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What Comes Before

Rosa Jordan
Rosa Jordan Author Interview

When a group of writers come together In Search of a Happy Ending, they discover the stories they write down are not the stories that need to be told and together they discover their own happy ending? What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Actually, the stories they write ARE the stories that need to be told, but not the COMPLETE story. Pi, for example, writes cops-and-criminals stories with no indication that they reflect his own background. Eve is trying to write about the relationship between Fidel Castro and Celia Sanchez during Cuba’s Revolution, but is having difficulty because she has never been either a revolutionary or deeply in love.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

This is a story about stories. Everybody has one (or several.) Caring enough to find out what other people’s stories are is a way of connecting with people who on the surface seem very different, and there’s much to be gained from those connections. Those too self-centered or judgemental to take the time to learn other people’s stories impoverish themselves unnecessarily.

Another idea this story is meant to dramatize is that of “present-time comparisons;” that is to say, the value of comparing what they are doing right now with what else they might be doing right now, and choosing the activities that are most satisfying, instead of comparing what they’re doing now with things they used to do which are no longer options. When 35-year-old Eve becomes dispondent about no longer having the stamina she used to have, Scott gently points out that if he compared his present soccer skills with those he had when he was 25, he’d never show his bony legs on a field again. But he can still get great pleasure by comparing how much he enjoys seniors soccer with, say, sitting around the house doing nothing.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The importance of finding ways to make life meaningful, regardless of how long we have to live or imagine we have to live. As Eve tells Raynee, who is always insisting that stories be given a “happy ending,” it’s not the end that counts, it’s what comes before.

Because so many elements of modern life tend to isolate us, it’s important to be pro-active about developing connections with others. Not only do such connections enrich our immediate life, they make it more likely that we will have the support of others when we need it–as each of us do at some point, no matter how self-reliant we try to be.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m three-quarters through a long “creative nonfiction” biography of the Cuban revolutionary Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro’s “significant other” throughout the war against the Batista dictatorship, and for the next twenty years when she more than anyone else worked to create a Cuba that conformed to revolutionary ideals of social justice. It has three sections: Clandestina (the years she was working against the dictatorship before she met Castro, Guerillera (the two years she during the war when she lived with him in the Sierra Madre), and Architecta (the twenty years following victory when together they pursued revolutionary goals: his to make Cuba free of US domination, hers to build the infrastructure (homes, hospitals, schools, recreational facilities, and much more) to enhance the quality of life for everyday Cubans. CELIA: THE WOMAN WHO SAVED CASTRO & THE CUBAN REVOLUTION (working title) will be finished by the end of 2022. As for when it will be available, that’s up to the publisher. By now I have enough experience to know that finding a publisher can take several years, and is likely to take two years after that for the publisher to bring it out.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Vancouver Sun | Nelson Review | Rosa Jordan

Six months in the life of a Vancouver writing group; each member has three stories: the one they are writing, the one they are living, and the one they are hiding. Eve tells no one that her cardiologist has indicated that she is in danger of imminent death. But if she, only 34, is running out of time, what about the others? The group leader, Hector, is 86, and his wife Golda is even older. Celebrity-seeking Chelsea’s recklessness is so extreme that no one wants to ride in a car that she is driving. High school dropout Raynee thinks five huskies are all the protection she needs for solo mushing in the mountains. Perhaps Pi’s bloodthirsty stories peopled with characters who always end up dead are not fiction? Is Scott’s prostate cancer really in remission? And why is enigmatic Lisette convinced that if the family she has fled ever locates her, her life will be over? As the novel unfolds, a theme emerges from the very different pieces of writing presented for discussion. Each is a reminder of the tenuousness of life. As members of the group discover each others’ past secrets and current crises, unexpected relationships develop that may save some of them, but lead to the death of others. The stories they are writing will be altered, the ones they are hiding will be exposed, and the ones they are living will be given entirely different endings.

In Search of a Happy Ending

In Search of a Happy Ending by [Rosa Jordan]

A terminal illness comes as a surprise to Eve Austin. The indignation that has swept Eve, a newly divorced woman in her mid-30s, over her disbelief about her imminent fate has been overwhelming. After joining a writing group where members alike cloak their private lives and disguise realities, Eve finds that her search for a happy ending is replaced with something more meaningful. During the bi-monthly meeting of a seven-member group, Eve, a recluse awaiting her fate, changes abruptly into a woman who learns that not every story has to have a happy ending and that what matters most is what lies in the middle chapters of life.

The plot of this sentimental novel, the second by author Rosa Jordan, features diverse characters, from an eighty-two-year-old blunt Hector to a 21-year-old self-contained foster girl named Raynee. It is Eve who helps the reader understand not only her own mental frame but that of the other characters as well. It’s not just the character’s psychological development that the reader gets to see, but their somewhat tumultuous personal lives as well. It presents Hector and Golda as orthodox married couples, with Golda always willing to submit to Hector’s domineering nature. However, the eccentric affection between them is a very touching element of the novel.

Despite presenting the most vulnerable phases of someone’s life in a novel, the author brings in humorous elements as well. I appreciate the author’s ability to help the reader notice even the smallest change in emotions and thoughts within the characters. The novel shines due to its subtle observations, typically seen through the viewpoint of Eve. I believe there is no such thing as a favorite character in the novel because all of them have characteristics I could admire and dislike at the same time.

The writing group stories play a key part in the development of the characters. There are a variety of different stories told by the characters so readers of all interests will be able to find one that appeals to them especially those who enjoy the subtleties of human emotions.

In Search of a Happy Ending by Rosa Jordan captivates readers with dynamic characters that learn and grow from one another. Each chapter of the novel creates a strong surge of emotions in the reader. This is a story about people with dual lives and demeanors and a generous heart. By walking their paths, they learn and teach what it means to live for themselves and others. 

Pages: 335 | ASIN: B09KDDQDJR

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