Jean Oram - A Movie Star and a Photographer
Jean Oram grew up in an old schoolhouse in a Canadian town, population 100 (cats and dogs not included). She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author of feel-good, tingle-inducing, heartwarming romances. Jean lives in Canada with her husband, two kids, cat, dog, and the pesky deer that wander into her yard to eat her rose bushes and apple trees. She can often be found outdoors or reading a book. (And of course at her laptop writing your next irresistible read!). As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Falling for the Movie Star.
Please give us a short introduction to what Falling for the Movie Star is about.
I had so much fun writing Falling for the Movie Star. Here’s the scoop:
A movie star with a bad boy image is vacationing in Ontario, Canada for a little get away from Hollywood and his “fake” life. (Movie stars truly do vacation in this real-life area of Canada). The problem is that Finian’s agent is pushing on him to get into the tabloids. And that means putting on his bad boy image in this quaint, quiet small town…
In comes Hailey Summer, a local nature photographer, who is desperate for cash—she needs to save her family’s historic cottage which has been entrusted in her care. She’s about ready to do anything to earn the money she needs…
But can a well-meaning nature photographer and a bad boy movie star work together?
Sure, but they might just complicate their devious plans by falling in love along the way and messing up everything!
Tell us more about Finian Alexander. What makes him tick?
He means well. He truly does. His background is a far cry from the world he lives in now as an A-lister on the Hollywood scene. He’s made big promises to people back home which means he’s been sacrificing art for money… and that tears him up inside. Something that Hailey sees even though he works hard to hide it—even from himself. So of course she’s going to muck up EVERYthing for this poor man!
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I can juggle—nothing flaming though! Just tennis balls, cats, dogs and such. (Except without the cats and dogs. They’re too awkward.)
Your book contains some unpredictable twists and turns. Did you plan them out before you started writing or did some of it "just happen" along the way?
Thank you! I’m glad the book was able to take you by surprise. Some of the twists are pre-planned, but the best ones “just happen” along the way. Often it’s just a nugget that makes me grin and get excited. (And sometimes let out a big ol’ SQUEE!) Then I go back through the story and add tidbits here and there to set it up—sometimes. Sometimes it is just a turn that flows naturally and there’s no backtracking to make it fully work. I love it when twists come up because I know that readers will enjoy them as much as I do!
Why did you pick Muskoka in Ontario, Canada as the backdrop for your book?
My grandmother’s family has had a cottage in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country—Muskoka—for five generations—since 1901, I believe. The cottage that was built 118 years ago still stands, and is one of the dwindling number of original buildings in the area.
When I was small I spent many summers at the cottage with my cousins while my parents were at home farming on the prairies. Many of the issues, local quirks and buildings as well as towns mentioned in The Summer Sisters series are inspired or straight out of my experiences in the area.
The photo of the green cottage is my grandmother’s and it inspired Trixie Hollow, the heritage cottage the sisters are trying to save throughout the series. (And if you’re curious as to which path I’d take of all the sisters when it would come to saving the place, I’d likely side with Maya (from Book 2: Falling for the Boss)! Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.)
The inspiration for Trixie Hollow:
Why do you write feel-good romances? What drew you to the genre?
I don’t like watching the news. I don’t keep my head in the sand about the world’s issues, but at the same time I prefer not to know about every horrible thing that goes on in the world. So, I think it’s natural that I’ve been drawn to what I love to read as I’ve always enjoyed stories that make me smile and feel warm inside. Stories where the characters feel so real that I laugh with them as well as cry with them. Basically, I believe in a world filled with hope and love, and to me that is what feel-good romances are all about.
In real life, do you believe that love conquers all?
I am like the Summer sister Daphne (from Book 4: Falling for the Bodyguard) in that I believe that love can change the world. It can soften the edges, make us smile and be more generous, pause before we lash out (love enhances our compassion and understanding) whether we are with family or encased in war. We humans need love, and to feel as though we are loved.
What do you think is the most important part of creating seductive heroes readers can't get enough of?
Abs. They need rock-hard abs. (Just kidding! I actually prefer a man that’s a bit cuddlier.)
I believe readers (as well as myself) enjoy heroes that aren’t quite perfect, but are kind and loyal. They are willing to stand up for what they believe in and take a punch as a result, but are also content to cuddle on the couch with the woman in his life. These men are flawed, but they’re doing their best and treat the woman they love with care and attention.
In your mind, what happens to the characters after you write their final chapters? Do they continue to "live on" in your imagination?
They tend to “live on” if there’s another book they’re going to pop into. But generally, I move on as there’s another fun new book to write!
Funny story about moving on once the book is done… when I published Falling for the Single Dad (Book 3) I had a reader ask me if Dot was going to have a story. Well! I was so insulted! There was no Dot in my book. They were asking me about someone else’s book. Then, about an hour later, I realized that Dot was the hero’s daughter! I’d completely moved on—and it was still release week for the book! I was SO glad that I hadn’t replied, kindly telling the reader that they had the wrong book! (That would have been very embarrassing!)
What are you working on right now?
I am working on a Christmas sweet romance called Unexpectedly in Love which will be out October, 2019! (It’s about a single mom falling for her old nemesis who has moved in next door!)
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love chatting with readers. I used to be a librarian and am a verified bookworm! Readers are welcome to snoop around on my website at jeanoram.com — I also have a blog there if they want some sneak peeks or news about book deals.
I am also on Instagram and Facebook—just search for Jean Oram and you’ll find me, photos of my pets and books, too!