Thursday, May 19, 2022

Jenn Bouchard serves up something a book giveaway

Today we are pleased to welcome Jenn Bouchard to CLC. Her debut novel, First Course, was published last year, so we are celebrating its first birthday with an interview. Jenn also has FIVE copies for some lucky readers!

Jenn Bouchard's debut novel First Course was published in 2021 by TouchPoint Press and has been the recipient of twelve awards and distinctions. Her short stories have appeared in the Bookends Review, Litbreak Magazine, the Penmen Review, and the Little Patuxent Review, with an additional short story forthcoming in MARY. A high school social studies teacher of twenty-two years, she lives with her family in the Boston suburbs. She is currently seeking representation for her second novel Palms on the Cape.

Visit Jenn online:


Second acts can be delicious.

When four life-altering catastrophes hit in just one day—including the loss of her parents in a tragic plane crash—twenty-four-year-old Janie Whitman retreats to her family’s summer house in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Here she tries to provide stability for her older sister Alyssa and two young nieces by cooking them amazing food.

Through a mix-up with the alumni office at her parents’ alma mater, Janie meets a young high school guidance counselor named Rocky at a volunteer event, and their fast-tracked romance helps Janie to see possibilities beyond the life she had known just a few weeks prior. But with her ex-boyfriend (and former boss) making overtures beyond her wildest dreams, as well as Alyssa’s estranged husband willing to do whatever it takes to win her back, the Whitman sisters are faced with big decisions.

Despite the obstacles in their way, when Janie and Alyssa are tasked with establishing a lasting memorial for their parents, they just might find the second acts they are seeking. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

"The food and the characters are equally scrumptious in First Course—a delicious debut from Jenn Bouchard." 
–Emily Belden, author of Hot Mess and Husband Material

“Jenn Bouchard’s debut, First Course, is a sweet, romantic story about Janie, a young woman who, after a series of traumatic events unfolding in less than 24 hours, learns how to pick herself up again and rediscover who she is as a sister, daughter, aunt, girlfriend...and cook. Bouchard’s writing is snappy and smart and whisks the reader away on a virtual summer tour of Maine. First Course is the perfect book for readers to take on their own trip to the beach or pool.” 
–Sarahlyn Bruck, author of Designer You and Daytime Drama

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing? 
That it makes them hungry! Food is something that brings us together, whether it be the act of cooking food with someone you love or for people who you care about. The thoughtfulness and deliberate nature of cooking appeals to me. When I am writing about food and cooking, I'll spend extra time in the kitchen making things I might want to include in the book or story. I pay close attention to the process, the smells, the flavors, and the textures both during the process and when enjoying the outcome. When I wrote First Course, I thought a lot about when I was in my mid-twenties and all that went into becoming a better cook, as well as the things I made for my family and friends at that stage of life. It helped me to get into Janie's head and to write her character better.

How is Janie similar to or different from you? 
She's a bit younger than I am, so I had to think about things from her perspective, but also what it would be like to be in my mid-twenties around now instead of the early 2000s like I was! There are smartphones, social media, etc. She's also a much bigger risk taker than I am. There's no way I would've gotten involved in a secret relationship with Cole, her boss. There are also decisions she makes later in the book about her family's next steps that I really admire, but I'm not sure I would've had the guts to take that leap. I found her to be very aspirational in that sense.

If First Course was made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles? 
I always thought Emma Stone would make a great Janie. I could see Frances McDormand pulling off the role of nosy neighbor Meredith Ashton so well. She would provide great comic relief.

Which TV series are you currently binge watching? 
I am almost finished watching Julia on HBO Max. It is fabulous. The acting, the cooking, and the social commentary are sublime. I love the attention to every single detail. I'm also finally watching Ted Lasso. I'm a big sports fan, and my kids are both athletes, so I find it very entertaining and enjoyable. I also can't wait for season five of The Crown later this year.

If we were to visit you, what places would you take us to see? 
If we were sticking close to home, I'd take you for a walk around Walden Pond and perhaps one down the Battle Road Trail at Minute Man National Park. I'm lucky to live near these treasures. If we were venturing further, I'd love to take you to the ocean. A favorite spot about fifty minutes away is Crane Beach in Ipswich MA. I'm trying to figure out how to include it in my next book. It's pretty spectacular.

What is something you learned about yourself during the pandemic? 
I had to completely change the way I drafted and edited my writing. Before the pandemic, I wrote mostly in coffee shops and hotel lobby bars. I loved being surrounded by people and conversations. These observations of human behavior and interaction influenced much of First Course. I drafted almost all of my second book Palms on the Cape from my house. I wrote much of it from my front porch. I live on a side street with a decent amount of activity, so that helped a bit. Still, it was a mind shift for me. The great thing is that I can now write from almost anywhere. I rely more on jotting down random notes as ideas come to me and piecing it all together when it's time to write.

Thanks to Jenn for chatting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends May 24th at midnight EST.

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Mary C said...


traveler said...

An appetizer which I enjoy is bruschetta.

Suburban prep said...

I love spinach artichoke warm dip with bread.

Xia Lee said...


Mary Preston said...

I am on my fourth or fifth act at least.

Anita Yancey said...

I am really on my third act in my life.

Peggy Russo said...

I'm a sucker for some good chicken wings and I love bruschetta.

Nancy said...

Yes, I have experienced a second act in my life. This sounds like a wonderful book.

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Lindsey said...

I love Spinach Artichoke dip!!

Dianne Casey said...

I like a good guacamole and chips as an appetizer.

bn100 said...


Nancy P said...

Working on my second act now.

Rita Wray said...

Yes I have experienced a second act.

Lelandlee said...

Spinach Artichoke dip