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Blackhorse Road – Author Guest Post with Merida Johns

Welcome to the December 16th guest post stop on the blog tour for Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to check out the fest of the tour for other great features and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)

I’ll let Merida take it away with the guest post segment and then I’ll be back at the end with more information about the book, the author, and that giveaway.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

Blackhorse Road’s Surprising Secondary Characters

Author and poet, Tony Hoagland, writes that “The glory of the protagonist is always paid for by a lot of secondary characters.”

In Blackhorse Road, time is not an add on or a placeholder. Instead, it is a secondary character that I chose to add depth and perspective to the protagonist, antagonist, and other secondary characters. 

Stories are about relationships with people, but people also have connections with time and eras. 

As a child, recall the relationship you had with summer, the holiday season, or a specific date, like your birthday.  As a teenager, remember your relationship with the days surrounding homecoming or graduation.  For some, the 1960s conjures up a specific relationship; for others, it might be the time after September 11, 2001.

We all have relationships with time.

In Blackhorse Road, I wanted to make those kinds of relationships come alive with the story’s characters, whether it was a treacherous immigration period, a turbulent social justice era, or a time when many people lost all hope.

Readers tell me that they connect with the different periods represented in Blackhorse Road. Just as they form relationships with secondary characters that are people, they also form connections with different eras in the story.  For some, the association is most acute surrounding the Irish immigration to Canada between the 1830s and mid-nineteenth century. For others, it is the mid-1960s or even a sliver of time, such as the street dance scene.

Readers might ask, “How do you turn time or an era into a secondary character?”  

I connect people to eras by reading old letters, diaries, or other firsthand accounts of the period. These documents reveal a relationship between a person and an inanimate object, and through this relationship, it becomes easy to turn an era into a secondary character.

I hope that readers connect with Luci, the protagonist, and Sam, Barry, Shelia, Chris, and the other secondary “people” characters in Blackhorse Road. But it is also my hope that readers will feel a bond with the time eras in which the characters in the story lived.

About the Book

Blackhorse Road
by Merida Johns

Published 21 July 2020
by Coffee Cup Press

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 304
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road’s ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Excerpt

Uncertain what to make of Luci’s stillness, Barry brought his head close to hers and asked, “What are you thinking?”

Luci held back, still gazing ahead. She turned and drilled into Barry’s blue eyes. “I guess, using an Irish term, I could say, ‘What a bunch of malarkey!’” She drew back her lips in a saucy grin and weighed his reaction.

Luci’s response was unarming but charming. Barry laughed. “No one has ever told me in such a nice way that I’m full of bullshit.”

“Well, I guess there’s that!” Luci chuckled, then turned thoughtful. “Putting the ‘BS’ aside, I’d say the story is about choices, not a lovestruck fairy tale. It’s about risks and consequences and being true to your values. It’s about living who you are and not how someone else expects you to live.”

* * *

Barry put his arm around Luci’s shoulder, pulling her closer. He felt like beating his chest and announcing to the world he had the most beautiful girl in his arms. The lengths of their bodies touched each other, and Barry took in Luci’s scent. No girl had ever had such a powerful effect over him. In the past, emotion and sex had fueled his excitement. Now, those feelings mingled with wanting mutual fulfillment and creating an enduring relationship filled with love, joy, hope, amusement, inspiration, and even awe.

About the Author

For three decades, I was a university professor who taught classes and wrote textbooks on “nerdy” subjects centering on computer systems in healthcare. 

But a decade ago, informed by my experience in a male-dominated area, I started my practice as a leadership coach to help women break the glass ceiling and fulfill their leadership and economic potential. Consequently, during the past ten years, I transitioned from writing textbooks to motivational books on creating environments where people flourish through better leadership.

About a year ago, I was on a conference call discussing concepts of what makes a fulfilling life with fellow life coaches.  Bang! Like a thunderclap, I had an insight. What would it be like to help people understand the concepts of a flourishing life in a story instead of through a motivational book or text? After all, I thought, storytelling has been the most compelling form of communication for thousands of years. As far as I could recall, none of the great prophets fed up learning objectives and multiple-choice questions to their followers.  No!  They got their message across through stories.

Motivational books and textbooks give frameworks, theories, and ideas, but they don’t immerse us in the human experience. They don’t show us how others face challenges, embrace their passions, overcome sorrow, celebrate achievement, quash self-doubts, develop positive emotions and relationships, handle betrayal, or act on aspirations. 

Storytelling ignites our imagination and emotion.  We experience being part of the story rather than being served up a platter of facts, exercises, and information.

This eye-opener was enough for me to take on the challenge of novel writing.  My passion is to help people catapult beyond concepts and theories and jump into the wonderment of imagination in designing a flourishing life for themselves.  Storytelling does this best.

Happily, as a fiction writer, I have jettisoned learning objectives and test questions.  Ah…the freedom makes me feel as light as a balloon on a summer breeze.

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Giveaway Alert!

One lucky follower of the tour will walk away with a $20 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice!

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Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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