Writing Professor Tackles Finding Love and Fending off Family During the Holidays in Debut Novel

Holiday chaos is par for the course come Thanksgiving and Christmas and, for many, family squabbles are one reason to dread the holidays. For debut author Robin Winzenread, however, it’s research.

“When you cram nearly a hundred warm bodies into a small 1,700 square-foot home on Christmas eve, you’re bound to get some fodder for future fiction.” She laughs. “I just try to make the most of it and write about it.”

new twitter backgrtound picture - smallerWinzenread’s first fiction novel, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, takes that chaos and elevates it into a raucous read. Released in ebook on October 28 and available in print in early December, Winzenread’s romantic comedy features a young, single mother of three from Chicago who relocates her family to the country and tries to make the best of it following a bitter divorce. Set in a small rural Midwestern town, this delightful tale features a city girl fish-out-of-water twist dripping with colorful locals, kids being kids, animals being ornery, sexual tension at the “sweet heat” level, and a handsome, widowed boss with a penchant for wearing tight jeans and cowboy boots all while taking place during the holidays.

Champagne Book Group Publisher Cassie Knight spoke with Winzenread recently about the inspiration for her new novel.

Knight: “We are thrilled to be publishing your first ever novel. It’s a fun, laugh-out loud read.”

Winzenread: “Thank you. As many of the more humorous scenes have a basis in reality, I Author bio head shotlaughed out loud remembering much of it.”

Knight: “I’m not surprised there’s some truth to it. Your Thanksgiving dinner scene with its kids and calamity particularly rang true to me. As a mother yourself, how drawn from real life was that action?”

Winzenread: (laughs) “More than I should admit, though not all of it came from being a mom. Some of it was drawn from my own experiences growing up as a child on a farm in Central Indiana. Coming from an active family of four, calamity as you put it happened at nearly every meal.”

Knight: “Seriously?”

Winzenread: “Yep. My brother was a serial vomit’er. He emptied out a White Castle once, so that’s saying something.”

Knight: (laughs) “Indeed.”

Winzenread: “Also, my dad was one of ten, so I have cousins numbering in the…I’ve lost track…thirties? Forties? Anyway, there’s a bunch of us and when we would get together when I was a kid, it was always epic.”

Knight: “I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall back then.”

Winzenread: “Well, you probably would have been squashed. We all were pretty much shoe-horned into my grandparent’s home on the south side of Indianapolis. Us kids spent half the party playing on the stairwell for lack of options. We’d all brace ourselves against the walls when someone entered or left the house, otherwise we’d all shoot out like toothpaste from a tube. The place was a freaking clown car on Christmas eve.”

Knight: “It paints a picture, as does your novel. Where did the essential story come from? From your own divorce?”

Winzenread: “No, not from mine, rather from the experiences of my maternal grandmother and my sister-in-law. My grandfather died in his early fifties, and he left behind my grandmother and my youngest uncle, an “oops” baby. Here was my grandmother who had never worked outside the home with a seven-year-old boy and suddenly she’s a widow. How do you make a life for yourself after that? As a kid, I used to lie in bed at night praying first that grandpa would get better and then after he died that grandma and Jerry, my uncle, would be okay.

“Then, in 1997, my brother, Andrew Winzenread, was killed in the line of duty – he was an Indiana State Trooper and was the inspiration for the nation’s first move-over law – and he left behind my sweet sister-in-law, Cindy, and their month-old daughter, my niece, Taylor. Cindy was only 24 years old when it happened. Once again, I found myself worrying about a loved one, wondering how she would make it in the world.FB_IMG_1512054791612

“Those two experiences got me to thinking about that essential question – how do you pick up the pieces when your world is torn apart? – which ultimately led to this novel. I just decided to stick them on a small farm and throw problems at them, one right after the other. Which is why I included goats. They’re always a barrel of fun.”

Knight: “Yes they are. But you also threw in a conflicted love interest. Tell us about Sam.”

Winzenread: “Ah, Sam. Naturally there has to be a hunky heartthrob – it is a romcom after all. Basically, he has his own issues to deal with too so there’s a back and forth between him and my main character throughout the story. They each have their own demons to wrestle before they can wrestle each other.”

Knight: “Your ebook came out in October – congrats – and the hard copy will be available in December. Until then, keep writing. We would love to publish more.”

Winzenread: “Thank you! I have multiple works in progress. Fortunately, our family chaos is in no danger of going extinct, so more stories will follow.”

CBG logoWinzenread’s debut novel is available for Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble for Nook readers, and through her publisher’s online store at http://www.champagnebooks.com/store/. It will be out in print via Amazon in early December. For more information, visit her website at http://www.robinwinzenread.com.

See below for ebook order links.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: