We want to thank Jennifer Probst for taking time out of her busy schedule to be with us here today. Thank you Jennifer for being just so wonderful.
SC: First, thank you for agreeing to this interview with us. We re absolutely thrilled! Of course, congratulations on all of your success with the Marriage to a Billionaire series! New York Times & USA Today bestselling author! Those are such huge accomplishments and very well deserved.
JP: Thank you so much! I’m thrilled to hang out here with you today!
SC: The Marriage Bargain and The Marriage Trap are both amazing reads. I’m a sucker for a love story full of emotion and angst. (The hot sex is just an added bonus) What was your inspiration for writing The Marriage Trap?
JP: When I was writing the Marriage Bargain, Alexa’s best friend Maggie came bounding on the page in all her snarky glory. She started taking over scenes! I compromised with her and said if I sold Bargain, I’d give Maggie her own story and when I finally sold Bargain to Entangled, they wanted a series so I already had her story planned. I love when a character demands they be written!
SC: Love spells play a role in each of the books so far, why did you want to include this? (I’ll admit that I have tried before)
JP: I was once a single woman. It’s hard to meet men! I had a conversation once with a group of friends about casting a spell into the universe to find a soul-mate and I thought it was the coolest thing. Inspiration struck and I decided to connect the books with the spell for a fun twist to entertain readers.
SC: In the Marriage Trap, Bergamo is the headquarters for La Dolce Famiglia as well as Michael’s hometown. Why Bergamo? Have you been there? What is your favorite part of Bergamo?
JP: I knew I wanted to set Trap in Italy so I decided to do research for a location close enough to Milan where their headquarters would be housed, but private enough for a billionaire’s family to live with the old traditional values. Bergamo jumped out at me and I couldn’t stop reading about it. The upper and lower cities splitting the old and new was perfect. I’m planning a trip there this year but I’ve only seen photos on the web and poured over literature. I think my favorite part is looking out down over the city with the spectacular view. I imagined myself in Michael’s backyard drinking Chianti and staring at the gorgeous landscape.
SC: Family (and food) has a huge presence in The Marriage Trap. Whether it is the family business La Dolce Famiglia, Mama Conte teaching Maggie how to cook, or The Count propositioning Maggie in order to help his sister get married… is your family similar to the Conte’s? Do you know family’s like them?
JP: My family has had many challenges along the way but I remember wonderful memories of my youth at my Italian grandmother’s table. Everything was homemade, dinner lasted for several hours, the cousins ran around, the men smoked cigars and played cards, and the women held it all together. The bonds of family and food made an impression on me and I respect them throughout Trap and love giving readers a taste of that type of life. My family means the world to me.
SC: I have to admit, Mama Conte is amazing! Is she portrayed after someone you know personally?
JP: Thank you! Mama Conte sprung from nowhere and she became one of my favorite all time characters! The role of the matriarch in an Italian family is key, and I thought she would be the model to pull the family together, give them strength, and guide them. I had so much fun weaving her throughout the books (she has a main role in The Marriage Mistake!) and I don’t want to give her up. She is based on an image I had of someone you’d want to meet, speak with, and love. Older women are such great mentors and can give us so much if we would just listen!
SC: Maggie is such a great character. Not only does she keep The Count on his toes but she’s amazing with his mother, sisters, and of course Alexa and Nick. In that same respect, Michael is not only is a sexy strong man with a lovely Italian accent (I’m a sucker for a man with an accent…) but loyal to the bone. When writing your lead characters for your books, how do they come to you?
JP: Writing the characters are key in my books. I don’t focus as much on plot or details as much as the careful reveal of emotions that make my hero and heroine come alive. I try to dive very deep into what makes them who they are today. I uncover their past, give them regrets, give them obstacles, and then sketch in their strengths. I wanted home and loyalty to be the mainstays of Trap and layered them throughout the story. I already knew Maggie from Bargain, but the Count needed to be her match yet give her what she needed. The key is strength of family and loyalty – that is what Maggie lacked. The challenge was making him strong, sexy, and able to rip down Maggie’s barriers. He’s such a force in the book and never lets her run away. I love that in a man!
SC: Who is your favorite character in this series to write and why?
JP: This is a trick question! Usually when I’m writing a book the characters at the time are my all time favorite. It’s like falling in love and lust all over again. But with the three books behind me, I have to say I was most fascinated by writing Maggie’s story for a heroine, and Nick as the hero. Must be the screwed up life of the Ryans that I wanted to give them their happy ever after! They were so damaged and I loved letting them find their way. But I absolutely adore the rest of my characters too!
SC: What do you want your readers to take with them through reading The Marriage Trap?
JP: A few hours of feeling really, really good. Life is too hard. We deserve a little slice of laughter, a bit of tears, and that satisfaction of knowing it all worked out but was a hell of a ride. When fans write to me and say they ripped through the book in a matter of hours and cried or felt as if they’d been through a journey, I get choked up. That’s all I want. To take a reader to Italy for a few hours, meet a big family, get a kick from their antics, and put a smile on their face.
SC: With The Marriage Mistake (Carina and Max’s story – yay!) coming out in November, How many more books do you plan on writing for this series?
JP: Ah, that’s termed everywhere as the final installment. And it was. BUT…I have one sister with no happy ever after ending. How could I do that to her? And then this delicious yummy sexy hero sprung up in Mistake and wrecked my world. So, yes, there is one more coming in the series. And then I have a huge surprise for everyone but I can’t tell yet. Shhh.
SC: Are you working on any other projects right now that you can share with us? Any new series? Standalone’s? Children’s books?
JP: Yes! I have a wonderful new stand alone romance titled All The Way coming out in a few months. You’ll meet a food critic, and a restaurant owner with a rocky past. It’s a story of redemption set in the world of food (you know how I love to write about food!).
I also have another children’s book written with my niece called Katie and the Hippo Egg. It’s very whimsical and fun. I have a holiday short sweet romance coming on November 7th called The Holiday Hoax to get you ready for snow and Christmas.
Favorite book The Art of Racing in The Rain
Sweet or salty Both please!
Favorite movie Too many to count. Let’s say The Way We Were.
Author you would like to collaborate with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Kill me now.
Photographing hot male underwear models or working in a bakery Male underwear models please. I’d gain too much weight the other way.
SC: Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
JP: Yes, I love stalking. I respond to every email or twitter and enjoy the conversation and feedback. You can keep in touch with all my social media links at my website: http://www.jenniferprobst.com
SC: Thank you so much for your time Jennifer! We appreciate it!
JP: I had the best time! Can I come again soon? SubClub rocks!
SC: We did too! And yes, absolutely!, we’ll see you back here at Subclub very soon! Thank you again!
* We would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to Jennifer Probst for taking the time to do this interview with us. We really appreciate you and your books!
Check out The Marriage to a Billionaire Series:
Book 1: The Marriage Bargain (Out Now)
Book 2: The Marriage Trap (Out Now)
Book 3: The Marriage Mistake (Out on November 6th)