2015-03-15 / Dining & Entertainment

Former Oakley resident’s debut novel released as April Harlequin romance

By Mandilee Loomis
Staff Reporter

Author Jill Kemerer will soon debut her first book, a Harlequin Love Inspired novel. (Courtesy Photo) Author Jill Kemerer will soon debut her first book, a Harlequin Love Inspired novel. (Courtesy Photo) OAKLEY – To be a Harlequin romance novelist is quite an accomplishment. Local author Jill Kemerer will soon hold that esteemed title, as her debut novel Small- Town Bachelor will be released through Harlequin Love Inspired on April 1. A Meet and Greet and book-signing event will take place on April 11 at the Oakley Village Hall.

According to its description, Small-Town Bachelor takes place in a (fictional) small town in Michigan and tells the tale of Claire Sheffield and how she must choose between her dream job and the man she’s grown to love, after a tornado destroys her sister’s wedding and injures the best man.

“When Reed Hamilton arrives in Lake Endwell for a family wedding, he expects to do his part as best man then head back to the big city. But when a tornado postpones the wedding, the town is in shambles and Reed is injured. Thankfully maid of honor Claire Sheffield offers him one of her cottages to recuperate in,” the books synopsis explained.

“Dedicated to her family and her dream job at the zoo, Claire is all about roots. She’s this city slicker’s opposite, yet as they help the town rebuild, Reed is captivated by her stunning looks and caring ways. He can’t ask Claire to leave the life she loves for him, but he also can’t imagine ever leaving her behind…. Claire won’t consider living anywhere but Lake Endwell to be near her family. However, Reed avoids family at all costs and doesn’t want to spend any time in Lake Endwell, the same town as his estranged father. Claire and Reed must decide what they’re willing to risk for love.”

Kemerer grew up in Oakley and attended school there until the hage of 12. She stated most of her family still resides in the Oakley and Chesaning area. She said Most of her stories are inspired by her childhood in Oakley.

The author now resides near Toledo, Ohio. She has sold two more books to Harlequin Love Inspired, and her second novel, Unexpected Family will be available in September.

Harlequin Love Inspired books are Christian romance novels. Kemerer explained to the Citizen the difference between Christian romance novels and other romance novels is Christian romance stories have an additional spiritual thread outside of the basic romance novel premise of hero and heroine overcoming obstacles on their path to love.

“Readers can expect a sweet, clean read without profanity or sexual content and a clear Christian message. This doesn’t mean they’re preachy. Usually a character’s faith grows in some way over the course of the book,” she said.

The former electrical engineer and now fulltime romance writer said she decided to take the leap to fulltime writer after she and her husband had children.

“I promptly became a stay-at-home mom, and I didn’t want the long-hours or pressure of a full-time job. For years I’d been writing for fun, so I researched how to get published. Naturally, I wrote the books I liked to read,” she said.

Kemerer said she writes Christian romance novels with love, humor, and faith and her readers can expect her books to include themes like charming small towns, an emphasis on family, and character problems women can relate to.

She said the book writing process for Small-Town Bachelor took a total of four months, though it took seven years of writing and submitting her work to get published. “Let’s just say there are several completed romance novels gathering dust bunnies under my bed,” she said.

“I’m blessed to have a terrific agent, Rachel Kent, of Books and Such Literary Agency, and she’s worked tirelessly to sell my books. I ended up selling this one through Happily Editor After, an online pitch contest hosted by Harlequin Love Inspired.”

She said her advice to aspiring authors is to write the draft first and worry about the rest later.

“Don’t worry at first about the story being perfect or getting your commas placed correctly. Just write a draft and let the fun take over. You can work on plot problems and grammar issues when the piece is finished. As you continue writing, study books on the writing craft and keep reading,” Kemerer said.

“Go after your dreams. I dreamed of being a published author for twenty years. It took a lot of rejection, hard work and faith in God’s timing for this dream to come true. And it was worth every minute of it.”

Small-Town Bachelor is 219 pages long and can be purchased for $5.99 at most Walmart stores, Barnes & Noble, Kmart, and other retailers, as well as online. More information can be found at http://jillkemerer.com/books/small-town-bachelor/.

The Author Meet and Greet will be held Saturday, April 11 from 2 until 4 p.m. at the Oakley Village Hall, 201 Parshall Street.

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