Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler - Guest Post and Giveaway

Sass and Serendipity
Jennifer Ziegler Website - Jennifer Ziegler Blog
Delacorte Books for Young Readers/2011

A Story that’s “Austensibly” Romantic

My new book, Sass & Serendipity is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Because of this, it has been referred to in the media as a “romance.” But is it? Maybe. Sorta. It’s difficult to say. How does one distill any novel – with all of its various characters, conflicts, moods and themes – into one word?

As the title implies, Sass & Serendipity is dichotomous by nature, so I’ve resisted calling the novel a romance. To me that would imply that the main plot revolves around two characters falling for each other, and my story’s major focus is on two sisters. Yet I must acknowledge that the romantic subplots are what hold everything together. It is each girl’s pursuit of (or retreat from) love that allows her to better understand and love her sibling.

Gabby is the elder of the Rivera sisters. She habitually says she doesn’t believe in love and thinks it’s an excuse young people use to go crazy. Meanwhile, Daphne, the younger sis, craves love. And not just any love, but true love. Epic love. The love of fairy tales, romance novels, and classic ballads.

On the surface, Gabby appears to be the stronger of the two. She works hard, makes excellent grades, resists peer pressure, and keeps her emotions in check. Daphne, on the other hand, is impulsive and forgetful, and will break rules and forego all responsibilities to be with the boy she adores. Each girl makes choices that lead to tumultuous results, and end up reexamining their views on love. At the same time, readers might find themselves reconsidering their initial perceptions of the sisters.

Let’s face it – showing deep feelings for someone is a risk. It leaves you open to extreme joy, but also extreme hurt. Yet in a way, there’s always a gain, because taking such chances, no matter how it turns out, can’t help but bring self-knowledge and growth. Thus, the tough-talking, hardened sister really isn’t the strong one here. Daphne may be young and starry-eyed, but she’s willing to make herself vulnerable in her quest for true love. That takes courage. And Gabby, with all of her emotional shielding, is revealed to be the more scared and sensitive of the two.

I work romantic elements into my stories because such events are a significant part of the teen experience, as well as life in general. Even if the main story has nothing to do with passionate love, a romance-centered B-plot can relieve tension, round out characters, and create conflict that leads to personal growth. People learn from people, and the deeper the feelings they have for each other, the bigger the stakes and potential pay-off.

So let my book be called a romance. It might not be a love story in the traditional sense, but it is a story about love.

A Sassy Giveaway

Sass and Serendipity

Sense and Sensibility
Three lucky winners will each receive one copy of Jennifer Ziegler's SASS & SERENDIPITY along with Jane Austen's classic, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.

To enter, send an e-mail to

In the body of the e-mail, include your name, mailing address, and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address).

One entry per person; prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses.Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 8/5/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 8/6/11 and notified via email.


  1. As a romance author I was curious why you shied away from the term romance, but this makes sense. It's not really about the romance, but things that the romance brings about in the lives of the sisters. It's funny, my romance novels are often flipped, being about the romance first and the changes in the relationships of characters around the couple as a result.

  2. Hi, Susan! Yes, I was afraid the label might be confusing. I adore a good love story. If I were to start reading one only to find out the romance was secondary to another plotline, I might feel misled -- so I worry when my book is categorized as such. I love that our approaches are similar, but with different results!


Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


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