Jennifer Probst spent four years trying to get a publisher interested in The Marriage Bargain, a lively romance built around a marriage-of-convenience theme.She finally caught the attention of Entangled Publishing, a small digital line.“They loved it as much as I did,” Probst said, adding that the editors encouraged her to develop a series.Readers loved it even more. Her tale of a one-year marriage, needed to secure an inheritance, broke into the top 10 of The New York Times bestsellers list for eBook fiction in April 2012. It closed out the year with a No. 6 ranking on Amazon’s best books of 2012. Probst’s final installment in the series, The Marriage Merger, is set for release July 30, by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which bought the series from Entangled. The shift has widened Probst’s fan base, as her books are now in print.“It’s very nice to offer the option. I’m reaching a new niche of readers,” she said. Probst describes herself as an avid reader of all genres. She added that she recently downloaded Stephen King’s Joyland on her Kindle, and that she’s also reading a story by Jill Shalvis.Probst said she has known she was destined to write since she learned how to read. “I always loved a good story, no matter what format it was,” she said.She hand-wrote her first book at age 12, and passed it around to friends at school. By the time she started the second, she had worked up to a typewriter, and the third was written on a word processor. The series’ success allowed her to leave her job as an assistant to a college dean and write full time. “Before, I had to incorporate [writing] into nights, or early in the morning. It was a juggling act,” said Probst, who is married and raising two sons, ages 6 and 8. Since she began concentrating on her writing, Probst said, she has written on average a book every three to four months. She said she took two days off after finishing Searching for Someday, the first book in a new series that is being launched in November.The characters in the books will be tied to some of those from the “Marriage to a Billionaire” series. And of course, The Book of Spells, which figures in all the romances, is working its magic but with a key difference.“I’m not restricted to marriage,” Probst said. “There’s happy ever after, but not necessarily marriage.” Jean Marie Brown, 817-390-7828
‘Marriage to a Billionaire’
The series includes:
The Marriage Bargain: Nicholas Ryan proposes a marriage of convenience to his sister’s best friend, Alexa Maria McKenzie.
The Marriage Trap: Michael Conte falls for Maggie Ryan. Maggie is Nick’s sister and doesn’t like Michael’s flirtatious behavior toward Alexa.
The Marriage Mistake: This is the story of Carina Conte and Max Gray, older brother of Michael’s best friend.
The Marriage Merger: This is the story of Julietta Conte and Sawyer Wells.
The Book of Spells: The Official Love Spell From the Marriage to a Billionaire Series: This short feature is available as an e-book. It includes a short story on the characters of Nick and Alexa.