This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Peggy Jaeger will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
What inspired you to write this story?
I’m a sucker for stories about big families. Make them loud, nosy, and loving and you’ve got me hooked from page one. I’d already written two other San Valentino Family books ( 3 WISHES and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS) and many readers told me they wanted to know more about Uncle Sonny and his family. Sonny is a bit of a wise-guy wannabee, a wise cracking, uber-patriarch who loves his family to no end and will do anything for them – whether they want him to or not. I knew I had to give him a strong wife, one willing to put up with him for almost 50 years, and children who were devoted to their father and annoyed with him most of the time, too. CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS tells the story of Sonny’s youngest child and only daughter, bakery owner Regina. You can truthfully say this was the first book I ever wrote because people asked me to tell a particular character’s story.
What was your favorite part to write?
The scene around the Thanksgiving table. It truly could have been one directly taken from my past. I grew up an only child to divorced parents who each remarried, my mother to a man of Sicilian ancestry. Every holiday we would go to his mother’s house for a family dinner – a dinner that included almost 30 people on a average day, more on the holidays. The conversation I wrote at the San Valentino Thanksgiving table was something that could have happened around my own step-grandmother’s table, right down to the blessing.
What was the hardest part to write?
The scene where Regina is at Rockefeller Center watching the other families skating. The memories her panic attack caused in me pulled at me for days after the scene was finished. I wanted her pain to be real enough that it could be felt by the reader. Getting it just right without being over dramatic or too sad was difficult.
How did you come up with your characters?
Well, if I admit that some of them are actually composites of step-family members, do you think I’ll get in trouble? Heehee. Really, though, they’re not. Sonny came to me organically when I was writing 3 Wishes, and I didn’t base him on anyone in particular. I just imagined a later middle aged guy who was always trying to work some kind of angle and who wanted to appear to be the fixer, the go-getter, the one who everyone turned to for advice or anything else. That’s Sonny to a T.
What I do usually do, though, when I’m forming characters in my head is this: I’m a big people watcher, so I’ll spot someone at a mall or at the bank, and then devise a whole back story for them in my head. I’ll see someone on line at the grocery store and then remember something specific about them that I’ll use for a story. For instance, the other day I was in Panera and in front of me was a woman in her late 20’s who was snapping her fingers and checking her phone every few seconds. It was obvious she was either in a hurry and hated standing in line, or she was waiting for a text/call and was anxious it wasn’t coming in a timely fashion. The finger snapping increased along with the frequency she was checking her phone. I’ll remember that the next time I’m drawing a character I need to be nervous about something.
Do you have anything coming up and can you tell us about it?
Yes, and I’m so excited. Last month the first book in a new wedding series I’ve planned, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN released. The first book is titled DEARLY BELOVED. The series is 3 small town romcoms about a trio of sisters who run a bridal business in their small home town of Heaven, NH. One is the wedding planner, one is if the JP or Officiant, and one owns the inn where many of the ceremonies/receptions occur. I love these 3 sisters and their 93 year old feisty, Irish grandmother and I am currently working on writing book 2 and plotting book 3. Each book will be a stand alone romance, but I think readers will love the family as much as I do, they’ll want to read each one when it’s released. Book 1, DEARLY BELOVED, is available now.
Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company’s reputation—in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.
Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?
My father stood at the head of the table, my mother seated next to him. As was also tradition, my father never sat down to eat in his shirt. A bright white wife-beater I knew he got by the gross at a discount dollar store a friend of his owned was his usual table garb. And by got by the gross, I mean it in the literal way. Pop had crates of the shirts stacked in the garage. It didn’t matter that the rest of us were dressed appropriately. Ever since my memory could be counted on, my father sat at a family table sans his outer shirt. Of course if we were at a restaurant or a fancy function like a wedding, he submitted and left it on for decency’s sake. But with family, all thoughts of decency flew out the storm windows. Since packing on a few extra belly pounds over the past couple years, he’d started wearing suspenders to keep his pants up because he hated the confining feeling of a belt.
“Hold hands and bow ya heads,” Pop instructed. We all complied. Pop looked up at the dining room ceiling. As a kid I’d always wondered if he could see God somewhere floating around the crystal chandelier. “Lord,” he said, focusing on the ceiling stucco, “we want to thank you for this food, made by the wife and paid for by my hard work. We want to thank you for our health, the roofs over our heads, the fact we got no bills, ain’t no one doing time right now, and most of all for the love we share as a family. Bless this food, Lord. Amen.”
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
Tying into her love of families, her children's book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy 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.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader's Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.
In 2018, Peggy was a finalist in the HOLT MEDALLION Award and once again in the 2018 Stiletto Contest.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6235-christmas-and-cannolis.html
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