot, Chicago, Godspell, Les Miserables, and The Phantom of the Opera. And I must stop along the way for snacks, usually a diet Cherry Pepsi and a bag of Cheddar Sour Cream Ruffles. Mmm..

How did you come up with the idea to write The Mother Road?

Jennifer: The opening line of chapter one came to me first: “I cannot get a divorce.” Next, I asked the question, what would a marriage expert do if her own marriage fell apart? What would have led to the demise of the relationship? Then I made things as bad as I could for poor Natalie… gave her a mother with Alzheimer’s and an estranged sister. And, just to make things really sticky, I decided to stick Natalie and Lindsay in the car together for days on end. Let the road trip commence!

Who was your favorite character in the book?

Jennifer: I love Natalie. She’s got issues and she knows she’s made mistakes, but she truly loves her family and wants to do the right thing. And she’s a stress eater, which is something I can relate to.

Who is the character most people would love to hate?

Jennifer: Without a doubt, Tony, the cheating husband. It’s easy to look at Tony as find all the wormy, slimy things about him. But I hope I’ve given the reader a glimpse into his other side, the flawed human that he is. By the end of the book, you may not hate him quite so much.

What’s your next book about, Jennifer?

Jennifer: My next novel is a contemporary romance titled A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, releasing November 2012. I’m particularly excited about this one because it’s the second release in Abingdon’s new Quilts of Love line. It’s the story of Izzy Fontaine, a professional-dancer-turned-art-teacher who inherits an old Wild Goose Chase quilt from her grandmother. The problem is, Gran also promised the quilt to museum director Max Logan. Max is handsome, charming, and determined to get his hands on the quilt. When Izzy’s mother and brother start thinking there may be monetary value attached to the family heirloom, it adds to the chaos. It’s a fun story about letting go of what you thought would make you happy, and embracing what really, truly matters in life.

Thank you again for this wonderful interview! Do you have anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Jennifer: I honestly believe the most important thing a person can do is discover his or her identity in God. By that I mean, you can’t look to other people to define you. You are the only person you have control over. So I challenge everyone to examine themselves. What about you is unique? What are your gifts, the things you do like no one else can? Discover who you really are, embrace your strengths, and work on your weaknesses. It’s a lifelong process.

Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to hang out with your readers. I’ve had a lot of fun. Blessings to all, and happy reading!

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