Jordan R. Samuel will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview: Jordan R. Samuel
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
I probably shouldn’t admit it, because I am sure it will come across as a little lazy, but I wrote my first novel to be exactly the kind of novel I would love to find on the bookstore shelves! A sad, sweet love story. Simple writing that keeps my interest but doesn’t make me think TOO hard (I do enough of that at work!) This is the genre I love to read myself! As I wrote the book, I kept thinking – “wow, I can’t wait to finish so I can relax, lay on the couch, and read this book!” I love simple romances, with a little bit of mystery thrown in.
And as I started writing On the Eighteenth of May, I started picturing all the people in my mind who probably loved this type of book as well and were all just waiting for me to finish! I have already started writing my next novel, The Broken Bridge, and I am happy to share that, yes, it is the same general type of genre. A sad romance that will pull on your heartstrings and leave you cheering for characters even though you suspect, against all hope, that a rough road is ahead – just around the curve.
I belong to a book club and we met recently to discuss a historical fiction that we had just read. I was so relieved when everyone started sharing how hard it was for them to “get into it”. It was then that I knew, I’m not alone. Sometimes we all just need a sad love story to engross ourselves in, as we lay on the beach or sit on our couch or swing on our front porch.
I love highly dramatic scenes with words and phrases that stay with you for a long time. I love descriptions of places as seen through the character’s eyes – not necessarily the author’s. I love sweet gestures and even tragic twists and turns. It’s a great feeling when you find it hard to put a book down and can’t wait until the time comes to pick it back up.
I have never before, in my entire life, tried writing fiction. As a professional educator, and now a university professor, I have spent a great deal of my life writing academic pieces. I have published many peer-reviewed articles and chapters in various journals and books and have very recently published a handbook on research regarding effective online course design. I had always hoped to write a novel, but had never quite made or found the time.
In early 2019, I was busy working on two research articles for my university, which both happened to fall during a very sad time in my life. Not to go into too much detail, but one of my family members was very ill, and was lost and hurting and struggling. And I realized at that period just how sad I was, over the whole situation . . . over my lack of ability to help in some meaningful way and over my complete uselessness to make things better. And so, one day I opened my laptop, but instead of working on the research articles (like I was SUPPOSED to be doing), I started writing a story. A story filled with sadness. A story filled with love.
I hope you and your readers will enjoy On the Eighteenth of May!
2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a firstborn, middle, or last child, and how does this shape your view of the world?
As those who know me could probably guess, I am the middle child of three! Those of us in the middle have to fight hard, for recognition, for space … I felt growing up that I somehow was having to look after my older sibling as well as my younger, and the more I achieved, the more that was expected. But that’s okay. It shaped my worldview into one that is about loyalty, strength and perseverance. [Many themes you will also find in On the Eighteenth of May].
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
Depending on the time of day, my writing space is either golden arches or water! I do my best writing either sitting in my local McDonald’s (with a large coffee at hand) in the early morning or sitting on my back deck in the evening, overlooking a river, with a glass of red wine close by. In addition, however, much of this book, On the Eighteenth of May, was actually written as I was visiting at various times in the Lake Lure area, so it was definitely inspiring for me to be sitting among the beautiful mountains as I wrote about those very mountains in the story. I set my timer for one hour, and then, when the chime rings, I walk away from the novel writing for a bit and work on other things. I find the time away helps me as I process what I just wrote and reflect on how it could be better.
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
I feel horrible. I cried – A LOT – while writing this novel. It hurt me to see some of the pain and suffering certain characters had to endure. What I do with the remains is yet to be seen. You’ll have to read to the end for that answer.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
What an opportunity – to meet Nicholas Sparks! The one burning question I would ask him is – why couldn’t you have switched all those sad endings to happy ones? But, in all honesty, now that I have written a sad love story myself, I can understand Mr. Sparks much better than I once did. Once you start writing a character, you feel what is right for that character – whether it be happy or sad.
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.
Even though I am a little older than many of my readers, 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!
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
Oh, how interesting that you should ask this, since the main character of On the Eighteenth of May LITERALLY has only a backpack to her name as the story begins. Shall I pick the same items she has in her backpack? A pen? A single piece of paper? A calendar?
Those sound like three great items for my time alone on the island!
8. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?
I would definitely want the power to fly! It would assist me in running errands, traveling, and checking out what my neighbors are grilling in their backyard without seeming too nosy!
9. Favorite snack?
Popcorn! Salty, kettle, butter, movie theater butter. I love it all – EXCEPT the white cheddar popcorn. I could eat popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and all snacks in between!
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit? Speed limit for sure. I am a rule follower, so when I drive on the highway, I only allow myself to go 3 miles or less above the speed limit. Hey, it has its advantages. My car insurance is really low!
On the Eighteenth of May
by Jordan R. Samuel
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.
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, 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.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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/