Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Home Fires Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaway


Today I would like to introduce you to Jana Richards, author of Home Fires. She has come to tell us more about herself and her novel. Welcome to Novel Moments, Jana.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live on the Canadian prairies and I’ve loved reading romance novels for many years. I like most sub-genres of romance, but I’ve got a soft spot for reading and writing romantic suspense and romantic comedy. But then again, I like historical and contemporaries! I enjoy characters with a quick wit and a sense of humor. Unless they’re in the middle of a war and not feeling particularly witty. Then I want characters with a take charge attitude. “Home Fires” is my 8th publication. You can check out my books at my website at http://www.janarichards.net

What keeps you writing?
The desire to tell the stories that rattle around in my brain! I also want to grow as a writer, to write in areas I’ve never written in before and to get better with each book. The desire to write books that connect with people is a huge motivation that keeps me going.

Can you tell us a little more about your novel?
Home Fires is about Anne Wakefield, a young British woman who travels to Canada after the end of World War Two to marry her fiancé, a handsome Canadian pilot she met in London. But when she arrives at his hometown on the Canadian Prairies, she discovers he’s married someone else! She thinks her only course of action is to return to England. Her ex-fiance’s mother has another idea – marry her other son. Erik Gustafson was badly wounded and scarred during the war, and doesn’t believe a beautiful woman like Anne would want him. But Anne sees past his scars to the man beneath, and falls in love. Erik, however, can’t get over the fact that she was engaged to his brother. Is he merely her second choice? It will take all Anne’s courage to convince Erik that she loves him best, and forever.

What inspired you to write this novel?
I’ve been fascinated with the human stories of World War Two for a long time, and in the stories of War Brides in particular. Some 48,000 women (mostly British but some from France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany) married Canadian servicemen and came to Canada after the war. Most of these unions were remarkably successful and long lasting, even though the couples met under the stressful times of the war, and in a lot of cases didn’t know each other for very long before they married. Some of the marriages, like Anne’s, were over before they really began. However the marriages turned out, I’ve always been amazed at the courage and determination of these women to leave everything they’ve known to marry the men they loved.

How did you come up with the title?
It comes from a World War One song “Keep the home fires burning”, also known as “Till the Boys come Home”. The song encourages those remaining on the home front to stay strong, so that their loved ones have a home to come back to when war is over.

How long did it take you to research and write the novel?
I’ve been thinking about this story for a long time, but I think it took me about six or seven months from the time I began researching and writing until it contracted for publication.

Is there a certain message you would like readers to get out of this novel?
I guess I’d like people to be aware of the tremendous sacrifices and courage of the World War Two generation. Young men barely out of their teens fought and died to protect their homes and families. Even if they survived the war, many were left with scars, both external and internal. Even those left at home didn’t escape the carnage. Many lost fathers, brothers, husbands, sons. Lives were changed all over the world.

Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
There are times when I’m not sure which direction a story should take, or what a character should do. That usually means I don’t know my characters and my story well enough. I need to take a step back to really connect with my character. Maybe I need to ‘interview’ him to find out what he really wants. When I get to the point when I really know my character, it’s much easier to figure out what they would do in any given situation.

Are you a full time writer? If not, how do you make time to write?
I work part-time at a day job, so I also work part-time at writing. I write on days off and on weekends, and some evening. My favorite thing is to set aside a chunk of time, possibly a weekend or longer, and go away somewhere so I can devote the entire time to writing. These retreats are a lot of fun and are very productive, but unfortunately they don’t happen often enough.

What does your daily writing schedule look like?
It depends on the day. On days that I’m home, I’ll walk the dog first thing in the morning and then sit down at my computer for a couple of hours. After lunch I’ll go at it again until around four o’clock. By that time, I’m usually mentally exhausted and desperately in need of some exercise.

What does your marketing schedule look like?
I’m afraid my marketing schedule is a bit chaotic and not totally organized. When I’ve got a new book coming out, I put things into high gear with blog tours like the one I’m currently on now. In between books, I blog at my own site http://janarichards.blogspot.com, I do a little posting on Facebook, participate at events at review sites, and do a little guest blogging. I know there’s still a lot more I could be doing, like Goodreads and Twitter. Someday I hope to move into those areas as well.

Which avenues do you use to market your books?
Most of my marketing is on the Internet and since I like blogging, most of my efforts are focused in that direction.

What books can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on a series of light hearted romantic comedies I call “Left at the Altar’. Each book begins with someone being dumped at their wedding. But it usually turns out to be the best thing that could happen to them. With any luck this series will find a home!

What was your best ever moment as a published author?
Probably when my editor Jude Glad from Uncial Press accepted my first novel for publication, “Her Best Man”. While I was working on edits on this novel, she told me I was a ‘real’ writer because I took the time to really improve the story, something real writers do. I’ve never forgotten that and it remains my best moment as a writer so far.

Do you have a message for your readers?
I’m having a special promotion between July 4 and July 18. If you buy a copy of “Home Fires” or any of my other titles, you will receive a PDF copy of my romantic comedy “Rescue Me” as a bonus gift. All you have to do is email me at jana.richards@hotmail.com with the receipt number of your purchase and I’ll send you the book. It’s just that simple! You can find a listing of my titles at http://www.janarichards.net/Books.html  To read a blurb and excerpt from “Rescue Me” please click here.

And if you’re interested in the $25 Amazon gift certificate that I’m giving away at the end of this blog tour, please leave a comment or a question for me. I’d love to talk to you! I’ll be randomly choosing the winner of the GC from all comments received on the tour. Please go to http://www.janarichards.net/Appearance.html for a complete schedule. To receive bonus entries for the GC, like me on Facebook, follow my blog at http://janarichards.blogspot.com  or sign up for my newsletter and then email me at jana.richards@hotmail.com to let me know. Winner of the gift certificate will be notified by July 15 and their name will be printed on my Contests page. Thanks so much for your support!

Thank you so much for telling us a little more about you and your novel. I appreciate it.

HOME FIRES
by Jana Richards

BLURB

Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancé’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.
Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg.  Anne sees the beauty of his heart.The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?

EXCERPT

She whirled around to glare at him, her eyes blazing. “No! I’m not a child! I don’t have to be molly-coddled and baby-sat. I spent six years in a war zone, hiding in bomb shelters, never having enough to eat. I worked in a hospital treating blitz victims with wounds so horrendous grown men would gag to look at them. I faced those horrors every day. Sometimes things were so bad I thought I couldn’t go on. But I did. Because I had to. And I’ll face things here too. So don’t tell me to give up because I won’t!”

Erik pushed himself out of his chair to face her, awed by her spirit and courage. She lifted her chin as if defying him to contradict her, her hands clenched at her sides. Her dark hair curled in wild abandon as it dried, framing her pale oval face like a halo. Her beauty and ferocity were magnificent.

“I think you’re the strongest woman I know.”

Her eyes widened in surprise, her hands unclenching. He caught the quiver of her chin as she fought to hold back tears. 

He opened his arms and she stepped into them, wrapping her arms around his waist and clinging to him. He held her tightly, inhaling the sweet, clean scent of her, never wanting to let her go.  
 
“Don’t cry. Everything’s all right now.” 

She lifted her head to look into his face, her dark eyes shiny with tears, her lips slightly parted. Erik stared at her mouth, wanting desperately to kiss her, to capture her sweetness. He slowly lowered his mouth to hers. To his surprise, she didn’t run off, or turn away in revulsion. He was so close her breath mingled with his, her breathing swallow and erratic. His heart slammed against his chest, his body thrumming with need. For the first time in over three years, he felt alive.

AUTHOR Bio 
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length 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, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.net

GIVEAWAY

Jana will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Please follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/04/virtual-book-tour-home-fires-by-jana.html

17 comments:

  1. I like your best moment ever. To be called a REAL writer must have been so wonderful.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. It was the best moment for sure. Up to that point I knew I wanted to write, but really didn't have the confidence to call myself a writer, even to myself. Having someone else confirm that I had what it took was a huge boost for me.

      Thanks for following!
      Jana

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  2. I'd be interested to see the back-and-forth between Canada and England in the book, since I've always been very interested in both locales!

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. The book is set entirely in Canada, in Saskatchewan, after Anne arrives. Canada in the 1940s was very rural; the majority of people lived on farms or small towns.

      There were a lot of hardships in England at the end of the war. Rationing continued until 1954, and it took several years to rebuild bombed out cities. Recently I've seen footage from the 1948 Olympic Games in London, and rubble from destroyed buildings remains.

      Thanks for following.
      Jana

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  3. This is the first I've seen this title but thank you for calling my attention to it. It is going on my wish list!
    musicalfrog at comcast.net

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    1. Hi Patti,
      Thanks for commenting. I hope you enjoy "Home Fires".

      Jana

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  4. Sometimes, when I read a blurb about "your Anne" going to Canada, I can't help but think of Anne of Green Gables. I love those stories. And the depiction of Canada is so lush and sweeping.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Catherine,
      I love Anne of Green Gables too. She's a Canadian icon, a true heroine. Though my Anne doesn't look anything like her (dark hair, not red) I like to think she's a Canadian heroine too!

      Jana

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  5. This looks like a great book!

    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Thanks Robin! Good luck in the contest.

      Jana

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  6. It does sound like a great book. Congrats Jana. I'm sure you'll have a lot of success with the novel. It was nice having you on Novel Moments.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by.

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    1. Thanks so much for having me, Liz. It was wonderful being here.

      All the best,
      Jana

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  7. I love Canada and have had the pleasure of visiting there twice. The first time was when my father took me to New York and we visited Niagara Falls. We crossed over to the Canadian side and the Canadians truly outshone the Americans there. Those gardens on the Canadian side of the Falls were spectacular. After I married I had the chance to enjoy a train trip from Texas all the way to Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada, and again I was in awe of the beautiful gardens. Canadians truly take excellent care of their public gardens.

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    1. Hi Gladys,
      Maybe we love gardens so much because our season to enjoy them is so short. After a long, cold winter, it's truly wonderful to watch the gardens come to life. One of the most beautiful gardens I've ever visited is Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island near Victoria. I believe it used to be an old quarry, but they've turned it into a garden paradise.

      Jana

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  8. Jana Richards's bio is intriguing. I'd love to read her. And what an interesting story.

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    1. Thanks Julia! I appreciate you dropping by.

      Jana

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