I believe it was Anais Nin who is credited for saying, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” I’ve also heard many authors say they don’t know exactly what a story is going to be about until they are slogging through that lonely desert experience (also known as writing the muddy middle) or even sometimes after they’ve written the last scene.
Both sentiments apply when I reflect on the creative process for my new novella More than Words. While a small portion of this story is based on personal experience, the initial sparks that led to this particular plot development involved a pre-designed book cover and a non-fiction magazine article about a condition called selective mutism.
As the manuscript morphed and changed over time, it also became a story about two people grappling with the age-old dilemma of what happens when life doesn’t turn out quite how we expect, particularly when one’s own mistakes played a role. While the process of discovery can be a bit painful, I love arriving at the point in the creative process where I can confidently declare, “Yes! THAT’S the theme I’m exploring here.”
That process seems to vary widely from a rambling, enjoyable stroll to an excruciating, gut-wrenching climb … depending on the author and the story line. For me, this reunion romance was a grand adventure to create as I explored the ‘history’ driving Jake and Aubrey’s actions and ultimately pinned down the deeper theme I was striving to examine.
So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy this fun interview with Jake Womack, the hero of More than Words. His confidence, his charm, his determination to succeed … swoon! I could go on and on. Let’s just say he turned out to be a pretty awesome fella. I’m certain you’ll be quite smitten by the end of this post.
1. Jake, please tell us where you are originally from and a few details about your family.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, where my parents are both school teachers. I have one sister, Gillian, and she’s married to Mark Sanchez, who is in the Army. Mark and Gillian have a little boy, Connor, who I spend a lot of time with, especially when Mark is deployed.
2. Who is the most influential person in your life?
Wow. Tough question. I’m fortunate to have a lot of great people in my life who’ve shaped and molded me. Let’s go with my parents, who taught me about Jesus. The decision to believe in Him and make my faith a priority has made all the difference.
3. Why did you choose to become a helicopter pilot with the Coast Guard?
I’ve always wanted to fly, since I was a little kid. The military provided the best opportunities for me to achieve that goal. Combining aviation with helping keep people safe and informed about living and working near the water was very appealing. Not everyone can be an aviator for the U.S. Coast Guard, but it’s a great fit for me and I hope to have a long and successful career.
4. Your ambitions are very admirable. How do you see marriage and family fitting into your plans?
*nervous chuckle* Another good question. Like most people, I like to think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on how life is going to go. One-year, five-year, ten-year plans are things I spend a lot of time thinking about and striving to achieve. Lately, I’ve had to sort of step back and realize that I don’t have it all figured out. Through prayer and talking with people close to me, I’ve wrestled with what it means to acknowledge over and over again that God is ultimately in control. Even when we have the best intentions, His ways are still better. Proverbs 16:9 is sort of my theme verse for this season of life.
So to answer your question, yes, I’d love to be married and have children someday. Being a Coastie wife is not an easy assignment, I’m sure, so it would take a special woman with a lot of courage and a sense of adventure to say ‘yes’ to a life with me.
5. Describe your ideal dream date: concert in the park, a romantic candle-lit dinner, an adrenaline-fueled outdoor adventure … what works for you?
That’s easy, because it already happened. All of those sound like awesome suggestions, by the way, but very little of those elements were involved. Well, I guess there was candle light and dinner … anyway, I went on a blind date with my cousin’s roommate. I know, I know, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but it was one of the best nights of my life. We had a great dinner, then we danced, talked, laughed. I was a goner by the time I had to say good night.
6. So I might already have an answer to this question, but I’ll still ask. Share an experience that changed your life.
See question two: my parents teaching me about Jesus and my decision to follow Him.
7. Any regrets?
Oh, of course. There was a time I was so caught up in pursuing my career that I let an important relationship fall apart. I knew I should’ve fought harder. Tried a different solution. Asked different questions. Anything. I regret that I made the choices I did in the moment without thinking how it would impact our lives in the long run.
8. Best gift you’ve ever received?
Grace. Forgiveness. A second chance to restore a broken relationship.
9. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Flying. Just kidding. Sort of. I always thought shape shifting would be cool, too.
10. If you could invite three people to dinner, who would you choose and why?
Whoa. I’ll have to think about that … I’m going to say what everybody probably says first, Jesus. It’s true, though. I’d love to have dinner with Him. Second, is Charles Lindbergh because he has some insane aviation stories that I’ve just got to hear more about, and my great-grandfather, Jeb Womack. I want to hear his story of his life in Philadelphia as an immigrant.
Excellent answers, Jake. Thank you for your time. I know fans of inspy romance will enjoy hearing more about you when they read More than Words.
Determined to escape the foolish mistakes in her past, Aubrey Keller moves across the country to start over as a speech pathologist in Astoria, Oregon. She thought she’d run far enough until Jake Womack walks back into her life, and she’s reminded of what might have been.
As a straight-laced US Coast Guard helicopter pilot, Jake Womack is driven and focused. His primary mission is avoiding potential disasters and rescuing the lost. But Aubrey’s sudden departure three years ago set his heart adrift.
When Aubrey is tasked with helping Jake’s young nephew speak again, Jake believes this is a second chance to restore their relationship. But Aubrey is convinced Jake will never truly love her–not when he finds out the scandalous reason for her goodbye.
There you have it, friends. Is he totes adorbs or what? More than Words releases at the end of July as a free novella exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. If you sign up for my author newsletter here (hint, hint) you’ll be one of the first to read it. Your email address is all that’s required. I promise not to sell, trade or share your information. My newsletter is spam free and includes exclusive content, as well as all the news you need to know about awesome giveaways fellow authors are hosting, cover reveals, new release announcements, discounted ebook promotions, etc.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read Jake’s interview. Virtual high fives and fist bumps if you’ve signed up for my newsletter already. More than Words is edited and becoming a formatted e-novella as you read this post. I’m eager to share it with you very soon.
photo credit of man running toward beach: Jacob Miller via Unsplash