Author: Theresa Rizzo
Release Date: March 31, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads
What would you do if your whole world fell apart?
Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.
Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own.
When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?
OBVB: What first attracted you to the Contemporary Romance genre?
TR: I guess it was a combination of that’s what came to me and process of elimination. I love romance. I think love is perhaps as essential to a person’s well-being as food and water. I’m not clever enough to write fantasy and don’t like history enough to do the research involved in writing a historical romance. And my books must have a HEA.
OBVB: Who are your favorite authors? Who are you reading now?
TR: I have far too many favorite authors to name. Right now I’m reading one of my favorite author’s latest release (and LOVING it) Boots Under Her Bed. It’s a quartet of novellas and Kaki Warner’s is number three. It’s wonderful!
OBVB: What was the most challenging thing you had to face when you first started writing?
TR: One might think it would be enduring the hundreds of rejections I’ve garnered over the 18 years I’ve been writing towards publication, but that’s not it. The most challenging aspect for me was learning patience.
My friends tease me that I run on “Theresa Time”. I tend to be a wee bit impatient. The publishing industry is notoriously a slow, lumbering beast. I didn’t know. To be honest, being warned wouldn’t make the waiting any easier.
OBVB: Just Destiny is just released. Tell us about the book.
TR: Just Destiny is a love story wrapped in suspenseful courtroom drama. It’s about a grieving young woman, willing to risk embarrassment and possibly revealing long-held family secrets in court, for the right to conceive her dead husband’s baby, and her lawyer, best friend’s struggle to help her, despite his reservations.
OBVB: Were there any challenges when writing Just Destiny?
TR: There were a lot of challenges in writing this story. I had to do oodles of research on everything from artificial insemination, definition of death in the state of Michigan, organ donation, to Gabe’s historic watch and the specifics and legalities of postmortem sperm retrieval.
OBVB: Were there any characters more difficult to write than others?
TR: It was a challenge making Jenny a likable, interesting character who would appeal to most readers. Jenny was naturally devastated by grief, yet reading about sad people isn’t necessarily very interesting. Also, grieving can make a person appear weak and selfish—again, not very likable traits. Jenny’s obsession with having Gabe’s baby could appear childish and immature if not handled properly, so it was a really fine line I had to walk when developing Jenny’s character.
Then I gave Steve, one of my greatest nightmares—falling in love with a married person. I’d hate myself, just as he did. What do you do when that happens?
To make it even more miserable, he lives right next door where he’s apt to see a lot of Jenny. I had to be careful with what Steve did so the reader wouldn’t hate him for his feelings, hate him because they might think he’s taking advantage of Jenny when she’s weak and mourning her husband.
I had to make sure not to make him out to be unrealistically good—a putz. I loved Steve!
OBVB: If your story were to be made into a movie/tv show, who can you see as your characters and why?
TR: A reader told me that my secondary character, Judith, reminded her of Addison Montgomery on Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. I can see that. They’re both brilliant doctors, rather bossy and yet beautiful. Kate Walsh? That works for me.Sophia Bush is lovely, smart, and sweet. She’d make a perfect Jenny. Channing Tatum is handsome, he looks like an athlete, yet in a suit, I can totally see him as an attorney. He seems to project a genuineness and kindness I associate with Steve.
TR: I’ve written a romantic suspense I’ll be publishing early 2015. I just need to find a better title for it ‘cause right now it’s called The Sound of Silence and that’s soooo cliché! This story deals with Detroit, Grosse Pointe and the mafia. Being half Sicilian, the mafia always kind of fascinated me.
I like to write about the story that takes hold of my imagination and won’t let go—regardless of genre. Writing is just so much fun for me. It’s a LOT of work too—don’t get me wrong—but if it’s not fun there’s no reason to do it.
OBVB: When you are not writing, what do you do in your free time?
TR: Read. Take long walks with my husband and pup, crochet, landscape, create tile mosaics, play tennis, play cards with friends, visit family . . .
OBVB: Is there anything you must have or do when you start writing?
TR: Besides my computer? Nope.
OBVB: Last but not least, are there any other projects you are working on?
TR: In the fall I’ll put out my next book, The Lives Between Us, which is book dealing with love, loss, revenge, and making hard choices. Here’s the description:Grieving the loss of her beloved niece, reporter Skylar Kendall plots revenge on the US Senator who opposed life-saving stem cell research and therapy. She becomes romantically involved with his best friend, putting her in the perfect position to tear the senator's world apart when tragedy strikes. Only, she hadn’t counted on falling in love.Sen. Hastings's tragedy would absolutely make Skylar’s career and satisfy her thirst for revenge, but can she betray her new love and friends?
OBVB: Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond, Theresa. Hope to have you here again.
About Theresa Rizzo
TheresaRizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.
Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards! Her second book, Just Destiny, will be released March 31, 2014.
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