Today, I’m chatting with Jana Richards, author of Strong Enough, about her love of writing, books, and life.
What kind of research did you do for STRONG ENOUGH? Did you travel, use the Internet, speak with experts on a topic, etc?
Most of my research for STRONG ENOUGH was accomplished online. One of the things I researched was dog rescue. I learned about a network of volunteers in America who transport dogs from shelters that are overfull to shelters better able to accommodate them find them a new home. I also spoke to a friend who has volunteered at a dog shelter and knew the ins and outs, including the smells my heroine might encounter.
This book deals with sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. I researched online and I also read books written by survivors of abuse. I had an idea about the long term affects of sexual abuse on victims but they’re far more wide ranging than I expected. They also last much longer. I wanted to shine a light on these long-term effects any way I could.
Though I deal with difficult subjects, I believe STRONG ENOUGH is a celebration of love over trauma.
That’s great I like books that feature tough subjects. It’s a good way to learn about them. What do you prefer: ebook or print? Why?
I honestly like either format. It just depends on what I’m doing and what kind of book I’m reading. If I’m reading a non-fiction book about some aspect of writing that I’m going to refer back to repeatedly, I want a print book. If I’m traveling, or if I want a book of fiction to read while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, an ebook reader is a lightweight and portable device that I can pop into my purse. And don’t forget audio books. The best thing about them is that you can listen to a story while you’re doing something else, like gardening or housework.
How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?
I’ve been writing for over thirty years. Sometime in the early nineties I started reading romance novels, and I had the bright idea that I could write one, too. How hard could it be, I asked myself? Famous last words. Once I started writing, I was completely hooked, and I’ve been indulging in my addiction ever since.
Haha. Writing is tougher than it seems. We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?
One of my favorite quotes comes from Yoda of Star Wars fame. “Do or do not. There is no try.”
I think if you say you will try to do something, you give yourself permission not to do it, or to make only a half-hearted effort. Either you do something or you don’t. It’s like me saying I’ll “try” to diet. It usually doesn’t work. If I’m going to write a book, I can’t just try. I have to make a plan and then execute it.
I’ve always liked that quote from Yoda too. Any advice for the aspiring authors out there? Particularly those who are feeling a little discouraged?
Publishing is a tough business. It’s often a struggle to reach an audience of readers and make sales. If you want to stay in this business, make sure that writing is absolutely the thing you have to do. But once you’ve decided that writing is your calling, don’t let anything stop you. The pure love of writing will sustain you when times get tough.
So true. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy going to live theatre and live concerts, though I haven’t seen a play or concert in over two years now. We just started going out for dinner again. I enjoy playing golf with friends, more for the social aspect then the sport aspect. It’s always fun to dig in the dirt a bit and do some gardening when the weather finally cooperates here in Canada.
Oh, I hear you about not doing much in the past two years. It’s the same with me. Thank you so much for chatting with me today!
Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.
As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.
Tagline: Love can make you stronger, if you let it.
She looked away. “I’m sorry. I hate women who use tears to get what they want. It’s just that yesterday the shelter had to put down some dogs. There was this one old dog, Shep….” She shook her head, unable to finish.
He squeezed her elbow before letting her go. “I’m sorry, Charlotte.”
She nodded and again Damon sensed her vulnerability. Charlotte tried to give off an aura of strength. She was the caregiving nurse, the person others looked to for help. But who helped Charlotte?
After a few breaths, she straightened her shoulders and faced him, her composure once more back in place. “How long do you think it will be?”
“You mean until the retreat is up and running?” When she nodded, he blew out a breath. “I don’t know. My building’s in worse shape than I first thought.”
“If there’s anything I can do to speed up the process, let me know.”
“You know anything about unplugging sewer lines?”
She made a face. “You’re on your own, Greyson.”
Don’t I know it. “Hey, you asked. From now on I’ll only request your help when it comes to dogs.”
She chuckled. “Good plan.”
This time Charlotte’s smile was genuine, and for a moment Damon couldn’t breathe. He found himself wondering what it would be like to have the full force of her smile directed at him on a regular basis, and to know there was real affection for him behind the smile. The longing he experienced at that thought shocked him.
Better not to allow such thoughts to take root. Despite all the work he’d done over the years to overcome the harm done to him in the past, he still had questions. Would it ever be possible for him to have a normal, loving, long-term relationship with a woman? So far, the longest relationship he’d had lasted only six months.
Maybe he’d always be damaged goods.
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. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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