Chirp and Chatter Pages

Friday, August 18, 2017

Guest Author: Jan Elder

A huge welcome to fellow Pelican Book Group author Jan Elder! You'll be happy to know Jan will be giving away not one, but two electronic copies of her new release, A Semi-Sweet Summer. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win one of them!

When I first started writing a “New Adult” novella for the Pure Amore line of Pelican Book Group, I was waxing nostalgic about my teenage years. Memories flooded through me and a myriad of feelings, some quite strong, rose up to assault me. There were a great many pleasant remembrances, but what I recall the most about being in those “stuck in the middle” years was that there was a great deal of anxiety, the sensation of being so very different—certainly not part of the “in” crowd.
My thoughts swung to a boy I had the biggest crush on in high school. He was three and a half years older and he was definitely part of the “elite” segment of our church youth group—the cool kids I so longed to be a part of. Sorry to say, I followed him around like a puppy, learned all of his favorite foods, chosen hobbies, etc. I try not to think I actually stalked him, but I was very aware of his presence, and searched for ways to be near him.
In A Semi-Sweet Summer, I tried to transfer some of that raging angst into fodder for Cassidy’s discomfort in finding her unrequited love living right next door. Cassidy never really fit in, hardly that enviable cheerleader, not a person that anyone would notice. Rather, she sees herself as sort of an ugly duckling. Now she’s back ten years later and it’s a tough situation. The pain of those past years rises up to haunt her, and the boy who is now a man was the cause of much of her pain. If she had been prettier, smarter, more engaging, would he have loved her? And what about now? Can she learn to see herself as God sees her and find her value in His eyes?
One of my favorite passages of the Bible talks about how we are wonderfully made. Why would we want to be anyone but the person God created us to be? I like to think that God can use our experiences to help others through similar situations. God makes each of us so different, so unique, so special, and trying to be a copy of someone else makes the world less colorful.

Psalm 139:14-16 - The Message (MSG)
 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

A Mini-interview with Jan:

Which character in your new release did you most enjoy writing? Why?
I had a fine time creating Hunter Gray, the hero in the novella. He’s a great deal like my husband—smart, savvy, droll, witty…just a fun guy to be around. He’s had some ups and downs in his life and he has come through with shining colors, mostly because he has learned to rely on God for his strength.
What I like best about him is that he has a heart to help other, and that includes our heroine, Cassidy. She is quite the handful sometimes, and he always responds with grace and tries to balance her seriousness with a touch of lightness—something she sorely needs in her life. When he finds out that in the past he has hurt her deeply, his immediate response is to ask for forgiveness.
Sure, we all mess up sometimes, but when we ask the Lord for forgiveness, He is quick to respond, welcoming us back with open arms. I like to think that we could all learn something from Hunter, a good-hearted man who longs for reconciliation.
What makes you laugh out loud?
My cats make me laugh on a daily basis. My husband and I have two (he wanted none, I wanted four so we compromised). When I write, I am usually sitting in a lounge chair with my laptop on my lap, and my gorgeous black and white tuxedo cat, Jamie, enjoys sitting on the arm of the chair. Her front paw dangles and she is often patting me in some way, obviously offering encouragement. As she is quite a vocal creature, occasionally, she’ll comment, helping me with word choice (she has an amazing vocabulary for a feline).
When 15-year-old tortoiseshell, Shu-Shu, awakens from her frequent naps, she has a fine time dancing on my keyboard to get attention. She has been known to type actual words, but the meaning is often cryptic. I am sure she has a secret language and have wondered if I should offer her services to the CIA or some such organization who would use her expertise. 
 Please share your conversion experience, if you’re comfortable doing so.
I was immensely blessed to grow up in a Christian family and Mom always made sure we were in church at every opportunity. From the day I was born, I knew that God loved me and wanted the very best for my life.
At the tender age of five, our pastor at church invited those who didn’t know the Lord to come down to the altar for prayer. I remember pulling on my mother’s sleeve asking her if she would go down that long aisle with me. I asked Jesus into my heart that day. Is life always wonderful? No, because we live in this fallen world. But there’s a joy deep down in my soul that can never fade or falter. What a glorious gift!   

About A Semi-Sweet Summer

Cassidy Cooper never wanted to set foot in Crystal Falls again. Ten years earlier, she’d given her heart to a boy who’d, in turn, humiliated her deeply. Now, back in town as the sole beneficiary of her sister's estate, she’s determined to make her sister's dream of an upscale chocolate truffle shop, come true.

Hunter Gray is very intrigued by his new neighbor. His escape artist cow, Marigold, engineers an introduction…but it's not quite the first impression he was hoping for. Baffled by the nagging suspicion he’s seen this woman before, he plots to win Cassidy’s heart at every opportunity.

With the object of her unrequited love living within shouting distance, Cassidy prays for strength to forgive and forget. And Hunter? He just wants to get back to his own dream to grow his farm and get to know the pretty girl next door. If she'll let him.

About Jan Elder:

JAN ELDER is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.
Happily married for fourteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.  


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog today, Delia! Lots of fun. Blessings, Jan

    1. Thank you for visiting, Jan! I truly enjoyed your post. I endured a self-image all through high school, and for many years after. Actually, I can't say I've completely conquered it even now, but God's still working on me. :)

    2. Thankfully He's still working on all of us!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for checking in, Lynn. This one was not only a lot of fun to write, it was a joy to research those chocolate truffles! Blessings, Jan