Jennieke Cohen

I met Jennieke Cohen at a recent author event, and as soon as I heard the premise of her book, I had to buy it. Have a look:

Dangerous AllianceLady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

According to your website bio, you studied English history at Cambridge University. What was that like, and how did you know Cambridge was where you wanted to go?

I seriously considered attending the University of London after high school, but after going for a college visit in my senior year, I realized I was going to be far too homesick. I ended up at U.C. Davis for undergrad, but since I always wanted to experience going to university in the U.K., I decided to spend a quarter at Cambridge. I got to study economics and British history with some amazing professors, ate meals in a Hogwart’s-esque dining hall where we *had* to dress for dinner (and stand and wait for the professors to come in before we could sit or eat), became slightly obsessed with the weather, and experienced the whole deal—the good and the bad. I will say, though, that by the end I was seriously missing my family, California weather, and American informality. I also had developed an awful craving for American cookies, LOL!

I know what you mean about California weather! Still, that sounds like a wonderful experience (especially the dining hall part!).  I love Lady Vicky’s voice in DANGEROUS ALLIANCE. How did Vicky come to you, and how did her character develop as you wrote her?

Originally Vicky was very loosely based on me, and in earlier versions, she was snarkier and more bitter about the end of her friendship with her childhood friend Tom Sherborne. As I continued to revise the novel, Vicky became more sheltered and naive, more trusting of others, and much more obsessed with escaping into the worlds of her favorite books. I always knew I wanted Vicky to be a courageous girl with loving parents, as well as the type of person who would stop at nothing to keep those she loved safe. Those are traits she’s had from the beginning, and I’m quite glad they’ve remained a part of her character throughout the many drafts of DANGEROUS ALLIANCE. I also kind of love that she does everything while generally remaining optimistic about life, which wasn’t necessarily how I originally conceived her character, but it’s something really suits her, I think!

Optimism is a great characteristic! You were also selected as a mentee during Pitch Wars in 2016. What advice, if any, do you have for people interested in entering the Pitch Wars contest (or any other writing contest)?

I think programs like Pitch Wars and Author Mentor Match can be extremely helpful if you have a manuscript you think is polished but can’t figure out why agents aren’t loving it. I’ve personally found mentorship programs much more helpful than writing contests, because you’re not shelling out money for feedback that you may not agree with. That said, you should always go into mentorship programs with an open mind and try and see what your mentor is trying to help you do with your manuscript. I honestly believe that you should never self-reject your work, and you should always send it out there because you never know who’s going to fall in love with it. In my case, finding the right mentor through Pitch Wars really changed my life and led to an amazing friendship (with my former mentor Tobie Easton), so I definitely think that if it’s something you’re considering, you should go for it!!

A very useful perspective, especially since mentoring programs seem to be becoming more common. What are some of your current projects?

I can’t talk about anything in too much detail, but I’m working on another historical novel set in the U.K. that takes place in a time not too far removed from DANGEROUS ALLIANCE. To give you a little teaser though, I can say that there will be food in the book—and lots of it!


Buy: Bookpassage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indiebound



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *