Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I grew up in a just-about-ghost town in Canada—my parents had bought the old school house in an auction which was where we lived as well as ran the family beekeeping business.
I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm—I was jealous when my older (by 4 years) brother learned to read. I knew that was something I wanted to do, too. I suppose it’s no big surprise that I became a librarian and then an author.And growing up in a small town, it’s natural that I write sweet, small town romances—small towns are what I know and love best.
Fellow bookworms are welcome to snoop around on my website at www.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!
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Generally there aren’t many real-life stories behind my books—just little inspiration bits such as having a character be a certified ski instructor (I taught skiing at one of Canada’s largest resorts during my gap year) and tidbits like that.
My Summer Sisters series is set in a real location and my grandmother’s family cottage was the inspiration for a cottage the Summer sisters are trying to save in the series.
The cottage is in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country—Muskoka— and has been in the family for five generations—since 1901, I believe. The cottage that was built 118 years ago still stands, and is one of the few 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 by or straight out of my own 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:
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Sometimes a bad review is just life. Not everyone loves chocolate. Not everyone loves sports. Not everyone loves my books. No problem. I’m grateful they gave the book a try—because you never know when a book is going to take you by surprise and turn you into a fan.
But sometimes I do find a kernel in a poor review that tells me something helpful. Maybe the reader didn’t connect with the heroine. Maybe she came across as wishy-washy rather than conflicted. That’s something I can work with to improve my books, because I always want to make the next book better than the last.
So, yeah, sometimes bad reviews simply suck. Sometimes they can be helpful. 🙂
And on the flip side, good reviews help me too! I love to hear what a reader connected with, or what tore their heart out (in a good way) or made them laugh.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I’m a bit less whimsical. The first time I sat down to write a novel I didn’t even know how long a novel was! But it was so much fun, I found myself hooked.
Now I’m a bit more methodical. I like to do a bit of planning and thinking before I sit down to write as it cuts down on the amount of time (months!) that it takes to edit and shape up a story to get it closer to publication. Plus, I think a little fore planning creates a better story for the readers.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m going to write a series about a ranch. I live in an area where cowboys abound and I’ve always wanted to write some cowboys and so now I will! I’m very excited to bring these characters to life for my readers.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
I can juggle. Nothing flaming though. The old schoolhouse I grew up in had a small, low-roofed gymnasium in the basement. (I love playing basketball.) I’ve never been a ski racer, but I can ski over 70km/hr (45 miles/hour) according to an app on my phone. (I’m thinking I should invest in a helmet—just in case.) I’ve tented in Alaska near a calving glacier. It was really cold. But also very beautiful.
How about you? Any quirky facts you’d like to share, dear readers?
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!) Follow Jean on social media or subscribe to her newsletter: www.JeanOram.com/FREEBOOK.