My Most Memorable Meal – Jenna Petersen, Romance Novelist

Jenna Petersen started writing full-time in 1999 when her husband said, “You’re only happy when you’re writing, why don’t you do that?” In 2004, her dream came true when her literary agent called to say she’d just sold to Avon.

Since then, she’s been a Waldenbooks Mass Market bestseller, a Bookscan bestseller and won the Bookbuyers Best Award for Best Historical Romance. She also helped launch the Avon Red line under her Jess Michaels name.

In addition, she has run The Passionate Pen since 1999. This popular site for aspiring authors gets nearly 200,000 hits per month and contains information on literary agents, publishing houses, articles about writing and the industry, links and Jenna’s Diary toward and beyond publication. This year the site celebrates its ten-year anniversary with events and prizes each month.

GFG:Shakespeare called music “the food of love.”Do you listen to music when you write?(I can only listen to music without words, otherwise I get distracted)

JP: I don’t, actually. Like you, I can only listen to music without words and after a while, even that becomes too distracting. So I generally don’t write with anything, though I have been inspired by songs.

GFG:Flowers and candy are the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts.What’s your favorite flower?Your favorite sweet?

JP: I love lilacs for their beautiful color and heady scent. And… really any kind of chocolate is good for a sweet. I’m a traditional romance writer in that way.

GFG:What made you sit down and write your first novel?How long did it take you to finish?How long did it take you to find a publisher?

JP:I had some crackpot notion that it would be “easy” to write a romance. I was disabused of that fact very quickly. It took me about three years to actually finish it, though I wasn’t writing the whole time. That book has never been published and will never be. It took me five years and over 15 books to get published from the time when I actually started writing full-time.

GFG:You just published A RED HOT VALENTINE’S DAY in January and you have another book coming out in March.What’s next after that?

JP: Yes, my book HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT comes out on March 31 (it’s actually counted as an April release). Then on April 21, my next Jess Michaels release comes out, TABOO. And in November another Jenna Petersen release, WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES. Currently I’m writing a book that will come out in February 2010. It’s a Jess Michaels release but it’s untitled. So lots of being busy and travel coming up. I’ll be all over the place in the next few months. Readers can always check the News section of for more info on where I’ll be and when.

GFG:Who are your favorite authors?

JP:In romance, Kathryn Smith, Jacquie D’Alessandro, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas. Also Neil Gaiman, LM Montgomery and Thomas Harris.

GFG:Tell us how you met your husband!Is he a romantic?

JP: My husband and I went to high school together, actually. So we’ve known each other a long time (we’ll celebrate 12 years married on March 21). He is very romantic. Not only is affectionate and a gift giver, but he has supported me in pursuing publication from the very start, even when it was very hard. So I definitely give him props for that.

GFG:Is he jealous of the hot heroes you create for your books?

JP: I don’t think so. No one compares to him.

GFG:What was served at your wedding reception?(If you had one.)What flavor was your wedding cake?Did you keep a slice to eat on your first anniversary?

JP: We didn’t have a wedding reception or cake. We were married in a hot pink house in Burien WA with a woman in a weird robe for witness. It wasn’t exactly a traditional wedding (but it is a good story).

GFG:Where’s the most romantic place you’ve ever eaten?Was it romantic because of the setting or because of the company?

JP: Actually this year my husband took me to a wonderful Japanese restaurant called Nishino’s in Seattle. We were back there for my brother’s wedding (which was the day before my birthday) so earlier in the week just the two of us slipped away from the family. He had made special plans for a six course meal there and it was lovely. Especially since he’d put so much special thought into it.

GFG:If you were planning an intimate Valentine’s Day dinner, what would you serve?

JP: Actually this year my husband made me dinner for Valentine’s Day. He made a wonderful filet mignon with roasted vegetables and mashed cauliflower. Not only was it healthy, but it was so tasty.

GFG:If you could double-date with any couple in history, who would it be?

JP: You know, most of the most interesting couples in history didn’t seem to get along that well. I’m not sure I’d actually WANT to spend time with them.

GFG:How about breakfast in bed?Does that ever happen at your house?

JP:My husband LOVES breakfast in bed, so this is usually my territory. I’ll make him pancakes or French toast or eggs and bring them up for him on a Saturday or Sunday morning. There’s something so nice about having yummy food just arrive and you don’t even have to get up.

You can find Jenna online at and

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