Hi Jaci and welcome to Delighted Reader! I have been a fan of yours for a very long time. Squealing to have you with us to talk about your new release, Hope Burns.
Situated in Hope, OK, the Hope Series is about small town life in Oklahoma. Having grown up in a larger town and now living in a smaller town about the size of Hope, I too love small town life (most days). What drew you to this fictional small town and the down to earth characters you created?
I live in a small town in Oklahoma. I can’t say as Hope is exactly like the place I live, but it’s a union of the town I live in and many small towns I’ve traveled through in Oklahoma. The characters are all the types of people I like to create, plus a representative sample of the kinds of people you might find in a small town. They’re everyday people who own businesses, teach school, see to the public safety. It’s the kind of town I’ve always wanted to create a world around.
We have seen a little of Carter throughout the series, and hints of the elusive Molly who left town after a bad break up with Carter, never to return. How hard was it to find a reason why two young lovers would fall out of love so bad that one would leave town forever?
A lot of that has to do with who Molly is as a character. It always comes down to the characters, their motivations and their makeup. With Molly, she felt she had no other recourse but to get away. It was her choice and she’s backed it up all these years by not coming back home. She’s unable to face the past—unable to face Carter. There’s a tight fear and a denial inside her that she’s held onto. It’s a harsh pain that she’s lived with all these years, and at the start of the book she finally has to come face to face with that misery she’s been running from all these years.
I’ve known the reason Carter and Molly broke apart from the very first book. I’m very excited to tell their story now. Young love is often painful, fraught with mistakes and heartache. Some people break apart and never find their way back to each other again. Others find a way to work through it. With Molly and Carter, they’ve endured years of separation and haunting ‘what ifs’. It’s how they deal with those years apart and the pain that separated them that makes this story.
Molly has a lot of pent up anger that must be resolved before she can move on. Carter, while still hurt, has moved on and grown into a man that Molly can’t resist. I couldn’t imagine them coming to any agreement where they could get along. How do you work out getting characters to find common ground?
Each of them dealt with their pain in different ways. Carter pulled it inward and stayed in Hope, building his business and moving on with his life in the best way he could. Molly, on the other hand, ran away without dealing with her pain. There’s a lot of denial on her part and she’s lived comfortably with that for years. Neither of them will ever be whole again, will ever be able to move forward with relationships until they put their past to rest. It’s in dealing with their past—and with each other—that they find common ground and figure out if their futures are together or apart.
No two characters are the same, and the exciting part of working on this book is seeing how differently they each handled a life changing event. And when they come together again, how they move forward after they dissect the event. It’s obvious they still care about each other, but is that enough to forge a relationship? Fun stuff. J
What do you think is the key to your success as a writer to so many awesome stories?
Thank you! I’d like to think I write with emotion and with heart. There’s always something at stake for my characters, and I hope my readers are happy to come along on the journey my characters take to happily ever after.
Your romances cover many sub-genres like erotica, sports, paranormal and contemporary. What’s your favorite genre to write?
I’m grounded in contemporary romance right now and plan to stay there. Whether the story is highly steamy or maybe a little milder, contains sports or is centered in small town America, contemporary romance makes me happy.
Being a huge football fan like your characters in Hope Burns, what is your favorite sport to watch and cheer? To write?
I like a lot of sports, which is why I also write a sports series, the Play by Play series. But I have to say my absolute favorite sport is football. We watch a lot of college football (Boomer Sooner!), as well as pro football(Go Rams!).
As far as writing sports, I don’t have an absolute favorite. It’s fun to write a lot of different sports. Football’s always a joy to write because it’s my favorite sport. But I love baseball and hockey, too.
Thank you so much for visiting with us today Jaci! Keep writing books I can’t wait to grab up and read!
Thanks for having me here!