Wednesday, April 3, 2019

New interview with romance author Jean M. Grant

A big welcome back to novelist Jean M. Grant. Today she’s chatting with me about her new contemporary romance, Soul of the Storm.

During her virtual book tour, Jean will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

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.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Jean. Please tell us about your newest release.
A Maori man name Matiu Christiansen (from New Zealand), who lives in Vermont and is an avid outdoorsman, feels restless and yearns to return to the land they call Aotearoa. He also wishes to be home closer to his ailing cousin. He works a dozen jobs, pinching pennies to open an outfitter back home later in the year. Enter Charlotte MacGregor, a woman scarred by a broken heart on two fronts (an abusive/cheating ex and a sister lost in Patagonia on a trip she should have been on)…a woman who used to love the outdoors but now is plagued with guilt and grief. Can Matiu find “home” again…and can love help Charlotte summit one last peak on a mountain rescue?

What inspired you to write this book?
Soul of the Storm is part of a new series called Deerbourne Inn put out by The Wild Rose Press. When they first mentioned a call for submissions for this series, I was hesitant to jump in, as I was working on two other projects at the time. But then the wheels began to turn (more like spin at 60 mph) and I churned out this idea. I love hiking, New Zealand (honeymooned there), and I also lost a sister at a young age. I took flavors of real life and threaded them into my characters and came up with this plot line. It was my first novella. I loved every part of writing it.

Excerpt from Soul of the Storm:
Charlotte sat on the top porch step instead of in a rocker. Her breath puffed in a misty cloud before her as she waited. Again, the scent of a fire from the back pit infused the air. She traced the knots in the planks of the porch with the toe of her shoe, ignoring her thudding pulse. Matiu shuffled through the side door. She rose to help him with the cups.


“Kia ora,” he said, smile deep and teeth bright beneath the lamps. “It’s colder tonight.”

“You need a jacket,” she said with a nod to his thinner long-sleeved top that clung nicely to his muscles.

“I’ll sit closer to you. Nice quilt.”

“I’m always cold. I won’t have much heat to share.”

“Logging in my assessment file.” He tapped his temple.

She shivered from nerves as he settled beside her on the top step.

“Ya know, we could have tea inside,” he suggested.

“What about consorting? Besides, I like the clear sky and fresh air. Night is my time.”

He nodded. “Ah, clear skies are amazing. I prefer morning. Not sure about tomorrow. Neil’s sick with the flu, and so is Kelly. They work on the search and rescue team, and Kelly also does mucking with us for the US Forest Service. Seems like the germs haven’t left for the season.”

“Nor the cold temps. Both tend to bite us in the ass in April.”

“I was serious. You going to share that quilt with me?” He inched closer.

“Nope. Get your own.”

He pressed a hand to his heart. “Shot down!” Tea splashed as his laugh vibrated.

Her pulse quickened with the idea of sharing warmth with him.

He said, “I’m knackered. That paddle got me sore. Bit more wind today than I’d expected.”

“You’re not the only one.”

He was so close. She subtly inhaled his natural scent. She couldn’t place it. Probably his shampoo… combined with sweat and cooking oils. They sat quietly, unsure what to say next. His nearness upset her equilibrium. She drank the tea.

What’s the next writing project?
Next up is a women’s fiction novel set to release April 17th. I’m also writing the third book in my historical romance trilogy. After that…likely another contemporary romance or mainstream fiction/women’s fiction. I have several ideas waiting for me on the backburner.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
It is book-dependent. My women’s fiction book was a challenge because it was the first contemporary I wrote, and in first person (which I loved), but also with a third person POV character. It was inspired by my own parenting journey and I struggled with what to keep/what to toss to keep the story inspiring, heartbreaking, fresh, and not “woe is me” for lack of a better description. For Soul of the Storm, my biggest challenge was authenticity of Matiu’s character. I am grateful for the handful of sensitivity readers and experts that rose to the challenge to read my manuscript and help me flesh him out to be respectful of his character’s life viewpoint, experiences, culture, and profession. I usually do a lot of research for my historical novels but this one amounted to quite a bit of fact-checking, too.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I love research. It comes with the territory! For my historical novels, I do some up front, mostly political or “history” research – what was going on at that time. I have a descent grasp on life in the Scottish middle ages after years of reading books, writing practice novels, and other research. But I still find myself fact-checking at random times during the writing process. I fall down the rabbit hole while looking for sometimes a menial fact that may or may not even end up in the book! However, this type of research is important to portray an authentic setting. Likewise, for contemporary. I visited the precise region of Vermont for Soul of the Storm, and spoke with a Vermont State Police officer, retired Civil Air Patrolman, Canine Search and Rescue coordinator, New Zealand authors, and several Maori/immigrant Americans. For my historicals, I’ve also visited a Viking ship and have traveled to many places in Scotland. I am constantly researching, before, during, and after the first draft is written.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
The muse likes morning hours. Sometimes music comes along for the ride. I can write anywhere and have learned to multitask around children and chaos. Sometimes the muse strikes while I’m driving or in places where it’s just me and my thoughts, so I quickly need to write those ideas down!

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I like to read romance and women’s fiction but I will read other genres. Diana Gabaldon, Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah to name a few of many. I also enjoy reading work by other Wild Rose Press Authors. I read a range of books in a monthly book club, too.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Thanks for hosting me again!


Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jean M. Grant said...

Thanks for hosting me today!
Question for readers:
As I emerge from the claws of winter in hopes for spring...and well, there happens to be an early-spring snowstorm in Soul of the Storm...What is your favorite season and why?

Sandra Dailey said...

Hi Jean! Great interview. I'm a warm weather, Florida girl. I've lived here for almost 50 years, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. Good luck with Soul of the Storm and all of your great new releases. Keep writing!

Victoria Alexander said...

I enjoyed reading your post, thanks for sharing :)

Bea LaRocca said...

Happy Friday! Do you have any reading or writing plans for the weekend? If reading, what are some of your favorite genres?

CANDY Lynn HAUGEN said...

You sound like a very busy lady! Many projects on the go. Thank you for sharing information about yourself!

Caryl Kane said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview.