Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jennifer Rogers Spinola Book List


Interview with Jennifer Rogers Spinola
When not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
I love cooking, gardening, painting, and taking care of my two wonderful rough-and-tumble boys: one dark and curly-haired like chocolate cream, and the other one rosy-cheeked and blond with milk-white skin. Children are amazing - and these two are especially amazing. Such blessings, each one of them. It's funny to say that I simply enjoy family life - making dinner, reading books, picking tomatoes, rolling out a pie crust, sorting laundry. I just love it. It won't always be like this - with two little ones filling the house with mess and chatter - and I enjoy every minute. 

What is the strangest real life situation that is in one of your stories?
I'm not sure if this is what you mean by the question or not, but the third installment in my "Southern Fried Sushi" series involves a llama. I got my first-hand llama knowledge while visiting a relative in South Dakota years ago, and we stayed in the empty house of his landlord, which was also a llama ranch. Every morning we needed to feed the llamas and horses (and one random mule) and break the ice on their water trough. After several days of my husband faithfully pounding the heavy layer of ice off the surface of the water trough, the biggest llama there, known affectionately as "Mama Llama," suddenly charged him. We were all horrified because she'd been aloof and cool the entire time, and didn't know what to expect - would she spit? Bite? Try to knock him over? Instead, as he turned around, she stopped just inches away from him and put her head on his neck in a full-sized, exuberant llama hug. :) I learned quite a bit about llamas that day!

When did you start writing?
I've wanted to write books all my life - starting with some of my earliest memories at age four or five. Somewhere in our things I have a box of things I wrote growing up: little stapled-together books with sloppy letters and pictures, eventually evolving into spiral-bound notebooks full of penciled lines. One of my favorite possessions is a fat book I wrote from about age ten to thirteen, stapled together in layers and then glued together at the binding - all handwritten, with some colored illustrations - ending at a nice 300+ pages. I took it everywhere when I was growing up and was always writing or rewriting part of it, keeping extra paper and portions in a folder until I was ready to bind another section on. It's falling apart now, but I love it. It was my first real full-length work.

Do you laugh and cry while writing your books?
I definitely cry when I'm writing a scene that touches, me, usually because it's drawing on emotions and memories from similar experiences I've had. I tend to put a lot of myself into my stories - creating scenes that touch something deep in my soul - and it can't help but come out on paper, especially if I'm lucky enough to have a certain piece of beautiful music that sticks in my head while I'm writing that particular part. Sometimes during the review stage I forget just how raw or poignant something was when I wrote it, or how funny (to me, anyway - I love humor in books) and it catches me by surprise.

Are you sad to end a series and leave the characters behind?
Oh, yes - this is the hardest one for me. I just want to stay with them and watch them grow and change. It is so hard for me to close the door and say good-bye to them, just as it is for me with real friends in real life.

Do you write about places you have lived?
I definitely write about places I've lived (such as Japan and the American South). I really feel deeply about the places I've lived, the friendships formed, the foods and experiences and customs, and they create a mark on my soul. I find myself deeply attached to places I've lived, even if I wasn't particularly happy in those settings or at those times - because they are still somehow familiar, like a blanket or old sweater that still retains a scent of the past. I miss them. I can't *not* write about those places without feeling. 

What is your go-to snack?
Oh, I love to write about food! My series about Japan and the South even has food names in the titles. My favorite snacks (I'd have to list several) would be string cheese, unsalted nuts (like walnuts and pecans), nori (Japanese seaweed) sheets, and fresh fruit (think strawberries, blueberries, fresh peaches). Yum!
Southern Fried Sushi Series
Book 1: Southern Fried Sushi
The story is told through the eyes of the main character Shiloh P. Jacobs. She is living and working as a reporter in Japan. She spends her money on keeping up her image and on frivolous things. Her fiance, Carlos, is from Argentina and is quite the looker. She is estranged from her parents. When her dad left when she was seven her mom kind of lost it and now that she made a name for herself she was fine without them, even though her mom had been trying to reconnect.

And then Shiloh's world falls apart. She gets the phone call that her mom has died and left her a house. She ends up in Virginia with a bunch of rednecks. While there, she also loses her job and Carlos. But in the pit of her loss, God is calling her. Through her moms friend, Faye. Through Adam Carter and his friends Tim and Becky. And many others along the way.

I liked that Shiloh did not just automatically accept Christ. It was a process for her to believe and was written in a realistic way. Shiloh has to lower her expectations in life as well. She has to get jobs while in Virginia to pay off her huge debts and they are not jobs she normally would have worked, she has to deal with the fact that her mom had changed and that she had refused to talk to her. Through her moms death, Shiloh eventually finds life.
This is the first book in the series.
**Received through NetGalley for review

Book 2: Like Sweet Potato Pie
We find Shiloh P. Jacobs still in Churchville, Virginia and still missing Japan. Shiloh is so focused on her dream of returning to Japan, that she don't see the love growing for her with the people who have become her family. And as a new Christian she has to take a good look at why she is pulled to Japan as well. Shiloh goes through a lot in this book. She starts her new life in Christ, gets a visit from Koyoko, has to face her true feelings for Carlos. She gains a puppy, unwillingly. And Shiloh finds herself in deeper debt and her step-sister Ashley has decided she deserves half of what the house sells for and the IRS wants back taxes. She thinks she might be interested in Adam after all but circumstances come between them, that could separate them for good. When she chooses to act unselfishly, it backfires as well.

Shiloh is being a vessel for God but she don't see it yet. It also feels like more trouble is coming at her since she started her new life. Whatever she does seems to cause more trouble. She reaches out to Trinity and ends up stirring a bee hive. She tries to play matchmaker only to find one of the people has not desire to remarry and all kinds of other adventures.
**Book received through NetGalley for review
Book 3: 'Til Grits Do Us Part
Shiloh P. Jacobs is back again with a new adventure. It’s almost a year ago she drove her rental car into this hick town and she spent most of that year trying to escape out of it. Mourning her time in Japan as she thinks about the sites, sounds, subways and culture of her beloved Tokyo verses the blaring music, jacked up trucks and lack of sushi in Staunton, Virginia.

Suddenly Shiloh's boring life changes when it goes from planning her wedding to Adam to the possibility of a murderer being back in town. Twelve years ago a woman disappeared and was assumed dead. Working at The Leader, the local newspaper, Shiloh is trying to avoid taking on this story….unfortunately it seems she might not have a choice when she gets pulled into it. Willing or not.

To follow the entire adventure of Shiloh P. Jacobs you will definitely want to read the first two books in this series: Southern Fried Sushi and Like Sweet Potato Pie. This book brings back all the quirky and crazy characters you’ll meet in those first two books. Kyoko, her goth loving friend she worked with in Japan, Adam her fiance, and Tim and Becky are a married couple that are about as redneck as they come….and proud of it! This book has romance, mystery and plenty of humor. So make yourself a nice bowl of grits and join the fun.
**Received through NetGalley for review
Yellowstone Memories
Explore Yellowstone National Park where the rough and glorious wilderness paints the perfect setting for romance. French-Arapaho Collette Moreau crosses paths with a washed up cowboy named Wyatt Kelly. . .in a race for hidden treasure. Justin Fairbanks’s past intrudes on his present while he serves at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp during the Great Depression. Firefighters Thomas Walks-With-Eagles and Alicia Sanchez are brought together. . .then a devastating fire threatens their rocky friendship. Biology researcher Taka Shimamori and Park Service ranger Jersey Peterson butt heads with each other—and a renegade group of poachers. Will these unlikely couples find a love as big as their surroundings?
Barbour Novella Collection
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection
Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dreams—Cynthia, for security; Beryl, for a new family; Adeline, for freedom; Molly, for marriage; Beth, for a new start; Belinda, for a place to heal; Suzette, for adventure; Carolina, for peace; and Caroline, for a future for her children. Celebrate Christmas alongside these pioneers as love finds them in nine distinctly different romances penned by leading Christian fiction authors.


  1. Hey, thanks, Judy!! Hope you like these! They were so much fun to write!

    Oh, and I did change the last story in the "Yellowstone" book - it's now about Japanese zoological researcher Taka Shimamori and park ranger Jersey Peterson. They do butt heads with each other, but instead of the grizzly story I've swapped it out with a band of poachers.

  2. Yep, the first story changed as well. French-Arapaho Collette Moreau, from a French trapper community in Idaho, hunts for buried treasure with frustrated ranch hand Wyatt Kelly.

  3. I should say "Mysterious" French-Arapaho Collette Moreau....

  4. Thanks Jennifer. I'll get that changed up :-)

  5. Those all sounds like fun reads! I check them out. Thanks for sharing them! :D

  6. Your Southern Fried Sushi series sounds really good. Going to have to check that out. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed your interview.

  7. Hey, thanks, Gail and Liesel! Hope you enjoy them!