An Interview with Jennifer Zane

I’m very pleased to have Jennifer Zane on my blog today.  Please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her hilarious new romance, Gnome On The Range.

How did you get started writing?

A co-worker and I were discussing how easy it would be to write a romance novel. I said I would do it. It’s not as easy as I thought–to write any genre of book–but I stuck with it. For ten years.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write Contemporary. I like to think of it as Humorous Contemporary with a Mystery. I consider myself lighthearted, but I can’t tell a joke to save my life. Instead, I like to write about life’s hiccups, the things every reader can relate to, and make fun of them.

Tell us about your current series.

I have one book out, so I’ll say it’s the first book in a series! It is set in a small town in Montana. A young widow has two boys. She works at her mother-in-law’s adult store and has a hot new neighbor. She and her children buy two ceramic garden gnomes at a garage sale. Someone wants the gnomes back and is willing to kill for them. Between an eccentric mother-in-law, a hot neighbor, two kids and someone trying to kill her, life is pretty crazy!

What move best describes your life?  Why?

Calm. In comparison to my heroine, life is pretty dull! Although, I dare to find anyone with similar challenges to Jane!

What inspired your latest book?

I lived in Montana for five years. The book is loosely–very loosely–based on my time there, people I met, things my children did.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Making myself laugh.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Proofing. Yuck.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

I’m contemplating my next book–to really make a series!–set in Montana. This time it will be set in the dead of winter, a completely different set of problems come up when it’s -10.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

Some ideas are from life experience. Yes, my son really did get his arm stuck. Not sharing the details here, you have to read the book.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

Do it. There’s nothing to lose.

Do you have critique partners?

Yes! Each has a completely different genre and writing style so we’re great for each other. Couldn’t write without their support.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

Anything I don’t have to cook myself. Put it in front of me and I’ll eat it.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

There is very high chance of recognizing a nuance of yourself, although I never use someone in their entirety.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

Fear. I always wonder if they’re scared enough.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

Ever have buyer’s remorse? Jane does. For some reason, the ceramic garden gnomes she bought for her two kids have turned her life upside down. Someone wants them, and will kill to get them. She’s next. Attempts on her life are nothing compared to dealing with two crazy kids, a crazier mother-in-law who meddles, and a hot neighbor.

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

He’s a former soldier who’s done some tours in scary places and settles into life back in Montana as a fireman–and Jane’s new neighbor. He’s protective, down-to-earth and wise. But his time fighting the bad guys of the world forces him to keep those he cares about at arm’s length, afraid they might get hurt, or worse.

Tell us about your heroineGive us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Jane’s a widow who works in her mother-in-law’s adult store. She has two young boys. She’s an incredible mother, devoting her energy to her kids. But she has no life of her own since her cheating husband died–and even before then. It’s time she discovers who she is as a woman–and Ty’s going to help!


“I’m not sure which one I want. I didn’t realize there were so many choices!”

The woman wasn’t on the hunt for a new car or juice boxes at the grocery store. Nope. She wanted a dildo. I called her type a Waffler. Someone who contemplated all options before even attempting to make a choice. Because of Miss Waffler, I had ten different dildo models spread out across the counter. Glass, silicone, jelly and battery powered. She needed help.

That’s where I came in. My name is Jane West and I run Goldilocks, the adult store my mother-in-law opened back in the seventies. Story goes she named it after the fairytale character when a mother bear and her two cubs walked down Willson right in front of the store the week before it opened. She called it fate. Or it could have been because her name is Goldie, so it made sense. I started working for her when my husband died, a temporary arrangement that helped her out. Three years later, things had turned long-term temporary.

The store was tasteful considering the offerings. The walls were a fresh white, shelves and displays just like you’d find at the typical department store. Then tasteful made way for tacky. Gold toned industrial carpet like you’d see in Vegas, a photo of a naked woman sprawled artfully across a bearskin rug over the counter. A sixties chandelier graced the meager entry. Goldie had to put her unique stamp on things somehow. It wasn’t a big store, just one room with a storage area and bathroom in back. Whatever she didn’t have in stock—although you’d be amazed at the selection Goldie offered in such a small space—we ordered in.   Montanans were patient shoppers. With few options store-wise in Bozeman, most people ordered everything but the basics from the Internet. There’s one Walmart, one Target, one Old Navy. Only one of everything. In a big city, if you drove two miles you came across a repeat store. Urban sprawl at its finest. Not here, although there were two sets of Golden Arches. One in town and one off the highway for the tourists who needed a Big Mac on the way to Yellowstone. The anchor store of the town’s only mall was a chain bookstore. No Nordstrom or Bass Pro Shop out here. You shopped local or you went home.

In the case of the woman in front of me, I wished she’d just go home.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked helping people and I’m comfortable talking sex toys with anyone. But this time was definitely different. Big time.

Behind Miss Waffler stood a fireman. A really attractive, tall, well muscled one wearing a Bozeman Fire T-shirt and navy pants. Can you say hot? A hot man in uniform? Yup, it was a cliché, but this one was dead-on accurate. He’d come in while I was comparing the various dildo models before I went into the perks of having rotation for best female stimulation. The first time.

“Can you explain the features of each one again?” Miss Waffler had her fingers on the edge of the glass counter as if she were afraid to touch them. Petite, she was slim to the point of anorexic. Her rough voice said smoker, at least a pack a day. Her skin was weathered, either from cigarettes or the Montana weather, and wrinkles had taken over her face. She’d be pretty if she ate something and kicked the habit.

I gave her my best fake smile. “Sure.”

I darted a glance at the fireman over the woman’s shoulder. Sandy hair trimmed military short, blue eyes, strong features. Thirties. A great smile. He seemed perfectly content to wait his turn. If the humorous glint in his eye and the way he bit his lip, most likely to keep from smiling, was any indication, he was clearly enjoying himself. A radio squawked on his belt and he turned it down. Obviously my lesson on sexual aids was more important than a five-alarm fire.

Miss Waffler was completely oblivious of, and unaffected by, the fireman. I now knew why she wanted a dildo. I picked up a bright blue model. “This one is battery powered and vibrates. Three settings. Good for clitoral stimulation.” I put it down and picked up another. “This one is glass. No batteries, so it’s meant for penetration. The best thing about it is you can put it in the freezer or warm it and it provides a varied experience.”

The woman made some ah sounds as I gave the details. I went through all the possibilities with her one at a time. I got to the tenth and final model. “This one is obviously realistic. It’s actually molded from the erect penis of a porn star. It’s made of silicone and has suction cups on the base.”

Fireman peered over the woman’s shoulder as I suction cupped the dildo to the glass counter. Thwap.

“You can attach it to a piece of furniture if you want to keep your hands free.”

Both fireman and Miss Waffler nodded their heads as if they could picture what I was talking about. “I’ll take that one,” she said as she pointed to number ten. The eight inch Whopper Dong.

“Good choice.”

I rang up Miss Waffler’s purchase and she happily went off to take care of business.

And there he was. Mr. Fireman. And me. And dildo display made three.

“Um…thanks for waiting.” I tucked my curly hair behind an ear.

“Sure. You learn something new every day.” He smiled. Not just with his mouth, but with his eyes. Very blue eyes.

Right there, in the middle of my mother-in-law’s sex store, dildos and all, there was a spring thaw in my libido. It had long since gone as cold as Montana in January. Who could have blamed it with all of my dead husband’s shenanigans? But right then I felt my heart rate go up, my palms sweat from nerves. The fireman didn’t seem the least bit phased by my little sex toy talk. I, on the other hand, was having a hot flash like a menopausal woman just looking at him.

“I’m Jane. What can I help you with today?” Hi, I’m Jane. I’m thirty-three. I like hiking in the mountains, cross-country skiing, I’m a Scorpio, and I want to rip that uniform off your hot body. I wiped my sweaty palms on my shorts.

He laughed and held out his hand. His grip was firm, his skin warm and a little rough. “Ty. Thanks, but no toys for me.” A pager beeped. He looked at it briefly and ignored it.

“Don’t you need to answer that? A fire or something?” I asked.

“Cat up a tree,” he joked.

I laughed, and heard my nerves in it. I took a deep breath to try and calm my racing heart. It didn’t work. All it did was make me discover how good he smelled. It wasn’t heavy cologne. Soap maybe. I didn’t really care if it was deodorant. He smelled fabulous.

“Actually, it was for station two. I’m here for your fire safety inspection.” He placed papers on the counter. Had he been holding them all this time? I hadn’t noticed. For the next fifteen minutes we went over fire inspection paperwork with an elephant in the room the shape of a dildo.

Ready for more? Get Gnome On The Range at Amazon!


8 thoughts on “An Interview with Jennifer Zane

  1. Welcome Jennifer. I loved Gnome on the Range. It’s the funniest book I’ve read in a long, long time. I’m so glad you could join me today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *