Have you ever been on a blind date? I have not. I also haven’t had a bad date, since I married the only guy I ever dated. Yes, we were high school sweethearts!
But my story is not much fun as a foundation for romance novels, although we did have our own mini-crisis or “black moment” the year before our wedding, but I digress. This is all about my characters, Juni and Zadok, in A Great and Glorious Gift.
Juni’s sister was the heroine in the previous book in the Farm Fresh Market Romance series, and we got to know Juni a bit in Arleigh’s story. Juni O’Neill is a high school arts and drama teacher. She started out in A Green and Vibrant Hope in a temp situation, but was offered a more permanent position by the end of the story.
I then discovered (to my utter shock and amazement) that she’d met the market minstrel, Zadok Shirkowski, back in college. She’d thought he was cute. Her roommate had set them up on a blind date… well, blind for her. Turns out Zadok knew whom he was meeting that night, and he was also interested.
But something had gone terribly wrong.
And this author was left wondering what on earth had happened nearly four years ago that made the two of them pretend they had never met each other before when they run into each other both at the market and at church in Galena Landing, hundreds of miles from their alma mater.
Zadok’s a musician; he’d intended to become a minister of music in a big city church, actually, but when his parents died – aren’t authors terrible at this? I can’t tell you how many parents have met an unfortunate demise in my stories because it made the backstory more interesting. Oh, wait, I’m digressing again.
Where were we? Ah, yes, Zadok’s parents died, leaving him as the guardian of two teenaged siblings. That’s about all I knew before starting into this current story.
Zadok’s sister, Quincey, was a high school senior at the time of their death, and she made it through in one piece, though now she’s taking a gap semester and interning at Green Acres Farm.
Xavier was a freshman, and he is not faring well two years later. School is dumb. Life is dumb. Everything is dumb except maybe learning to drive. He’s not particularly fond of God at the moment, either.
Thankfully(?) their parents owned a tire shop, so Zadok has a business to run (job + income stream) as well as two teens to raise. But he’s not living his dream. Leading a church worship team in a lay position is better than nothing, but it’s not his calling. Or is it?
Some of the pieces were falling together in my head, but I still didn’t know what had gone wrong on that college blind date. They were both believers back then. It hadn’t been drug or alcohol related. What had happened? My Facebook reader group did some brainstorming, and that was super helpful.
Slowly, slowly, the pieces clicked together. Good thing, too, as I was a good chunk of the way into writing the story! Now I’ve just got a handful of chapters to write before it goes off to my editor with a planned mid-March release.
Romance is great for other people, but not for Juni O’Neill. Wouldn’t anyone have trust issues if they had her father? Her current teaching job in Galena Landing is temp, and she’s dabbling in creating and selling crafts at the farmers market to fill her time. If only her shared stall wasn’t directly across from the musician’s booth – the guy she walked away from on a blind date back in college.
Zadok Shirkowski accepted custody of his younger siblings when their parents died. Now he’s operating a tire shop in northern Idaho to make ends meet. The only part of his life he loves, besides his siblings, is leading worship on Sundays and performing at the farmers market. But when his teen brother gets in trouble at school, Zadok is forced to enlist the help of one of the teachers, who just so happens to be someone he’d once hoped he’d never see again.
A blind date gone wrong. A second chance to fix things between two people afraid to commit.
So, tell me… have you ever been on a blind date? A bad date? Or a particularly interesting date? Tell us about it in comments!
I’m offering one reader an Advanced Reader Copy (e-book only, worldwide) of A Great and Glorious Gift. If you’d like to put your name in the hat, please comment before Friday, January 12. Winner will be notified and then announced in the Sunday Edition.
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