Monday, August 1, 2011
Interview with "Sweet" Romance Author Jordan T. Maxwell
“Dandyflowers made me laugh, cry, broke my heart into a thousand pieces and by the end had managed to rebuild it completely.” ~ Faith H. Tydings, Author of A Little Yellow Star.
Hello Jordan. Please tell us about your books, Dandyflowers and Dandyflowers - Laura's Diaries.
Dandyflowers is the story of a young woman named Erin who gets engaged. On the following weekend she goes back home so her father Jerry can give her what he calls his “love talk”. During those four days she learns about Laura, his first love and his first wife. Erin also finds out they had two children and the reason why they are no longer together.
Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries begins about five and a half years after Dandyflowers ends. In this part of the story Erin has read and reread Laura’s diaries, they were given to her by her father, in an attempt to answer the multitude of questions she has regarding Laura. Then on an unexpected trip to Chicago Erin encounters the two people who can answer the questions the diaries and her father can’t; she meets Laura’s parents. They, like Paul Harvey, tell Erin “…the rest of the story!”
There is a slight overlap between the first and second book. You get to experience Jerry and Laura’s first kiss from both of their perspectives. I actually had a reader tell me that a woman had to have written Laura’s take on the kiss as, “No man can write like that!” I assured her that when I write, I write alone and I did indeed write every word in both books!
Hahaha! That’s awesome! In other words, you feel what the character feels. Is your story considered a romance?
They are considered “romance”, but I hate having that term associated with them. When people hear the term “romance novel” they immediately picture those Fabio laden pulp paper novels found only on a grocery store’s impulse aisles that lead to the cash registers. I prefer the term General Fiction with a romantic twist!
I love your answer about the romance issue. I had the same problem as you. When I wrote my 5 historical romances, I was afraid to list them as such because of the same reason. So I listed them as historical fiction. I have since found out there is a new term called “sweet” romance. Your book would be in that category. I’m curious. Where did you get your inspiration for these books?
I suppose the seeds for these novels were planted sometime in 1979. It was then I began writing my pen pal, Robin. I still have every letter she wrote to me and after nearly 32 years we still keep in touch! I stumbled across some of those letters one afternoon several years before I began writing what would become my first two books and I remember thinking as I reread some of them, “There’s a book in here somewhere.”
There are several incidents in the books that are based wholly or partially on real events. For example, at some point in Dandyflowers Laura cooks Jerry supper and fixes him some beets. Did you know that if you cut the tops off of beets before cooking them all the purple will “bleed” out? Laura didn’t and neither did my mother who did this the first year she and my dad were married!
That's so funny. I bet she was surprised when she saw the pale looking beets. And yes, my mother taught that to me, too. A Reviewer wrote, “I've read many books, but rarely has one moved me the way Dandyflowers did.” What makes your story moving or does that spoil the plot of the book if you tell us?
What makes Dandyflowers and Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries so moving is their simplicity, their innocence, their inherent hope that love is all we really need. They are the story of two ordinary people who experience an extraordinary love that many can only dream of experiencing. It is because of this that the reader gets swept up in their story.
I had a co-worker who was so taken by the story and a certain highly emotional part of it that when she returned the draft copy I had asked her to read, she threw the binder at me. She indicated, using just two words, that it was her belief my parents were not married when I was born... then stomped away. It was at that moment I knew I had something people would like to read. It is also the reason why I adapted Dandyflowers into a stage play. I think it has wide appeal.
This has been a fun interview. What does your family think about your writing?
The best compliment I have received regarding the books came from my children when they saw the first book on the shelf at a well known book retailer. When they saw it, they gasped and said, “Daddy, we’re proud of you!” I walked quite a bit taller after that!
My dad is a Depression Era farmer who keeps his emotional cards very close to the vest. After he read Dandyflowers I asked him what he thought about it. He said, “Well, it would bring tears to your eyes if you let it.” High praise indeed!
Wow! What great compliments! Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
As I said in the bio portion I am a paramedic & have been in EMS for over 25 years. In that time I have delivered (or more correctly “caught”) only one baby. Big deal, right? Well, I saved the best for first as the baby I caught was my son! He came a little faster than his sister had and I had to take off my daddy / husband cap and put on my paramedic hat! I was scared to death, but I survived. That baby just celebrated his 11th birthday in April 2011! I know a lot of dads who play “catch” with their sons, but I guess I am just an over achiever!!!
What an awesome experience! Not every dad can say that. This has been a fun and enjoyable interview. Thanks, Jordan. If this book hasn’t peaked everyone’s interest by the end of this interview, I would be surprised.
My Review of Dandyflowers by Jordan Maxwell
Dandyflowers is a delightful story told by a father to his daughter about his very first love, something he has never talked about before. The story begins at the age of fifteen in high school and tells of Jerry and Laura’s meeting, the many antics in their teenage life, and how they fell in love. It’s a story of innocence, humor, romance, family values, and their courtship and marriage.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I laughed at the jokes they played on one another. I sighed at the romance. I smiled at the beautiful and modest description of their wedding night. I giggled as they bantered with one another… and I wept.
Jordan Maxwell did a wonderful job with this story. But my advice to all readers is to make sure you have a handkerchief handy toward the ending of the book. You may need it!
Written by Linda Weaver Clarke, author of historical “sweet” romances.