Jennieke Cohen: “I wanted to create the kind of novel I would have really enjoyed reading as a teen.”

5 Questions With...

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[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Jennieke Cohen and ask her five(ish) questions. Jennieke’s novel Dangerous Alliance is out Dec. 3rd!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind Dangerous Alliance?

Jennieke: This may sound cliche, but reading Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre when I was 12 really molded my taste in literature. The witty intelligence Jane Austen brought to all her novels spoke to me in a way not many of the other books I’d read in my formative years had, and I simply loved the romance and mystery elements of Jane Eyre. I found myself looking for all the historical novels I could find. That led to reading a lot of adult fiction and nonfiction because, at the time, there were very few European-set historical novels written specifically for teens and young adults. With Dangerous Alliance, I wanted to create the kind of novel I would have really enjoyed reading as a teen.

What character do you most relate to and why?

I relate most to my main character, Vicky. To a large degree I modeled Vicky and her older sister, Althea, on me and my younger sister. I wouldn’t say either one of them is wholly like either of us, however. They both share a lot of our traits, but neither of them are exact replicas of us. Vicky does share my love of books (especially Jane Austen novels), my trust in family, my loyalty to those I love, and my belief that girls can do whatever boys can. Vicky is quite a bit more naive than I was as a teen, though!

Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?

I think people want to read about characters who make them feel empowered or who they’d like to emulate in some way. I’m excited to be writing in a time where this is true, because those are the types of characters I’ve always loved.

Please describe the content of Dangerous Alliance and what can readers expect from the read.

Dangerous Alliance centers on Lady Victoria Aston, a seventeen-year-old Jane Austen fan, who believes her life should turn out exactly like an Austen novel. But when Vicky’s sister leaves her abusive husband and starts divorce proceedingsーno small feat in 1817 EnglandーVicky realizes she’ll have to find a husband of her own to save the family estate. As strange accidents start befalling Vicky and her family, and the gentlemen Vicky’s starting to like begin incriminating each other, Vicky realizes her own life might be much more complicated than the novels she loves. Readers can expect to see a bit of the Regency “dating” game, a dash of mystery and adventure, and gallant rogues and gentlemen in what I hope will be a fast-paced, satisfying romance!

What’s next for you in the book world?

Nothing I can discuss right now, unfortunately, but I have a couple more historicals I’m working on that I hope to be able to talk about soon!

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

This is such a tough question, because I’ve been reading so many great books by writers I know, but I just started Jenn Bennett’s The Lady Rogue on audio, and I’m really loving it so far. Of course, it’s my kind of storyーadventure, romance, and a spunky heroineーwhat’s not to like!?

About the Author:

Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kuh CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke is the author of the YA historical novel DANGEROUS ALLIANCE, which will be releasing December 3, 2019 from HarperCollins/HarperTeen. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. When not writing or researching little-known corners of history, you’ll find her singing opera arias and show tunes, over-analyzing old movies, or discovering the best foodie spots in her native Northern California.

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