Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Destination Wedding by Deanna Lynn Sletten (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Destination Wedding by Author Deanna Lynn Sletten!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Deanna Lynn! 

Before we start the interview, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Deanna Lynn Sletten and I write contemporary women's fiction and romance novels. I've also written one middle-grade adventure novel. Although I've been writing for years, I didn't start publishing my novels until December of 2011. Since then, I've published seven novels and I am currently working on my eighth, which will be the first book in a three book series.

I live in northern Minnesota with my husband of forever and we have two grown children. I absolutely hate winter, but I love summer and enjoy spending time on the lake or walking the forest trails with my beautiful Aussie dog. I'm hoping that someday soon I can go somewhere warm for the winter each year, maybe to a tropical island. I can always dream!

How long have you been a writer?

I've been writing for several years but didn't publish my novels until 2011. Before that, I was a freelance writer for several years for magazines, newspapers, and websites. I enjoyed writing articles but my first love was fiction writing. Now I'm doing that and am having a blast.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?

I no longer have a day job so I can write full time. Once my children were grown and out of college, we could afford for me to start doing what I love, and so far it's been amazing. I'm so happy that I have the opportunity to be a full-time author and pursue my dream.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

I've always been interested in writing but I never really thought of it as a way to earn money. When I was in college, two of my English teachers told me that I should major in writing. This shocked me because I had never been told I had any talent in writing before. After that, I started freelance writing for a local newspaper, then for small magazines. For a while, all that went by the wayside because I needed to earn money on a regular basis, but once my kids were older, I went back to freelancing. During this time, I wrote three novels that I was never able to place with a publisher. Finally, I pulled those novels out, spruced them up, and self-published them in 2011-2012. I had so many wonderful reviews from readers that I knew I had to continue, and I haven't looked back. I love writing and hope to do it for years to come.

Please give a brief description/storyline about Destination Wedding.

Destination Wedding is the story of a divorced couple who go to a romantic tropical island in the Caribbean for their daughter's wedding. Circumstances continue to push them together, causing a lot of drama as well as a bit of humor. It is a fun, yet heartwarming romance that readers tell me they enjoy.

What was the inspiration for this story?

Last year we went to the Bahamas for our daughter's destination wedding and had an incredible time. That is when I got the idea for this novel. Even though I've been married forever and am not divorced, I thought it would be fun to put these two people on a small island together and see what happens. I was right, it was fun to write.

How did it feel to have your first book published?

It was very rewarding to finally publish my first book. I had three books written, so I actually published all three within three months. Destination Wedding is my seventh novel, and it's still exciting to see one of my books published. I don't think I'll ever get over how amazing it is to see my books in print (and ebook!).

Do you write books for a specific genre?

I write women's fiction and romance novels. I enjoy writing romance, but some of my novels are more on the family drama side, and I enjoy writing that, too.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

When it comes to reading, I like to read a variety of genres. I do read a lot of women's fiction and romance novels, but I also like historical novels, mysteries, some horror (Stephen King), and some thrillers. I love reading non-fiction biographies too, of famous people or interesting people. I have too many favorite books to list, but my most favorite are all novels written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I just love his writing, his sarcasm, and his humorous point of view.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

I always write on my laptop at my dining room table. That is where the most sunlight comes in both winter and summer. In the summer, I sometimes bring my laptop out to my patio table to write. It's nice to be outside whenever I can.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

Ideas can come from anywhere. It might be from something someone said or a story on the news. My latest novel came to me while we were in the Bahamas for my daughter's wedding. I just never know when an idea will come to me, but I'm always happy when they do.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I try to write at least 2,000 words a day so I can keep my mind fully on the story. I've found it keeps me focused. If I have a few days off from writing, it takes me longer to get back into the story. I love to write, so I'm always happy when I can sit for a few hours and work.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

I actually enjoy it all. I enjoy researching before writing a novel, creating the characters, and everything else involved with storytelling. There isn't any part that I feel I struggle with. I write, write, write, and then go back and edit what I think needs to be fixed. It's all an interesting process to me that I enjoy.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

I love to travel, but I don't get to do that as much as I'd like. Walking and hiking are fun, and I enjoy going out on our boat on the lake and lying in the sun. I love to read and I enjoy movies.

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

I've read a lot of writing advice but the one that sticks with me the most is to just keep on writing even when you aren't sure if what you're writing is good. It's best to get everything down on paper and you can always go back and edit later. Writing something is better than not writing anything at all.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

When a reader says that a story I wrote really resonated with them or moved them in some way. Even if it just made them laugh or feel good. The whole point of writing is to entertain the reader, and if I've done that, I'm happy.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

There are several ways for readers to connect with me. I love hearing from them on Facebook and Twitter, but they can also connect with me through my blog or on Goodreads.

Here are some links:
Deanna's blog:
Twitter: @DeannaLSletten

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

Destination Wedding has many aspects from real life like the island that the characters are staying on and where they live in Minnesota. I did, however, change the name of the town, hotel, restaurants, and beaches on the island, but it is based on a real place. As for the people, they come from my imagination and aren't based on any people I know.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

All authors I've read have been my inspiration. Reading is what led me to love books and want to write my own. It would be impossible to choose one or two authors because they all inspire me.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

As long as I can entertain my readers and they enjoy my books, I feel like I've succeeded in my goal as a writer.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

I am currently writing a new novel that is the first book in a series of three novels. It includes a handsome cowboy, a city girl, and a ranch in Montana. That's about all I want to share for right now. Hopefully, it will be available in August of this year.

Kathleen – Thank you so much for this great interview and hosting me on your blog. I appreciate you letting me share my thoughts with your readers.

Thank you Deanna Lynn for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event!

About The Author

Deanna Lynn Sletten is a bestselling and award-winning author. She writes women's fiction and romance novels that dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Deanna's women's fiction novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore, made the top 100 bestselling books on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble in 2014. Her romance novel, Memories, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Books of 2012. Her novel, Sara's Promise, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Books of 2013 and a finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her northern Minnesota home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer.


Book Review

Destination Wedding by Deanna Lynn Sletten
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2014
Format: Paperback - 214 pages
             Kindle - 363 KB
             Nook - 665 KB
ISBN: 978-1941212134
BNID: 2940149286508
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Destination Wedding

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description: 

Life is full of surprises...

Claire Martin's life is perfect, or at least she tells herself it is. She owns a successful clothing boutique, has a steady, dependable boyfriend, and a beautiful grown daughter who is about to be married. Sure, Claire's husband of twenty years left her for a younger woman four years ago, but that is all in the past. Now, Claire is looking forward to her daughter's Bahama wedding and spending a week in paradise. The only thing Claire dreads is her ex-husband and his wife will also be on the island. Claire is determined to make the best of it, though. What Claire doesn't realize is ignoring her ex-husband for the week is going to be impossible.

James Martin's life is a mess. His wife of less than four years has made him the most miserable man on earth and now they are in the middle of a messy divorce. He's happy that he can forget her for a week as he goes off to the Bahamas to attend his lovely daughter's wedding. Jim is embarrassed to admit to his daughter and his ex-wife, Claire, that he made the biggest mistake of his life when he left her for another woman, so he makes up a story as to why his new wife didn't come along. When he and Claire are unexpectedly forced upon each other, Jim soon realizes what he's lost and he begins to wonder if he can find a way back into Claire's heart.

Book Excerpt:

Jim's eyes turned back to Claire standing beside Mandy and Kaylie in the water. The three women had picked up something from the water and were standing close together, examining it. The younger girls were wearing bikinis. Claire had on a bikini too, but she'd pulled on a pair of jean shorts over the bottoms. Jim wondered why. Even at the age of forty-five, Claire's body could hold its own against the younger girls. Jim smiled as he admired her long legs and narrow waist. If he didn't know any better, he'd think all three women were the same age.

Steven had proposed to Claire. That unwanted thought popped into his head out of nowhere. What in the world did Claire see in that stiff, egotistical, workaholic? Sure, Steven always said all the right things at the right time, but didn’t Claire realize it was a show put on by a practiced salesman? Steven was a phony, through and through. Claire couldn’t possibly want to marry a jerk like that.

But why do I care? I'm the one who left her. Those words came uninvited into Jim's head.

Jim lifted his body and propped himself up on his elbows, his lower back suffering the consequences of his actions. His eyes scanned the beach. Craig and his friend Cameron were out in the water, snorkeling. Mark was a short distance away from Jim, lying in the sun while Angela walked down the strip of beach looking for seashells. Glen and Lisa had gone on a beer run. But despite everything else Jim could have focused his eyes on, they still returned to Claire.

Jim thought back five years to when he started looking at Diane instead of Claire. He'd just turned forty-one, he was working all the time, and his daughter was grown and in college. Claire was always busy with her boutique, or so it seemed, and Jim found himself spending more time at the office and less time at home. He and Claire had been together for twenty years. They'd grown comfortable with each other. Too comfortable. They no longer etched out time to spend together as they had earlier in their marriage. There were no date nights, no dinners out, and no going to the movies. They saw each other in the morning before work and on Sundays when both were home and Mandy came home for dinner. As far as either of them knew, their marriage was typical of other couples their age. But then, Jim met Diane, and something changed.

Jim had felt he was growing old, and if he admitted it to himself, he'd been afraid of it. Diane, on the other hand, was only twenty-five, had a zest for life, and for some unknown reason had a crush on him. Instead of ignoring her, he'd enjoyed the attention of this younger, attractive woman who built up his ego and made him feel young again. She told him he was handsome, she laughed at his stupid jokes, and she was available. He fell hard for her, and had left Claire behind.

"Why?" he asked aloud as he sat alone on the beach.

"Why what?" Glen walked over with a cooler full of beer and plopped down beside Jim, offering him a bottle. Lisa waved at them and headed out to where Claire and the girls stood in the water.

"Nothing," Jim said in answer to Glen's question. "I was just talking to myself."

"Hmmm. Could be the first sign of heatstroke. Maybe we should get you in the shade," Glen said with a grin.

Jim took a sip of beer and let his gaze trail off toward Claire again. She was laughing at something Lisa had said to her. He wished he could make her laugh again. With him, not at him like she had last night about the creaking cot."

Jim pulled himself up into a sitting position and made an old man grunt from the pain it caused his back.

"What was that coming from you?" Glen asked.

"That's the noise of an old man who slept on a cot last night," Jim told him. "And it isn't pretty."

Glen laughed. "That's what you get for divorcing my sister. It's karma, man."

Jim looked over at Glen. They hadn't spent much time together since the divorce, but when they were together for family events like Mandy's college graduation, Glen had always been nice to Jim. "Why don't you hate me for leaving Claire? You're her big brother. You should have punched me out."

"Well, I did think of it, but I figured your punishment was losing Claire. And if you were happier not married to her, then I guess I thought she'd be happier without you."

Jim stared at Glen. "Is she? Happier without me, I mean?"

Glen shrugged. "She has Steven now. You have Diane. People move on."

Jim turned to look in Claire's direction again. The women were walking back toward shore.

"You have moved on, right?" Glen asked.

Jim looked at Glen. "Huh?"

Glen pointed toward the women. "I have a feeling you're not watching Mandy, Kaylie, or Lisa. If it's Claire you have your sights on, watch out. You're married to Diane now. Claire is off limits."

Jim sighed. "Even if I had my sights on Claire, she'd be the first one to tell me off. So you don't have to worry."

"Good," Glen said. "Don't hurt her again, Jim. She deserves better."

Jim nodded. Glen was right. So why did it bother him so much?

My Book Review:

Life is full of surprises ... especially when you get a second chance at love ...

In Destination Wedding, author Deanna Lynn Sletten weaves a wonderful story of romance, forgiveness, love, and second chances.

Set in the tropical paradise of the Bahamas, divorced couple Claire and James Martin try to set aside their differences and come together for a week long vacation at their daughter Mandy's beach wedding destination. With plenty of family and relationship drama, miscommunications, humor, and a richly descriptive setting of a heavenly tropical island paradise, what more could a reader want than to follow two middle-aged people discover that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, put their past behind and forgive each other, and get a second chance at love?

In true Deanna Lynn Sletten style, Destination Wedding is a delightful and heartwarming mature romance story that wraps its arms around the reader and engages them to follow the journey of a couple who unexpectedly rediscover their love for each other.

If you are looking for an entertaining romance to wile away a lazy summer afternoon, then look no further, Destination Wedding is that book, it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling and leave a smile on your face.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $50 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 30 – Chicks That Read – Review & Excerpt
July 3 – Carpe Libros - Review & Interview
July 7 – Keep Calm and Blog On - Review
July 8 – Book Mama Blog – Excerpt
July 9 – The Winey Mommy – Review
July 10 – Second Bookshelf on the Right – Q&A
July 14 - Ski-Wee's Book Corner– Review
July 14 - Ski-Wee's Book Corner- Excerpt
July 15 – Ai Love Books – Review & Excerpt 
July 16 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review & Excerpt
July 16 – Fiction Dreams – Q&A
July 18 – The Book Corner – Excerpt
July 23 – Reading in Black and White – Review
July 24 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
July 24 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
July 25 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
July 28 – Chick Lit Goddess – Review & Excerpt
July 28 – Shelf Pleasure – Q&A


  1. So glad you enjoyed the book!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Hi Kathleen - I was so excited when I saw you were going to host my book on this tour because I really enjoy your blog. Thanks so much for the great post and for the lovely review. I'm happy you enjoyed the book.

    1. Hi Deanna! Thank you for the kind words and the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I loved Destination Wedding, your rich descriptions of the Bahama setting brought back wonderful memories of when I went to the islands. :)