Monthly Archives: January 2021

Story Behind the Story: Wild About Rand by Joleen James

Here’s Joleen James, whose A Wilding Point Romance series covers the lives and loves of people in a small town in the Puget Sound region. Her Story Behind The Story has a basis in her own emotional journey. (I was the copy editor for this story, so I had a first look!)

Wild About Rand by Joleen James!

What’s the theme behind the story?

Love heals all? I know this sounds so basic, but when you put two wounded people together, and their love helps them move forward again, toward happiness—Love Heals All—works.

What’s the log line?

Secret Summer Romance.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you? 

I had the idea for the Wilding Point Romance series a while before I wrote WILD ABOUT RAND. My idea for the series centered on the area I grew up in, a town on Puget Sound in Washington State. In the book, I call the town Wilding Point. The core of the story centers around the three Wilding siblings, with each sibling featured in their own book. Their internal conflicts stem from the relationship they have with their toxic father, a hard, unloving man. The father’s illness and subsequent death brings these three estranged siblings home to Wilding Point over the course of the three books (the series has since evolved into five books). Of course, each sibling will find love, and have a happy ending.

How did the original idea change as you went along? 

At that time, prior to when I starting writing WILD ABOUT RAND, my mother got very sick and passed away. As her main caregiver and advocate, I went through her end-of-life journey with her. Helping someone die is a life-changing experience—at least it was for me. I felt honored to be with her at the end, and treasure those memories now. Those memories became a driving force in WILD ABOUT RAND. 

I always planned for the father in WILD ABOUT RAND to become sick and pass away. However, my own life shaped this story. In the book, the father’s illness and death mirrored what I went through with my mom. I poured my heart out and walked through my grief while writing the book. Writing the end of life for Lucas Wilding through the lens of my own grief was definitely not planned! However, WILD ABOUT RAND is not a book about death. In fact, it’s about living! The story centers on the secret, summer romance between Kristine Wilding and Rand Bell, two people who are both moving on from different, emotional pasts. Their relationship is about bringing romance and joy back into their lives!

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

I knew I wanted three Wilding siblings: Kristine, a struggling single mom, who is in the first book; Lucky, her brother, a man with a dark past who feels unworthy of love; and a secret sibling, Cam, a local boy, who suddenly finds himself part of the twisted Wilding family. I’m not sure how the stories changed. I always start my books by writing the back-cover copy (a super-short synopsis). I’m always surprised by how I stick to my original story. The synopsis usually follows the book pretty closely when I’m finished.

Are you pleased with the results, or would you have done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I love this series and all the characters that populate Wilding Point. I am pleased with WILD ABOUT RAND. I think most of us have suffered loss, and I hope we’ve managed to move forward and find happiness. This is a story of hope we can all identify with.

Who would play the leads in the movie if (when) you make the deal?

I think the couple on the cover of WILD ABOUT RAND would be great!

What else do you want readers to know?

I want readers to know that this series is an ongoing labor of love. I feel more connected to this series than any other I have written before. Some of my strong connection has to do with the location, some to the personal tragedy I suffered, which made its way into WILD ABOUT RAND. If you like secret, summer romance (WILD ABOUT RAND), a wounded bad boy (WILD ABOUT LUCKY), secret babies and first lovers reunited (WILD ABOUT CAM), a little mystery mixed in with your romance (ONE WILD CHRISTMAS), this series is for you! Wait, I forgot about book 5…ONE WILD KISS—a story of forbidden love, coming soon! 

Bio

Joleen James is the author of The Wilding Point Romance series, The Hometown Alaska Men series, and several stand-alone contemporary romances, including the award-winning UNDER A HARVEST MOON. Currently, she’s working on ONE WILD KISS, book 5 in the Wilding Point Romance series. LOVE UNEXPECTED is her first romance short story set in Wilding Point and the story is included in the SUMMER VIBES ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY. Visit Joleen at www.joleenjames.com, or look for her on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy link:  Wild About Rand (A Wilding Point Romance Book 1) – Kindle edition by James, Joleen. Contemporary Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Story Behind the Story: Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans by Sonya Rhen

Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans!

Here’s Sonya Rhen, whose Shredded Orphans combines a bit of David and Goliath and a bit of Red Dwarf, explains what happens when you watch sci-fi TV—and then have a very vivid dream. 

What’s the theme behind your story?

The little guy can go up against big corporations and still win. Even the smallest actions can have bigger consequences.

What’s the logline?

In a world where Corporates rule everything, the Shredded Orphans seismic rock band are literally slaves to their jobs: playing music by night and saving the Universe by day.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?

I hate to even mention this, but it started with a dream I had of this group of people traveling through the desert. They were stranded, but they were still bantering with each other as if they were going to the mall or something. I had this dream years before I wrote the book and I think it was heavily influenced by a short-lived sci-fi show called Space Rangers. I think there were only five episodes ever shown on TV, but I was still fascinated with the camaraderie of the characters.

How did the original idea change as you went along?

I was originally thinking that they were a band of mercenaries, because it seemed that all sci-fi shows with spaceships were either mercenaries or military. Then the idea for a band started taking shape. My husband and sister were both in several bands and I had been to many of their concerts as well as a lot of other local band concerts in small venues around the Seattle area, so I felt I could get a lot of inspiration from that. I really had fun merging the sci-fi and rock star story elements.

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

I started with the image I had of the band of (and at the time didn’t realize how terribly cliche it was) four men and one woman walking along under the hot desert sun. I gave them all roles in the band. As I started writing, I had watched the TV show Firefly, another short-lived, but better-known TV show, and Farscape, so I think the characters were heavily influenced by both of those shows. I also really love Red Dwarf, but I don’t think I’ve achieved that level of funny.

I hope that my characters fleshed out to be more of their own personalities, with their own quirks by the time I finished writing the book. The lead singer, Lix, probably has a lot of my sensibilities, but is modeled a lot on my husband and some of the stories that he’s told me about band practice. I wanted Ophelia, the backup singer and trapeze artist (because what self-respecting band doesn’t have their own trapeze artist?), to be a tough, athletic, no-nonsense kind of woman. And while she is, a kind of softer, motherly side of her seemed to emerge throughout the book. I actually quite like that change. Chitto was supposed to be the calm meditative one, which he still is, but then he developed into a bit of comic relief for the book. Or does a humor book not have a comic relief? Anyhow, he’s a lot funnier than I had planned on.

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I’m very pleased with the way the book turned out. As a first novel I think it feels like a complete story and when I read it, I forget what I’ve written and it still makes me laugh. Probably, there are some words I would tweak now and maybe move some punctuation around, but on the whole I’m quite happy with it.

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal? 

I would so love to make a movie deal for Space Tripping! I modeled Lix’s mohawk after Jared Leto’s, but I think Lix’s personality is more in line with Keanu Reeves. I could see Gillian Anderson as the tough Ophelia, but perhaps someone younger like Molly C. Quinn from TV’s Castlewould be better for the red-headed trapeze artist.

What else do you want readers to know?

If you like light and funny with a touch of sci-fi, then Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans is the perfect book for you.

Bio: Sonya Rhen is the author of the humorous Space Tripping series. She lives east of Seattle with her husband, two children, grumpy old cat, and two manic dogs. When she’s not writing, you might find her dancing.

To check it out:

Buy link:  https://sonyarhen.wordpress.com/books/    (This is a link to my website book page with all the buy links on it.)