Manhunting Reader’s Guide

Manhunting was the first novel I wrote.  You know, it’s still pretty good..

  1. “You’ve been engaged three times in the past three years and not one of them could keep you.” Manhunting was not Jenny’s title and she’s never liked it (it was Harlequin’s idea). Her title was Keeping Kate. How important is a title to you; that is, what impact does it have on the book for you?  Keeping that in mind, which do you think was the better title?
  2. “We’re going to improve your life.” Kate has three important friendships in Manhunting, her longtime and long distance friendship with Jessie, and her new friendships with Nancy and Penny. Were they all necessary or was that too many relationships in such a short book? What were their functions? Which was the most important? Why are women’s friendships so important here and in Jenny’s work in general?
  3. “This floats?” Place is important in Jenny’s work, particularly houses, but this time the heroine spends a significant part of her story stuck in a boat on a lake. What’s up with that?
  4. “Your next step is to find a hunting ground.” So what’s with the fishing and hunting themes going on here, Kate hunting for a man and Jake fishing out on the lake? What other examples of hunting and fishing are going on in the subplots? What does that do to the romantic idea of “someday your prince will come” since it seems to imply “today you’d better go hunt him down”?
  5. “You sure you left those three guys you were engaged to? Have their bodies been found?” Kate’s a Type A over-achiever, Jake’s lazy, there’s a reason these two have broken engagements and a divorce in their pasts. Does that make them harder to like?  Does it help explain why they’re so clueless about their new relationship?
  6. “Of course you’re not Valerie.” There are two romantic subplots in Manhunting, Will and Valerie’s and Penny and Mark’s. How do they echo or reverse Kate and Jake’s romance? Do they add to the plot or confuse it? In a very early draft of the book, Nancy and Bob had marital difficulties that were resolved amicably in a third subplot. Would that have added or detracted from the main plot?
  7. “He was just sitting there saying , ‘Great,’ like a big dummy.” Much of this book is about miscommunication between men and women, such as Will not realizing Valerie was serious about marriage or Kate not understanding how Jake felt about her. Do you think it was realistic, or did the conflicts seem contrived?
  8. “It’s too soon and too fast.” Kate and Jake fall in love awfully fast. Does it help that they become friends first? Is it easier to believe that they’d become friends quickly than that they’d become lovers quickly? How does that affect your belief in their love story?
  9. “It really hurts too much to stay here anymore.” Popular fiction tends to have a dark moment about three quarters of the way through the story where the characters hit bottom. In Manhunting, the dark moment begins with the fight that Kate and Jake have over Will’s public rejection of Valerie and culminates when Kate leaves and goes back to the city. Did this conflict in the relationship seem contrived or inevitable?
  10. “I have a list of demands.” Kate proposes to Jake at the end, or at least she tells him she needs to be married and to propose. A reader once wrote to Jenny saying that she disliked Crusie heroines because they were so desperate, they were always asking the heroes for sex and marriage. Would it have been better for you as a reader if Kate had waited for Jake to pop the question?
  11. “You’ve got to start somewhere.” This was the first novel Jenny wrote. (First fiction was the novella “Sizzle;” this is the first novel). Can you tell?