January 13, 2014

Texas vs. Oklahoma, Time Machines, and Homemade Ice Cream: An Interview with Author Regina Jennings {Plus a Giveaway}

First, I wanted to say: Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful time during the holidays with family and friends. Since my husband was out of town, my two golden retrievers and I had a wild New Year's Eve. I read and they laid around...LOL.

Second, I wanted to let you all know that I've made a change to my blogging schedule. I'll still be here every week, but only on Mondays. Because I want to write quality content and still want time to chat with you all, but have such a busy schedule, it was a change I needed to make. I'm still over on my Facebook page and Twitter throughout the week, though, so please connect there!

Okay, so my first blog of the year is an interview with Regina Jennings, an awesome author who I had the privilege to meet last year at ACFW, a big Christian fiction writer's conference. She's sweet and fun, and a great author too!

Regina recently collaborated with a group of other authors on a novella collection called A Match Made in Texas. It's got lots of fun spunkiness -- and of course romance! -- set in historical Texas. I chatted with Regina about the project. Don't forget to read on for a chance to win a copy!

Regina Jennings is a homeschooling mother of four from Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband, and reading by herself. When not plotting historical fiction, she plots how she could move Highclere Castle, stone by stone, into her pasture and how she could afford the staff to manage it. 

Regina's novella "An Unforeseen Match" is included in the collection A Made Made in Texas. She is also the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance. She loves to hear from readers at her website www.reginajennings.com and on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest

LH: Give us a little background about this project. What's your story about and how did the novella collection come together?

RJ: This novella collection was the brainchild of Karen Witemeyer. She first pitched the idea to our publisher Bethany House and once they found their four authors, the project was on the fast track. We (Karen, Mary Connealy, Carol Cox, and I) brainstormed some possible ties and that was a hoot. We knew the collection would be set in the Texas panhandle in the late 19th century, but beyond that we didn't have a theme. Maybe the heroes all worked for a windmill crew, or maybe the heroines were nannies, or maybe they all involved shotgun weddings. That's when you really appreciate the creativity of the ladies you're working with.

We finally settled on a matchmaker character that set up these couples, even though it wasn't necessarily her intention. We collaborated on descriptions of the town, made a map, and shared pictures of the area. I loved working with these ladies.

LH: That sounds like so much fun! So, why do you write about Texas, especially since you live in Oklahoma? Isn't there some sort of rivalry between the two? *grin*

RJ: Is there? I hadn't heard. No really, there does seem to be some jealous Texans out there, but we try not to notice. You see, Oklahoma is much smaller than Texas and our space is limited. Those who don't make the cut have to stay just south of the Red River.

And why do I write about Texas? Because I enjoy the history of the mid- to late-19th century and Oklahoma wasn't very populated at that time. In fact, the county I live in was only opened for settlement in the 1889 land run, but that hasn't stopped me from working in some Oklahoma history. My hero in A Made Made in Texas is on his way to the Cherokee Strip land rush in Oklahoma Territory and my next full-length novel Caught in the Middle hops across the infamous border several times.

LH: If you went back to the time your books take place and had the chance to bring one modern invention with you, what would it be and why?

RJ: Most of my favorite modern inventions require electricity and therefore wouldn't do me much good. So being the practical person I am, I would bring a combine in my time machine. That would allow me and my family to farm an amazing amount of land. Of course I'd need to bring a supply of gasoline too -- at least enough to last until the refineries are up and running.

LH: Practical indeed! Okay, here's another. If you lived in the time your books take place, what meal and dessert would we consistently find on your table?

RJ: I like ham. Good, pink, smoked ham with a honey glaze. Yum! And rolls dripping with real butter. I don't know if I'd even have a garden. Just get me bread and meat and I'm happy.

For dessert...homemade ice cream. Yes, I know the ice would be hard to come by, especially in the summer, but since this is fiction I'll say that I have a giant icehouse that can keep our ice frozen throughout our 100-degree summers. Or maybe I'd trade in my combine for a freezer.

LH: Ooo, you're making me hungry! Okay, last question. Would you rather live in the time your books take place and dress like we do today, or live in the modern world but dress like they did back then?

RJ: Do you have my house bugged? Recently I was given the opportunity to buy the dress used on the cover of Caught in the Middle. I'd really like to live in that dress for a while...for research, of course. We all assume that the clothes were so uncomfortable, but I think that's because we wear elaborate dresses when we're at weddings or other formal occasions. How long would it take to become acclimated to a corset and heavy skirts? I'm willing to find out, but my husband and two teenage daughters might disown me.

Short answer: Modern day, vintage clothes.

LH: Haha, that would be so fun to see you at the grocery store "doing research" in that dress while shopping! Thanks for being with us today! 

Readers, enter to win a copy of A Match Made in Texas below!

In Dry Gulch, Texas, 1893, a young woman with a tender heart that longs to help those in need takes it upon herself to meddle in the affairs of three acquaintances who are in dire straits. Wanting to stay anonymous, she relies on unusual methods to hire men and women of good character who she thinks can solve the problems facing her "targets." How was she to know that her meddling would turn into cupid's arrow? And what will she do when her friends turn the tables on her with a matchmatching scheme of their own? Four novellas in one volume.

Your turn: Readers, I want to hear from you! What's your favorite time period in history? Now, if you went back to that time in history, what one modern invention would you take with you?

Regina's offering up a copy of A Match Made in Texas and there are lots of ways to enter! Use the Rafflecopter box below to enter by
  • Liking Regina's Facebook author page
  • Liking my Facebook author page
  • Tweeting about the giveaway
  • Sharing about the giveaway via Facebook
  • Leaving a blog post comment
The contest is open to U.S. residents only and ends at midnight on January 18. There must be at least 10 entries for the contest to be valid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wonderful questions, Lindsay! I can't wait to read A Match Made in Texas. Many of my favorite authors all in one place. :) What modern convenience would I take back with me? Believe it or not, I've thought about this before. :) It's hard to just choose one, (and almost all of them re quite electricity) but I'd have to say a heating and cooling system. Having my heat in the winter and my air conditioning in the summer are my favorite inventions!

    1. Gabrielle, it'd definitely make climate a bigger determining of where to live, but I can take the heat much better than the cold. Still, can you imagine all the firewood needed? And very little, if any, ice in the summer? Yuck.

    2. It's funny...when I first thought up this question, I didn't really think about the fact that there'd be no electricity to make a lot of the modern inventions work! LOL. But yes, I agree with you, especially about the AC in the summer!!

  2. Super fun interview! I'm not entering the drawing because I already have the book...but you asked such fun questions, Lindsay. And Regina, I loved your answer about bringing the combine back.

    I don't know if it's my absolute favorite, but I think the 1920s are fascinating. Hmm, I think I might bring my iphone back...but I guess it'd be kinda pointless because nobody else would have a cell phone. But it'd have all my music and books on it, so that'd be sweet. :)

    1. Hey, Melissa! It's a hard question, isn't it? Probably the thing I'd miss most about leaving this era would be all my books, but I can hardly say they weren't invented then. I'd just have to hope my little house on the prairie came equipped with a great library.

    2. Yeah, it'd be hard to not have my books with me!! Of course, there would still be lots of good books already written. And if I lived back in the day (depending on where and when), I'd have all day long to read because I wouldn't be distracted by all of my modern inventions like I am now.

  3. What a fun post. Lindsday, I'm in awe of your ability to come up with creative questions. Great interview, ladies!

    Hmmm, if I could take one modern day invention back, it would be a camera—small and high tech. It would be amazing to take pictures of everything and everyone around me. :)

    1. A camera is a great idea! Not only would it be fun, but you could definitely make a living by doing portraits. You'd have a monopoly.

    2. You take beautiful pictures, Jeanne, so this is no surprise. :)