Falling for the Mom-to-Be by Jenna Mindel ~ Friday Fiction Finds

Aug 7, 2015 by

Falling for the Mom-to-Be by Jenna Mindel ~ Friday Fiction Finds

One evening in 2001, I was reading our hometown newspaper when a feature article caught my eye. “Local Woman Publishes First Regency Romance Book” was the lead. Local? Woman? Author? As an unpublished author, and being a local, I was hooked. Settling in, I devoured the article about Jenna Mindel, from my own little town in Northern Michigan, who had just published her first book through Signet Regency Romance. After reading the article five (5!) times, I screwed up every ounce of courage I had (after all, I’d never talked to a real-life author before!) and contacted Jenna via email. I told her how much I admired her for going for it, and fulfilling her dream. Much to my surprise, Jenna phoned me. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship which endures to this day. Jenna is, and always will be my heroine, and holds a very special place in my heart. She rescued me at a time when I barely had a toe on my path to publication, when I needed encouragement from someone who was already skipping merrily along the path. And that is our sweet Jenna. Ask anyone who  knows her, and they will tell you that Jenna is one of the kindest, most sincere women you will ever meet. If that’s not enough, God has gifted her with a brilliant talent for spinning a wonderful story. Since her first novel, Jenna has gone on to write fourteen other books. She now writes Contemporary Inspirational Romance for Harlequin Love Inspired. Her latest book, Falling for the Mom-to-Be, will be released in September 2015. Falling for the Mom-to-Be is the first in a new series (the ‘Maple Springs Series’), and set in Northern Michigan. Jenna joins us today at Friday Fiction Finds to chat about her latest release.

BONUS! Jenna will be giving away two autographed copies to two (2!) lucky random people who comment on this post. Take it away, Jenna!


* * * About the Book * * * 

When Annie Marshall discovers just weeks after her husband’s death that she’s carrying his baby, her sadness turns to hope. Scared of facing this all on her own, she reluctantly accepts the help of her husband’s best friend, Matthew Zelinsky. The kiss they shared after the funeral was just two friends comforting each other—or so she tells herself. Yet spending time together makes them wonder if what they feel is more than friendship. When people in town start raising eyebrows and her business begins to suffer from the gossip, Annie must decide if loving Matthew is worth the risk.


* * * Meet Jenna Mindel * * * 

Jenna Mindel - Author photo

Author Jenna Mindel

What inspired you to write this book?

That’s an interesting question because the hero and heroine have been with me a long time, stashed away in my “idea” folder.  It’s true.  I have a folder jammed with snippets of ideas, premises that intrigue me or situations that might be fun to explore. But the main inspiration for this book is the hero’s occupation.  I am enamored with the big freighters on the Great Lakes.  I love seeing those big ‘ole bulk carriers at a distance.  Even more, I love going to the Soo Locks to see them up close.   There’s something romantic and nostalgic about a man at sea – even if it’s our fresh water big lakes!

How did you pick the title?

I didn’t.  In fact, I submitted quite a list of options, but my editors know the market and the title they chose hits the key elements of the plot.  “Falling for the Mom-to-Be” is a true representation of the story.  But my original, working title was “First Mate, Second Husband.”

While writing the novel, did you relate to any one character more than the others? If so, which one, and why?

Hmmmm, that’s a good question.  And a tough one.  There are parts of both characters that I relate too.   My heroine, Annie, is eight years older than the hero, Matthew.  I really related to Annie’s touchiness regarding her age.  I don’t think I’m aging gracefully – in fact, I turned 51 this summer and I’m kicking and screaming my way through it.  LOL. But then, Matthew’s Polish background is similar to my own.  I’m of Slavic descent and I chose to name the hero’s parents after my late-grandparents, Andrew and Helen Grodesky.

Do you plot out a book in advance, or do you allow the story and characters to dictate how the book will play out on the pages?

I’m a bit of a plotter.  Each book grows out of character premise that I jot down into a one page summary.  I have to know where my characters are going and why, or I’ll stare at a blank page in terror!  For me, writing a full blown synopsis or outline, if you will, is my road map and a must have after writing the first chapter.  My synopsis/outline is basically telling myself the story.  It lays the framework I need to move forward and then plan out my chapters thereafter.  I guess, it’s a blue-print of sorts.

If you could meet any author (living or dead) for lunch and a one-on-one chat, which author would you choose and why?Book Cover

Hands down, it would be King Solomon.  He wrote the book of Proverbs in the Bible, the Book of Ecclesiastes and that raciest of the books called the Song of Solomon.  He was a man of such wisdom, and yet he was amazingly practical too.  And romantic!

How many books have you written? If more than one, do you have a favorite? If so, which book and why?

I’ve written 15 romance novels to date. I’m not sure I have a favorite as there are things about each novel that I love for different reasons.   I think my favorites are the ones I start.  There’s something exciting about getting to know new characters and figuring out what makes them tick.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? Do you write every single day?

I am a part-time writer.  I also have a part-time “day job” at a bank.  For the most part I write every weekday, but sometimes I write on the weekends too.  Depends on my deadlines.

Who are some of your favorite authors, and do you feel they’ve influenced your work?

Well, for starters – Kathleen Irene Paterka and Christine Johnson are two of my favorite authors, and as previous critique partners, they have had the greatest influence on my work. I think they helped me listen more to my characters and delve deeper so that they are more real and well rounded.  Thank you!!! Other favorite authors are Carola Dunn, Susan Carroll and Jo Beverly– I loved their traditional regencies.  Fellow Love Inspired authors, Linda Goodnight and Brenda Minton.  And I also love Mary Connealy, Kristen Heitzmann , Frank Peretti, and Sarah Arthur’s devotionals.

What writing project are you working on now?

I’ve currently started the third book in my Maple Springs series.  My hero is Darren Zelinsky – the poor guy whose fiancée took off with the best man the night before their wedding.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a book?

Do it.  Just do it.   Life’s too short not to follow your dreams.  And then? Find out everything you can about making it shine – join a writer’s group, or a critique group – you can find groups online and sometimes through your local bookstores.  Buy a subscription to a writer’s magazine and learn all you can.  Read.  Read authors who write what you’re writing so you can study how they did it, and then find out who’s publishing what you’re writing.  When you’re ready, decide if submitting to a traditional publisher or self-publishing is the right fit and then go for it.

Best of everything to you!

BONUS!!! Jenna is giving away two (2!) free autographed copies of her new book to two (2!) random people who comment on this post! Be sure and leave a comment at the end of the post to enter the contest.



Jenna Mindel lives in Northwest Michigan with her husband and their three dogs. She enjoys a career in banking that has spanned over twenty-five years and several positions but writing is her passion.  A 2006 Romance Writers of America RITA finalist, Jenna has answered her heart’s call to write inspirational romances set near the Great Lakes. Jenna loves to hear from readers.  Check out her website for more information at www.jennamindel.com

Click HERE to buy the book (Pre-order now available)

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  1. Good Morning!
    Kathleen, thank you so much for having me today! And the warm welcome! When I moved here from Syracuse NY, I was desperate to find other writers I could relate to. And God indeed blessed me with you – a wonderful writing friend who helped me grow not only as an author, but as a woman too. So thank you!

    • Kathleen Irene Paterka

      Jenna dear, you hold a special place in my heart, and you always will. Thank you for being a part of Friday Fiction Finds, and for sharing your wonderful talent with the world. xxoo ~ Kathleen

  2. Janine K

    I love this story about writers meeting writers, and helping them as well. Sounds like you are another author to add to my reading pile – and I love books in a series too!! I take Kathleen’s recommendations seriously that’s how I discovered Eileen Goudge! Thank you for the opportunity

    • Kathleen Irene Paterka

      Janine, thanks for stopping by Friday Fiction Finds and chatting with Jenna. She’s such a lovely woman, and I stand by my words about her books: inspirational, delightful, and filled with hope. Have a lovely day! ~ Kathleen

  3. Hi Janine,
    So glad you meet you. 🙂 And if you’re like me, those reading piles keep getting bigger! I’ve always loved books in a series – familiar places and people created by the author. Thanks for stopping and have a great week!

  4. Wahoooo – Janine,
    You’re the winner of both copies of “Falling for the Mom to Be” – one for you and one for a friend. Congratulations and the very best to you. Hope you enjoy the story!