Saturday, May 2, 2020

#GuestPost - "Will Rise From Ashes" by Jean M. Grant

From Jean M. Grant...

The Writer’s Journey

Will Rise from Ashes was by far my hardest book to write. For many reasons, some personal, some technical. I’d been writing romances with HEAs for so long that shifting to women’s fiction with grittier topics took some adjustment. The romantic in me though, did toss in a romance subplot, and I am a sucker for a happ(ier) ending.

A few facts about this book and its fruition:
  • I began writing it in 2015. The first draft took a year (while working part-time and around kids’ busy schedules). Editing took a few more years…
  • It underwent at least 8 full-length revisions after feedback from beta readers and agents.
  • I sent around100 queries to agents before I submitted to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. My dream was to land an agent for this book, something different from my romances (a post-apocalyptic and emotional mother’s journey), but that was not in the stars for me. My editor at the small press fell in love with it: how could I say no? My book baby had found its home.
  • I’ve also written/edited the entire manuscript at least 20 times (I like numbers so for math lovers, that is 400 pages x 20 = 8,000 pages. It’s no wonder authors can be a little nutty!)
  • It’s my first book written in both first person (AJ, the mother) and third person (Will, the son).
  • My villain is a volcano!
  • The book spans over a month of time and over 2,000 miles.
  • My theme of heartache, healing, and hope dominates this book.
  • It is the 7th book I’ve written, but 4th published. (Yeah, that’s some funny math. Hint: 3 books are now shoved in drawers as “practice” novels).
  • The story tackles topics of widowhood, anxiety, autism, humanity, and redemption.
  • I threw everything but the kitchen sink at AJ. I love an emotional journey, but I do enjoy lots of external conflict and roadblocks (teehee, in this case, literal roadblocks).
  • Its title was changed from the original. It took quite some convincing from my editor to change it! I still like my original, but this one suits it perfectly.
  • This book underwent the most “killing my darlings” (scene slicing) of all my books. All for the better, of course.
  • And last but not least, this book is a “write what you know” sort of book. I took my own experiences with heartache, anxiety, loss, and parenting a special needs child and began writing it as therapy. Over the years and edits (see #2 and #13), the story evolved from Jean’s story to a fictionalized AJ and Will story, one that I hope readers can connect with.

Will Rise from Ashes
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release date: April 17, 2019, Audio Release date: March 16, 2020
by Jean M. Grant

Tagline: Living is more than mere survival.


Living is more than mere survival.

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can't lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ's fear of driving and Reid's military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ's anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family's present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.


He slid closer and placed a hand on mine and squeezed. “I see a strong woman who has been hurt deeply. I see a resilient mother who would journey through hell for her children. I see somebody who has become jaded and has trouble trusting, unable to sort through friend and enemy. I see a woman with hope.” He held my gaze. “And I’d like to be your friend, Audrey Jane.”

My jaw may have dropped. I wasn’t sure. I recovered quickly. Or at least I tried. “You’ve been talking with my therapist, haven’t you?” God, I was teasing him. I was joking. I was like Will. Will always got goofy with his peers in social situations when he didn’t know the expectations, or how to behave.

Either way, Reid didn’t laugh. Thin lips pressed into a frown that I couldn’t decipher.

I didn’t prod any further. I broke the gaze and released my hand from his, then stoked the fire for the tenth time, sleep luring me with sweet abandon. I tossed the stick into the fire. “I should turn in.”

“I’ll stay awake,” he offered. “Until the fire goes.”

“Okay.” I nodded, though the fire could have been quickly snuffed.

I paused in my opening of the tent flap, turned around, and peered at him. My arms dropped to my side, my hands still. “I’m sorry about the hotel. I was sick and wasn’t thinking straight. Thank you for your help today.” A part of me couldn’t disclose the unvarnished truth. Part of it had been crazy withdrawal symptoms AJ. The other part—I’d been paranoid he’d been drinking. Harrison’s death remained a ghostly echo in my mind, perhaps clouding my judgment. The scent had been on his clothes though. I was sure of it. The more I pondered, I believed his story. Perhaps I had been triggered. Perhaps I really did have trauma or PTSD. I shook my head. I didn’t know.

Firelight glistened off the growing beard hairs on Reid’s chin and spots of amber danced in his dark, round eyes. Speaking of soulful eyes… “You were looking out for Will. I understand. I had been gone far too long.”

“You had a legitimate reason. Shit happens,” I countered.

His lips curved into a resigned smile. “Yeah. Rest, Audrey Jane.”

“You, too, Reid,” I whispered. I added in a deep exhalation, “And yes, yes, I’d like to be your friend.”

As I stepped into my tent, I observed Reid’s normally straight shoulders slouch a hair. Perhaps he, like all of us, was on his own road of atonement. Searching for meaning, searching for answers…searching for absolution.

I had treated him poorly. I didn’t know what the hell had just happened between us, but I tucked it away into a corner of my brain to contemplate upon another time when I was lucid. My remorse had lifted somewhat.

Ignoring my exhaustion for at least a few minutes, I clicked on my headlamp and pulled out my journal. It was time to unburden my heart.


Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines and websites. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

Social Media links:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon Author Page ~ The Wild Rose Press ~ Instagram


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