Hi, I’m Holly Jacobs, and Cheryl graciously invited me to blog this week in honor of the release of my first Harlequin Everlasting Love book, THE HOUSE ON BRIAR HILL ROAD, and its accompanying tied, short story “The Moments.” Both stories center around the Conway family and follows them through the sweet moments in their lives together, as well as through the bittersweet.
The short story was inspired by my daughter, who’s a nurse. She called me one morning, a few years back, as she came off her shift at a children’s hospital, complaining about an intern at work. Everything is fodder for a writer. And her complaint germinated, and...well, if you pop over to eHarlequin.com to read the free short story, you’ll see how her annoyance inspired my character’s fictionalized experience.
It’s one of the questions I’m asked the most. Where do your stories come from? Well, I write fiction, so all of my stories truly come from my imagination. But they’re also all inspired from snippets and incidents in my life. I take them and turn and twist them into fiction. That’s what all writers do. They take pieces of conversations overheard in a waiting room, a song on the radio, things we love, things we hate, things and people who inspire us, situations that break our hearts...all of them go in our books.
The HOUSE ON BRIAR HILL ROAD’s inspiration is very straight forward. It was inspired by my mother-in-law and her experience with breast cancer. I wish you could have known her. Dort was a loyal, loving wife to Don, the mother of three children, and a grandmother. She was a teacher. She was a loving, kind nurturer of her students. She was devoted to her church. She was Irish, and reveled in her heritage. Her trips to Ireland were highlights. She loved to read, loved to laugh, was a wonderful friend and sister... Everyone who knew her still feels her loss at our very core almost four years later.
I wish you could have known her.
The thing is, I could go on and list all of these things and more, but they won’t let you really know Dort. I guess the best way to sum up her life is she loved deeply and was loved just as deeply in return. She was my mother-in-law, because I married her son. She was my friend and mentor because we shared that bond of love. Breast cancer took her from us too soon. Far too soon. The fact that this book comes out in October, in breast cancer awareness month, gives me a forum to remind my readers, my friends, my family, to practice BSE...breast self-examination. You can find more information on how to do it at www.susangkomen.com. It’s a great organization, and such a small thing that could save your family going through the pain mine did. As a small homage to Dort, I’ll be donating part of my royalties from the book to Susan G. Komen in her name.
Of all the books I’ve written, this one was the most difficult. It hit me so very near to my heart. And though all the characters and their reactions are fiction-- my husband and I only drew closer throughout Dort’s illness--you’ll see some of Dort in Kathleen. Oh, the character is totally fictional, but her soul...it’s Dort’s. That’s the best eulogy a writer can give a loved one. And believe me, Dort was loved. So, when you read the book, you’ll reach the essence of Dort. I guess, in the end, that’s as close as I can get to truly introducing you to this amazing, very missed, woman who enriched my life in so many ways.
IN STORES NOW:
The House on Briar Hill Road, Harlequin Everlasting Love, 10/08
“The Moments” a tied short story, eHarlequin.com
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