A Star in Winter
Several years ago, I was invited to speak at a large Relief Society singles conference. After my address, I stayed and participated in some of the other activities going on and had a chance to visit with some of the sisters. Several of them asked me why I hadn’t written a book specifically for single women. My answer was that I did have a reputation for being a romance novelist (I mean . . . I write relationship fiction) and that if I did write about a single woman, the story would have to conclude with her ending up married to a good man.
I don’t remember how many years after this incident I got the idea for “A Star in Winter.” A lot of different bits and pieces of my observations of life came into this story. One of them was realizing that I know many single women in my life (some divorced, some never married) who have reached a point where they have realistically accepted that getting married (or remarried) in this life simply isn’t likely to happen. Some of them have dealt with it better than others. In particular, I know a few women who have made peace with it and live full, productive, and happy lives. I’ve seen other single women who are way too focused on what they don’t have, rather than what they have. I decided that in order to effectively get the point across in a “romantic” novel, I needed the heroine to have made peace with being unmarried before the opportunity for marriage presented itself. I also felt it was important to have a character like Shayne’s Aunt Libby, who was a shining example of making the most out of single life and not bemoaning her fate. My hope is that the message of this book isn’t just about making peace with single life, but making peace with whatever cards we’ve been dealt. We all have different challenges, and we all have the ability to find joy within those challenges if we look in the right places.
I’ve never really tried to compare my stories to each other. They are separate and they simply are what they are. But I consider this story to be one of the most simple I’ve ever written. It’s got some great points, and it’s very tender and romantic at times, but it’s not terribly complex or deep. Sometimes that’s okay.
The idea for the recipes just kind of came as I was writing the story and Helen’s love of cooking eased into the story. I have a copy of this book in my own recipe drawer, because I’m so disorganized that I can’t usually find the original recipes.