On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie adopted a dog and changed her life. On Thursday, she tried to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody did…
A Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club Alternate Selection
One of RWA's Top Ten Romances of 1999
1999 Rita Nominee for Contemporary Romance
RRA List Best Love and Laughter Romance of 1999
Quinn McKenzie has always lived what she calls a “beige” life. She’s dating the world’s nicest guy, she had a good job as a high school art teacher, she’s surrounded by family and friends who rely on her, and she’s bored to the point of insanity. But when Quinn decides to changes her life by adopting a stray dog over everyone’s objections, everything begins to spiral out of control. Now she’s coping with dog-napping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy…for her.
Notes & Stuff
Writing Note: I wrote Tell Me Lies to tell the story of a woman who, through a series of traumatic events in her life, throws off her old identity and, at the climax of the book, demands that people see her for who she really is.
Then I realized that woman’s troubles were just starting because the one thing that all people resist in others is change, and they resist it in their mothers and wives and daughters more than anywhere else because women are so often the wallpaper for other people’s lives, the context against which the other people grow and change. If the context itself changes, people get Very Tense.
Thus, Crazy for You the story of Quinn, who decides to adopt a dog–such a little change–and sparks changes in the lives of her best friends, her parents, her students, and the two men who love her.
Animal Note: Katie is taken directly from my dog, Rosie, an equally anxious, equally nervous, equally endearing rescue dog. I will be indebted forever to Melissa Copher and the rest of my first period senior English class at Beavercreek High School who gave me Rosie for Christmas a thousand years ago (1987?). She’s still the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten.
Character Note: Most of the characters in Crazy for You came from the short stories in my MFA thesis.
One story was about a fifteen-year-old named Quinn who watched as her eighteen-year-old sister Zoe went after the mailman for reading her love letters from her Marine boyfriend, Nick (“The Day My Sister Shot the Mailman and Got Away With It, Of Course”). I liked Zoe and Nick a lot, but I was most fascinated by Quinn which led to an unfinished short story about Zoe backing out of her wedding to Nick halfway down the aisle and Quinn fixing the whole thing, even though she was half in love with Nick herself. It was clear to me in writing this story that Zoe and Nick were never going to make it, and I began to wonder, in the way that writers do about their characters, about what would happen to them and to Quinn in twenty years, when they were older and smarter and getting close to that point that hits most people around forty where they realize they’re not going to live forever and they start going after what they really want in life.
So this is the story of Quinn, who after a lifetime of being practical and fixing things for everybody else, decides to be selfish and go after what she wants, including a dog, a house, and Nick. Quinn’s best friend Darla is a supporting character from a short story in the thesis called “Just Wanted You to Know”, a story that happens after Crazy for You is over; her mother Meggy appears as a little girl in a story called “Sleep Cure”. Quinn had another friend, Stephanie, who appeared in two stories, “I Am At My Sister’s Wedding” and “The Damn Goat Story,” but she was cut in the rewrite of CFY when it became obvious the book was sprawling too much. And a supporting character named Barbara the Bank Slut was not only in “Just Wanted You to Know,” but also had her own story in “Necessary Skills”. The final section of the thesis was the proposal for this book, at that stage called “Dog Days.” Since then, it’s also been titled “You Don’t Know Me”, “You Just Watch Me”, and “Something Different”.
And now it’s Crazy for You.
Praise & Reviews
“Small town life in Tibbett, Ohio, is just an updated, rollicking version of Peyton Place… Using zingy one-liners… Crusie explores the underlying core that keeps couples together, detailing her characters without stereotypes….Crusie manages to infuse a great deal of humor about human nature into this contemporary romance, deploying as well an engaging cast of characters who progress through various contretemps to a fittingly happy ending.” ~Publisher’s Weekly
“Crusie is a gifted storyteller who has enough of Anne Tyler to earn her a following among people willing to acknowledge that life is messy as well as entertaining.” ~Palm Beach Post
“Romance has a new star in Crusie; if she had written Our Town, Emily Gibbs would have lived a longer life and died a happier woman… one of the few in the genre who can make you laugh out loud.” ~Kirkus Reviews
“I love it, love it, love it. Jennifer Crusie’s combination of real characters, sharp wit, laugh out loud humor, and romantic sizzle make for as close to perfection as you can get in this world. You -know- the people she is writing about. They may amuse, fascinate, or annoy the hell out of you, but they always come alive. Crazy for You is romantic comedy at its very best.” ~Jeri Wright for Under the Covers
“Jennifer Crusie can write the socks off anyone… Sexy, humorous, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound–nothing can stop this woman from writing one of the best books on the market today. Destined for the best-seller list, Crazy for You will leave you holding your sides with laughter as you enter the world of small town gossip, seven-year itch marriages, love crazed men, and Monday Night Football, all the ingredients for a rip-snorting good time. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. Jennifer Crusie never disappoints.” ~Kathee S. Card for Under the Covers