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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Behind the Book

The idea for “A Long Way from Eden” was given to me. My friend Susan had conceived the premise; Meg Evans is confronted by Zane Martin who tells her that her son has gotten his daughter pregnant. He insists on an immediate wedding for the eighteen and twenty year olds. Because Meg was forced into an abusive marriage by an unplanned teenage pregnancy, there’s no way she’ll allow Zane to railroad her son Tom into a marriage he’s not ready for. Tom can take responsibility for his child without getting married. But Zane grew up not knowing who his father was; his mother has refused to tell him for forty years. He won’t let his grandchild live with that kind of shame. Neither Meg nor Zane will back down.
After writing the first couple of scenes, Susan decided she wasn’t going to do anything with the story. I really liked the premise, so I asked her if I could take the story and run with it. Susan agreed and “A Long Way from Eden” was born. The story is one of my favorites because it is so full of emotion.  Meg and Zane are two of my favorite characters as well. Both have to overcome the past in order to have a future filled with love. I try very hard to give them many obstacles to overcome!
“Till September” was conceived partly out of personal experience and partly from headlines in the news at the time. The story takes place on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, my home province in western Canada. Hannah Kramer is a widow who is trying to open a bed and breakfast in her century old house in an effort to save the farm left to her by her dead husband. Before he died he made her promise to look after the land as a legacy to their son Ryan.
But making a living from the land is tough, especially when expenses are high and the price of grain is low. As I was writing this story, farmers were holding large rallies to get the attention of governments, and to let them know they couldn’t survive without help. Some of my own relatives sold out or were forced into bankruptcy at the time. So this was a story close to my heart.
Hannah is doing her best to make money any way she can. When Quinn Anderson arrives on her farm looking for a place to stay, she at first mistakes him for someone wanting the job she’d advertised for. She needs someone to work in her vast gardens, look after the animals and generally help out when needed. Quinn makes a deal with her; he’ll work mornings at her farm for free board and room.  Since Hannah can’t turn down the offer for free labor, she agrees.
What Hannah doesn’t know is that Quinn works for a real estate development company that is buying up farmland in Saskatchewan for purchase by prospective buyers from overseas. Living and working on Hannah’s farm will give him the opportunity to get to know farmers in the area who may want to sell their farms. And he has to admit that he is intrigued by the beautiful widow. He’d like to get to know her better as well.

Having grown up with no permanent place to call his own, finding homes for other people is very important to him. What he doesn’t realize about Hannah is how passionate she is about saving her own farm and the community she lives in. She hates companies like his that put her friends and neighbors out of their homes. He is about to tell her his true purpose in Saskatchewan when she tells him how much she hates Golden Oak, the company he works for. He backs off, not wanting her to kick him off her farm. He vows to tell her later. But as they get to know each other better, and eventually fall in love, Quinn finds it impossible to tell her the truth. But in a small town, secrets are impossible to keep.   
Thanks for reading my blogs about where story ideas come from. To read excerpts from any of my books, please go to my website at And while you’re there enter the contest to win copies of my books. For more information check out my contest page. Thanks for dropping by!
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Maria Zannini said...

A Long Way From Eden really pulls out all the stops in conflict.

And Till September is especially near and dear to my heart since I'm a homesteader. It's not a grand place, but it's home.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Maria,
The conflict in "A Long Way from Eden" is especially heightened because Meg has never told anyone, not even her son, that she was abused. As far as he knows he came from a happy family and his father died in an accident. But now Meg is in love. How can she marry Zane if she's still married to someone else?

Hanging on to a piece of land that has been in the family for generations can be very difficult. If the current owners lose the land, through no fault of their own, there is tremendous guilt. Hannah is determined to hang on to her land, even if it means losing her chance at love.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jean P said...

Sounds like a powerful story, thanks for sharing how it came about. This is a book I want to read.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Jana Richards said...

Thanks Jean. I hope you enjoy it.


MarthaE said...

It is always fun to hear how authors come up with their story ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Kasey said...

I think the topic of financial stress will connect with a lot of people. It’s something many people can relate to so they will gravitate towards your book. Wishing you much success.

BTW, I love the book cover. Sexy and Sweet!


Jana Richards said...

Thanks for dropping by Martha. All the best.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Kasey,
Yes, too many people can relate to financial stress. The stress is doubled when you're losing not only a job, but a way of life.

I like the cover too! I think it captures the feeling of the book.


Nancy G said...

Financial stress happens at all levels in today's society, so this show hit home to many.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Wow, this sounds like a fantastic read! I love when stories deal with things that happen in REAL life, I like to be taken away to another place with some books, but I also love to feel the realness of a situation that could happen to anyone, and does.

Thanks so much for sharing!