Coming Home to Sylvan by Jan Irving

August 27, 2016

Coming Home to Sylvan

I’m Jan Irving and a Westener as well as a long-time author. I think that’s why I love to write books set in small towns like those I experienced growing up.

Sylvan, the fictional setting for my anthology of four country stories, is actually also a real country lake town I spent summers in growing up. I walked to the well to get water. We had an outhouse, and no plumbing. You took a bath under a hose or in the lake. And when a summer storm hit, you put pillows on the windows so the glass didn’t shatter from a lightning blast.

I think that the appeal of country life is it puts us in touch with the real rhythms of life. Since I recently moved back to the country, I’m totally aware of this. Bio-regional eating? Oh, yeah. You eat what is in season out here. I go to farmer’s markets twice a week—and often just to the farmers themselves. My flowers come from roadside stands with honor system rusty cans you put your cash into. When you get hot weather, you can smell cow manure coming up from the valley.

There’s an honesty to living in tune with what is truly the real world on our planet. People are, it’s true, friendlier and likely to be a lot more nosy.

Recently I won a bouquet of flowers in the country fair. And everyone in town was saying they’d seen that picture! I had never enjoyed such publicity.

Jan Irving Contest Winner

Wilde Wunder Gardens Contest Winner Jan Irving

I first wrote the Sylvan stories, Sylvan, the story of a down-on-his-luck ex Olympic athlete named Mal and a carpenter  named Leif nine years ago when I was struggling with a diagnosis of dementia for my mother. Like the character Leif, in the story, my parent was my best friend. It hit me hard and I became pretty depressed. So I wrote the story to get some of those feelings out, letting Leif experience them. The story offered me a surprising healing.

I wrote Luke as almost a light hearted comic romance. A cowboy wakes up on a wrinkled bed with a hangover…and discovers a baby lying beside him! What now? Turns out she’s his from a one-night stand. Luke has no idea how to care for a baby. Fortunately Morgan is the town doctor in Sylvan and he offers Luke not only support but a place to live. And of course, Luke the cowboy is going to be attracted to Morgan, a polished Bostonian. Opposites attract.

Nate is another story of healing. A young cowhand helps a father with a mute son to find each other again. It’s my own favorite.

I had long wanted to write a sequel to Luke, called Luke’s Baby and see how my men were progressing. Life keeps moving on and sometimes love can be shattered. I did something terrible to my guys in the new novella and then left them to pick up the pieces. It was an intense story that had me in tears the entire time I wrote it—which was one day since I couldn’t stop writing.

Shortly after I wrote Luke’s Baby, my mother passed away. And Sylvan again offered me a lot of comfort as I did my edits and reread the stories.

I also found myself rereading classic favorite books for about a month, reaching for that solace that only books can provide.

Have readers here experienced that, gone through an intense time and only found comfort in reading? I’d love to hear your stories.

You can find me at my website: www.janirvingwrites

And on facebook: Janice Irving

Check out Sylvan today!

SylvanCollection

Blurb: 

Return to small-town Sylvan in Jan Irving’s bestselling series—reimagined and re-edited with an all-new bonus novella.

The small Western town of Sylvan is a place for new beginnings for those who won’t settle for anything less than true love. These sweet tales of slow-simmering romance and the old-fashioned values of commitment and pulling together when times get tough prove that sometimes the best matches are also the most unexpected.

With the help of a storm, a washed-up Olympic swimmer and a carpenter cracking under the strain of caring for his Alzheimer’s-affected father learn that opposites sometimes really do attract.

A likable cowboy called Happy Nate is determined to help a mute boy speak again—and to help his father move beyond the repression of the Mennonite community to find the love he deserves.

When a hard-partying cowboy is suddenly saddled with a surprise baby, he’s at his wit’s end. Luckily the local doctor is available to help, and if the two men can find the courage to accept themselves and step into a new life, they might just make a real family. They’ll need to lend each other strength when an unspeakable tragedy strikes—and when it’s time to pick up the pieces.

Leave a Reply