Today we're thrilled to have romance author Jenyfer Matthews guest blogging. Her third novel, All the Way Home, was released yesterday! Congratulations!! Jenyfer is known for her charming, suspenseful stories full of humor and romance--makes my TBP decision for this weekend easy. : ) You can win one of Jenyfer's wonderful books in the Spring Fling contest. For details, visit http://cerridwenpressauthors.blogspot.com/. Oh, you want to hear from Jenyfer now? Here she is!

I’ve lived abroad for nearly a decade now and in our first year away, my husband and I made friends with a couple from a small, small town in the mountains of Virginia. The husband from that couple spent a lot of time talking about how much he missed spending time with his friends, watching familiar TV shows, eating his favourite junk foods and just generally being home. He couldn’t wait for summer vacation to roll around.

Funny thing happened though. When we all returned to work in the fall, he told us how unsatisfying it had been to go home. His friends were all still the same – doing the same things, having the same conversations, eating the same food while watching the same TV shows - but he had a hard time slipping into his old role among them. Nothing had changed – except him. He hadn’t realized how much until he went back to his home town.

Even if you’ve never lived abroad, we’ve all had experiences like this. Does your grandmother or your mother treat you as a fully mature, competent adult when you go home to visit? Do they show an interest in your job, seek your opinion on current events? Ask your advice with a problem? Or do they still remind you not to stick a knife in the toaster or to wear a hat because it’s cold out or not to snack before dinner because it will ruin your appetite?

I’m no exception. Forget that I’ve travelled to nearly a dozen foreign countries and have flown across the world countless times with two children and a mountain of luggage in tow. When I go home, my mother will still try to tell me how to cook, drive, feed my children, or go to bed. It’s that sort of behaviour that drives otherwise mature adults to acting like snarling teenagers again.

It can be hard for the people who have known you all your life to let go of old perceptions of you and accept the changes that come with time and maturity and life experience. But while the people who know you best can sometimes drive you crazy, they can also be a blessing and a comfort. I can tell people about my childhood, but no one fully understands like my sister does. My mother stocks up on all my favourite treats when I come to visit without having to be given a list. And I can slip into conversations with my best friends that feel like I never left.

It was experiencing this firsthand that gave me the idea for writing my newest release ALL THE WAY HOME. My character Maggie leaves her home town for college and stays away, motivated in part by her parents’ unhappy marriage. A decade later, Maggie reluctantly returns to help her sister deal with a domestic crisis. In this case, it’s Maggie’s own perceptions of what her home town means to her that are the problem. And it isn’t until she meets the hero Sam, town bad-boy made good, that she begins to accept that maybe her old perceptions are outdated.

Going home again isn’t a problem - driving back to her home town was the easy part. Letting go of old ideas and accepting that just maybe there really are such things as happy relationships and happy endings is Maggie’s real journey.


You can visit Jenyf'er's website at http://www.jenyfermatthews.com/ or her blog at http://jenyfermatthews.blogspot.com/ and friend her at myspace at http://www.myspace.com/jenyfermatthews

5 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // March 14, 2008 at 3:10 PM  

    I enjoyed this insightful interview very much. Thanks, Jenyfer! A thoughtful perspective on going home. Only, I only live a short distance from mine so I have very different challenges, and blessings.

  2. Liz Jasper // March 14, 2008 at 4:25 PM  

    I think a variation on the fish rule applies. (After three days, fish and houseguests stink.)

    After three days of getting to being an adult, the old parent-child dynamic kicks back in.

    --Liz

  3. Mona Risk // March 14, 2008 at 8:31 PM  

    Jenyfer,

    It's wonderful to welcome you on the Pink Fuzzy Slippers Blog.

    I read and left a comment on another blog about you.

    You are a hero to travel such long distances with two kids. I'll recommend to everyone who reads our PFS to have a look at Jenyfer's blog and some of her amazing stories about Egypt.

  4. Jenyfer Matthews // March 15, 2008 at 1:33 AM  

    Glad you enjoyed the blog, Beth! Thanks to Liz for inviting me. I always look forward to going back to visit family in the summertime, but sometimes the adjustment is bigger than others. My mother tends to be the worst about treating me like a child - but I suppose that stands to reason!

    Mona - I thought of you the other day when I was at the vegetable market and the man there made me a cafe au lait - with fresh buffalo milk! It was really good :)

  5. Mary Marvella // March 15, 2008 at 9:19 PM  

    Jenyfer, thanks for stopping by. You told a story with which most of us can relate. The people we knew as kids find it difficult to notice we've grown up. My daughter worked at her dad's photo studio as a teenager. Now at 35, the employees sometimes still think of her as that kid.