Friday, February 12, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Jeanette Watts

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeanette Watts will be awarding a Victorian cameo necklace to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

How young a child? When I was really young it was Monster at the End of This Book. I was more of a Cookie Monster girl, not a Grover fan, but I really couldn’t get enough of that book.

When I was older, I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. They fascinated me. I was living in Illinois next to a little bit of prairie, my best friend and I would go out in the middle of it and pretend we were Laura and her sister Mary. We creeped out my mother, walking to school with our eyes closed to find out what it was like to be blind, like her sister Mary. We sewed ourselves sunbonnets and prairie dresses.

Sewing historical costumes grabbed you from an early age! What is your favorite book today?

Aw, I only get one? Well, Gone With the Wind has been my favorite book since I discovered it in sixth grade. At the moment, I’m sort of torn between David McCullough’s new book on the Wright Brothers (I live in Dayton, Ohio!) and Shelby Foote’s amazing Civil War books. I adore history – which is sort of a “duh” thing for a writer of historic fiction to say.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

For Regina, nothing is really ever quite what it seems.

What are you reading right now?

Philippa Gregory’s The White Princess, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and a biography on J. Pierpont Morgan. What books do you have on hold at the library?

You can do that? I tend to buy all my books. Which is kind of a problem. There are bookcases everywhere in our house. There’s a bookcase in the bedroom. There are three bookcases in the office. Two bookcases in my sewing room and two in the hallway outside of the sewing room. There’s three bookcases in the hallway outside of our guest room – which has three bookcases in it.

Do you have any bad book habits?

Dropping books into the water when reading while taking a bath is NOT a habit one should get into. It does NOT do good things for the book.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Print, all the way. There are studies that people retain what they read better when they read a hard copy than when they read from an e-reader. I’m assuming different people have different rates of retention, but I’m certainly one of those people. I don’t remember what I read nearly as well if I read it in electronic form!

One book at a time or multiples?

As you can see from question number four, multiples. I sew that way, too. Sometimes I have ten sewing projects all active at the same time. I felt like cutting things out, so while I had the table cleared off, I cut out six projects that need to be done. I save up the hand sewing, and do all of it while watching a good movie. I got tired of the color white, so I worked on the green project today. And then there’s deadline sewing – I’m doing a book signing, which means I need a bustle dress, but I’m tired of the ones I have. So I have a month in which to make a new one…

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

I dog-ear travel books, I bookmark books of fashion plates, and I’ve just started highlighting books that are my reference material.

Least favorite book you've read this year?

Not a fair question to ask two weeks into January! In the past twelve months? I haven’t read much I haven’t enjoyed. I guess the biography I read on Benjamin Franklin was good, but the writing wasn’t exactly on the same caliber as Shelby Foote and David McCullough.

When do you do most of your reading?

Every morning. I start my day with an hour on the exercise bike, with my book on a book stand in front of me. It’s fabulous. I get my exercise time, which is good. I take after the side of the family that is as big around as they are tall. So far, I’ve avoided that route. I like being healthy, but I’m not a big fan of exercise for exercise’s sake. Reading makes the time fly!


Regina Waring seems to have it all. A loving husband, a successful business, and the most expensive wardrobe in town. But nothing is what it appears to be. Her husband is critical and demanding, the business teeters on ruin, even the opulent wardrobe is a clever illusion.

Regina’s life is one long tiptoe through a minefield; one wrong step and her entire life is going to blow up and destroy her. Attempting to hold it all together, she appeases the husband, dresses the part, and never, never says what she is really thinking. That would get in the way of getting things done. And, if there’s one thing Regina did really well, it was getting things done.

Enter Thomas Baldwin. Young and handsome and completely off limits, Regina is smitten at first sight. Then, to her great astonishment, he slowly becomes her best friend. He’s the one person in her life who never lets her down. Torn between her fascination with him and her desire not to ruin a marvelous friendship, she tries to enjoy each moment with him as it comes.

If only that were enough.


Regina pounded the pavement from bank to bank, begging, taking out loans, laying awake night after night trying to figure out how she was going to keep everything afloat. As Tom had said, times were hard, businesses were failing daily.

Regina’s businesses would not have been among the ones in danger – if only Henry had seen fit to give her the benefit of the doubt. But eight years of marriage and one successful business arrangement after another meant less to him than the chemistry of male bonding.

As with every crisis she had faced thus far in her life, Regina gritted her teeth, and looked for the lesson to be learned. This time, she concluded that no one really listens to what you have to say. Telling people not to do something is pointless. They will do what they want. The people you trust most will let you down. Her parents had. Her husband had.

When Lucy returned from the ladies’ cloakroom, Regina excused herself and went in. After she’d deposited her cloak and retrieved her fan, she stared blankly at her reflection in the long mirror.

Her youngest sister Abigail was the cleverest seamstress in the States. Having a good dressmaker was a special sort of secret weapon. The more prosperous she looked, the less anyone would suspect how desperately close to ruin the Waring empire was.

She forced herself to smile and lifted her chin a little. “Attitude is everything, my girl,” she told herself. “Go in like a queen, not a pauper. Men will do favors for queens much more eagerly than they will for beggar girls. Abi can make you look like a queen; your job is to act the part.”


Jeanette Watts only lived in Pittsburgh for four years, but in her heart, she will always be a Pittsburgher. She missed the city so much after her move to Ohio, she had to write a love story about it.

She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.

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