Jean! Tell us about the book!
Charlotte MacGregor lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Still guilt-ridden, Charlotte heads for a vacation to rustic Vermont with a friend—where she's surrounded by reminders of her devastating loss and plagued with unanswered questions.
Matiu Christiansen is an outdoors buff. He works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He's never quite felt at home in the United States and he yearns for his Maori roots, but his attraction to Charlotte puts a kink in his plans to move home later this year.
Thrown together by coincidence, Charlotte and Matiu form a kindred bond through their shared love of the outdoors. Can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? And can Matiu help Charlotte heal from the pain of the past?
Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
That’s always a good question. Some ideas percolate. Some are lightbulbs. One (not yet published yet) I got from my aunt telling me an interesting story about her mother. Some trickle in. Some morph. Some ideas are also fleeting and lead to other, grander ideas. I’m a storyteller, dreamer, and nature-lover. I lace my stories with a bit of me, and a bit of this and that.
And these ideas usually come when I am not actively seeking them. Chance meetings, a hike, in the shower, on a long car drive, while working on another project…(oh that last one is quite a nuisance!).
I write historical and contemporary. For my contemporary stories, I fell upon my own life experiences: heartbreak (of various forms), loss of a sister too young, travels abroad, parenting struggles, my love of the outdoors, to name a few. I always wanted to write a New Zealand-influenced story, so when my publisher sent out the call for stories set in a quaint town in Vermont, Soul of the Storm came to my mind. It was the perfect blend of writing a Maori character who loves the outdoors with another character who has a haunting past, all set in a locale not far from my own home. Admittedly that story idea came on hard and fast and I was so happy with the places my characters took me!
I also felt compelled to write a mother’s journey with her autistic son, so Will Rise from Ashes was born (releases April 17th). Toss in my love of science and my son’s love of volcanoes, and well, we have the backdrop: a widow on a journey across the country with her son trying to find her other missing son, in the wake of the Yellowstone volcano eruption. Along the way she meets a man walking his own path of healing and redemption. This book was my toughest, but most rewarding, to write.
I can’t wait to see what other ideas my brain and the world I’m always observing toss at me…and I hope you enjoy reading them, too.
Thanks, Jean! Here's a little bit more about the author herself:
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.
You can find/stalk her with the following links:
~ ~ ~ ~ The Wild Rose Press~ ~
And grab a copy of her book here:
Pre-order her April 17th release, WILL RISE FROM ASHES:
And since I usually feature an Excerpt on Fridays, Jean sent one from SOUL OF THE STORM:
“What’s on your agenda tomorrow?” He offered her a brookie. He sat closer this time, his thigh brushing hers.
She unwrapped the brookie, grateful to have something to focus on, inhaled the enticing mixed scent of chocolate and buttery deliciousness, bit into it, and had to cover a moan.
“Heaven. I need to get you to write these sayings down. Though I’m filing them away in my brain. This is choice?”
“Yup or sweet as.”
“Sweet as what?”
“Just sweet as. We leave the conjunction hanging there.”
They shared a chuckle.
“Confuses the hell out of tourists,” he added.
“Easy as.” His eyebrows lifted as he munched. “So, tomorrow?”
“Not sure. If Ronnie hasn’t already ventured there, maybe north to Waterbury to visit the cheese and ice cream factories.”
“Nah, that’s tourist stuff. How about farther off the beaten track?”
“You have better ideas?”
“What’s your schedule like since you’re Mr. Busy?”
His smiled tipped to a frown. “Another full day. Since I mucked this morning on my day off, maybe they’ll give me a break tomorrow. Plus, I’m waiting on their vehicle to get repaired.”
She found herself nibbling on her lip, and it wasn’t just from the chewy deliciousness in her mouth.
He poured her tea. His clock near the TV chimed. “I gotta change for the inn shift. Be right back. Drink the tea slowly. Let it work its flavor on your palate. Drink it like you would an expensive wine. Slosh it, inhale, savor.” He rose. “Just don’t spit it out after.”
She almost snorted the swallow of tea. God, he was a flirt, even if he didn’t know it. Maybe he did.
She admired his physique as he strode to his bedroom. The T-shirt stretched nicely across his wide shoulders, and she presumed he had a well-defined torso beneath it. She bet his calves were in kick-ass shape from all the work he did. And his butt…
He only half closed the door. She got a decent peek as he took off his dirty T-shirt. Elaborate, curved black tattoos covered his shoulder blade in similar symbols to the ones on the quilt.
She pulled her gaze away as he disappeared behind the door. Veronica had warned her. Fun only, fun only. Oh my God, what the hell was she doing?