ABOUT THE BOOKWhen Rochelle McShannon moves with her father from Morgan County, Georgia to the Yorkshire Dales, she thinks she’s leaving behind everything that matters to her. Her mother has passed away, her twin brother is going west to avoid the looming Civil War, and her family’s unpopular views on slavery and secession have destroyed her relationship with the man she hoped to marry. If returning to her father's childhood home eases his grief, Chelle asks for nothing more.
Martin Rainnie understands grief. Since the loss of his wife in childbirth, he’s known little else, except anger. He’s retreated to his farm and turned his back on the world, including his baby daughter, who’s being fostered by Chelle’s relatives. With little Leah drawing them together, Martin begins to wonder if he can love again—and convince Chelle to do the same.
But the war overseas has far-reaching consequences, even in a small English village. Can Martin and Chelle overcome danger, loss, and bitterness to make a home where the heart is?
INTERVIEW WITH JENNIE MARSLAND
Jennie, how did you get started writing?
I started writing when I was very young, eight or nine years old. I just felt the need to tell stories. By the time I was twelve, I had a binder full of short stories and poetry. Then, in a fit of adolescent angst, I decided it was all trash and threw it away. A few years went by, and I started again. I kept writing short pieces, but never dreamed I’d write a novel—until I did.
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Getting a fresh new idea and plunging in, excited about the characters and the story. Middles are the most difficult part of writing for me. Plot becomes complicated, and as a pantser, I sometimes write myself into a dead end. When that happens I just have to trust that I’ll find my way out, but it isn’t easy.
What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wish I had been more patient and done more research before submitting my first book. On my first attempt, a small independent publisher accepted my book the day after I sent it, which should have been a red flag. The company folded before the book could be published. The next small publisher I tried published the book and then closed under suspicious circumstances, leaving authors unpaid. I could have saved myself a lot of anguish by being more selective.
Boy, have I been there, done that! (See my blog post on that subject.) What’s more important—characters or plot?
All of my books are character-driven. The plot arises from the strengths and weaknesses of the characters. How do they change? How do they need to grow to achieve a happy ending? And I insist on happy endings.
What books do you currently have published?
Where The Heart Is, my upcoming release from Tirgearr Publishing, will be out on September 7. It’s the first in a series called Choices of the Heart. I have a soft spot for Martin because he’s a talented musician. My partner is also a musician—we met when I signed up to take guitar lessons from him. When he stopped charging me for the lessons, I knew I was in trouble.
The second book in the series, now under consideration by Tirgearr, features Chelle’s twin brother Trey, who lands in Colorado after the Civil War. I grew up reading my father’s Westerns, so the setting came naturally.
I have three other books currently in print, titled Shattered, Deliverance, and Flight. These books make up my Winds of War, Winds of Change series. They’re based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, my hometown, during and after the Great War. Many people aren’t aware that the greatest explosion prior to the atomic bomb took place on Halifax Harbour on December 6, 1917, when a ship loaded with explosives collided with another ship and blew up. Half the city was destroyed. It was one of the major disasters of the twentieth century. Shattered and Deliverance are set at the time of the explosion, while Flight takes place later.
What’s the oldest thing you own and still use?
I love old things. Probably the oldest item I have is a small silver box that belonged to my grandmother. It’s similar to boxes that were sent to soldiers as gifts during the Great War, so it may have been used for that purpose. I use it to hold a few pieces of jewelry.
Is writing your dream job?
Definitely. It isn’t always easy, but there’s nothing else I’d rather do. I can’t survive without a creative outlet. I’ve heard it said that if you can stop writing, you should, but I’ve never been able to stop.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?
Ten years ago, I lost my job as a high school teacher because I’d developed a hearing problem. Feeling scared and desperate, I took a job selling insurance, even though I knew it wasn’t really a good fit for me. It was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. I learned that no matter how bad things look, it’s vital to stay true to yourself.
What do you love about where you live?
I love Halifax for its rich history—it’s one of Canada’s oldest cities, and it’s been a military port and seat of government since its inception. Then there’s the explosion, with its stories of tragedy and heroism. Then, Nova Scotia is just plain beautiful and the people are just plain nice.
What’s your favorite fast food?
Sushi, bar none. I love the stuff.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 3 in the Choices of the Heart series. It doesn’t have a title yet. It features a character from the second book that readers have told me intrigues them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennie Marsland is a teacher, an amateur musician, and for over thirty years, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age, and the affair has been life-long.
Jennie grew up reading Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey. She still has a soft spot for Westerns, and she draws further inspiration from her roots in rural Nova Scotia and stories of earlier times, passed down from her parents and grandparents. Glimpses of the past spark her imagination.
Jennie lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband and their two rambunctious Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Ceilidh and Echo. When she isn't teaching or writing, Jennie plays guitar, dabbles in watercolours, gardens, and caters to the whims of the four-footed tyrants of the household.
Connect with Jennie:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon | Smashwords