Monday, August 4, 2014

Character Interview: Jennifer Benson from Kaira Rouda's 'In the Mirror'

We’re thrilled to have here today Jennifer Benson from women’s fiction novel In the Mirror.  She is coming to us all the way from the great state of Ohio, by way of California.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at The Literary Nook!

Thank you so for this interview, Jennifer.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It’s interesting, me, reflecting on a book about me and about reflection. Seriously, one look at the cover says it all. That said, yes, I do feel as if I was fairly portrayed. I know the author had a tough subject to deal with – my late stage breast cancer – especially because of my two young kids. I think she did a good job. I do wish that Alex, my old boyfriend, hadn’t reappeared in my life during this book. His storyline isn’t all that wonderful for my image, but in the end, I am who I am. Or I was.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My strongest trait is my optimism – even in the face of the Emperor of all Maladies, cancer. I think that is why my story is resonating with so many people. I also surround myself with amazing friends like Ralph, and Jacob, and my book club gals. 

Worst trait?

Well, I was a big overachiever, before, before the cancer. I tended to focus too much on my successful clothing store business, and then rush home to my kids and my husband. Not enough living in the moment, I’d say. A diagnosis like mine has a way of forcing you to stop, and take stock.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, of course, my husband, Henry. He is my rock and he is trying his best to keep everything together during the whole story. That’s why I feel terrible the author allowed Alex, my first love, to come into my story line. He messes things up for awhile.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When Alex appeared next to my hospital bed. When he brought over the romantic picnic spread, well, I knew we were headed for trouble.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Ralph. My dear friend Ralph. He is my best friend in Shady Valley, our experimental treatment facility. He is fighting an especially aggressive form of brain cancer. 

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I felt sleepy after the party we held at our house so I could reconnect with all the people in my life. So I went to sleep. So many readers presume more about that, perhaps that I have died. But truly, at the end of the book, the author has me falling asleep. That’s all.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Oh, I’d love that! For obvious reasons, but that would mean I would be back in the real world, with my family and friends, where I belong. If enough readers as her to write a sequel, I bet she will. She really likes me, too.

Thank you for this interview.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

See answer above. I really hope so! Thank you for having me here. I hope you enjoy my story.

About the Author:

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother's Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel. 

Her latest novel is In the Mirror.

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About the Book: 

What choices would you make if you knew you might die soon?

From the multi award-winning, best-selling author of four books, including Here, Home, Hope, a gripping and heart wrenching novel about a young mother who has it all. The only problem is she may be dying.

In her previous works including All the Difference, Rouda's characters "sparkle with humor and heart," and the stories are "told with honest insight and humor" (Booklist).

"Inspirational and engaging" (ForeWord), these are the novels you'll turn to for strong female characters and an "engaging read" (Kirkus). 

In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life - head on. But while she's busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.

If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?

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