Please tell us about growing up. Siblings? Locale?
I grew up in a small town near Charlotte, North Carolina, named Dallas, with a lovely family consisting of sweet parents, two daughters and a son. I was the middle child – so you know what they say about the middle kids! It was a lovely area with fish fries and barbeques and flea markets on Saturdays!
Were you the shy kid or the tomboy? Married, single? Children? Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.
I was definitely a tomboy growing up, but once I went off to college, I discovered how many other interests I had. I have been married for over thirty years to a man I first met when I was twenty-four years old. I have three children that are my world – they are wonderful kids and I realized, as they started growing, what a blessing it is to have sweet children who bring nothing but joy to every day of your life. I am a retired public school educator, having spent thirty years of my life as a classroom teacher (science!), an assistant principal, a principal, and a district office administrator. I loved all of this work, but my favorite role was that of an elementary school principal. I still run into grown adults who tell me I was their principal – when they were in first grade! During that time, I went back to school and obtained my Masters degree, and then my Doctorate. After my career in public education ended, I transitioned to higher education, where I currently enjoy my work as a university professor!
When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
I love exercising, especially taking long walks or shorter runs through the lovely trails and parks that surround my home here in North Carolina. I also enjoy reading, although sometimes I have trouble finding books that will really hold my interest. I love easy yet captivating romances. I want the feeling of not being able to put a book down, but I don’t want to have to work too hard to understand what is happening in the story.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing, on the academic level, for eleven years. Starting with my dissertation, and then followed by numerous published academic journal articles, chapters in books, and even published books on research (one that was just published in January!), I have been writing for quite a while. However, I believe your question may have been “how long have I been writing NOVELS?” On the Eighteenth of May was my first novel ever, and it was published in March of 2020, so I have been “writing” fiction for a little over a year!
Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
I prefer to write in the early mornings and the evenings. I head to my local McDonald’s with laptop in hand, order a large coffee and write for about an hour. Then, in the evening, I repeat the process on my back deck overlooking a lake (although I do substitute wine for the coffee in that case). I try to limit my writing sessions to about an hour at a time. And then I take walks afterwards to process and reflect on how my writing could be better.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a plotter! If I don’t have many of the details planned out ahead of time, I have a sinking feeling I am going to mess the whole story up!
Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
Because I also have tons of writing that must be done for my job (academic and research for the university) I feel it important to carve out special time for my fiction writing. So, usually, I plan out pockets of days or weeks that I am in between research articles to work on my novels. For example, currently I am writing a chapter for a research book on the online teaching and learning transitions during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, I already know that I will be done with that writing in another few days. So, at that point, I will resume my daily work on my next novel, The Broken Bridge. Once I do get opportunities to work on my fictional pieces, my goal is to write one VERY ROUGH DRAFT chapter each day, although sometimes, with particularly challenging chapters, this process will last over several days.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
Even though I am 55-years old, I like to challenge myself both mentally and physically. Just last week I did a virtual half-marathon. I am trying to teach myself Spanish using a virtual language program. I asked a neighbor to borrow her keyboard and I am trying to learn how to play the piano. I am constantly looking for things to do that will stretch my mind and my body in ways they haven’t been stretched before!
What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
I perceive myself to be a perfectionist, yet in the first publication of my first novel, when I finally held it in my hand, I found that there were so many things about it that I didn’t think had been done well. Even though I had read and re-read and re-read again, there were so many things I missed. I then went through the painstaking process of re-publishing with a better version. So my advice would be, when you are reading back over it (and this is a thrilling and exciting time), take your time and be careful!
What has helped you in your writing career?
Getting help from all of the smart people around me! For example, the title of my book was going to be a different configuration of the date – May 18th – but I reached out to a fellow professor in the English department and he suggested that the current title flowed better. I got other advice from family members, professional colleagues, etc., on plot points, descriptions, and even who to include in the story (like my little dog, Sammy!). I found that people were excited for me as I engaged in this adventure of writing a novel, and they were happy to give me feedback and ideas!
What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
I have heard from many readers that On the Eighteenth of May conjures up many emotions, including pathways to healing. While the story is a sad one, I believe that many readers can relate to just how difficult it is when dealing with issues of family, abandonment, and loss. I hope my writing will help people as they consider their own journeys in loss and healing, or their own support of others who are experiencing loss. Finally, I hope my writing provides a little peaceful getaway for those who enjoy the sweet but sad love story featured in On the Eighteenth of May. I think many readers will relate to just how much trust is needed, from both ends of the relationship, for this particular romance to even exist.
Tell us about your latest release.
On the Eighteenth of May is my new release, having been published in March of this year. Currently, Amazon is out of stock of the paperback but the Kindle version is ready to go! Walmart, Books a Million, and Barnes and Noble have plenty of paperbacks available as well as the e-books. Being a new author, I am thrilled to see that across all of these four, in reading the reviews, I currently have over 30 five-star ratings – and nothing below a five!
On the evening of the eighteenth of May, a young woman named Cass walks alone into a small village with the intent to stay for exactly one year. Cass soon meets two precocious children, a caring and generous business owner, and the Chief of Police from the neighboring town. Family and loss are parts of many of their stories, and while these people, as well as others, attempt to know and help her, the history and troubled memories of what led Cass to this place begin to gradually unfold. As the potential for love and the pathway for healing become clearer, the date of departure approaches. Cass and those around her will be forced to decide how forcefully they are willing to hold on: to the past, to the pain, and to the person.
On the Eighteenth of May is the story of the people and events that are interwoven throughout Cass’s journey and her life. It is a story that examines the true test of strength in the deepest depths of sorrow, as felt by the human heart. It is a story that explores the perceived helplessness of those within the support structure, and the extent to which those we love can hinder or accelerate the healing process. Finally, it is a story that reminds us of the overwhelming power of comforting influences in all of our lives, as our human souls struggle, against all odds, to survive.
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Lucas reached the competition area and put on a cheerful grin, giving every outward appearance that he had waited all day just for this opportunity. Farley was already at the starting line with a Velcro leg wrap in hand, ready for his partner to join him and sporting a silly smile across his face.
As the other racers gathered around their respective lanes, Farley and Lucas sized up the competition. Most were teens and children, but there were also a few serious-looking adult pairs, all of whom appeared to be sizing up the two police officers as the team to beat.
If only they knew, thought Lucas with a muted chuckle. He and his deputy had come in last place last year as they had attempted this endeavor. Apparently they both had two left feet and a general lack of coordination to boot.
Farley secured the Velcro strap tightly around their lower legs, Lucas’s right and Farley’s left. The two stood side by side at the start line, waiting for the other teams to ready themselves in the same fashion. It appeared the race may be starting in a minute or two.
Lucas heard Farley’s phone ding with a text alert, then watched as his friend read it. Farley’s smile disappeared, replaced by a look of concern. Suddenly, Farley was crouched, unlatching the Velcro strap and readying to depart.
“Sorry, Luke, Kaley just called. Austin fell coming off the bouncy slide and busted his lip. He’s pitchin’ a fit and she needs my help.” Farley finished disconnecting his leg from Lucas’s leg, dropped the Velcro to the ground, and anxiously jogged away towards the children’s play area.
The megaphone announcer was readying the competitors now. “All teams to the line, please. I’ll count down from three to one, then listen for the horn as your start signal.”
Lucas watched as the other pairs approached the line where he now stood alone. He looked down at his right leg where the Velcro strap lay. He started to bend down to retrieve it so he could move aside and out of the way, when suddenly he saw another leg appear beside his. A person was crouched down, securing a left leg to his right one, pulling the Velcro tight and fastening the hooks.
The megaphone announcer shouted, “Three!”
The person was standing upright now, looking straight ahead towards the finish line. Lucas, however, was looking at the side of her face. He felt her left arm reach around his waist, felt her hand as it clasped onto his shirt.
“Two…,” the announcer called. The spectators appeared fully enthralled with the drama of the countdown.
She was silent, looking straight ahead, and now, he too, looked straight ahead and readied himself for the race. Without thinking, his right arm reached up and over her shoulders, found her waist, and settled there in a loose embrace of her shirt and skin underneath.
The announcer yelled, “One!”
Cass turned her face slightly upward and towards his and whispered softly, “Outside legs first.”
|Jordan R. Samuel, Author|
Jordan R. Samuel is a former public school teacher and administrator who enjoys her current work as an Assistant Professor of Education. She spends her days with her husband and her three children as she teaches, studies and writes. She immensely enjoys travelling, and penned many parts of this particular story while relaxing in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jordan-R-Samuel/e/B087CB3RTF/
My Facebook page is https://facebook.com/JordanRSamuel1 and there is also a little bio on Amazon and Goodreads. I hope you will try out On the Eighteenth of May and let me know what you think!
Jordan R. Samuel will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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