Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Disaster that Leads to Love

When I heard about author Jean Grant's latest book,  Will Rise from Ashes, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more -- an eruption at Yellowstone National Park?  A family trying to reunite? A romance involved?  All were elements that drew my interest. After spending a summer vacation with my family at Yellowstone we were talking about the volcanic properties and possibilities for days. 

The blurb and cover only intrigued me more:

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can't lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ's fear of driving and Reid's military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ's anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family's present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

Jean's background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors. I asked her why she wanted to write about the Yellowstone story in particular:

Why Yellowstone? My son (who is high functioning autistic) loves loves loves volcanoes. At age 5 his obsession with Mount St. Helens filled our days. It moved on to the Yellowstone super volcano. My husband and I love outdoors, hiking, national parks and are both scientists (well, I write now, and retired from that career). I wanted to write a story inspired by my life as a parent of a child with special needs. Then somehow the idea of the volcano came in. We saw a cool BBC made for TV/Netflix movie on the eruption (like if it happened), and we planned a family trip to the grand northwest to see volcanoes galore (Mount St. Helens, Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Craters of the Moon...) and this story came to be.

And what a story it promises to be!  I still wanted to know more so I asked to interview her characters, AJ Sinclair and Reid Gregory: 

AJ, why are you making such a dangerous trip to look for your family?
It’s my son. Wouldn’t you? Sorry, don’t mean to snap. I’m just on edge. Ever since Harrison’s accident, driving stretches my nerves. I just can’t lose another loved one. Not my son Finn. Plus, I’ve not heard from my brother Brandon. What if they are hurt…or worse? I can’t just sit here clear across the country and wait.

What strengths do you possess that might help you in this trip?
I’m decent at planning and organizing. I can do triage and work on Plan B. My car is stocked with the essentials. Though Will is a better list-maker than me. He’ll keep me on track, too. I’ve got a mother’s endurance and need less sleep. Coffee is my sidekick.

What are your concerns about what you might run into?
 I’m worried I might clam-up in the driveway. As long as I have my anxiety medication, I might be okay. I also don’t know what we’ll hit weather-wise…ash, destruction…and the disorder. The government seems to be holding it together but the people out there—out West—I’m not sure what we’ll find. For a planner, not knowing what lies ahead spikes my anxiety. Plus death—so much of it. I’m wary about what Will might see. He’s young and impressionable. I’m all he has now; I can’t leave him home.

Is there anything from the past that is affecting your decision to go?
I wish Harrison was here. But he died a year ago. I’m all my sons have got. I need to find Finn. I need to be there for Will.

What frightens you most about the upcoming trip?

That I might not find my son or brother.

What are your first thoughts about Reid Gregory?
I’m a suspicious sort. I’ve seen my fair share of jerks. He seems kind, friendly. But I wonder what’s up with him. What’s he hiding? And why would he want to help me?

Do you think he can help your search?
He’s from the area in Colorado where, based on my last text message with my brother, I hope I can find him and my son. Reid’s also former military. Seems to know his stuff. He’s an asset.

Do you think you can help him?
 Help him? Not sure I can help anyone these days. I can barely keep myself together. But I wouldn’t mind the companionship. I miss good conversation with kind souls. And he needs a ride, and that I can provide.

 What about you, Reid? Why are you making this dangerous trip?
I need to get to my sister. I’m all she’s got since our parents passed away.

What are your first impressions about AJ Sinclair?
I see a frightened, paranoid woman. I also see a tender, compassionate mom and human being just trying her best to get by. I see a resilient person who would do anything for her family.

What worries you most about the trip?
 The immoral people we may run into along the way. Not being able to get through any roadblocks.

How do you think you can help her?
 AJ needs to help herself. But I can offer her friendship and knowledge. I’d love to get to know her better.

How can she help you?
 I’d love to be at peace with my mistakes. Maybe AJ’s past and perspective can help me on that path of redemption.

Thank you Reid and AJ, and thank you, Jean, for bringing us the information and details of your  newest book and  introducing your characters. Here is the information on where you can get a copy of it:

And if you would like to reach Jean, here are her contact details:

Does anyone have any comments or questions for Jean?

1 comment:

A Visit to A Faraway World

Writing one book can be challenging, but think about those authors who write a series! It means not simply one commitment, but several -- to...