One Season of Sunshine is about a woman who goes in search of her biological mother. What made you want to write about adoption?
I wanted to write about self-discovery, because I find that very interesting. Knowing who you are is a lifelong process. But people like me have an advantage—I know my family history and how that has played into who I am today. I got the idea to tackle adoption when I read an article about a woman who was visiting Austin because she had discovered Texas was where she was born. She didn’t know who had given birth to her, she didn’t know anything but that she was born in Texas, and she had come here to soak up the Texas vibe. It was remarkable to me that someone who had no more of a past than that would cling to the smallest detail to glean what she could from it. It seemed to me to be the ultimate self-challenge.
Are any of your characters based on real people?
I think all my characters have bits and pieces of people I have known in them—including a few choice fragments from me—but none of them are based wholly on actual, living people. Most of my friends and family are fairly steady people without a lot of issues to really sink my teeth into.
Jane faces challenges with two kids who are struggling with the loss of their mother. How difficult was that to write?
I think loss is a pretty universal thing, and it doesn’t matter how young or old a person it is; it has such a profound effect on our souls. Writing Riley and Levi was difficult only in that it is sometimes hard for me to write about loss, because it dredges up memories and feeling from my personal losses. But at the same time, we can all relate to it, and like love, it is something that binds us together.
What is your writing process? How long does it take you to write a book like One Season of Sunshine?
It generally takes me about nine months from the point the book is conceived to the point my editor sends it off to be typeset. I find that I am much slower in the beginning of a book. I am thinking of the plot, of the characters and who they are, and where they are going. I often throw out a lot of the writing I start with, because the characters and plot improve as I write. Or perhaps I should say it is my hope they will improve as I write. As for my writing process, there is one truth I have discovered after writing some twenty plus books: Not every book is the same, but the middle of every book is where I really begin to question my choice of vocations. The beginning and end is usually fairly clear to me, but that middle just sucks the life right out of me.