I’m so pleased to introduce another Wild Rose Press story, One More Second Chance by Jana Richards. I just love TWRP, their authors, their covers, and their fabulous stories!
Where did you get the idea for your new novel?
Actually, it wasn’t my idea. The Wild Rose Press came up with the concept of a multi-author, multi-romance-genre series that takes place in a small coastal town in Maine called Lobster Cove. I had a work-in-progress that felt perfect for this series, and ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE was born.
Why did you choose this genre?
Because Lobster, Cove, Maine is a small town and I love writing, and reading, small town romances, I felt this was a good fit for me. Also, the idea of being part of a “team” was also appealing. Being a writer is a solitary occupation, so it’s always fun to participate in a group project.
Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book you’d like to share?
I had a bit of an issue coming up with a title for this book. My publisher already had a book in their catalogue with the same title I originally used. So I came up with something else. And again, my editor emailed to say that title had already been used. Back to the drawing board once more! I came up with a couple of titles, and my editor and I agreed that ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE was the winner. It seems to fit because this is a second chance at love story, for Julia at least, and Alex gives her more than one chance to fall in love again.
What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?
The most difficult and unusual thing about writing this book was the co-ordination required between all the writers and the senior editor of the series. We couldn’t just create characters or landmarks in the town willy-nilly. If there was a statue in the park in one book, it couldn’t just suddenly disappear or change in the next book. I couldn’t just create my own restaurant for my hero and heroine to hang out in; it had to be one already in existence, with the same staff and the same décor. Without this kind of continuity, we wouldn’t have a series. But it necessitated a lot emailing back and forth, a really terrific map of the town, and a spreadsheet with a list of manuscripts and their characters.
Are there any tricks or habits you use when creating a story?
I always do some advance planning before I begin writing. I fill out character sketches, and write a long, rambling synopsis-type story, outlining what I think the plot of the story is going to be. It gives me a place to start, and characters to start with. I wish I could say that all this pre-work is everything I need to write my novel and it never changes, but I always find that once I get into the actual writing of a story, things evolve. Sometimes I learn something new about a character that alters the direction of the plot. Sometimes the entire trajectory of the story transforms. In one of my recent WIPs, I discovered I had the wrong hero and heroine together! Back to the drawing board!
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and how do you like it?
I work as a part-time admin assistant for a provincial veterinary medical association and I like it very much. My main function is the accounting for the association. But because we’re a small staff, just five of us, and my executive director trusts me, I get to do a lot of other things. I’ve researched and written articles for our newsletter. Every year when we give out awards at our annual general meeting, I get to interview the award winners and tell their stories. I even get to shop for gifts for speakers for our annual conference, which is always fun! I like the variety, the ability to choose my own hours, and the fact that I get to hang out with people I like. As I said before, writing is solitary. Sometimes I need to get out of the writing cave!
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
Sleep! I’m kidding, sort of. The thing that would be give me the most writing time would probably be if I got rid of my television. But I have to admit I’m a little addicted to TV, so the best I can do is to try to limit the time I spend in front of the tube, and use that time for writing instead.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE?
First and foremost, I would like readers to come away from reading ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE feeling they’ve been entertained. I hope the novel evokes the emotions the characters feel; love, hope, fear, belonging. And I also hope readers who’ve never lived in a small town come to an appreciation for small-town life.
If you could change something about one of your books that’s already released, what would it be?
When I’ve looked back at some of my already published books, I always find some phrases that I wish I’d changed. Occasionally some dialogue makes me cringe. But I don’t think there’s anything really major I’d change about any of my books. I’m proud of all of them.
What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?
I’ve written historical novels set during World War Two, but I’ve never written a historical set in an earlier period. I love books set in Victorian or Regency England or Scotland, so someday I’d like to try my hand at one of those.
Now I’d like to ask readers a question…
Have you ever lived in a small town? Do you like small town romances? Why?
Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.
Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.
Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?
“What did the x-ray find?” she asked.
“A spiral fracture of the right arm.” He paused for a moment and took a deep breath as if trying to control his emotions. “I’ve seen this kind of injury before. A fracture like this can be the result of a fall, but it can also be an indication of child abuse. An arm as small as Ava’s will break like a twig if it’s twisted hard enough. I’m obligated to contact the authorities if I suspect abuse.”
Julia stared at him in mute shock, her brain struggling to process his words, as if trying to translate some unintelligible language. The words child abuse rang in her ears. Finally she found her voice.
“You think someone deliberately hurt her?”
“Her injuries are consistent with abuse.”
“I don’t give a damn what they’re consistent with. Ava has not been mistreated. My mother said she fell down the stairs, and if that’s what she said, then that’s what happened.”
“I believe there’s more to the story than a simple fall.”
“If it comes down to believing you or believing my mother, I’m going with my mother.”
“Perhaps you don’t know your mother as well as you think you do.”
Julia sucked in a breath and stared into Dr. Campbell’s dark, accusing eyes. The idea that her mother would hurt Ava was ridiculous. She adored Ava, would do anything for her…
She blinked and looked away, remembering an incident the other day. She’d heard her yelling at Ava about the milk she’d spilled on the kitchen floor, making such a huge deal of it that Ava had cried. It had struck her as strange, since she couldn’t remember her mother yelling at anyone, ever. She wasn’t as patient as she used to be. And how did she explain her strange phone call telling her Ava had been hurt? Of course she’d been upset, but her mother had been nearly incoherent with distress. Was something going on she wasn’t aware of? She was seventy-one now. Maybe looking after a rambunctious five-year-old was too much for her.
No. She shook her head to reject the disloyal thought. Dr. Campbell was the one who was wrong.
“I know my mother. She didn’t do this. It was an accident.”
“We’ll soon find out. Sharon is questioning Ava now.”
Julia stared at the door. “She’ll be scared, all by herself.”
“Sharon’s very good at what she does. She has a way of making kids feel comfortable.”
Julia turned on him, the anger and despair she’d been holding inside spilling out. “And you? Do you enjoy upsetting five-year-olds and turning families’ lives upside down? Does it make you feel powerful to sic the authorities on us?”
“Look, Mrs. Stewart, I take no pleasure in bringing in the authorities. But I’ve seen child abuse, up close and personal, and I can tell you it’s damn ugly. The things parents and caregivers are capable of doing to defenseless children…”
He stopped abruptly, his chest heaving. Closing his eyes, he averted his face and took a deep breath. When he turned back to her, his steely control was back in place. “So yeah, if I have even the smallest suspicion that a child has been abused, I’m going to ask questions. And I’m not going to apologize for it.”
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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