Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Monday, March 14, 2011

Indivisible by Jessica McQuinn: Review and Interview

I'm intrigued by all things military, especially Men in Uniform. When I heard fellow Omnific author Jessica McQuinn wrote about a hunky Navy SEAL, I knew I wanted to read the story pronto!

Here's my review of Indivisible from Goodreads:

Are you participating in “Romantic Suspense” or “Men in Uniform” reading challenges in 2011? If so, have I got the book for you!

Indivisible is Jessica McQuinn’s second novel, featuring a young married couple facing the danger and forced separation of life in the military.

Charlotte “Charlie” Cooper (I love that name) is finishing her college degree and savoring the last moments of togetherness with her Navy SEAL husband Gideon before he leaves for six months on assignment. They’ve only been married one year and she’s feeling scared and bereft about his departure.

Gideon is a muscled bo-hunk whose heart is almost as big as his biceps. I loved when he knows he’s made a mistake with Charlie and goes about his bumbling yet charming way of trying to apologize. He’s smarter than he looks!

Gideon had me giggling several times, like when he was at a briefing for the mission and Charlie was sending him naughty text messages. He bounces his knee so hard he knocks the table, spilling coffee and drawing his superior’s negative attention. Later in the story:

“He sat with the phone to his ear listening to the horrible Muzak crap. ‘Like a Virgin’ was never meant to be instrumental. Despite his annoyance, he found himself tapping his fingers to the song, which irritated him even more. Then he started singing along, trying to comfort himself.” (p. 258)

I can totally picture the humorous scene of a Navy SEAL humming a Madonna song.

I enjoyed learning about Gideon and Charlie’s unconventional engagement via flashbacks throughout the first section of the novel. I also liked the complexity of Gideon’s family. Jessica McQuinn did a wonderful job creating vivid and layered characters for the Cooper family and their partners. What I liked most of all was the plot. The summary on the book jacket describes an “ordeal” Charlie endures during Gideon’s absence. I was expecting one thing but was quite surprised by what actually happened.

I’m intrigued by the military and I’d prefer more chapters devoted to Gideon’s adventures, but I realize the focus of the novel is more on the family drama at home.

I definitely recommend this novel as a sweet and realistic love story. You will cheer for Charlie and Gideon to remain "Indivisible!"
 
And now it's my pleasure to host Jessica McQuinn for an interview!
 
Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Jessica. How did you get started writing?

Jessica McQuinn (JM): Thanks so much for asking me to be here.

I know that it is the common answer, but I really have been writing all my life. When I was in high school, I would write stories for creative writing that already set the tone for my writing now. There was always that plot twist or that moment that the reader would go..."Wait?" And then have to go back and read to see what they missed the first time. I love that.

I have always kept a journal and probably have hundreds of plots and half stories in it, but it wasn't until I found a writing community a few years ago that I really started to think that this was something that I could do. (Though to be honest, if someone were to ask me what I do I would still say I'm a Stay-at-home mom.) Now those journals have plots and storylines that I'm hoping will one day see the light of day.

JL: How'd you get interested in the military?

JM: Well, I've always had a thing for a man in uniform. In high school I dated a Marine, and had posters of half dressed military men up in my room. My husband was actually in the Navy when we got engaged. I even emabarrassingly said out loud while watching Top Gun that I wanted to marry Tom Cruise. That's since changed for more reasons than I can count, but my affinity for a man in uniform hasn't.

Add to my teenage crushes the fact that for the past 15 years, we have lived and worked in the military community and I have developed a deep respect for what they do for our country and the sacrifices that their loved ones make. I think that we sometimes forget that all of those men and women serving their country voluntarily are leaving someone at home whose life will be changed forever if they don't come home. That's what makes what they do all the more amazing.

And, let's be honest, for a hero...there's nothing better than a big strong guy who is willing to sacrifice everything to protect not only those they love, but total strangers as well.

JL: What are you reading now?

JM: My girlfriends and I have finally formed an official book club after years of just talking about what we are reading. We started with Indivisible (hahaha!) and for March are reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen so we can all go see the movie together (probably one of my all time favorite books). But at our last meet up we made our list for the rest of the year, and we simply went around the table and asked everyone what their favorite book of all time was, so our list is very eclectic and ranges from Nicholas Sparks to Maeve Binchey to Eric Clapton's biography.

For my own personal "to read" list, I can't wait for the end of the month when JR Ward's Lover Unleashed is released. I do love my big bad vamps!

JL: How did cowriting Passion Fish compare to the solo writing of Indivisible?

JM: Indivisible was a different experience from Passion Fish. One thing that I really loved about collaborating with Alison Oburia was that we kept each other on task. We made deadlines and were always quick to let the other one know when they were late. And having someone to bounce ideas off of who knew where the story was supposed to end up was a great advantage too. With Indivisible, it was all up to me. I had a few critique partners, but they weren't as invested as when it was a co-writer.

The other thing that was very different was the editing process. With Passion Fish, if Alison and I'd had to do the editing updates the book never would have gotten done! We tried to edit the first chapter together, but it took us so long just to do the first chapter that we had to agree to completely turn it over to our wonderful editor. When I started the editing process with Indivisible, it was a shock to my ego to open up a document and see all the RED staring back at me. I didn't like that at all! There was no getting out of it this time! (I have to say this though, I had fabulous editors who made the story so much better than what I gave to them, and I'm I love them to death.)

Finally, the hardest thing about going solo is that succeed or fail, this one was all me. With Passion Fish I could blame Alison (just kidding, Alison!!), but Indivisible is all me. So, if someone doesn't like it, I have to take full responsibility. That thought keeps me awake at night!

JL: It seemed like sibling relationships figured in prominently in Indivisible. Do you have siblings? If yes, did your relationships with them inspire any of the story?

JM: Funny enough, I actually have 10 brothers and sisters, but was raised as an only child! It's like a riddle...I have 5 step brothers and sisters from my stepdad who lived with their mom and three from my stepmom who lived with my dad. In addition I have a half sister from my dad's first marriage who lived with her mom, and finally one actual brother, who suffers from a severe mental illness and has been institutionalized for most of his life. Talk about a modern family!!

My husband, who I've been with for 23 years, however, has a younger brother and a younger sister so I've learned a lot about the dynamics from watching him with his siblings. There's a little bit of his relationship with his younger brother in Indivisible. I think that it's always hard for the younger sibling when the older sibling leads the way by being successful.

JL: Since you have a husband and young children, I figured you might like to cook? Do you have a specialty dish? Or if not, a favorite restaurant?

JM: Our life is so busy between wrestling, basketball, soccer, baseball...I could go on and on that I rarely get a chance to cook and our meals are often from a drive-thru or whatever I can heat up in the microwave (which my daughter thinks is actually cooking!). When I do get a night to cook, one of our family favorites is a baked ravioli that I stole from Rachel Ray. It's like lasagna but less work! The ravioli already has the cheese so you just mix it with my homemade sauce and top with a little bit of cheese and easy peasy!

JL: Who's your celebrity crush? :-)

JM: I'm pretty sure that this is no surprise to most people...I have a HUGE crush on Kellan Lutz. He actually was the inspiration for Gideon in Indivisible, and who I picture when I write him. (Quick plug for my blog today - Who do you picture when you are reading - http://jessicamcquinn.com/). I have a signed and framed picture of him in his Calvins over my desk for when I need a little inspiration...

Thanks, so much for asking me to do this Jen. I'm glad you liked Gideon and Charlie's story! And, Congrats on the release of Bad Behavior! I love your McSalior (with my Navy affinity it was pretty much a given!).

JL: Thank you, Jessica. McSailor thanks you too. :-) And now on to the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop, hosted by Lisa Sanchez!

8 comments:

Nicki Elson said...

Jessica's willingness to open up and be frank makes for a great interview. I think it carries over into her characters too and that's what makes them so engaging. Of course, the interview questions (and review) were also spectacular. ;)

P.S. to Jessica: Was the "frank" a Freudian slip? hehehe...

Jessica Subject said...

A great interview and review. Indivisible is on my book shelf and I look forward to reading it!

Jennifer Lane said...

Nicki--great point. Who we are as authors comes through in our writing, and Jessica's friendliness definitely shines through (as does yours!)

Jessica, you'll love it.

Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

hannahverbose said...

A tale about a young wife who is left behind… and engages in an ‘adventure’ of her own, it seems. A perspective I haven’t often read about. Interesting that the story commences with a fairly newly married couple (as opposed to a romance which commences when the protagonists meet). It sounds as though the book takes a close look at a variety of relationships - sibling dynamics can be complicated! (especially if the parents compare the kids – kids pick up on these things!)

A great review – which makes me want to read the book!
And an enjoyable (candid) interview to read.
Jessica, don’t you dare take “responsibility” if someone “doesn’t like” the book! Take a look at any great book on Goodreads (a classic; or your favorite) and you’ll see several one star ratings! There are many different people in this world.

Thanks for this post, Jen! :)

niksnie said...

To read!

Great cover!

Jennifer Lane said...

Hannah, I really liked that the romantic leads were already together at the beginning of the story--quite refreshing. Too often we focus on leading up to the "happy ever after" without focusing on the realities of the relationship afterward. That's one reason I wanted to write Bad Behavior. Thanks for the reminder not to get all tied up in knots from one reader not really liking or getting the novel.

Nix, I agree--that cover is seductive and interesting!

ketch1714 said...

Sorry I wasn't able to join the hop yesterday, but I wanted to come by to see what's happening and say "hi". Wonderful Interview!

Jennifer Lane said...

We missed ya on the hop, Kels. Hi back to you! Glad you enjoyed the interview. Jen xx

 


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