The Debutante Ball welcomes Jennifer Crusie

The Debutante Ball is thrilled to welcome Jennifer Crusie to the dance!

Jenny is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of twenty-one novels, one book of literary criticism, miscellaneous articles, essays, novellas, and short stories, and the editor of three essay anthologies. She lives on the Ohio River where she often stares at the ceiling and counts her blessings.

Her latest book is Maybe This Time, her version of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. Publisher’s Weekly said, “You don’t have to believe in the afterlife to relish this fun, bright romp,” and Booklist called it, “Crusie at her very best.” You can find out more about the book and anything else you want to know about Jenny at on her website or at her blog, Argh Ink. (And keep reading to find out how you can win one of TWO signed copies of Jennifer Crusie’s books!)

We’re delighted to have Jenny take The Deb Quiz this week. Here’s what she had to share:

Who is one of your favorite fictional characters?
Susan Sto-Helit from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I love the no-nonsense way she handles everything including the supernatural, especially the way she deals with children and their fears (she’s a teacher/governess). She’s a fixer, not somebody who rushes in unwanted to straighten things out, but somebody who answers calls for help with exasperation and skill. Plus her grandfather is Death and the love of her life is Time, so she hangs out with very interesting people.

I think she’s a masterpiece of characterization because of the matter-of-fact way she does everything until something unthinkable happens and then she thinks fast and makes it thinkable, and you always believe in her, whether she’s defeating otherworldly things or over-reaching headmistresses. I’d like to be Susan Sto-Helit which I think is the true test of a great heroine: I want to be like that.

Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
One thing? There are dozens. My daughter gave birth to my second granddaughter in August so now I have two gorgeous babies to make things for and visit. I work every day with my daughter, albeit by computer, so I get to keep her close without intruding.

I have five dogs–all rescues–and I take my laptop out into our big back yard and watch them play while I work. Dogs are all about the intense moment: they’re either investigating something with great concentration or they’re running wildly through the yard after something (Squirrel?) and then they flop down and sleep. I’m working on achieving Dog Zen in my own life: Work like crazy at something I love and then flop into a deep, satisfying sleep. They’re good role models.

The book I’m working on now is very satisfying, something brand new that’s challenging but rewarding. The books I’m planning on after that are percolating in the back of my head, and that’s a nice sound, the babble of the next book. And then there’s the blue paint I’m painting my bedroom furniture in; it’s a beautiful understated light blue and I want to paint everything I own in it. Also, chocolate turtles from the check-out line in stores.

Pretty much everything makes me happy right now. I’m very fortunate that I can arrange my world so that much of what doesn’t make me happy–airports, pantyhose, traffic, loud noises, getting up at 6 a.m.– is no longer part of it.

What time of day do you love best? What is the best perk of your job?
Working at night is the best part because that’s the time of day I love best. If I can work until the sun comes up and then fall into bed and sleep until noon, I can then wake up and get all the business stuff out of the way before five, socialize until 9 or 10, and then work straight through until 6 in the cool of darkness with nobody to interrupt me or need anything from me. I love that feeling of being the only one in the world who’s conscious–yes, I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s very quiet where I live–that kind of secret solitude that gives me complete freedom. Plus there’s just something about the night that’s exciting. No, I am not a vampire.

Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel–something that’s not even in your book.
Andie knew the mix tape was under the front seat of her car, she just couldn’t bring herself to throw it away.

What’s your next big thing? (new book, new project, etc.)
The next thing is the Liz Danger mysteries, four first person mystery novels that make one romance novel when read together. It’s turning out be trickier than I thought. My plan was to construct each book as a four act mystery–trouble starts and plot set-up, build the conflict, escalate the conflict to the dark moment, resolve–but to also make each book one act in a romance novel–the first book as set-up, the second to build the relationship, etc.

The problem is, I like to get to know my murder victims, so I’m three-quarters of the way through and nobody’s died yet. That’s like a romance where the lovers meet at the three-quarter mark. So maybe it’s not a mystery. The Liz books are Lavender’s Blue, Rest in Pink, Peaches and Screams, and Yellow Brick Roadkill.

After that, I want to do a pair of books in third person called Haunting Alice, about Alice all grown up, and Stealing Nadine, about Nadine from Faking It, also grown up, and write the stories so they play simultaneously and interlock. And I want to do another collaboration with Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich, this one called Fairy Tale Lies, about what happens after the happily ever after to Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Red Riding Hood. I think it’s important to keep changing the game as a writer so that I don’t go stale and start writing the same book over and over, and while it makes writing harder, it also makes it more interesting. It’s a good job, this writing gig. I’m grateful.

We’re giving away TWO fabulous Jennifer Crusie titles! The first is a signed copy of her new release, Maybe This Time, and the second is a signed trade paperback copy of Tell Me Lies (which was her first hardcover book). Want to win one? Just leave a comment, and be sure to include your email address. We’ll pick both winners next Friday and will announce them in our October 31 NEWS FLASH!

47 Replies to “The Debutante Ball welcomes Jennifer Crusie”

  1. I’ve been worshiping at the altar of Crusie, and I’ll confess right now that I want to be her when I grow up. Or maybe I just want to keep rereading all her books over and over and over. I’m not sure, I get confused.

    MAYBE THIS TIME is fabulous, by the way. Loved every word of it!


  2. I have adored the books of Crusie for years. I’ve gone through so many copies because I read them to destruction or give them away in order to share the love. If wanting to be the her is the mark of a good heroine, what does it say about the author when you want to live in one of their books? Because I would love to. 🙂

  3. What a fascinating writer! How can I not be reading her? Her favorite heroine is from Discworld? All these books coming up sound fantastic. OK, I’m off to the bookstore now…

    Thanks Tawna, for sending me over to this site today.

  4. The first blog I ever commented on was Jennifer Crusie’s Argh.Ink. I made up my online handle from an interpretation of something in Bet Me. Her books were the first novels I covered in plastic to keep protected due to the re-reading I do.

    In short, HUGE fan who can’t buy MTT yet until I’m done with being a student!

  5. My 15-year-old daughter loves the disc-world series, so I will have to pass on your favorite heroine to her. She’ll love it!
    I also love that you are a true night owl! Please enter me for the drawing, your books are always a treat!

  6. The first Jennifer Cruise book I read was *Anyone But You* in the Love & laughter line. Eventually, I had *all* of her serial romances on my keeper shelf—I love her voice so much!

    I’ve been hoping, hoping, hoping for another Dempsey and\or Goodnight story. I can’t wait to read about Nadine, especially a Nadine who has spent so much time around Davy . . .

    Of course, I’d love another McKenna/Dysart novel, too—I was tickled when Gabe showed up in *Maybe This Time.*

  7. I’ve been a fan of La Crusie since I picked up Manhunting in the original series edition, and have gleefully gobbled up everthing she’s written since. This year I’ve committed to buying second copies of all her books, so I will always have one copy at home if/when I lend another copy to (newer) friends. I’ve done a pretty good job in making my friends Crusie fans, and they are buying their own copies now.

  8. She managed to get Susan Sto-Helit and dog zen into the same post in a sensible way?

    I was a Jennifer Crusie fan girl before reading this post, but now I am going to have to upgrade that. So I guess I fall info the super fan girl category now 🙂

  9. Jenny is a gifted writer and who wouldn’t want a signed copy of her book!! I read Agnes and the Hitman and was hooked-I now have a love of all things Crusie. Thanks for the opportunity to read more about my favorite author!

  10. I love Jenny’s books – While I enjoy books by other authors, I often feel that something is missing. Jenny just makes it special, with her wit, intelligence, warmth . . . I enjoy her blog, and this interview was a special treat. Please enter me in the drawing as well.

  11. I admire your wanting to explore different narratives. Your minds-eye works far better than mine. 🙂 By the way, all these other comment are actually from Tawna Fenske. She REALLY wants your signed book!

    All the Best,


    1. Doug, LOL! As much as I’d love to add another Crusie to my collection, I already own multiple copies of all her books and am probably ineligible as a Deb anyway. But I like the way you think!


  12. Great interview! Who doesn’t love Jenny Crusie?! Seriously! My first Crusie, “Faking It”, is also my favorite. I have a whole shelf of various Crusies that I’ve collected, and two more signed addition would fit perfectly. 🙂

    @Tawna – Your blog brought me here. Congrats! I think we all want to be Jenny when we grow up. The real question is what or who does Jenny want to be when she grows up? 😉

  13. Wonderful interview! I also love Jenny Crusie’s books and blog. It’s thanks to her that I found the discovery class with Lani Diane Rich, which led me to the Lucy March site, which led me to your blog, Tawna. All of the future Crusie books sound amazing.

  14. I adore Jennifer Crusie. I am trying to get her to adopt me, just so I can call her at any time and ask what she’s thinking about. But I have to keep my first mom too, because her feelings would be hurt otherwise. So I would have two mommies. Which is great since I’m a progressive liberal and we just LOVE that stuff.

    1. I’ve been trying to get Jenny to let me live in a cardboard box under her writing desk. She’s stopped taking my emails and changed her phone number, but I’m sure she’ll warm up to the idea eventually.


  15. I love Jenny, too. I have read MTT twice. I so love it. I love all of Jenny’s books. I asked the library for a book I had never heard of by her, Sizzle. They couldn’t find it through Inner Library Loan so they bought it. It was a good little read so now I want to buy it. Why didn’t I just do that to begin with?
    BTW Tawna – if I win I’ll give you the signed copy cause I already have one…nana na nana. Thanks for inviting Jenny so we get some more of her. I want to copy her schedule. It would work so well with my sleeping pattern. Unfortunately I still have to do 3 days of 8 to 5 to pay the bills. Oh well, could be worse.
    Love this site. Been coming here since Tawna’s debut. Clever idea.

  16. Okay, I came over from Tawna’s site. Love the Debutante pics at the top except WHERE ARE THE TIARAS???

    I want to win. I always want to win. Anything.

    But since my class won the good behavior monkey two days in a row this week (yes I will brag about them ANYWHERE even to people who could not POSSIBLY care), I probably have had my luck for a while.

  17. Andie knew the mix tape was under the front seat of her car, she just couldn’t bring herself to throw it away.

    She did ?!

    Kim M. Me too. 🙂

  18. I can totally relate to working at night. It’s when I’m at my best. Unfortunately I work in the corporate world with a boss that apparently thinks the earlier you get to work, the more bonus points you’ll accumulate in the here-after.

    Looking forward to the upcoming Liz Danger books and whatever follows. In the meantime, I think I”ll go re-read a favorite. It’s a “Fast Women” kind of day.

  19. Ms.Crusie has had me (though it’s doubtful she wants me) since WTT and Phin’s daughter conning Sophie by ending most of her statements with “I don’t have a mother (or whatever) – it’s very sad.” Gets used a lot at my house. Would love to have a signed copy of anything by Ms. Crusie – since I don’t already have one…it’s very sad.

  20. I adore Jennifer Crusie. I have read and re-read all her books. Now I am buying the books on audio. I can drive and still be ‘reading’ great books at the same time. I have light bulb and ‘ah-ha’ moments when listening and re-reading the books. I give her books away as pressies. Ms. Crusie is the best.

  21. It is wonderful to be able to “meet” authors in this way. Thank you so much for taking the time write and give a glimpse into your world.

  22. Choose me, choose me! My shelf of Crusies, paper- and hardback, needs an autograph. Plus, Dog Zen, my way of life, I model myself on my happy Maltese. Plus, plus, just yesterday, due to Crusie accolades, I checked out my first Terry Pratchet from the library. And, Tawna, going to the bookstore tomorrow to find you, and if you’re not there, fuss and feathers will fly until your book is in my grasp. I’m a fan of your writing from your site.

    1. LOL, thanks, Thea, but don’t beat up any bookstore personnel just yet! My first book doesn’t hit shelves until next August. I appreciate the enthusiasm though!


      P.S. Is Thea your real name, or did you just pick a Crusie character? (Thinking of Thea from CRAZY FOR YOU, one of my faves).

  23. I’m another Crusie devotee. I own all her books but the latest hardcovers. Sorry but inner cheapskate has to wait for paperback. But it’s killing me!!! I also wish she’d blog at least 3x a day since she’s hysterical and as a blog lurker, I expect her to know that 😉

    Tawna — you’re also one of my new favorite blog finds this year! Found ya thru Lucy March and the Betty Community and I found Lucy through Crusie! LOL… see… once you get a fabulous auther, the sky’s the limit!

    Thanks for an awesome interview!

  24. I’ve just discovered Debutante Ball and was excited that Crusie was being interviewed – I’ve read many of her books from the library and also have a few on my own personal library shelf. I would love the chance to win a signed copy of one of her books- especially the new one!

    Thanks for the incredible interview! It’s wonderful to hear from an author that cares about family (daughter and grandchildren) and has rescue pets. Wow! A real person that is also a night owl……she says as she looks at the time and ambles off to bed…..

    Thanks for the great interview and good luck with the Dog Zen!

  25. Terrific post! So nice to have you at The Ball, Jennifer! My very favorite part of this post: “the babble of the next book”–love this! So how I feel about the books percolating in my head right now. Well said! xo

  26. Wonderful, thank you. honestly, my response to everything the fabulous Ms Jenny ever writes is, more please. It’s so much fun to find out that she loves Miss Susan Sto-Hellit too. I just about wore out the library’s audio copy of “Thief of Time” before buying a copy for the iPad. The Discwolrd series audios are wonderfully performed- I highly recommend them.

    Strangely though, Jenny’s dog zen sounds a lot like the kitten insane we had at my house. they (a pair of little sisters) played and played and played until they completely collapsed. I used to have to check them for breathing, they were so conked out. Kitten insane morphed into the most fabulous single-minded pursuit of hedonism – I am still in awe. Cats, my reward for being an adult.

    thanks again for the charming post, and for the pointer Tawna.

  27. Ooooooh! a follow-up on Nadine! Yes!! Can we have one on Dillie too? I think Dillie shows terrific promise as a future heroine (I’m thinking of the telephone exchanges with Davy in Faking It). She’s gonna be a real pistol when she grows up. Please, please?? She ought to be, what, a teenager by now, right??

    I get so hooked on all the characters, I just want to keep reading about them. You know, a sort of running soap opera of “alternative Crus-iverses”. ;>

    And, if the lucky winner, I promise to place my very own signed copy in the best, most prominent place on my Crusie-loaded bookshelf.

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