Today Wednesday Writers welcomes Annette Bower, who will be telling us a bit about herself and her sweet contemporary romance Moving On. Annette will be giving away an Ebook of Moving On or her other novel Woman of Substance (winner’s choice) to one lucky commenter. Winner will be draw on Tuesday, August 18, 2015.
Annette please tell the readers how you got started writing.
During summer holidays, my sisters, brothers and I would perform plays in our garage for the neighborhood children.
In my final year of high school, my friends and I wrote, produced and acted in a play. Also in my final year, I wrote an ode to my boyfriend, now husband, challenging his love of his snowmobile compared to his love for me.
During my nursing training, I wrote poetry for the lone male nurse to give to other female students. I also wrote poetry in answer to essay questions.
Now that’s an inventive way to answer questions. Too bad you didn’t give us an example here. Since you do poetry and plays, do you also write in more than one genre?
I write stories about women and love. They may be short stories or novels but they are always about love in a community and family. My first publications were short stories in magazines and anthologies. Those publications kept me writing when the novel form seemed daunting.
Are you a panster? Plotter? Or something else?
I am a linear panster. I find an idea I’m interested in learning about and then write a story to go with it. This photo is a man I saw leaving our grocery store. I watched him put the bouquet of flowers into his saddlebag. I just had to take a picture, (with his permission) to use in a future story. I haven’t used it yet, but I will. This is a very sweet, wholesome thing to do for someone you love. And this gesture is indicative of the sweet, and wholesome stories I write. Many years ago a professor told me that we write what we read. I enjoy reading stories about substantial love based on friendship and trust.
Tell us about your reading habits.
I read non-fiction frequently as a part of research and for knowledge. Right now I am reading, The Laughing One, A Journey to Emily Carr by Susan Crean. Crean combines new historical research and fictionalized accounts of key events in Carr’s life with a reflection on 19th C. sensibility.
I’m reading this because my heroine in my new novel is an artist.
Now let’s get personal. Tell me something about the meaning of your name. Does it fit you? The numerological interpretation of Annette fits me now. It states I have an independent nature and an urge to explore new experiences in life. I am a woman who is driven by inner need for change and growth. I also have a contemplative and analytical side and will spend many hours alone reading and studying. I make an ideal student and researcher.
In a university English class many years ago, my professor stated that we become our names. I’m working on it. I am careful when I name my characters for this very reason.
Tell us about your romance novel Moving On.
Moving On. Is a sweet contemporary romance with an heiress, a soldier, a small town and secrets. This novel is set in a town where my husband and I raised our sons. Even though it is a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, I believe it is as exotic as anywhere else in world and mirrors small towns the world over. My heroine, Anna Jenkins moves from a large urban center to a small town and she encounters the friendliness and also the occasional lack of privacy that occurs in a community where it feels as if everyone knows, or assumes they know, what is happening in your life.
My hero, Nick Donnelly, grew up in the area and moved away to discover the world. He has returned for a short time, to recuperate from an injury he sustained during his time in Afghanistan.
Nick and Anna recognize the challenges each of them face in order to move forward in their lives. A feeling of friendship is born, providing a basis for love.
My mother-in-law was a young widow and I researched grief as a way to understand what she may be going through, and to help me have a stronger relationship with her. She also had limited reading and writing skills, so she was a duck out of water as technology increased. When someone is new to a situation they have to bring new skills and strengths to their life in order to move forward.
During the war in Afghanistan, so many soldiers returned home injured but their fervent hope was to return to their troop. When I returned to University as a mature teacher, I brought home a question my philosophy professor asked. “Who would you die to save?” Of course I answered my family, however, our oldest son answered, my country. He joined the Canadian Navy.
I wanted to learn and try to understand that dedication. I had been a rehabilitation nurse and therefore I could augment Nick’s story while he rehabilitated with past experiences.
I also wanted to try to understand what it would be like for the silent army at home waiting for their loved ones to return. While I researched, I came to understand about military personnel not sharing what they saw day to day. In an interview, one soldier told me that sometimes it was better not to call home too often because then his head and heart were in two places and he may not be able to do his job as well.
A review by the award winning mystery author, Gail Bowen, captures my story in Moving on.
In “Moving On: A Prairie Romance”, Annette Bower explores the redemptive power of affection. When we meet Nick and Anna, the characters at the centre of the novel, both are reeling from devastating personal tragedies, and both are fearful of making a connection that would open them to future pain. In the course of the novel, Nick and Anna slowly but surely learn to trust and to hope. Bower’s warm tale of the coming together of her two very likable protagonists is told with a keen eye and an understanding heart. This lake-side romance is perfect summer reading. ….Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn series.
What’s up next for you?
For my next romantic life adventure, I’ve decided to write about a hero with a disability. Will Cleaver, grew up challenged by mobility issues caused by cerebral palsy. He is an architect in charge of building a barrier-free neighborhood, in Apex, Saskatchewan, a town expecting a boom because it is located close to a newly discovered potash mine.
Tiffany George, my heroine, is learning to leave past expectations behind to become an artist. Her family, the town residents and Tiffany all expected her to marry her high school sweetheart, raise their family and eventually Tiffany would run the George and Family Plumbing business. However, high school sweetheart changed his mind and Tiffany applied and was accepted into a prestigious art school in another city. When she returns for a holiday, everyone expects her to fall back into the family business. Will knows from past experiences that she must make her choices and he provides Tiffany the strength to follow her passion.
Will knows that it is better to want someone rather than to need them. Tiffany will also come to this conclusion.
This third novel, with the working title of Will’s Intention, is contracted to Soul Mate Publishing for e-release in early 2016.
Thanks for being her today, Annette.
Thank you Catherine. For all of those who stop by and comment today, I thank you. It’s been a pleasure being on your Wednesday Blog. I will leave you and our readers an encapsulation of my life’s philosophy.
“Late Fragment And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.”
And here’s a peek at Moving On, which I am currently reading and enjoying!
By Annette Bower
Anna Jenkins, a mysterious woman arrives in the resort town of Regina Beach as the heir to a cottage, even though there isn’t an obvious family connection. The residents of the town know everyone’s business and they are very keen on discovering Anna’s secrets. Anna meets Nick Donnelly with a secret of his own. As a soldier, the injuries he sustained in an IED explosion were greater than most people realize.
During his rehabilitation, Nick and Anna become friends. Nick begins to dream of a life on the land with a family of his own. When Anna discovers that Nick plans to return to active duty, she puts the brakes on loving a man who might die because of his career. Nick must convince Anna they have a future to live for.
Excerpt of Moving On:
Anna Jenkins pushed her foot on the brake as her hatchback picked up speed on the hill. The posted speed limit for the Town of Regina Beach was thirty miles per hour. She passed old cottages with verandas and gravel driveways surrounded by blossoming lilac bushes that were tucked in among new homes with steel doors and trees shading designer interlocking block paths. Her doubts about moving to a small town washed through her fatigued mind like the waves pushing and pulling along the shore of Last Mountain Lake, that expanse of blue where the road she was on ended. Just past noon and no one was on the street.
After scanning street signs, she turned west on Fairchild and followed a natural curve onto Green Avenue, creeping along until she found the address that was etched in her memory. Regina Beach would be her safe haven. A place where no one knew that her fiancé had died a week before their wedding. It was her sorrow and she was tired of sharing it with those who seemed to want to keep it alive like some macabre game where they could report to their friends and family. I saw her today and she looks awful. I just didn’t know what to say but if you ask me, Murray wouldn’t look twice, never mind proposing, if he saw her now.
She hadn’t overheard anyone say these words, but she had her suspicions. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just accept their wedding gifts back instead of allowing her to keep them piled in a rented storage space before she left Toronto?
Sure, this chance at another beginning was because someone else had died. People dropped like flies in her life. Murray’s uncle bequeathed his house to Murray and because Murray was dead, she was the beneficiary. A shudder of grief ambushed her. She leaned her head on the steering wheel.
Her mother had suggested a plane ticket from Toronto and rental car, a long weekend vacation to check things out instead of rushing headlong into the unknown. But Anna couldn’t. It was now or never; she’d driven for four days. She turned off the engine, opened the door and pushed one sensibly soled foot onto the stone path that led to the house.
The windows were dirty and the exterior paint cracked and flaked. This was just the place she needed if—as they say—your environment would reflect your state of mind. Maybe in this place they would get off her back. She locked the doors to ward off thieves from her black suitcases piled in the car.
What was she thinking? The street was empty. Besides, a battered guitar case shared the passenger seat with empty water bottles and take-away food wrappers, so it looked as if someone had already rummaged through her belongings.
Anna plowed through fallen leaves and broken twigs that were spread over the stone pathway leading to the stairs. The screened summer door sprang open but the solid weather door refused to budge. She twisted the key, jiggled the doorknob, and finally turned sideways to bump her hip against the stubborn paint-encrusted door. Banging against something and having it move felt wonderful. The momentary hip sting was an annoyance compared to the pain that she’d endured over the last year. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the door open, inhaled stale air, and watched dust motes floating on a current of the outside breeze.
The lawyer hadn’t known if Murray had spent any time here. Part of her wanted to look around and think of him as a carefree child, then a young man whole and alive, while the other part of her wanted a clean slate.
About the Author:
Annette Bower sets her romance novels in Saskatchewan because she believes home can be as exotic as anywhere else in the World. Annette has travelled extensively, but has always returned home to Regina, Saskatchewan. Born in Regina, her experiences as a nurse, administrator, town councillor, teachers’ assistant and student inform her stories and reflect the experiences of many readers. Annette’s stories are read around the world and have been shortlisted on many national and international stages.