Jana Richards is here with us today to talk about her latest book, Lies and Solace, in her Love at Solace Lake Series.
What’s this series about? Well…
Love is worth the risk…
When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet, and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.
As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.
When did your writing journey begin?
My writing journey began more than 25 years ago. I’ve always been a reader, so I suppose that was what brought me to the world of writing. The more romance novels I read, the more I wanted to write one myself. In my naivety, I believed it would be a snap. I mean, really, how hard could it be? I soon discovered how hard! But the crazy thing is, despite the difficulty, once I started I couldn’t stop. Apparently, writing is my drug of choice.
Tell us about what you write.
I write romance fiction in novel and novella lengths, and I’ve also written a few short stories. (You can read three of them for free on my website.) My favorite romance genre to write is contemporary romance, though I have written a book or two of romantic suspense, which I also adore. So much fun to put the characters in physical peril! (Does that make me a bad person?) I’ve also written a couple of stories set during or just after World War Two, which is a time period I find fascinating. I also enjoy melding genres by occasionally incorporating bits of the paranormal or mystery into my contemporary romance novels. In one of my works-in-progress, a series I call Twice in a Lifetime, I combine my love for World War Two stories with contemporary romance, paranormal romance and time travel. So much fun!
Did you go the traditional route (agent/publisher), small press, or self-pub? Tell us about your experience with the publishing process.
For several years, I submitted manuscripts to various imprints of Harlequin Books without success. As you can imagine, I was pretty discouraged, and despite what I said about not being able to stop writing, I was on the verge of losing hope. Then one of my writing friends suggested I try submitting to her publisher, Uncial Press. At the time, they were a brand-new small press exclusively publishing e-books, but since my friend Lesley had known the owner from her time at another publishing house, I decided to give them a shot. I honestly didn’t expect anything, but to my surprise and amazement, they wanted to publish Her Best Man. The idea that someone thought enough of my writing to publish it gave me the confidence to keep writing and to continue to hone my craft. Since then I’ve also been published with The Wild Rose Press and Carina Press, and this past year I self-published my Love at Solace Lake series.
What was your inspiration for Lies and Solace, book one in the Love at Solace Lake series?
I wanted to explore the effect that murder/suicide in a family has on children. What sort of adults do they grow up to become? What are the ripple effects on extended family and friends? In Lies and Solace, Harper Lindquist is only ten years old when her father kills her mother and then commits suicide. Harper and her sisters Scarlet and Maggie, all bear the psychological scars of this early trauma. They were left with abandonment issues, shame, anger, and guilt. It was fascinating to get into their heads and try to imagine what such trauma must have been like for them.
Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:
Never stop learning about the craft of writing. Never stop trying to be a better writer. Take classes, read books on craft, go to writing conferences. Too many writers decide they know enough. What more could they possibly have to learn? Trust me, there’s always something.