Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Jana Richards talking about high school dreams and coming full circle.
I thought I wanted to be an accountant when I grew up. Turns out I was wrong. I wanted to be a writer.
Actually, that’s not completely true either.
Let’s go back. Way, way back to high school in the 70s. I grew up on a farm and went to school in a small town in Saskatchewan. I was a voracious reader, and through work on the school newspaper and yearbook, I discovered an ability and a love for writing. I dreamed of a career as a journalist.
But I was shy, and not very brave. I was easily discouraged when told journalism was a career beyond my capabilities. Aside from that, the only journalism school I was aware at that time was in Ottawa. It might as well have been on the moon. There was no way my parents would allow me to go that far from home, and they certainly wouldn’t pay for it.
So I went to university close by in Regina and got a degree in English. I once took a creative writing class with disastrous results. Other writers in the class produced wonderful works of literary fiction. I floundered, my attempts at literary fiction feeble at best. I felt that writing fiction was an exclusive club to which I could never belong. Whatever such membership required, I didn’t have. I put all my dreams of writing up on a shelf along with other childhood fantasies.
Fast forward a few years. I married, and when my husband’s job transfer meant we moved to another city and I had to look for a new job, I discovered my English degree wasn’t exactly opening doors for me. So I decided to make a change. I started taking classes in accounting with the intention of getting an accounting designation. I worked at my full-time job by day and slaved away at my homework at night.
By the time I had my first daughter, I was burned out. I took one more class while on maternity leave and then stopped, just a few classes short of my designation. But I’d discovered something important. I really didn’t like accounting very much. I was never going to make a stellar accountant.
Several more moves and the birth of another daughter followed. Through all these changes, I worked at various part-time admin assistant/bookkeeper type jobs. By the time my youngest daughter was in elementary school, the old writing bug had resurfaced. I wrote some articles for regional magazines, as well as a small column in the local weekly newspaper. My urge to write also emerged in another form. I discovered romance novels and felt an affinity for them. There was something about the hopefulness and the values of love conquering all that spoke to me. I felt I could truly write one.
That was nearly twenty years and ten published books ago. I certainly haven’t been an overnight success; it took years and many rejections before I was published. If success is judged by dollars, I would have been far better off concentrating on a career in accounting. But I know I wouldn’t be as happy or as fulfilled.
These days I consider myself a full-time writer, though I still work a part-time casual job in accounting. I’m still honing my craft, pushing myself to write a better book with each new project.
I’ve come full circle. That high school kid truly knew what she needed. But it was the adult who made those dreams come true.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish.
Blurb for First and Again
Bridget Grant is back in Paradise. Paradise, North Dakota, that is.
She’s swallowed her pride and moved back to her hometown with her daughter after her divorce and the loss of her catering company. Now she’s trying to navigate the strained relationships she’d left behind – including her first love, Jack Davison.
Jack never forgot Bridget, or the day she left town – and him. When Bridget caters a lunch at Jack’s tourist ranch, old flames reignite. They have more in common than ever – Jack’s also a single parent. Though they both try to keep things casual, Bridget, Jack and their girls are starting to look a lot like a family.
But Bridget’s only planning to stay in Paradise until she’s saved enough to relaunch her business. Jack’s invested too much in his ranch to leave. And with their daughters involved both have a lot more at stake than heartbreak. How can they risk falling in love?
Where to find Jana…
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards
Newsletter signup page: http://www.eepurl.com/m3UnT
Thank you Jana for sharing your remarkable journey. I am impressed by your work ethic–12 published books since 2007. You are a poster child for perseverance! Best of luck with First and Again.
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Joanne, thank you for having me on your blog today. I never really considered that I was reinventing myself until you asked me to write about it, but it’s definitely true!