Release Day, Book Review, & Author Interview: INCONCEIVABLE by Tegan Wren

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A popular, young royal couple can't produce an heir? INCONCEIVABLE!

When Ozarks native Hatty goes “whole hog” during karaoke, she catches the eye of Prince John. He isn’t what she expects the heir to a small European nation to be: he's affable, witty, and isn’t put off by her tell-it-like-it-is demeanor. Their flirtation should be short lived, but a force stronger than fate—Hatty’s newspaper editor—assigns her to cover the royals. After spending time together, she and John soon begin dating, and Hatty finds herself making headlines instead of writing them. 

But challenges loom that are even more complicated than figuring out how to mesh Hatty's journalism career with life at Belvoir Palace. Hatty and John soon find themselves embroiled in an unusual sex scandal: they can't produce an heir. Tabloids dub Hatty a “Barren-ess,” and the royals become irate. Hatty politely tells them to shove it. But beneath her confident exterior, she struggles to cope with a heartbreak that invades her most intimate moments with John. Pressured to choose between invasive medical procedures and abandoning John’s claim to the throne, the couple feels trapped until a trip to Ethiopia shows them happy endings sometimes arrive long after saying “I do.”

It's not often that we get to read a story that involves real life struggles, such as being unable to conceive a child. Needless to say, INCONCEIVABLE was such a refreshing book to read. It was well written, and gave us a close look of the thoughts and events that happen when you're trying to conceive a child. 

INCONCEIVABLE is a lovely book about an American girl named Hatty, who is attending school in a small european nation and is interning at a newspaper company. One night while she was out at a bar doing karaoke with her friends, she happened to catch the eye of a certain someone - Prince John. 

Things start moving fast for the young couple as the two are getting to know each other. With Hatty's future career in Journalism, and Prince John to be future king, the two are having a hard time figuring out how to mesh their lives together. 

While trying to work out their problems, another arises. Hatty and Prince John are having a hard time trying to conceive an heir. Hatty is doing all that she can to become a mother, and it seems that everything is just working against her. 

I loved reading Hatty's perspective. It gave us a closer look of her feelings with everything she's going through. She's such a strong woman and knows what she wants 100%. She also isn't afraid to speak her mind regardless of who she's talking to - including the Queen and Prince John's father! A couple times I was like "damn woman!", go Hatty! I would've never had the nerve to speak my mind like she does. Hatty is so brave, and I wish I could be more like her. 
She's also from Missouri (as am I)! So it was lovely to read the parts that had my home state in them. 

Prince John's character was a bit too reserved for my taste, as he should be since he's a prince and all. He was also very hard to read at times!  The Press made him look like a womanizer because he would be caught in a location with a different woman, and Hatty would kind of freak out. Though the trust issues went away fairly quick. He did, however, have character growth throughout the book, which was nice! I loved how protective he was over Hatty. You could tell the two of them had chemistry from the beginning! 

I give the lovely Tegan Wren props for going through so many events in a couple years with less than 400 pages of text (there were 3 parts in the book). She covered everything she needed to, and didn't really leave me with any questions once I finished. I only deducted a half a star because I wish I could read more about the two and get to know them more!  I would also love to read it from Prince John's perspective though, because I couldn't exactly feel what he was feeling most of the time. He's very good at hiding his emotions!

All in all, this book was a quick and easy read, and I loved it! For those of you who are trying to cure a book hangover, or don't know what to read next, this is the perfect book for you! 

I encourage everyone to go out and purchase this book! 

What inspired you to write INCONCEIVABLE? 
My husband and I experienced infertility for years before finally becoming parents through international adoption. It was a long, painful, and lonely journey. On the rare occasions we saw a movie or read a book that touched on infertility, the story usually reinforced some of the ridiculous misconceptions about this medical challenge. So, I began to think about writing a story that was a bit more true to life. I also had a few friends who encouraged me to write about infertility and adoption. Around the time I was thinking about possibly writing a book, Prince William married Kate Middleton. It reignited my love of all things royal. I was a very young girl when Prince Charles married Lady Diana, and I really adored the fairy tale aura that surrounded that event. As I watched all the news coverage of Wills marrying Kate, I began to wonder what it would be like if they couldn't conceive. I realized that was a great framework to use in writing a novel about infertility.

Can you relate to any of the characters? 
I can relate to Hatty's roller coaster ride of emotions as she goes through month after month of hope and despair. Her best friend Tilda is also someone who strikes a chord with me. I have a very special, lifelong bestie whose friendship with me helped inform the character of Tilda. But I've had the privilege of being a support person for a friend going through infertility. I'd like to think I was as compassionate and kind as Tilda is to Hatty.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous. How did you come up with the design? 
Thank you! That bestie of mine that I mentioned in response to the previous question is a graphic designer. She and I spent weeks brainstorming ideas for the cover. She graciously came up with mock-ups and we worked out several ideas. I found a couple's engagement photo online where they were in silhouette behind a newspaper. I realized that was a perfect look for my cover because Hatty's a journalist and using silhouettes means you don't have to show how the characters look. I'd rather leave that up to my readers' imagination! For the ripped headline of the title, I saw one or two other books in different genres that had a similar style. Again, it reminded me of a newspaper/journalism. I also thought the ripped look would emphasize that this story has a "ripped from the headlines" feel to it.

Did you face any challenges while you were writing? 
For many writers, it's tough to know where to start your manuscript. I always knew Hatty and John's full story, but I wasn't sure we needed to meet them for the first time in the pub for their meet cute. Then, feedback from a wonderful agent prompted me to write that scene and make it the opening of the book. Another challenge was writing the entire story from Hatty's point of view. Hers was the voice I heard most clearly in my head. I tried to write some scenes from John's point of view, but I wasn't achieving the right pace and flow. For those who haven't read the novel, John does have a word to say at the very end. Several readers have commented on how nice it is to hear from John in the epilogue. I wanted that to be a little treat. When I finish reading a single point of view book, a part of me always yearns to hear something--anything!--from another character.

How long did it take to write INCONCEIVABLE? 
It took me about two years. I have three small children, so I had to squeeze in writing time after they were asleep. Then, I spent another several months revising.

Who are your favorite authors? Were you inspired by anyone specifically? 
Any book I've loved has inspired me to write stories myself. There's nothing more inspiring than finishing a book and having it stay with you as you go about your daily routine. Then, you think, "Could I write a book that has that impact on people?" Maybe, maybe not. But it sure is fun to try.
Thank you for not asking me to name a single favorite author--I'm not sure I could do that. Here are a few of my favorites: C. S. Lewis does beautiful, magical storytelling better than anyone else. There's a wonder and honesty to the Chronicles of Narnia that I find breathtaking. Sena Jeter Naslund writes wonderful historical fiction. I highly recommend Ahab's Wife in which she weaves the story of the woman who married Captain Ahab from Moby Dick. I've read this book multiple times and I love it more with each pass. I also love her book about Marie Antoinette, Abundance. Finally, Stephen King is a very gifted storyteller. I haven't read all of his books, but I've read a fair number. I think his novel about the JFK assassination, 11/22/63, is one of the finest examples of speculative fiction/time travel you're going to find. 

Karaoke happens a couple of time is the book. Have you done karaoke before? And if so, what's your go-to song? 
Oh yes. I really enjoy it. My go-to song is "I Will Survive," which is one of the songs Hatty hopes she gets during Kamikaze Karaoke in the book...but alas, she gets stuck with a much more awful song. (Incidentally, I made up Kamikaze Karaoke just for that opening scene. I can't believe it's not a real thing. Maybe it is and my Google searches missed it.)

If Hatty had to choose up to 5 songs for karaoke, what would they be? 
Ha! I love this question. As I mentioned, she's comfortable with "I Will Survive." We also know from the book she likes "Raise Your Glass" by Pink, which she sings with her pal, Plato. Hatty would sing "Work That" by Mary J. Blige with Tilda because that's one of their faves. "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree would be well-suited to Hatty's voice. And finally, I think Hatty would choose "Spiderwebs." If you know this No Doubt song, you know it's a crazy fun sing-a-long.

Any plans to write another book in the future? 
I've already written a second novel. It's a YA contemporary. I'm slowly beginning to query it. My next romance is called Chandeliers. It's a time travel novel in which an American woman who teaches French is at an historical reenactment at Versailles and experiences a time slip. (There are some wonderful stories about real people who claim to have time slipped while visiting Versailles.) She winds up at the court of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. In addition to meeting them, she finds she's not the only person from the future stuck in the past--an American doctor is also there. About the time the French teacher and doctor find their relationship developing into something quite serious, they discover a possible way to return to present day. The only catch? It may not bring both of them back. Do they risk being separated or choose to live the rest of their lives in the past? You'll have to read Chandeliers to find out!

What are some fun and interesting facts you'd like your readers to know about you? 
I love to laugh, and most humor, if done well, does not offend me.

I've traveled all over the world and loved every minute of it. There's nothing like meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. My favorite place to visit is Paris. I studied French language and culture all through high school and college (my college minor was French).

Before I became a fiction writer, I wrote news stories as a journalist. Many of the people and events I covered were stranger than fiction. I adore politics though I keep my political views private.

This one isn't fun, but may be interesting. I've lost several close friends who were my age. Each died under different circumstances. But their untimely deaths have put the brevity of life in sharp focus for me. As a result, I don't have time to hold grudges, be negative toward other people, or promote divisiveness. I don't always succeed, but I strive to approach life and other people with an attitude of love, acceptance, and kindness.

On a less serious of my biggest personal accomplishments was running a half marathon. Whenever I encounter a challenge, I remind myself that I was able to run a half marathon. In getting my book published, I kept thinking, 'Will I ever get there?' It was similar to running a lengthy race. Now, I can't believe the finish line is in view!

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