Jennifer Probst – The Joy of Firsts

August is Read-A-Romance Month!


Visit every day in August to see what all 93+ authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

The Very First Love Story….

We always remember our first, right? First kiss, first love, first pet, first tragedy? It’s summer sins by Jennifer Probst 300dpidifferent from naming our favorite- the first is sometimes wonderful, sometimes painful, but always poignant.

When people ask me about when I first started writing, I always refer to the very first book I wrote when I was twelve years old. It was a young adult romance based on the shy, smart girl no one noticed and the bad ass popular kid from the wrong side of the tracks. The book was called Challenges of the Heart. I used everything about my life to write it, drawing from personal experiences, and using real life friends as my secondary characters. Every moment I wrote that story I remember pure joy.

This was before I knew too much about craft, or worried about publishing, or got bogged down by details. My soul just soared because I was caught up in the beauty of the story, the romance between the characters and their searching alwaysrocky journey toward love.

My mother used to yell at me to put my notebook down. I drifted off in school most days, thinking about my book and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. Nothing else mattered to me, I was caught in the helpless spell of creating a romance that would change two people forever – and in my world, they were very, very real. They spoke to me, changed me, supported me. They made me brave and helped me reach for my dreams. They were my very first characters, and I still have that notebook today—worn, battered, faded. I look at my childish script and I hold my first real book in my hand. The first book I ever wrote and believed in. And yes, it brings me both joy and a sadness, when I think about that young girl who was so passionate about life, and how many times she was bent along the way, but never broken.

That’s what romance novels do to us. They help us not break. They take us away from the pain of life for a few precious hours, and give us hope, peace, and some happiness. Oh, and so much joy.

Do romance novels change the world? Will they ever be touted as magnificent magic of booksmasterpieces, and pushed in our schools to be read, or held up in the loft NY Times Book reviews?

Probably not. But as I tell people about anything they do in this life or experience, it’s still just as powerful.  Why?

Because romance novels change one woman at a time. A few hours of joy must negate many hours of pain, right?

The first book I wrote changed my life.

Jennifer recommends:

I would highly recommend two authors to check out who love romance and write so amazingly well, I adore their books!

One is Lexi Blake who writes delicious erotic and BDSM romance I’m addicted to.

Another is Kristan Higgins, who writes sexy, funny contemporary packed full of emotion. (KH is doing a RARM post on 8/26.)

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

There have been many moments of sheer joy in my life, but one that jumps out at me is the moment when I realized my little book, The Marriage Bargain, had hit a bestseller list. I’ve never experienced such intense emotions. The book had been rejected so many times over so many years, to have readers love and embrace my story was a moment I’d never forget!

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

Hershey Park, PA is a place that has wonderful memories for me. As a child, that was our go-to vacation destination, and I remember my brother and me being steeped in the scent of chocolate, and having fun at the amusement park, or walking around the little town. Now, I have two boys of my own and they say that vacation ranks up with Disneyworld! It’s so nice to go back year after year and have the same joy!

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

One of the sounds I love most in the world is a baby’s giggle. The sound is full of happiness and sheer joy and makes me smile every time!

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

One of my favorite books is The Art of Racing in the Rain. Knowing that the main character is a dog and seeing his viewpoint on life changed me. I re-read it many times to reconnect with those feelings.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Oh, Lord, I love Chris Hemsworth! I love a man with a hammer and long flowing blonde hair!!!

Jennifer is generously giving away a signed copy of a book from her backlist, winner’s choice. (Domestic only, apologies to international friends.) Entry form below.

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.

She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012, and spent 26 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries, sold over a million copies, and was dubbed a “romance phenom” by Kirkus Reviews.

She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at  Sign up for her newsletter for a chance to win a gift card each month and to receive exclusive material and giveaways.

Buy  Jennifer’s books:

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  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    cant wait to read the book

  • Marissa Yip-Young


  • Julie Ford

    Jennifer, I love the cover of Searching for Always.

  • Laura Boon

    Hi Jennifer, thank you for the recommendations. I love finding out about new authors,

  • catslady

    Love finding out about new authors – thanks.

  • Melisa Safchinsky

    Love Kristan Higgins books! Great recommedations!

  • Jennifer C

    I love how you described the escape into happiness that a romance novel provides. So true!

  • Lynn Brooks

    Love Hershey Park!

  • cheryl c.

    I agree with you that “a few hours of joy must negate many hours of pain.” Reading a good book is a great way to escape for a while.

  • jcp smith

    A baby’s giggles are the best!

  • Aleen D

    Oh gosh, I would love to go to Hershey Park and I still haven’t made it to Disney World!!

  • Molly

    I love your books.

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Love babies, and Chris Hemsworth too!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to win!

  • Carrie

    Reading novels definitely bring me joy and they are the best stress relievers.

  • Kareni

    I enjoyed reading about your first book; may you write many more!

  • Beth K. Vogt

    Loved hearing about the first novel you ever wrote — and that you still have that notebook! And I do think romance novels help women by providing escape — and hope and even healing — one woman at a time.

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    Such a joyful story of your first written book and first published book.

  • Debbie Fuller

    Beautiful post.

  • dholcomb1

    I love Hershey Park, too!

  • Christyna

    “They help us not break.” Absolutely! Simply stated yet powerfully true! Thanks, Jennifer!

  • Amy Higgison

    I love Kristan Higgins too!

  • Patty Vasquez

    Romance novels do change one woman at a time. But if you add up all those women, that’s an awful lot of change, an awful lot of power, and an awful lot of joy. We’re doing great things for the world.

  • Deborah Favorito

    Hersey Park was my favorite place to bring my children for vacation.

  • mariannewestrich

    Love your books!

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Hi Jennifer! I was happy to meet you at the RWA book signing! Loved the Marriage to a Billionaire series & loving the Searching For series so far! Congratulations on your success!

  • Angela H

    Hi Jennifer I recently received one of your books and enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading more

  • Marcy Shuler

    I’m glad you still have the notebook with your first story in it. That’s so special.

  • Sheryl N

    New author for me, I enjoyed the post

  • BookLady

    I visited Hershey Park as a child too! Chris Hemsworth is my first choice.

  • kirsten west

    Loved going to Hershey, too!

  • Michele Hayes

    I love finding authors that are new to me. Thanks for the

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Hi Jennifer!! I too love Kristan Higgins and her books. I’ve enjoyed your books too!! I love losing myself in a good romance story. Thank you for your post and sharing with us.

  • Lisa Hutson

    I am a fan of Kristan Higgins as well. She and Jill Shalvis make me laugh and love their stories. I enjoy all different kinds of romance stories.

  • Texas Book Lover

    i loved the Marriage Bargain and the rest of that series and totally agree with Chris Hemsworth and Kristan Higgins!

  • Diane Blaser

    You are in excellent company! I love Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins! Thank you for taking part in this wonderful month of celebration!

  • K Davis

    I’ve been listening to The Marriage Bargain in audio format. I’m loving it!

  • Linda Henderson

    I just picked up all the Searching For and Marriage To A Billionaire series but I haven’t had a chance to start them yet. I can’t wait to read them.

  • Michelle Koebel

    I, too, like Krista Higgins and Lexi Blake books.

  • Ellen

    Hershey Park is fun. I first visited as an adult–love the chocolate smell. I grew up just outside of Syracuse. How far upstate are you?

  • Dawn Anderson

    I found the Marriage Bargain on sale at the bookstore about a week after it came out, and I’ve been a fan of yours ever since. I can’t wait to read Searching for Always!

  • flchen1

    Jennifer, I recently stumbled across Secrets 11, and enjoyed re-reading Masquerade! How lovely that you still have that story you first penned! Glad writing still brings you joy as a writer; it definitely brings us readers joy!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    I know I have to read your books!

  • caitie

    I have the first two in the searching for series.

  • I cannot express how much I love the Searching for Series! I first got the book as an ARC through the publisher and I have got every book since. Love them!

  • I’m addicted to Masters and Mercenaries too. Who do you prefer? 😉

  • Kortney

    I have read Kristin Higgins but not Lexi Blake. Will definitely have to check out her books!

  • Sheila M

    I loved your line that romance helps us not to break.

  • Kai W.

    Love your post.

  • Mary McCoy

    I have always wanted to go to Hershey Park, will have to put that on the to do this year list!

  • Seanna Yeager

    Baby giggles are the best 🙂

  • Just wanted to thank everyone for their lovely comments – I am so thrilled you enjoyed the post! And so many of you also love Hershey Park lol! Read a Romance month is such an amazing opportunity to hear from everyone on important topics and find more authors! You guys rock!

  • Sue G.

    Ooh…baby’s giggles are the best!

  • Pamby50

    I have never been to Hershey’s Park but that is always some place I would like to go. Glad you are writing again. Baby giggles is a wonderful sound.

  • Nicole Potter

    I’ve always wanted to go to Hershey Park! Maybe someday…I can bug my husband enough to take me on a vacation to it! 🙂

  • Martha Lawton

    I love your Searching for series and Marriage to a Billionaire series… Really I see your name as the author and I want it to read. Thank You

  • rebecca moe

    Great post–thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Carol Luciano

    Great post. I agree with you about baby giggles. The little one next door to us will just break out in a fit of giggles and it doesn’t matter what we’re doing we all loook up and laugh along. I’m forward to reading your books Jennifer.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Rochelle

    There is nothing quite like the escape of a romance novel. When I am enmeshed in a story, all my troubles seem to slip away. I love your books and it was such a treat to meet you this year at the RT Convention.

  • Erin F

    thanks for such a lovely post!

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    I love to escape into my romance books. Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

  • Probst is a go-to for me! Waving hello! xo