Last year I was able to read an advanced copy of Meet Me at Midnight and instantly fell in love like I have done with both of Jessica Pennington’s previous books. I am so excited to have been able to interview Jessica Pennington for the blog tour to celebrate her book!
What inspired Meet Me at Midnight?
This book was inspired by my own summer vacations! From the time I was 10, my family has rented a lake house, and the layout in Meet Me At Midnight is almost identical: two small rental houses on a hill, with a large house behind them, where the owners live. Unlike in Meet Me at Midnight, I didn’t have a cute, snarky boy living next door, I just had my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Not nearly as much fun!
All three of your current releases feature some similar locations. With any future releases, do you think you’ll carry on that trend of them being centered in similar locations or do you think you’ll venture elsewhere?
I’m honestly not sure. As far as contemporary romance goes, I do really love writing beachy summer stories. But I also have some ideas that take place during the school year, so who knows! But my current work in progress is actually a romantic fantasy, so that setting is VERY different, and it’s been a fun change of pace!
There are many pranks in Meet Me at Midnight. Were you a prankster when you were younger? What was your favorite prank in the book?
Oh my goodness, I wish I had been bold enough as a teen to pull pranks like Sidney and Asher, but I definitely wasn’t. They were so fun to write, though! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think it’s probably when Sid makes Asher think he’s wet the bed, and that’s mostly because I love the scenes leading up to that prank and what caused her to do it. But the cherry Kool-Aid would be a close second!
Your books feature a variety of commonly used tropes. Is there a trope that you haven’t used yet that you want to write about?
I love tropes, and I think the one I haven’t done yet that I definitely will in the future is “fake dating.” It’s one of my favorites, it’s actually hard to believe I haven’t used it yet!
Where did you vacation when you were younger? Did you have a favorite location?
My family’s lake vacations were definitely my favorite, and a lot of the locations in both Meet Me At Midnight and When Summer Ends are inspired by actual locations in that area. The cherry-themed restaurant and River Depot in When Summer Ends, and the old-school drive-in movie theater in Meet Me At Midnight are all based on some of my favorite places in northern Michigan (there’s a little tour in my saved IG stories!)
Were you a swimmer? If so, did you compete?
I swam for a few years in early middle school, but that’s it. I grew up down the street from Lake Michigan, though, so swimming was a big part of my life growing up, which is why lakes and lake towns tend to play such a big role in my books. The morning swims in Meet Me At Midnight were actually inspired by a fellow vacationer I met one summer when I was about thirteen—she was a competitive swimmer and her dad would take her out in the mornings to swim across the lake.
How has releasing Meet Me at Midnight been compared to your prior releases?
It’s been strange, since this book released just a few weeks after Covid-19 really started shutting things down. I had to cancel my launch party, and a few book festivals and conventions I was scheduled to attend in March and April. It’s been sad not getting to visit bookstores and see readers like I’d usually get to, but sometimes life is just weird and you have to roll with it, and this is definitely one of those times!
Forever Books (Jessica’s Local Indie!): https://www.foreverbooks.net/book/9781250187666
Thank you so much, Jessica! I can’t wait to read more from you in the future!