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Friday, February 18, 2011


Where Does Inspiration Come From?

I’ve been fascinated with events of World War Two since I was a child. Growing up, my father would tell stories about his time in the Canadian Army. He enlisted in 1942 and trained at a couple of bases in Western Canada before being shipped to England. There he was given further training, and although he didn’t know it at the time, he was being prepared, along with thousands of other Allied soldiers, for the invasion of Europe. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, my Dad was part of the Canadian contingent that stormed Juno Beach in Normandy, France. By June 9, 1944 he was captured by the Germans and spent the next eleven months as a prisoner of war. 

Luckily, he survived the invasion and his captivity and lived into his eighties. But his ordeal has always stayed with me, leaving me with an appreciation for the hardships people of that era went through and a fascination with the history of the period.

When I started to write romance, conventional wisdom said that “historical” novels had to be set before World War One, and usually before the turn of the century. So I concentrated on contemporary romance, feeling that I had a better handle on modern times then I did on times past. But still I carried a desire to someday write about the 1940s and the events that had captured my interest since childhood.

Fast forward to January 2010. The Wild Rose Press had put out a call for stories for their “Jewels of the Night” series. The series would be comprised of novella-length romantic suspense stories involving a blue diamond. They could be set in any time period. I really wanted to participate in the series. After much thought, I finally came up with an idea that allowed me to indulge my interest in World War Two history: what if a famous and very valuable blue diamond was stolen by the Nazis and was about to be sold in exchange for weapons that would be used against the Allies and possibly extend the war? What if this event took place in occupied France in 1942, and what if the only person who could help the French Resistance steal back the diamond was in jail in England for jewel theft? As I answered those questions, “Flawless” was born.

Writing a historical novel based on real historical events, was a new and daunting task for me. I read about the history of the time, and the events that led up to 1942 occupied France. I also read about the French Resistance and the support some parts of the Resistance received from the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). This group sent French speaking spies into France and supplied the Resistance with arms and two-way radios that allowed them to report on German troop movements and other events of interest to the British. I also researched the Lysander, the sturdy little plane used by the British to drop spies into France because of its ability to land and take off on short runways, and to fly low enough to be undetectable to German radar. There were a lot of other things, like what does a French Chateau look like, what kind of dress was worn in the 1940s, and how do you pick the lock of a safe?

While the research might have been extensive, “Flawless” was a labor of love. It was released on January 5, 2011 by The Wild Rose Press. If you enjoy stories set in World War Two, or are a lover of romantic suspense, this story is for you.  
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to paranormal suspense and romantic comedy.  She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.  

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. 

You can reach Jana at her website, blog or Facebook She currently has a contest running on her website with three prizes of books to be won. Come take a look!


Donna L Bolk said...

I am soooo behind on my reading, and your book is another I must add to my list. It sounds great.

Nan D Arnold said...

Love the intriguing blue diamond theme. Souns like a fab historical.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Donna,
My TBR pile is getting out of hand. I'm way behind on reading all the Class of '85 high school reunion stories too. So many books, so little time!

I'm glad you made time to stop by.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Nan,
The Wild Rose Press has a whole romantic suspense series devoted to mysterious blue diamonds. "Flawless" is one of the stories in this "Jewels of the Night" series.

Thanks for stopping by!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Jana,
Your book sounds so good, and I what a premise you had for it. You must have heard so many stories from your father. Congratulations and best wishes for much success with it.

Susilien said...

Hello Jana,

You are new author to me. I love people who write what they are passionate about. I will be looking into your book this week. I enjoyed reading your blog entry.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Gail,
Dad talked in bits and pieces over the years about his experiences. I don't think he really wanted to talk about it much. Unfortunately, when I was young I didn't really listen that closely. I wish I would have written things down or recorded some of his memories. I wish I would have asked a lot more questions! We recently requested his war records from the government so that we could fill in a few gaps.

Thanks for your comment.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Susie,
When you write about something you feel passionate about, that passion comes through in the story. Or at least I hope it has in my case! I hope you enjoy "Flawless".


Maeve said...

Awesome post, Jana! How intriguing.

Jana Richards said...

Thanks Maeve! I really enjoyed the two excerpts of your that I read today. Good luck with the contest at RT!


Sandra Koehler said...

This sounds like a great story; like you I have always been a fan of WWII history and stories and have always wanted to write one. You give me the inspiration to do so. Congratulations on "Flawless" and your "Jewels of the Night" release. Alison Chambers

Jana Richards said...

Alison, if I've given you the inspiration to write a story set in WW2, that makes me very happy. Best of luck pursuing this dream.