Rad-Reader:  Where did the idea for this book come from?

Dee:  I was watching one of my favorite movies, The Good-Bye Girl, and thought about what the story would be like if the roles were reversed. Jenna, who’s forced to share her living space, is the more rigid one – Craig, who has every right to be there, has the kids and is a softer character. The first rough draft was actually titled Good-bye Boy

Rad-Reader:  Did you know anyone in a similar situation as this?  How did it turn out for them?

Dee:  Nope – all made up!

Rad-Reader:  Tell us a little about the backstory for Jenna and Craig if there is one.

Dee:  Jenna arrives in the story damaged – she never got over Sam, she’s been sexually adventurous to the point of reckless and is turning inward. Craig also has issues, but he had been faithful to his wife and devoted to his daughters and is clearly the more clear-minded of the two.

Rad-Reader:  Jenna feels put out about not knowing about the son but she herself said she had a lover did she tell Sam?  He was married no less. 

Dee:  Jenna was never unfaithful to Sam while she was married to him. All her affairs were after the divorce, and she and Sam probably laughed about them after they were over.

Rad-Reader:  Is there a medical reason she can’t have children or did they not bother to check? O was it just too much of a battled relationship?

Dee:  No medical reason – maybe Sam wore tidy whiteys instead of boxers?
Rad-Reader: LOL!  Good Answer! Sad but a very real answer for a lot of couples.

Rad-Reader:  Did Sam trust anyone with his secrets if so will we find out who and why?

Dee:  Neighbor Dave was a confidant, as was Kenny Malcolm. Kenny may be featured in a future story, but Sam’s secrets are probably safe.
Rad-Reader: I don't know if Dave really counts he was drunk like stunk when he told Dave.  Dave admitted that one.

Rad-Reader:  Craig talked about selling the bar and moving but two months have passed and he is still there.  Why?

Dee:  He needed to find a job first, and that process was slow. He’s a cautious man, and the type to have all his ducks in a row, and a new job was his first priority.

Rad-Reader:  Does Craig have feelings for Jenna because this only tells us things from her POV?

Dee:  There’s an attraction that grows. She’s a bit of a mess, but an adorable mess, and it’s a classic case of opposites attract for him. She’s everything he isn’t – impulsive, disorganized, emotional, and he responds strongly to all that.

Rad-Reader:  Knowing everything Olivia told him and knowing Jenna was drunk what does that have to say about Craig that he still had sex with her not once but twice.  Unprotected no less and then he calls her out about how he wants to make sure she is not using him as a substitute for his dad.  Wasn’t it a little late by then?  After they even stayed up half the night talking.

Dee:  This was something they both wanted for a long time, and he was very much caught up in the moment. His reaction was not typical for him – he couldn’t believe they were actually together, and he probably couldn’t believe his luck!  In the cold light of day, when he could look back on what happened more rationally, his reaction is much more in line with his personality.
Rad-Reader:  Fear.  He comes from a place of fear of losing his girls and what this type of relationship could look like to his father-in-law.

Rad-Reader:  Did he pick the fight because he was scared of getting into another relationship after losing his wife?

Dee:  Yes. He also was angry with himself for allowing himself to get so carried away.

Rad-Reader:  Sounds to me like he’s jealous of his dad.  Is he? 

Dee:  Not jealous so much as in awe. Sam Ferris was a larger-than-life kind of guy. Craig is very much the opposite, but Craig probably wished he had a bit of his father’s razzle-dazzle.

Rad-Reader:  When the girl's grandfather showed up at the house looking for Craig and the girls.  Jenna jumped into action, mama bear mode.  Why did Craig have such a hard time understanding why she would go through all that trouble for him and his girls?

Dee:  In Craig’s mind, he’s leaving Cape Edwards, and he’s trying very hard to be emotionally prepared for that. He does not understand that Jenna doesn’t have those kinds fences built, and underestimates her feelings toward the girls.
Rad-Reader:  In other words trying not to tether himself to anyone or anything in order not to make it harder for himself when the time came to leave.

Rad-Reader:  What was the thing that made him see the truth and reality of who and what the real Jenna was about?

Dee:  Rescuing the girls made him realize that she had made an emotional investment in his family, and at that point he allowed himself to believe that her emotional attachment to him was also real.

Rad-Reader:  When did Craig know he had feelings for Jenna?  When do you think he actually fell in love with her?

Dee:  He probably fell in lust the night by the water when he asked her about Del’s garden center. Although the scene is Jenna’s POV, he’s also feeling the attraction. He was in love before Karen’s party, which is why he allowed the evening to end the way it did. 

Rad-Reader:  If your movie was made into a movie who would you want to play…

Jenna:  Rachel Boston

Craig:  Eric Winter

Amanda:  Thylane Blondeau

Larissa:  This Pinterest picture is of both girls.


Maddie: See above

Stella:  Viola Davis

Terri:  Joan Saunders

Marie:  Lee Mi-Sook

Karen:  Just a woman on Pinterest


Jenna:  I always imagined

Lauren Ambrose  

Craig:  I’m going with one of my most beautiful people ever.

Tom Mison 

Amanda:  Your choice looks great!

Larissa:  are the Olsen Twins still available???
Rad-Reader: Yes, sure you can do anything you want this our world of make to believe, LOL!

Stella:  as much as I love Viola Davis, I see Stella as a softer character, so I’m going with:
Octavia Spencer

Marie:  I realize she’s not Korean, but she’s just lovely! 

Karen:  She has that yoga body.
Jamie Lee Curtis

Chris:  Chris is a bit more down-to-earth.

Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best describes your characters or your book as a whole?

“You Are the Reason – Calum Scott (Cover by Victoria Skie)”
How Jenna feels after their one night together and then their fight.

"First Heartbreak - Tori Kelly"
She figures out that she thought she loved Sam but that was more lust.  What if he left his girls?

“I Didn’t Fall in Love with Your Hair – Brett Kissel”
Jenna never looked at herself as pretty and for her, the only thing she has going for her is her hair.  But for Craig, it was never about her hair.

Dee:  I love music, and listen to all sorts, but when I’m writing, it’s all classical, because I can’t be listening to too many voices at the same time! So…no soundtrack, sorry!

Rad-Reader:  Do you use a storyboard when you write?

Dee:  Nope.

Rad-Reader:  Are you an outliner or a pantser when you write?

Dee:  Such a punster! 

Rad-Reader:  How long did take you to get your first book published?  Did you self-publish? 

Dee:  My agent shopped Better Off Without him for almost two years, then I decided to self-publish in 2010. It took a while, but the book eventually took off and became an Amazon best-seller, getting my first book contract with Montlake publishing.

Rad-Reader:  Where is your favorite place to write where you feel the most creative?

Dee:  I need no distractions when I write, so I can’t be in a favorite place. Walking outside is when I do my best thinking, but to sit down and write I need a quiet, controlled environment. My writing space is small, I keep the curtains drawn, and don’t even let in the dog.

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it coming out?

Dee:  I’m working on the next Eastern Shore Romance 0 called Building Home, releasing July 1st, and it’s Chris Polittano’s story. My agent is shopping around a women’s fiction piece, rather serious for me, with a magical realism element to it. And I’m working on a rom-com about a writer who goes to Paris for the inspiration to finish the last book in a best-selling trilogy. Love and shenanigans ensue. If I self-publish the rom-com, it will be in the fall.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?  Links

Dee:  There are links to all my books on my website.  A Safe Place to Land is everywhere – 

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?

Dee:  www.deeernst.com

We cannot thank you enough for being with us and allowing me to feed my fangirls many burning questions.  You were able to answer all my questions and that was just great.  I hope that you will come back and use our 1 Rad-Reader Shout Out: An Author's Place page for you new books that come out in the future.  We would love to hear about them.  You are a 1 Rad-Reader Misfit like the rest of us sorry that's what happens when you don't out run us. :)
Char and Pat.


  1. Thanks so much for this! Your questions were all terrific - I hope some interest in piqued, and you readers want to give the Eastern Shore Romances a try.

  2. Thanks for being with us Dee. You seem to have piqued an interest for sure you are getting a good number of hits. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I had fun with the questions for sure.


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