A Change of FortuneA Change of Fortune
Jen Turano
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Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiance, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.

Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone.

Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence. When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.
     


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Jen Turano

Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Favorite Verse: Isaiah 30:21 - "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


 

 Our Interview with Jen Turano


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m originally from St. Clairsville, Ohio and grew up in a large family with three brothers and two sisters.  After college, I ended up in Buffalo, New York where I met my husband, Al, and we’ve been married for over twenty years.  I have one son, Dominic, who is currently in high school and a very timid Australian Cattle Dog by the name of Sasha.  I began dabbling a bit with writing when my son was in elementary school, but didn’t really make it a priority until he got into middle school and I suddenly found myself with entirely too much time on my hands.  Historical romance has always been one of my absolute favorites to read and it seemed natural to begin writing them.

What is your favorite Bible verse?  (Translation too, please) Why?

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” ~ Isaiah 30:21

For me, there have been numerous times in my life when I’ve gotten what I like to call ‘nudges’ which I’m fairly sure were supposed to lead me to a certain place.  Being a somewhat stubborn woman, I haven’t always listened to these nudges, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that God does have a specific plan for me, so this Bible verse reminds me to listen, accept and walk the path that has been laid out for me.

What was your inspiration to write A Change of Fortune?

I wanted to create a story that would allow the reader to escape from the problems of everyday life while instilling a measure of hope and faith at the same time.  Eliza is a lady plagued with misfortune and disaster, but through her, I was able to create a story that hopefully reminds the reader that although life can sometimes be difficult and annoying and confusing, there truly always is a light at the end of that very dark tunnel.

What made you decide to write with a humorous twist?

I’ve always been plagued with a rather odd sense of humor.  The books I remember the most are ones that made me laugh and I wanted to do the same for my readers.  There’s nothing quite like laughter to improve one’s spirits and writing quirky and humorous characters is what I love to write most.

 

How much research did the A Change of Fortune take?
 
Unfortunately, when I decided to write the setting in 1880, New York, I came to the sad conclusion that besides the fashions of the day, my knowledge of that time was severely limited.  I spent numerous days at the Parker Library, where Ms. Carol McMinn, one of the local librarians, helped me find book after book on New York history and also taught me how to use their rather intimidating data base which I could access from home.  It took me a few weeks to wade through all the material and then I was ready to write.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing A Change of Fortune?

1880, New York was a truly fascinating time in history.  The city was filled with immigrants who were stuffed into deplorable tenement slums and forced to work in factories if they could even find a job, but the hours were cruel and the wages small. 

On the other side were the incredibly wealthy people who purchased mansions on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue and spent their time flitting from one department store to another and hosting fabulous parties in their homes. 

New inventions were coming out daily and people were thrilled to ride on the elevated train that circles above them (even though it was supposedly rather dirty) and steam elevators had made their appearance in the grand department stores and the invention of those still boggles my mind and one has to wonder who the brave souls were who first rode them up six floors. 

My degree is in Clothing and Textiles and I did study the history of American fashions in school, but never delved into the mass marketing aspect department stores provided to their clients.  Everything changed when they appeared in the cities.  No longer did women (somewhat wealthy women that is) have to hand sew their clothes and buggies and horses would line the streets in front of stores like B. Altman’s while the ladies began spending their days perusing the latest fashions and gadgets of the day.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this story?

The most difficult aspect of the story was probably reining myself in with some of the outlandish adventures Eliza found herself in.  I would suddenly get caught up in the humor of the chapter and then off I’d go – down a bunny trail that had absolutely nothing to do with the plot – I delete material every day, but deleting a scene that made me laugh was tough – but, I certainly didn’t want the book to read like a sketch from Saturday Night Live, so deleting was seen all too often during the first draft.

Do you write by the seat-of-your pants letting the story unfold as you write, plot the entire story; write with an outline, or a combination of the above?

I always know the beginning of the story and the end (because I only write Happily Ever After).  What comes in-between varies from chapter to chapter.  I have a sketchy outline for five chapters at a time, but normally by the time I reach that fifth chapter, the characters have taken me somewhere entirely different, so…I let them.

 

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

I finished Book Two, Arabella and Theodore’s story quite a few months ago and then moved on to Book Three in the series, which centers around Miss Felicia Murdock and Mr. Grayson Sumner. I’m currently working on Book Four, Agatha and Zayne’s story, but I’m only on the first draft so I still have a ways to go.  After I finish that, hmmm…I’ve been thinking about starting a new series that would center around an academy for young ladies and would be perfect for more misadventures.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading A Change of Fortune?
 
That life can be tough, but laughter, friendship, love and God make it worth living.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My dearest hope is that readers will enjoy the story and laugh, or at least grin, numerous times throughout the book.

 


 

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