It’s my honor today to introduce you to Jordan R. Samuel, to help you get to know her a bit better as well as her debut fiction work, On the Eighteenth of May. You’ll also get a sneak peek inside the book. Follow the tour to learn even more. And best of luck entering the giveaway at the end!
Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
A hopeless girl. A small village. A love that will not last. And, yet, hope appears, deep in her soul.
Just a sliver of hope.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
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 over ten 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.
With this being my first novel, several ideas combined at once, from different personal experiences or interests. First, as stated earlier, I was going through a particularly sad time in my life when this novel was first conceptualized, so that was one impetus for some of the particularly sad themes in the novel. While the story in the novel in no way reflects the actual situation I was experiencing with my family member, the mood of the novel certainly does. In addition, I have visited the Blue Ridge mountain region of North Carolina on many occasions, and have found that there are few places on earth quite as lovely as the Chimney Rock and Lake Lure areas, so the setting of the novel, for me, was an easy choice. In addition, many of the ideas for the most stunning scenes of the novel (yes, for those of you who have read the novel, I’m talking about Chapters 27 and 30) were inspired by the beautiful history and stories of the Cherokee Nation. Their legacy and lore is a key part of the love story that unfolds On the Eighteenth of May.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
I was already quite familiar with the setting of the story, having traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina many times over my life, so luckily I was already quite knowledgeable about the area in which the story was set. I did, however, have to do extensive research into Cherokee history and legends. As readers of On the Eighteenth of May know quite well, the stories of the Cherokee lead to some of the more beautiful moments between Lucas and Cass, and I wanted to do honor and represent in a respectful way how these traditions and even prayers could become so meaningful to others. I had quite a few sources which I relied on as I read and grew in my understanding of the impact of the Cherokee on this beautiful area of North Carolina.
Which character was your favorite to write?
My favorite character to write was Lucas Montraine, the Police Chief who tries and tries and tries his best to help our Cass. I loved writing this character because he has his own baggage and sorrows and regrets and discontentment, yet he finds a way to make so many selfless decisions to help others, including Cass. To me, Lucas represents those initial circles of support that surround all of us as some point in our lives. The ones who try and try, despite not knowing what to do. Lucas is a complex character but one, I believe, who appears to have a very solid core of values and a personality that leads him to be able to listen, understand, and empathize.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
I have so many favorite scenes that it is difficult to choose only one. I often hear from readers of the book that a particular scene in Chapter 27 is a fan favorite, and it happens to be one of mine as well. It involves two of our main characters in a very cold, perhaps painful situation. As I wrote this scene, even though I did so in the heat of summer, I could feel the shivers running up my spine as I described the conditions in which the characters found themselves. Despite the physical aspects of the scene however, there is a great amount of emotional warmth that is shared between our characters, and the scene is one that, I believe, proves to be touching as well as heartwrenching.
Will we see these characters again?
Several of the readers of the book have mentioned in reviews that they are eager for a sequel, so, perhaps we will. In all honesty, I have sketched out the outline for a potential sequel, but the actual writing of one will really depend on this first book, specifically, how many copies of this one sells! Then, we shall see.
On what are you currently working?
I am currently working on my second novel, The Broken Bridge, which I hope to publish in mid-2021. My grand plan would be to write a trilogy of novels, all set in the same general area but with completely unrelated stories and characters. One book is now done – On the Eighteenth of May, and I hope The Broken Bridge to be the second. It, too, will be set in the Blue Ridge mountain area of North Carolina and will focus on a displaced child, her life and upbringing as she grows from little girl to young woman, and her journey as she lives in wealth and luxury, surrounded by loathing and bitterness.
What is your writing routine?
I usually work on my novel at two points during the day. First thing in the morning, while sitting at my local McDonald’s with a large coffee beside of me, and late in the evening, while sitting on my back deck with a glass of wine beside of me. I try to set a finite amount of time to write, like one hour, or else I will allow my writing to drag on and continue and other things will go undone (like going to work or taking care of my family!).
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
I am currently a university professor, teaching education courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As such, I get LOTS of opportunities to write, just not the kind of enjoyable writing that comes with publishing a novel. I have been a professor for over four years now, transitioning to higher education after a thirty-year career in public education.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for featuring On the Eighteenth of May! I look forward to hearing feedback, comments and questions! Also, I am sorry to report that my paperback on Amazon is currently out-of-stock. But Walmart and Books-a-Million has plenty of copies, and, of course, there is always the e-books!
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.
Read an excerpt:
Taking his keys from his pocket and unlocking the back porch door, Lucas returned to the present. He was well aware that this was his mother’s favored napping time, a time she lovingly referred to as her “pre-supper beauty sleep”, so he was careful to open the back door quietly. After entering, he softly stepped through the kitchen and headed straight for his old bedroom. The bedroom door was closed, which seemed odd. He quickly shrugged it off and proceeded to walk towards it, intending to find the croquet set and leave the home so quietly his mother would never even know he had been there. As he turned the doorknob, the bedroom door slid slowly open, offering him a small and then ever-increasing slice of vision. As the opening grew wider, Lucas suddenly saw. There was a stranger in his bedroom. The stranger was looking out his window. Her face was fully turned away. However, he did not need to see her face to realize the stranger was the drifter. The very same drifter he had seen earlier in the day. The same clothes, the same sweat, the same hair. He thought back to the questions he had considered earlier in regards to her age. Whatever her age, she was old enough. Old enough to know how to break into an older woman’s home and steal her blind.
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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/
Jordan R. Samuel will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway