Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine their Author Spotlight on contemporary romance author Peggy Jaeger! Peggy will be here at our 65 James Street “bigger on the inside” book store as part of our “Let your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” panel of romance authors on Sunday, January 29, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM.
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Peggy, a registered Nurse, holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and the current Secretary of her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
Thank you for joining us for an interview, Peggy! What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I’ve always been a sap for the happily ever after kind of story, so romance is the perfect genre for me to read and write. My childhood wasn’t exactly the happy Brady Bunch or Father Knows Best kind of upbringing. And because of it, I found myself lost in books as a way of coping and escape more often than not. As I got older (read: impressionable teen years!), I gravitated toward books with love as the main theme, AKA romance. I adore the Regency period – all those gowns and double entendre conversations – and I simply love contemporary romances. I don’t have the patience to learn how to write Regency the correct way – too many rules! But contemporary is the here and now, and basically, life as I know it.
I think Romance readers are always drawn to the thought that anyone – including themselves – can star in and have their own happily ever after. Love is a universal emotion. We all want it, crave it, and need it to survive. I believe that with all my heart and soul. Readers want to suffer through the conflicts and problems and turmoils of the heroine and hero. Maybe they see similar facets of their own relationships in the story. Maybe they see the glimmer of hope the writer weaves into the plot that despite everything, all will be well in the end. First, you have to be dragged over and under the coals, and all may look black and lost, but the ultimate ending will be satisfying and our love interests will survive…together. Who wouldn’t want to read about ultimate happiness and everlasting love conquering all, with the state the world is in today?
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
My first 4 books all took place in New England – Connecticut and New Hampshire, primarily. My newest series takes place, mostly, in New York City. I’m starting another series about a fictional town in New Hampshire in the new year (2017), so I would have to say the New England setting is very important to my writing!
I love New Hampshire in the spring and fall. Between the changing colors of autumn, and the beauty of blooming spring, New England is, simply, beautiful. Our own cottage industry – leaf peeping season – proves other people who don’t live around here believe that as well and want to share in seeing all our environmental natural loveliness.
Small towns are important to me. Their values, family centered morality, and sense of neighbor-liness are rampant in my writing, and New England sets the stage perfectly.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
I was an overnight success. It just took 55 years to realize it! I guess the most important piece of advice I would give anyone who is passionate about something – be it writing or anything else – is to do it for yourself first. Don’t think about your audience when you write. Write the story of your heart. The one you haven’t seen published anywhere else. Be true to yourself and that ideal. I would have been just fine if I’d never found a publisher willing to take me on. I would still have kept writing my stories because I wanted to. My characters wanted to be born on the page and I wasn’t going to stop them. Self publishing was never a thought in my mind and still isn’t. I don’t have the absolute discipline it needs to be a successful Indie author. You have to be everything – editor, cover designer, marketer, financial officer, and 50 other things that are beyond me. I just want to write and leave all those things to the people who know how to do them well, because I do not! I have many friends who self publish, and they are marvels! I don’t have the self-regulation to do it.
So, be true to yourself and your writing first and foremost. Don’t write for the market, because the market changes hourly. Don’t write for a specific genre of romance because it is viewed as the new hot commodity, the next flavor of the month. In a heartbeat, it will change again.
Write what you want, in the way you want. Be true to you.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have a new series of romances coming out from Kensington/Lyrical in 2017/18, centering around a family of women who cook. The series is called WILL COOK FOR LOVE and the first book, COOKING WITH KANDY releases on April 4, 2017. I love writing about women and men who cook. To me, food is love. In all the new books there will be recipes that I have worked, re-worked, and re-imagined for years that I’m sharing with the reader.
As a little aside, I had a Valentine’s release in 2016 titled 3 WISHES, a Candy Hearts Romance. That book centered on a chocolatier, Chloe San Valentino. In almost every single review of the book, the review stated they were hungry after reading it because of all the delicious candy confections Chloe made – and I described. I’m hoping the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series does the same thing to the reader – makes them hungry for food and romance! And my books!
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
Going with that theme of cooking, I love to cook. I currently have over 100 cookbooks in my house that are dog-eared and well-worn-loved. My mother was a working mom and didn’t get home most nights until well after the dinner hour was over, so I had learn to cook for myself or eat sandwiches every night. And when she did cook something, it was usually a pre-made meal. Nothing was ever from scratch. I’m not judging her – please understand that. She was just too tired and too busy to worry about the food she gave us. When my daughter was growing up and still lived at home, I cooked all the time. Baked, too. I still cook a full meal 6 nights a week for my husband and myself. Most weekends we eat out once, but there have been months that we haven’t darkened a restaurant door!
The funny thing about my love of cooking is that I have a never ending list of food sensitivities. That doesn’t stop me, though, from trying new recipes and new flavor profiles, because I also love to have company (friends) come over to the house on the weekends and cook for them. To me, cooking for someone shows how much you care about them. Anyone can pick up take out, or pop in a microwave dinner. But to make something from scratch, using fresh ingredients, spices, and flavors, is a real way to show how much you care.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
Thank you again for letting us interview you, Peggy! We look forward to having you at the store on Sunday, January 29, from 3:00-5:00 with our “Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” panel of romance authors!