Monday, August 28, 2023

AS THOUGH YOU WERE MINE, by author J. MARIE RUNDQUIST (out August 29th!)

Julie Mercer donated her eggs to help her brother and sister-in-law conceive via in-vitro fertilization, never expecting a few years later, she would have to take full responsibility for those children after they lose their parents in a car accident.

Julie never wanted kids of her own, and now she suddenly needs to make room in her small apartment for four-year-old twins who thrust additional challenges at her as they work through their grief and trauma. With Lucy throwing intense tantrums and Mikey not talking at all, Julie doubts her ability to raise her niece and nephew as her own.

When Grant, the twins’ uncle–and also their biological father–shows up at her door, he says he wants to help, but is he sincere? Or does he have a hidden agenda to fight for custody? With her family also questioning her role as guardian and her job on the line in the face of an inflexible boss as she deals with the sudden life changes, Julie must determine whether her brother and sister-in-law really did make the best decision by entrusting their kids to her.

An author interview with Janet ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I’m one of those “I started writing when I was a kid” authors. But I also took some breaks for job, family, and the like. Once I started up again and realized I had a novel inside of me, I didn’t stop. While As Though You Were Mine is only my second published novel, I have a couple of others ready to go over the next year or two.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I write anywhere, anytime, but a specific routine I try to keep is my morning writing. I wake up at 5:00 am, set my phone alarm for 5:30, close all browsers, and write. Sometimes it’s just staring at the screen, but I still call that writing!


Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?

I do! I’ve been working in K-12 education my entire career. Teaching (mostly secondary, but in all kinds of environments), teacher coaching, and currently technology support in an elementary school.


What was the original title of this book?

Instant Rice. My main character (Julie) becomes a mother unexpectedly and she discovers she needs to learn how to cook more than microwave dinners. “Instant Rice” carried with it the literal idea of Julie struggling with how to make rice and finding the quick rice option and the metaphorical idea of an “instant family”. I love the idea of this, but after tooling around with other options, I easily fell in love with the current title of As Though You Were Mine.


Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?

Ideas for my books rarely come from specific plot lines in life. They usually spring from some conceptual construct. As Though You Were Mine grew from the idea that when a child dies in a family (of any age…in my novel’s case, an adult child), one of two things usually happens: it splits a family apart, or brings a family closer together.

I wondered, what if the family is already split apart/estranged from one another? Does the same phenomenon occur?


What are you working on now?

I’m almost waist-deep in a story about a sister and a brother and secrets they’ve been keeping from each other until other circumstances force those secrets to be revealed to one another.


Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

Two of the characters in As Though You Were Mine are four-year-old twins. Some of their behaviors reflect aspects of my three children. There’s a daycare situation that mirrors a similar experience I ran into when my kids were young, too.


Do you have a favorite character?

I can’t possibly decide.


The best part about writing…

…is sharing my words with all of my readers. Is a story a story without someone to read it? Maybe, but I know how much joy I get from reading stories, and I’m definitely grateful for the amazing opportunity to write stories for others to read and enjoy.

To connect with Janet: