Good things come to those who bake.

Shelf Life is now available in ebook and print versions!

Nearly all of my contemporary romances are inspired by events in my own life. I wrote the first three chapters of Building Forever immediately after stuffing my face with Cheez-Its and wondering what it would be like to have met the love of my life while spitting crumbs in their face. The deeper story came from my own insecurities about raising a teenager.

I conceived Sundays with Oliver while standing in a long line outside my daughter’s freshman dorm in NYC. A new start for her and an empty nest waiting at home for me.

Shelf Life is the book everyone said I should write after my husband and I bought a bagel shop—usually in such terms as, “Well, at least you’ll get a book out of it.” Buying a business was probably one of the most challenging things we’ve ever done together and, at times, ‘getting a book out of it’ seemed like it might be the only upside.

But although many of the more ridiculous episodes in Shelf Life were copied directly for the pages of my small business ownership life, neither of us suffered a heart attack. It felt like we might, sometimes, and when the pandemic shut our café in 2020, we just about collapsed with exhaustion. Having decided the bakery café life was not for us, we sold the business shortly afterward and spent the summer of 2020 sleeping in the sun. What pandemic, we said, as we rolled over to sleep a little more.

What we did have, while running our little business, though, was the expectation of family. Working for yourself is one thing. Working for ‘The Man’ is another. Working for and with someone you’re related to? A whole other bowl of dough. And that’s what I wanted to write about when I sat down to plot out Shelf Life. So, Grayson has his parents’ legacy to think about as he navigates the day-to-day of their café in the wake of his mother’s death, all while caught in the mire of his father’s grief.

Aaron has something similar going on—not only with the business he started with this sister and sister-in-law but in what he thinks his parents are expecting from him too.

We might be thirty, forty, or even fifty. To our parents, though? We’ll always be their kids.

While the Hearts & Crafts series explores some deeper and more mature themes than my previous novels, the books have the same lighthearted moments as all of my stories. And characters who are, at heart, nerds. Because I can’t write a book without mentioning science fiction, fantasy, gaming, conventions, and, apparently, bread.

Because… good things come to those who bake.

Published by Kelly Jensen

Writer of love stories. Bibliophile. Gamer. Hiker. Cat herder. Waiting for the aliens. 👽 🏳️‍🌈

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