Where do I get my ideas?
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!).
For my contemporary stories, I fell upon my own life experiences again: 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 (print, or ebook) was born. 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.
A few more things about me:
Do you come up with the plot or characters first? It used to be plot, but now it’s character. I am a plot-driven writer though as well. I love lots of twist and turns, external conflict, and rich settings, as well as well-developed characters. I like when a plot keeps that book moving and the character is full of agency.
Do you have a favorite book of yours? It is a tie between this one and Soul of the Storm. As far as books by other authors, Outlander remains my favorite. Kid books from those days gone by: Mo Willems’ books.
Tell me something quirky about yourself. I talk to my flower gardens (I’m an avid gardener) and I’m addicted to lip balm. Have one in my purse, on my desk, in my by bedroom…
Any life regrets? Not writing down all the shenanigans my two sons have done through the years (and they are only 10 and 12 now)…oh-so-many. It’s why I now color these gray hairs!
Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.
Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.
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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.