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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.
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.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.
about Jordan R. Samuel...
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/
more personal "stuff" about Jordon R. Samuel...
Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
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 be due 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 absolutely adore romance novels … the sweet, simple kind that pack a little mystery and have characters that I want to root for. This was some of the early feedback I got from the first reviews that were posted when my novel was first published – that the characters were people that readers could see as their friends or neighbors, and that, indeed, many were characters they wanted to root for. I also love imagery and symbolism in the stories I read, so I was sure to weave many of these throughout On the Eighteenth of May. Wild daisies, open doors, and Cherokee symbols of sorrow or love are just a few that pop up throughout many of the most meaningful parts of the story. I hope, by the time the reader finishes, these will have come to mean quite a lot – and will remain in the reader’s thoughts for quite a while.
I dedicated this novel to my family – near and far away – and believe that in many ways, it is a novel of the power of family. Both when it is biological or otherwise. When it is steady or true, or when it is completely lost. Despite what we all may feel or think we know in our darkest days, we need family. We all do.
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. 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.
That love story between two of our main characters is certainly a central theme. I tried to write the two characters in the relationship with a little detail and a lot to be imagined. I tried to help the reader in getting to know them better and better as the story developed, but not giving away too much about how they might react to a particular situation. And, of course, since the novel tells the whole story through back and forth point-of-views (from each of them) we get to see a lot more of what each one is thinking than the actual love interest does. Hopefully, it makes for a captivating, albeit sad love story that will hold your attention throughout.
Where do you get your storylines from?
For this book, On the Eighteenth of May, the storyline started with a lone person walking. All alone in the world with no past and no plans. It literally started there and the rest developed with a little help from some beautiful scenery and inspired grand moments.
You see, I was out walking one day, by myself, and it was a particularly hot day. I was in the middle of nowhere and my phone died and I started to wonder if my family was waiting on me, back at my home, to eat dinner, or wondering where I was. Then, a thought occurred to me. How sad would it be if none of those things existed, and I literally was just walking alone, with nowhere to go and no one who knew I even existed? I thought to myself, “wow – that would make for a pretty sad tale.” I tabled that thought until many months later, when I actually opened the laptop and decided to write the novel. And the novel started exactly there – with a young woman walking alone on the eighteenth of May.
Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others? Why?
This is my first novel, so I can say with great certainty it was the most difficult yet! Seriously, it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. There is so much to keep straight as characters are developing and plot lines are being exposed, a little at a time. I found I had to keep meticulous notes on what I had told the reader and what I had not, especially when it came to the memories of one of the main characters. The challenge of someone “making it all fit” was exciting mind confusing at times, as well!
Do you only write one genre?
I can see myself only writing contemporary fiction (romance) going forward, because, quite honestly, it is the only genre of book that I really seek out to read myself. However, something interesting has happened since my book has been published. I have had FOUR different men, friends of mine, reach out to me to tell me they read the book and LOVED it. The things they shared with me is that they really don’t read romance as a genre (they shared their preferences lean more towards fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries), but they seemed to like the mystery in my novel. This little bit of feedback told me that my novel was more than a romance – it was an interesting story!
I enjoyed writing On the Eighteenth of May, so much that I already have a second romance in the works: The Broken Bridge.
Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
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
My first “must have” is a beverage, either coffee for the morning or wine for the evening. Those are the only times of day that I write, so these beverages serve their purposes perfectly. I also have to have my outline, which I usually put together in great detail after I have written the first chapter or two. Once I really start to “get in the groove” I force myself to stop and plot everything out, in great detail. I read this over before I begin writing and then again when I am completed for that day, comparing to see if everything I wished to capture was actually captured.
And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
I had always wanted to write a novel, but had never found or made the time. Being a teacher my whole life (thirty years in public education, followed by my current role as a professor) I have certainly had my share of “writing”. In fact, in my role as a university professor, I have had many academic publications in books and journals.
But writing a novel is so different. It is personal, and painful. It can be very difficult but also so rewarding. I hope you and your readers will enjoy On the Eighteenth of May and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback!