Author: Tara September
Narrator: Verla Bond
Length: 3 hours and 37 minutes
Publisher: Plus it Up
Released: Sep. 6, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse’s girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she’s not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade’s hidden family secret. Yet, Reade can’t seem to love anyone except the one woman he can’t have. Or can he make her mine?
When Gwen Clark’s senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless, and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof – in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams…if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.
Tara September is an award-winning… and losing contemporary romance writer living in Southwest Florida.
Tara is proud to be the world’s most okayest mom to clones (identical twin boys). When not writing out her daydreams, she blogs over at When Tara Met Blog @tarametblog, a lifestyle and parenting blog of 14 years.
Holding a master’s degree in journalism from NYU, she previously was the Corporate Communications Manager at WWE and PR Manager for The Walt Disney Company, Consumer Products.
Verla Bond is an American actor, improvisor, and storyteller, who makes her home in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys performing on the stage and screen, but especially loves recording audiobooks, where she gets the privilege of playing all kinds of diverse characters, such as British vampires, Irish leprechauns, and Southern gentlemen.
September did an excellent job of making our main characters Gwen and Reade have the perfect connection. They felt real and their love felt real as a result. I enjoyed their banter as well as their loving scenes together. The story felt so wholesome and cute, I recommend if you’re looking for a short romance to give you some feels. 5/5 stars.
Bond brought these characters to life with her amazing narration skills! Loved her pacing and tone throughout the novel. I would definitely love to listen to another romance with her as a narrator. 5/5 stars as well!
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Tara September. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author Tara September
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. How did you select your narrator?
- It was a lot of fun actually. I got to listen to auditions and hear professional voice actors read my script. Although, at the same time it’s weird to hear someone else outside of my own inner voice read my words. There is no way I could have done as good as a job though. I’m way too nasally, lol. Still, I didn’t love some of the samples that I received. One made my hero sound too feminine, others took the southern setting a bit too far with their twang. So, I personally contacted my final narrator Verla Bond asking if she wished she had Jesse’s Girl. Luckily, my subject line didn’t scare her off and she agreed to the project.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- No, I never thought my book would be published and read by others, never mind available in audiobook format. It’s pretty surreal and totes exciting!
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- No, I figured she was the professional in this department not me. Luckily I barely had any edits for her. The only direction I had provided was that I’d like for the heroine’s voice to get stronger as the story progressed, to reflect her own transformation from victim to having control of her life again.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Not my personal life, but I did base Jesse’s Girl off of the 80s pop-song by Rick Springfield and the love triangle he sings about. The current political climate and untrustworthy candidates also set the stage for the beginning of the novel. However, thankfully politics isn’t the focus. The heroine Gwen is also a former reporter like me, so I added in some of those background details.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Yes! I l love listening to audiobooks while driving or traveling. Nothing like multi-tasking to make the trip fly by.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Insert eye roll. That’s annoying, after all, to each is own. Everyone is busy and audibooks are a great way to get in a good read while going about your day. Definitely, better than not reading at all or just having music or a show on in the background.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- By drinking!! At the start of this adventure, I purchased a bottle of Irish whiskey appropriately called Writers Tears (IG photo) with the intent of opening it after I published my story. So, there it sat aging on my shelf for three years. Kinda like me, lol. The day it released, I poured a glass of the amber liquid and savored each sip. I poured another glass at the release of this audiobook and will do so again after my next manuscript is completed, etc. It’s still half full.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Be sure and join a local writing group or an online membership focused on your genre. I’ve learned so much from the talented authors in my local Romance Writers of America chapter, SWFRW from craft to marketing tips and overall moral support when I wanted to quit.
- What’s next for you?
- My manuscript Mine to Five is in my editor’s hands now. It’s an office romance set around the holidays in Manhattan and Connecticut. I’m hoping to have it out before Thanksgiving, but I also said that last year, lol. It’s looking quite feasible this time around though. The heroine has a temper and is quite sassy. The hero is burned out at work and needs love along with the holiday season to reenergize him. Fortunately for him, the heroine knows just what he needs, even if it is against office policy.
Tara September’s Casting Picks for Jesse’s Girl
When I read books, I’m often casting actors and actresses to play the different characters. However, when asked this question about my own book, it wasn’t as easy. Likely because I truly see Gwen and Reade as real people with their own features and characteristics. But…
- Jennifer Aniston or Emma Watson as Gwen Gallo (an attractive, girl next door type that could be both a senator’s wife and a mom in yoga pants)
- Henry Cavill or Richard Madden as Reade Walker (a loyal handsome man that you can trust, a strong and steady Clark Kent)
- Ryan Gosling as Jesse Clark (Charming all-American southern boy look, but with a hidden darkness who can pull off jeans and a cowboy hat or black-tie attire.)
- A young Jennifer Garner as family lawyer Danielle Dixon, former tom-boy turned bombshell.
- Chris Pratt as Hunter, the former high school football star who fled town due to Jesse’s manipulations and is now returning home for the first time
Giveaway: $50 Best Buy gift card & Jesse’s Girl audiobook
Jesse’s Girl Giveaway: $50 Best Buy gift card & Jesse’s Girl audiobook
Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.
Sign up as a tour host here.