Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

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Jaunty Post

bayshore house (2)

I’m sentimental—gushy, slushy sentimental about old songs, old friends, old memories. I’ve even been accused of living in the past, once or twice. a few times. daily.

In a way, it’s true. Important distinction: I don’t live in the past exclusively. I have a fabulous husband, with whom I’ll celebrate a huge anniversary this April, two fantastic kids and a career I adore, all firmly rooted in Today. But I admit it. I maintain a lovely, fully furnished summerhouse in Yesterday.

That trait shows up in my overstuffed files labeled “Sentimental.” It reveals itself my writing, too. Just now, I went over my backlist and counted. Of 41 titles (including novellas and online reads), a full 29 feature characters reconnecting with someone from their pasts. I’m not good at trig-level math, like calculating percentages J, but that seems high, right?

My newest Superromance series is true to form. And yet, this one has a slightly different twist on that revisited romance theme. In The Sisters of Bell River Ranch, three sisters who as children were tragically exiled from the family ranch must find their way home again.

Sure, they reconnect with old flames, too. Or light new ones. But in this series, love of place is almost as powerful as romantic love. These three sisters belong in their beautiful Western Colorado setting, among these creeks and mountains, these larkspur and columbine and bristlecone pines. They even belong inside these timbered walls, so long haunted by the night their father killed their mother.
Reclaiming their heritage, banishing the painful memories, and planting new roots that will bring new life—well, in Bell River those things are almost as important to the HEA as the hero’s final kiss.

Fantasy? Sure, but that’s why I write, and certainly why I read! And maybe the fantasy is so powerful for me because we sold the beloved house of my childhood when I was sixteen—just about the age RowenaWild for the Sheriff Wright, the heroine of Wild for the Sheriff, was when her family exploded. I thought I was fine, until a couple of years ago, when my best friend from childhood, who still lives in my hometown, emailed. The spare, white-lipped email told me that the charming old Charleston-style house had been torn down to make way for someone’s grander mansion.

That’s when I realized that, however far I traveled, and however deeply I planted my own roots elsewhere, a tiny, unseen part of me had always dreamed I might, someday, go home again. Not possible now…so perhaps Rowena has to do it for me!

How about you? Are you more like the friends who think I’m silly? Do you just brush your hands briskly together and walk away, eyes on the future? Or does the home of your childhood have a special place in your heart? I’d love to hear whether you, too, have a summer villa in the past. Hey! Maybe we’re neighbors! One person who posts will win a prize—a copy of Wild for the Sheriff, and a $15.00 Amazon gift certificate.

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critique 1922 cropped k pixmKathleen O’Brien was a feature writer and TV critic before marrying a fellow journalist.  Motherhood, which followed soon after, was so marvelous she turned to writing novels, which could be done from home.  She still lives with her favorite newsguy in her native Florida, just a few miles from her grown-up children.

52 thoughts on “Please Welcome Jaunty Guest…Kathleen O’Brien

  1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    Laurie, how wonderful that you can get so far so regularly! I know once a year probably isn’t enough, but it sounds like a nice chance to re-fuel on the comforts of home. I love the name “Two Rivers.” So evocative! I can understand why it would have a special claim on your heart!

  2. Janie McGaugh says:

    I don’t get nostalgic for the past real often, but I do sometimes long for the summers of my youth when we’d spend a lot of time at my grandfather’s lake cabin. I lived for those summers!

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