Bestselling Author


The Last Season by Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood 

The Last Season is a collaboration between Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood, who met in high school and shared a mutual love of historical fiction and romance novels. Instead of passing notes in class, Jenny and Danielle would write short excerpts from imaginary novels that featured themselves and their classmates as characters caught up in tales of romance and adventure. Many years later, after cheering for opposite teams at Harvard-Yale games, they came together in New York City to begin writing The Last Season, inspired both by the Victorian period and the financial crisis of 2008.

Jenny Judson

Jenny Judson met Danielle Mahfood in high school. Both share a mutual love of historical fiction and romance novels. Instead of passing notes in class, Jenny and Danielle would write short excerpts from imaginary novels that featured themselves and their classmates as characters caught up in tales of romance and adventure. Many years later, after cheering for opposite teams at Harvard-Yale games, they came together in New York City to begin writing The Last Season, which is inspired both by the Victorian period and the financial crisis of 2008.

Danielle Mahfood

Danielle Mahfood is the coauthor of The Last Season. She received a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She and coauthor Jenny Judson met in high school, where they shared a mutual love of historical fiction and romance novels. Instead of passing notes in class, they would write short excerpts from imaginary novels that featured themselves and their classmates as characters caught up in tales of romance and adventure. Many years later, they came together in New York City to begin writing The Last Season, their first novel.

“The Last Season” by Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood is a captivating Victorian-era novel exploring themes of love, society, and personal growth. Inspired by their high school friendship and a shared passion for historical fiction, Judson and Mahfood weave a tale of Cassandra and Crispin, star-crossed lovers navigating the complexities of British high society. Drawing from the Victorian period and the financial crisis of 2008, the authors blend romance with historical insights, offering a fresh perspective on a time of significant change. Their research, including travels and primary sources, enriches the novel’s authenticity, making it a delightful read for fans of historical fiction.

Here’s what we covered:

  • [00:00:00] Introduction to Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood, authors of “The Last Season.”
  • [00:01:56] Inspiration behind “The Last Season” and its Victorian setting.
  • [00:04:24] The 1873 financial crisis as a central theme.
  • [00:05:48] Research process and the use of primary sources for setting authenticity.
  • [00:14:11] Writing process, challenges, and benefits of co-authoring.
  • [00:16:44] The journey from manuscript to publication and advice for aspiring writers.
  • [00:24:35] Reader reactions and the supportive author community.
  • [00:29:25] Potential for a sequel and ongoing projects.


[00:00:00] Jane: All right. And we are on. Hello, everybody. Thank you so much for coming to another historical happy hour. Tonight I am thrilled. I have two guests. I think for the first time I have two guests on. So you guys are like debut novelists, Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood, and their new novel, The Last Season, it just came out almost exactly a month ago.

And it’s just this delightful Victorian era story. It’s a perfect escape novel for right now. I am going to give a little intro and then. start in with my questions. So the last season is a collaboration between Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood, who met in high school and shared a mutual love of historical fiction and romance novels.

Instead of passing notes in class, Jenny and Danielle would write short excerpts. from imaginary novels that featured themselves and their classmates as characters caught up in tales of romance and adventure. That is amazing. Many years later, after cheering for opposite teams at Harvard Yale games, they came together in New York City to begin writing the last season, inspired both by the Victorian period and the financial crisis of 2008.

And just a couple quotes. From Booklist, Judson and Mahfud immerse readers in British high society blending Regency romance with Dickensian themes of reinvention, unrequited love, and unexpected benevolence. And Pop Sugar says if you love a juicy Victorian or a story of forbidden love, Then the last season by Jenny Judson and Daniela food deserves to be at the top of your to be red pile.

And I agree. Welcome ladies. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on. Thanks. And cheers. I guess we should say cheers. It is a happy hour show. First question, tell me about tell us all about the inspiration for the last season. The history that inspired this story and the basic premise for it.

[00:01:56] Danielle: Okay. So what inspired us? You read that earlier that, Jenny and I went to high school together. And so we, we took a particular class which was a kind of a human physiology class was, we’re pretending to be doctors.

Dissecting hearts, doing all this crazy stuff. Yes, it was pretty amazing.

Yeah. And actually but we got bored pretty easily in my class because clearly neither of us ended up being doctors. And so we, Jenny started writing these notes, but the notes were actually like, little novellas, which featured me and my crush du jour as I was the heroine and it was very cute.

And so this kept on for many years, we parted ways with different schools and came back together in New York City. And actually we went to go see the movie, the young Victoria. And it was a long time ago, 2009. And afterwards I walked out of there and I looked at Jenny and I said, we’re going to write this book.

And really the period, the Victorians, we marched right into Barnes Noble and looked at the historical fiction romance section and saw that there were very few Victorian novels. There was a lot of Regency, there was a lot of Tudor England. And, we were really inspired by the story of Victoria and also the period because it’s really quite a modern period.

It’s not, if we’re writing about Regency, it’s quite far back. This is a period that, inspired us, that we enjoy. There’s trains and, telegraphs and lots of communication. And so that’s really what sort of drove us to choose. the particular period.

[00:03:29] Jenny: We also, it was so close to 2008 and everything that had happened with the Great Recession that we really wanted to find something in the Victorian era that would speak to that.

And So as we were, as Daniel said, we were at Barnes and Noble’s kind of like looking at various things about the Victorian era. We then went home. We had this big decision, or Danielle actually had been like, we’re doing this. So she had made the decision. We go to our separate apartments and I I started thinking about the story and I called her up.

I said, we need to find a financial crisis. That occurred. And, at the time, we didn’t really know about this, but very quickly, Danielle located that in 1873, there had been a great panic, a financial panic, which, it mirrored in many ways what had just happened. So we’re like, okay, that’s our time.

We’re going to frame everything around that.

[00:04:24] Jane: Oh, so interesting. And that’s, you just answered my second question, because I’m always curious why historical fiction authors choose the era that they choose to write about. And so it was for all the reasons you just mentioned, right? And I also read that you’re fans of you’re, As I am down nabby and some of those PBS shows like, yeah,

[00:04:45] Danielle: Nabby wasn’t around when we were writing.

[00:04:47] Jane: Okay. Yeah. I think he came out after we started. Yeah. Yeah. So you guys were like the trailblazers.

[00:04:56] Jenny: Julian fellas kept calling us up.

[00:04:57] Jane: I know. Exactly. He’s gonna, he’s gonna see this webinar.

Only I know for me too. So the story is about two kind of star crossed lovers. Cassandra and Crispin they meet as children and then are separated. And the story stretches across time and distance. And Crispin is a stable boy at Cassandra’s father’s manor. And he’s basically exiled to India to make his way in the world.

And I loved the descriptions of set, the settings during this, particularly the Particularly India, but all of them like they were so vivid and tell me about your research for setting and what kind of research and were you able to do any travel to any of these places that you that are in the

[00:05:48] Jenny: book.

Yeah, so with it with India. I had been to India for 10 days for a friend’s wedding so but 10 days is nothing. But it, it gave me like a taste and I definitely would love to go back many times. But we also, because there, the time period is fairly well documented and, you can find all sorts of resources that are saved from that time.

So we wound up for, particularly for the India sections we found some primary sources, particularly a book of letters that was this young man who had gone to India. And, he was writing about his experiences there. So we were able to read through these letters. I was like, Oh, this is what he saw and felt and smelled and all of those things.

So that was useful. But similar luck with primary sources when it came to the investment that is again central to the story. Danielle found that.

[00:06:45] Danielle: Yes. So we actually, obviously, we both did research separately and together, but I will say with India as well. Honestly, just Google searching things found a lot, lots of essays and documentation around the railroads in India at the time, because there’s that, he works at a railroad company.

And so that was great for. That those descriptions as well. And then, yes, I so I work in the financial world, and I was just shocked to be able to find the prospectus or what was then called the offering circular for the investment for the

[00:07:19] Jane: amazing

[00:07:20] Danielle: Pacific railway. And it was amazing.

It was literally and I was shocked to see the kind of language they used back then, which was. Which was, oh, it’s the best deal ever and you’re not going to lose any

[00:07:31] Jane: money. Highly inappropriate. Yes. Yeah.

[00:07:38] Jenny: Oh, go ahead. I was just going to say, so Danielle’s in finance and I’m in education. Danielle reads the prospectus and she’s this is terrible.

And I read the prospectus and I’m like, this sounds great. Like I’d invest. And she’s no, you needn’t.

[00:07:50] Jane: Sign me up. Oh, that’s fascinating. I love I, and I think that’s why you’re probably drawn to this too. I love. The research aspect of writing historical fiction. And when you find those it’s like treasure, right?

You find like those so original source materials like that. It’s the best. And I, I asked about travel, but I also often say it’s not like you can travel back in time to India during that time. Like you have to look at. I find it like context and people’s perspective when they were there, then not now.

So yeah that’s amazing.

[00:08:18] Jenny: You can also find maps too, which is fantastic. The sort of map where you can get a sense of place and how things were laid out. Also regarding your travel question, The manor, Drayton manor. I worked at a school right after college. I worked at a school. It was called the Bryan Skin School in in England.

And they, it was an old, it was a Viscount’s manor that had been turned into a school. And that actually became the, that became the model for their house, their manor.

[00:08:47] Jane: Oh, very cool. I love that. Yeah very cool. So another scene that I love that was so vivid to me was like at one point Cassandra is presented to Queen Victoria so she can be out in society and the pomp and circumstance of that and talk to me a little bit about that kind of Aspect of the book.

That’s that part of the story.

[00:09:07] Danielle: I’ll start, we definitely had to research a lot about titles and how people address each other. And so actually, I remember very vividly like Jenny and I debating this and I said, No, I’ve looked it up and I found three sources that say that she’s the daughter of a Viscount, which means she’s not a lady.

She’s. Yeah. There is such specific information around this. And there’s the book. This one’s more of just a kind of a book out there. I can’t, I always get the name wrong. It’s like what Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew. There’s a book called What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew.

And it’s literally a primer of the time period. So it’ll tell you, this is the title, this is the way that they would have been addressed, etc. So that was actually really good for setting the context for us. This is the kind of furniture you would find in a Victorian household. This is the sort of, so that was really helpful.

The presentation at Court Scene, that was another, I think, another Google search, right? I literally, I had found, I think I found that one, I don’t remember if you, and it was just like digging and digging and there was, Just written a description verbatim of how someone would have been presented.

And you actually, if you are a Downton Abbey fan, when she’s presented, what’s her name again? The blind, no not Sybil, not Lady Mary. The presentation the cousin,

[00:10:25] Jenny: the niece. Oh,

[00:10:26] Jane: rose.

[00:10:28] Danielle: When Rose is presented there’s that, it’s like the throne room and everything.

And what was interesting about that is The Earl of Grantham is there, right? But actually at the time, men didn’t go in the throne, they weren’t there, it was just the lady, it was just the sponsoring, mother, aunt, whatever, that would, go into the room with them for the queen, to see the queen.

[00:10:49] Jane: So interesting. Now, are either of you down Bridgerton fans? Did you watch that at all? It’s a little trashy, but they have that scene. They have that scene too, where they presented a core to the queen and they’re wearing the feather. You mentioned the feathers in their hair, which I, that was a detail.

I didn’t realize that was a thing, like the feathers.

[00:11:08] Jenny: Feathers that year.

[00:11:11] Danielle: That’s no, she was very, she insisted upon the plumes and the feathers. And she also, even like the, we like, they’re just, we’re describing her fragrance, which was just like her signature fragrance.

Apparently she like, that’s what all the accounts say that she did. And but anyway, yeah, it was super fun to research.

[00:11:30] Jane: Yeah. That’s the best kind of stuff. Those little details. So much fun. So did you have some What were some of your favorite authors or books in high school since you’ve known each other since high school, which I love.

I’m good friends with a number of my high school girlfriends. There’s six of us. What were some of your favorite authors or books when you were in high school.

[00:11:49] Jenny: So we’re both Jane Austen junkies that absolutely. And I think, in high school, there’s like high school and then there’s life right so like Jane Austen all the way I think we both love, some of that.

books that are classic, great Gatsby, love, love that. I’m a huge Charles Dickens fan for years. I would like right around the holidays, I would curl up with a big Dickens and try to get my way through it. And I do reread, A Christmas carol every year, even. Oh, me too.

But then also, like we had some contemporary things that we like, like Philippa Gregory, right? She was in high school. That was part of our, we were reading that. Love her.

[00:12:36] Danielle: I will say that like of all of the Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is definitely like the one for us. And actually, we.

[00:12:43] Jane: I, so it’s interesting

[00:12:44] Danielle: As the book launched began, as the book came out, I started getting pretty nervous about all these events. And the way that I calm myself down is by watching the BBC six part miniseries.

[00:12:55] Jane: I love that.

[00:12:57] Danielle: And, but I’m literally with my phone and my ear AirPods in bed at night and my husband’s sleeping and it’s he wakes up at 2 a.


[00:13:05] Jane: I was like, what are you doing?

[00:13:08] Danielle: It definitely calms me down.

[00:13:11] Jane: Yeah. Now, do you like the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice or are you partial to the other one? No, not so much. Okay. I like both.

[00:13:19] Danielle: Look I’m never going to turn down a chance to watch Pride and Prejudice. Never. I actually didn’t mind that.

I can’t remember the name of the guy that played Darcy. I thought he was fine. Yeah. I think I was bothered by Keira Knightley. I just didn’t. She was not Elizabeth to me.

[00:13:35] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. Especially if you’re partial to the BBC one. I think that, yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:39] Jenny: So it didn’t somehow it’s I guess we’re purists or something like it didn’t quite match.

I had actually been before. Do you remember before the BBC one with Colin Firth, there was actually a prior BBC one that I remember watching. Which is definitely, it’s the technology had, has improved. So if you go back and watch it now, it feels very old.

[00:14:02] Jane: Yeah. I had heard of that other one, but I had never, I’ve never seen it.


[00:14:06] Danielle: I might have to see it just because it’s another rendition of Pride and Prejudice.

[00:14:11] Jane: So a lot of people like to hear about the process. So tell me about, especially, I’m so interested myself because I obviously have never written with someone else before. So tell me about your research and writing process and how you navigate working together.

And, I, you probably heard the terms plotters versus pantsers. Do you plot it out before? Or do you write by the seat of your pants? How do you delegate? I’m so curious about this whole thing. Yeah.

[00:14:39] Jenny: I’ve definitely, it’s funny and like paying attention to writers and what they’re doing. I feel like I’ve heard the like plants or plots or yes.

Yeah. We might be a little bit of that and that we’re we would come together, talk about the plot, have a rough sketch of what we Wanted to have happen, and we had a we knew the basic arc to the story, but we didn’t know the details we along the way we got to know the characters things changed because we started to fall in love with certain characters and want to go in different directions, but essentially would plot together and then go and do our assignments.

Separately. Yeah. And then we’d come back together and Danielle, I don’t know if you want to talk about coming back together. We would read it aloud to each other.

[00:15:25] Danielle: So we used, we, we wrote everywhere, like we would meet up at each other’s places. We would just do, we didn’t even have Zoom then, right?

So we were just like Skype. All this, like we would, every possible technology to, to talk it through. And what we would do is we would read it out loud to each other. And that was the way I think that we adopted each other’s voices in a way. The other thing is that the book was originally conceived of as a three person narrative from the first person, interestingly.

And obviously it’s no longer that. So it was three narrators three first person narrators. And over the course of the many years we’ve been working on this, we changed the book. changed it many times, but it was easy in that sense because, Jenny took one voice. I took the other voice and then we split the third.

But then, okay, then we decided to make it into third person

[00:16:10] Jane: and, it just all changed.

[00:16:13] Danielle: But, but by then we were basically writing almost the same, like we were, we sounded the same when

[00:16:18] Jane: we wrote. You’ve got the rhythm and the voice down and all that. Yeah. Yeah. Cause I know, people Heather Webb does it like a lot of people co write books and I just, I can’t imagine now, did you, this is my next question.

Did you ever fight about the plot or characters or, and if you did, like, how do you resolve that stuff? I don’t know. I get very passionate about certain aspects of story. Like even with my editors, I’m like, Ugh. , we were,

[00:16:44] Jenny: I think, so the basic answer is no, we didn’t have any creative, like we never came to Creative Blows and that’s, it was, I think part of it is that it did start as, it, it was in a way it was like. half a joke, half serious, right? Like it started in high school with this sort of joking passing of notes. And in the high school yearbook, I had left a note to Danielle in the yearbook that said I’ll dedicate the first trashy book to you.

And so we kept going back and forth about this in this joking way. And so I think we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. And that meant, we could say I don’t think that works or let’s do it this way, or, so it didn’t,

[00:17:32] Danielle: yeah, between each other. It never got tense, but with the editors, absolutely.

Like when you see you with the editor you’re like, I, okay. So actually Jenny might have forgotten this, but I’m putting it up because when we started writing, Jenny started writing in the first person and I. did not like the first person. I never liked it because I actually, it took me so long to get used to writing in the first person.

And and as it turned out, of course, we wrote the whole thing in the first person narrative, and then we switched it around. But I will say that we went through a lot of heated debates over the course of the years about that between first and third. Person.

No, but so I would say that’s probably the only thing we ever debated was first versus third person, but I’ll tell you the editors, they would come to us and say, no, you have to cut this.

You have to do that. You can’t have I, we had a prologue that we were very attached to. Extremely I love the prologue and. They were like, scrap it. It doesn’t help.

[00:18:34] Jane: Oh, I know that prologue is a tough thing. A lot of editors and agents, frankly, too, do not like the prologue. They have a very strong opinions about those.

Yeah, that’s interesting.

[00:18:45] Jenny: It was the right thing to cut it. I think ultimately it was the right thing to cut it, but I still, even now I’m like, I think it was like one of the best sections.

[00:19:01] Jane: So what is your favorite part of the writing process and what is your least favorite part?

[00:19:08] Danielle: So I’ll give the favorite part for me, and this is just It’s an escape for me. So when I’m writing, so it’s like I, I often tell the story of how like I would be traveling for work and I bring both laptops, my work laptop and my personal laptop.

And after I put my work laptop away, I’d go to the bar or the restaurant with my glass of wine and write. And it was so cathartic. Absolutely love that part of the process, just the chance, the opportunity to like, just come up with. You know the characters describe what they look like and just lose yourself in the story.

[00:19:44] Jane: So that part I love. Yeah, like a whole different part of your brain than what you’re doing at work. That’s amazing. Yeah. How about you, Jenny?

[00:19:52] Jenny: It turns out, I guess I would agree very much with the stuff that I like that, when you, I close my eyes and picture the world and then Try to write what I see inside.

I tend to write by hand sometimes, which my handwriting’s getting worse and worse. So that’s, it’s not working very much anymore. But I like almost the slowness of it where you get, go slowly through the scene and really get into it. I think the hardest thing editing, editing and we did a lot of editing.

We, I think we did two really massive edits from where we overhauled the whole thing and one of them was changing of the narrative perspective. But then we did another edit after that, that was huge. And it just, it takes time.

[00:20:41] Jane: Oh, it does. Yeah. And that kind of major overhaul. My first novel, which also took me many years to write was I had to change the, yeah, I had to change it into, Oh, past tense from present tense.

And I was, it was like, so painful and tedious. The whole book, like all 260 pages. It was painful, honestly. Yeah. So I totally relate to that. And Yeah. And on that note, I think that One of the things I’ve found among authors is, in terms of published authors, is persistence, right? And because it took me many years and many rejections before I got the Saturday Evening Girls Club published.

And what advice do you have for writers who are Not on the other side of it yet are still like trying to finish the manuscript trying to get an agent trying to do all the things like what advice do you have?

[00:21:36] Danielle: Keep going. Yeah, keep going. Keep going. Don’t, don’t give up. I think the benefit of having a writing duo is that we were each other’s cheerleaders, right? I know that’s Doesn’t work for everybody. But yes, it’s been a really long time, but we took off six month breaks. Oh yeah. I got married. I had a baby, I had another baby. There was all sorts of stuff that happened right in that time.

And so I just feel like pick yourself up, keep going, remember why you’re enjoying this, why you’re doing it. And that’s what will bring you to your goal. And then the second thing is don’t take yourself too seriously. Yeah. Because I suppose if Someone I mean, at least for our book style.

Like this was fun, right? It’s an escape. It’s we couldn’t possibly take it that seriously. And so that’s it. I think it helped us move it along. Yeah. Yeah. And feel better about those rejections.

[00:22:25] Jane: Excellent. Yes. And yeah, that’s right. I think especially the first novel, it’s like you trying to do it in the fringes of your life.

So of course it’s going to take time because it’s like you’re working or you got kids or you got all other stuff going on. So I get, I admire your persistence. Cause I know like anyone who makes it like, who did this it’s huge.

[00:22:43] Jenny: It’s a huge thing to get this published, creative.

partner, like whether it’s your writing partner, like we had a, we were writing it together or just having people that you almost are accountable to. That was one of the great things. Danielle is an excellent project manager. I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have gotten any pages down if she hadn’t been like, we’re meeting on Saturday and we’re doing this.

And I think you need that structure for a lot of people, not everyone, but I think many people need the structure. And I think sometimes having other people involved.

[00:23:17] Jane: Help you give you that structure. And I think it also makes you take it seriously enough that you’ll take the time, like that you’ll give yourself permission to work on it rather than unloading the dishwasher, like whatever the, interrupts you.

I had a I was a freelance, I was freelancing for Boston magazine and I still have my three women that I was working with there that we shared pages in those days, in those early days with each other. And it’s so important because like you said, it makes you accountable. It makes you think, okay I’m doing this for real, not just for myself, so yeah, totally agree.

[00:23:47] Danielle: That’s the other thing that we did is actually we had a little event last night. And it was funny because the two people who first read the book, they only read part one were there together. They have not been together in a long time. And it was really interesting because, we basically said we’re going to write whatever it was, 70 pages.

And then we’re just going to see what somebody else thinks.

[00:24:07] Jane: Oh, nice.

[00:24:08] Danielle: Yeah. And and we picked two people, one who loves the genre and one who’s more of a creative type. And so they both read it and interestingly have the exact same feedback.

[00:24:20] Jane: Oh, interesting.

[00:24:22] Danielle: That’s totally different. Yeah. And, but the most important thing they said to us was don’t, don’t give up.

[00:24:28] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. Persist. Keep going. Everything.

[00:24:31] Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. And that was that really helped us take it to the next level.

[00:24:35] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. And take it seriously. That’s amazing. Is there anything that has surprised you the novel’s only been out a month. So what has surprised you since it’s Out in the world.

[00:24:47] Jenny: I think surprisingly is like talking about it, right? I think all of this and sitting down with other people talking about it. That’s been very surprising. I think even in the lead up to it being published, I guess we started to become a little bit more aware of the greater writing Circle around and a little bit more connected to what’s going on with writers out there and how they support each other.

Actually, it’s very supportive. I was surprised to hear that, that there are all these writers out there supporting each other and, wanting to talk about books, wanting to, give shout outs to each other, whether it’s on Instagram or, doing podcasts and stuff like that, which was, that’s been great.

[00:25:28] Danielle: So I think so I would agree it has been surprising to talk about the book to, to market it. In my job, I do a lot of marketing but it’s not this, it’s not marketing me, it’s marketing my company. That part feels different. But then I would also say, at this event last night, like literally the most wonderful moment was that there’s a woman there who I’d never met, right?

And she said, Oh, I read the book. And I said, Really? And she said yeah, I actually heard about it. Through XYZ, because, because she’s in like really interesting books and she was, read I think it was pop sugar, Katie Couric, she’s I heard about it for that.

And so I had it on my list in my Kindle, but then I got invited to this party. And I decided to read it before the party because I wanted to make sure I read it before the party. Oh, so great. It was such a wonderful thing to hear. It’s my gosh. People are reading it, which is wonderful. But I think that a little bit.

Scary, because it’s just it’s scary, but it’s been ours, for forever. Yes. It went out in the world, but it went out to an agent, which is different because that’s person’s in the business or a publisher. That’s different. They’re in the business. So this feels, a little overwhelming, difficult revealing.

[00:26:43] Jane: And emotional, right? I feel like it’s emotional. I remember like when So You Think Girls came out now and people said they read it. I’m like, and you’re not in my family or and you actually read it by choice. That’s amazing.

[00:26:58] Jenny: That was actually. Our reaction to, there were a number early on when we were sending it out to people.

Actually, first when we got our agent, she got back to us and she said, she was interested. And then she gave us some very specific commentary on it. And we’re like, Oh, she read

[00:27:16] Jane: it. Wow.

[00:27:22] Danielle: And the other thing is when you get like the reviews, right? Like the people, are looking at it and doing the reviews.

Professionals. And that part’s also just bizarre, right? It’s somebody who actually reads books for a living not just like someone who’s sitting on a beach and wants to have an escape.

[00:27:38] Jane: It’s readable and that’s great.

[00:27:41] Danielle: But then I’m like, wow, Jenny and I are looking through these first reviews over the late in the late summer.

[00:27:47] Jane: It is. It’s so it’s like amazing. And then it’s so weird and a little emotional and then yeah, I don’t it is it’s the the when that first happened, you’re like, Oh my god, it’s like out there to strangers. But I don’t know. Yeah, but that’s so great. I just to add about the author community, I totally agree.

And that has, that was a surprise. And still, I’m still like people are, I think it’s because everyone knows how hard it is to get a book out into the world. And this industry is tough. And I am so like moved by how supportive other authors are to each other and I just went through some professional changes and in a new book stuff and I had to reach out to some authors that I.

Barely know like through friends of friends, and they’re like, yeah, just call me. I’ll give you advice. I’ll tell you what I think. And I’m still blown away by people being so amazing. I love that aspect of this industry, that authors support each other so much.

[00:28:47] Danielle: I would meet somebody for the first time who happens to be an author mentioned that, oh, I have a book coming out like.

Because it’s so weird. I have a book coming out. It just sounds weird to say. Yeah. And a person would say, Oh great, I’ll totally read it, I’ll blurb it. Can I help you with this? Can I help you with that? Let me get you something. And I’m literally meeting the person for the first time.

[00:29:10] Jane: It’s amazing. So nice. Yeah, so lovely. It is. So the epilogue left some interesting kind of like possible openings for a sequel. Is that something like what are you working on now? Are you working on a new project? Are you taking a breather?

[00:29:25] Jenny: We have ideas. We have ideas. And I think actually this was like year four of this writing process.

So it was a while ago. We did have a moment where we really like this character. There’s Archie is the best friend of one of our protagonists. And I think both of us started to really like him and think he was interesting. So we thought if we do another one, maybe we’ll do it about Archie.

And I think in the back of our minds, it was there, but it hasn’t been until now that we’re, the book is out and we’re talking about it. And we have gotten that question. What are you going to do something? It’s becoming more real. We’ve had, we actually in the car the other day, we were driving to an event and we’re talking about okay should we do this?

And what should we do? And what would be, what would that be like?

[00:30:09] Jane: And so fun to do it with one of your best friends. That is really cool. To be on this journey together, that must be really

[00:30:15] Danielle: fun. It’s fun. And it’s also fun for our other friends. And that’s, what’s been so fun. As we started, like our high school friends, like when we, began the social media marketing journey that we’re on, which is.

It’s terrifying because we’re both not social media people, we put a call out to our high school girlfriends. We said can you guys dig up any photos? Take a photo of a photo, it was so fun and we everybody just got excited about it. And there it’s when we were on one of those in IG lives.

The other day. And the people there’s as you said, like just, I don’t know, 15, 20, 30 people on there. I don’t even know who was on there, but there are like some of them were our friends and they were like messaging us

[00:30:56] Jane: so excited. They were like, this is awesome. So cute. I love it.

So I. If anyone has questions for Jenny and Danielle, you can put them in the chat or the Q and A. I’m looking at both. We’ve got some questions already. Before I take questions, do you do virtual events with book clubs like Zoom or FaceTime or anything? Are you open to that?

[00:31:20] Jenny: Absolutely. We would love it.

[00:31:23] Jane: And what is the best way readers can get in touch with you for that and just stay in touch with what you’re doing? What’s the best way?

[00:31:30] Jenny: So we have a website. It’s dannyandjenny. com. D A N I and jenny. com. And there’s a, you can email us through the website. There’s a link to email us and we do check, we check that email very frequently.

So that’s a great way to reach us. We’re also on Instagram at dannyandjenny. authors. Yes.

[00:31:51] Jane: Excellent. Okay. So questions. Let’s see. Oh, Ann Marie says sending love to all of you. Ann Marie is this amazing publicist that we all share at Get Red PR. Ann Marie Neves. I’m sending love to all of you. I’m hopping back and forth between this and school Zooms.

So hello, Ann Marie. And Christine Mott is, she’s in Texas and she, I don’t know if Christine has missed a historical hour. She’s amazingly supportive. So she’s got a couple of questions. Did you come up with the title of the book? This is a good question. Or did your publishing house come up with the title?

[00:32:23] Jenny: We, we did. It changed over time. It was not the original title. And so the original title wound up on the cutting room floor. We were given a whole host of suggestions. We weren’t quite sure. I think at one point Danielle’s husband like bought that. Didn’t he buy, go into GoDaddy and bought the URL for a totally different title, just in case that was not it.

And then ultimately we this one kind of kept percolating, right? It came up, it went down, we thought about it, we cut it, we came back to it. And ultimately it did it for us. It seemed to capture this idea. It’s it, it’s a coming of age story and it’s a story of rising and falling fortunes.

And it’s also a story where things, one, one door closes, on, on a life, and there’s also, at this time, this sort of social world we’re writing about, there were a lot of seasons, the food season, the social season, so it wound up, it kept touching a lot of points of the story.

This was not the first title.

[00:33:35] Danielle: It wasn’t actually, so it was funny because my husband and I, we were like away for a weekend with some friends and everyone had a couple of glasses of wine and we all started to debate what the book title was going to be. Everyone was like, no one had read the book except for me who had written it and they were all, including my husband.

And so everyone was like, oh, this is what it’s going to be. And that’s after that everyone decided on this one title. And that’s the URL that he bought. And then he was like, and then, but ultimately, interestingly, as Jenny said, this one went back and forth, but the publisher made the final call, right?

They were like, okay, this is the one we’re going with.

[00:34:08] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Titles are hard. I think they’re really tricky. Yeah. And then what about the cover? Did you have any input into the cover design?

[00:34:18] Danielle: The cover might’ve been the most bizarre process I’ve ever done. It was, because it was like, I think we were very, we had a very clear idea in our minds of what we wanted. It was super clear. And somehow we kept talking, like we kept saying to the public, publisher, this is what we want, but it wasn’t really quite coming back that way.

And so at a certain point, we literally wrote an incredibly prescriptive email, like you need to do this and this and this place. And I think we ended up with, a cover that we love. But. It took a long time.

[00:34:49] Jane: Yeah. That’s also super hard because you think of like people see them on a as a thumbnail.

Yeah, you want it to capture and it is when you have something in your head and then they show you something completely different than what’s in your head. You’re like, what is like, where is this even? Yeah. Crazy.

[00:35:05] Jenny: So we have a friend who’s a graphic designer. Thankfully, actually, and we showed it to her.

She had some thoughts and then she walked us through. She’s Okay, here’s what you need to do. You need to print it out, draw on it what you want. And there was a lot of back and forth. So we it took a while.

[00:35:22] Jane: Yeah, I always tell this story because my husband’s in marketing and he’s very, he has a really good design sense.

And so when they were doing the Beantown Girls cover, they did a historical photo shoot. And so they sent me the models that were going to play the three main characters on the cover. And so they sent me the models. Models and like their portfolio pictures and to see what I thought. And I sent them to Charlie and he was like, he called me up immediately.

He’s they are way too hot. They’re too smoking hot for red. What is even going on? Like these girls are too hot to be, I think I’m going to style them. I think it’s going to be okay. But I called my editor in a panic. He’s she’s it’s fine. We’re going to style them. But like the other day I was like looking through his Instagram.

I’m like, who is that model? She, he’s oh, that’s Fiona from the cover of the beat down girls. I follow her on Instagram.

So crazy. So yeah. And we, I got they sent me when they finally did the photo shoot and did stylize them. They sent me like 300 photos of them. I’m like a green screen and we’re like, pick the top 10 daughters and husband, I would just went through all of them and it was like, yeah, it was, yeah, it was exhausting.

[00:36:36] Danielle: It reminds me of our book photo, like when we, like the pictures of us for the book, the inside of the book, honestly, that, that process took forever. Like we had a professional photographer take pictures. Yeah. Imagine there’s two of us.

[00:36:52] Jane: Oh, and then you have to agree yeah, we didn’t get into a

[00:36:57] Danielle: fight, but we

[00:36:57] Jane: definitely did not agree.

[00:37:02] Jenny: It was more a problem with me because when we take when I take a picture like I cannot keep my eyes open. So Danielle takes like an awesome picture, almost like 90 percent of the pictures and Danielle eyes are open, great picture 90 percent of the pictures of me. Eyes closed, funny expression.

[00:37:20] Jane: Yeah, I do that too. I’m always blinking. I know. Yeah. Oh, there’s a couple more questions here. Oh, and this is a good one. Susan Moore is another longtime fan. You’re so great. So she’s, she asks did you ever see the 1940 film version of Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier? If so, what did you think of it?

I have not seen that one. Have you?

[00:37:43] Jenny: I haven’t. I feel bad that I haven’t. I might have to watch it this, over the Thanksgiving holiday. Florence Olivier?

[00:37:50] Danielle: It sounds fabulous. I think I need to see that.

[00:37:52] Jane: Now I’m feeling like I need to track that down too. I didn’t know. I had no idea. Oh, and someone, Christine says, I love the movie with Greer Garson.

She’s one of my faves. And you have some really nice compliments about, I can’t wait to read this, Elisa. And Holly says a wonderful, entertaining, happy hour. Thank you. We can’t, I can’t wait to read the book. So ladies, I think this is a good time to wrap up. Thank you so much. This is delightful. So fun.

Just like the book. The last season, great escape, it’s just really fun read. And I love all the details and the romance. So yeah, good attitude.

[00:38:27] Jenny: I have one here too. There you go. Is this the moment where we hold up the book?

[00:38:33] Jane: Oh, Sue, my librarian friend, Sue Nakanishi says, I bought the book and started reading it the other night.

Enjoy tonight. Thanks, Jane. Sue. Thank you. Alright, ladies, thank you so much. Keep in touch. Thank you. That was awesome. Thank you so much. Take care. Bye bye.


Hosted by Jane Healey, Historical Happy Hour is a live interview and podcast featuring premiere historical fiction authors and their latest novels.

Jane Healey

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