Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: Home Fires by Jana Richards πŸ’• Narrator Interview, Audiobook Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Historical Romance)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Home Fires by Jana Richards πŸ’• Narrator Interview, Audiobook Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Historical Romance)



Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War II, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she'd fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiance's mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.
Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he's a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is - especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg.
Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?





War Brides by Jana Richards

My novella, HOME FIRES, tells the story of Anne Wakefield, a young British woman who travels to Canada after World War Two to marry her fiancΓ©. Though Anne and her story are fictional, the phenomena of War Brides is not. Some 48,000 women married Canadian servicemen during the war. The majority of war brides were British, but some came from France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. Between 1942 and 1947, these women, along with their 22,000 children, traveled to Canada to begin their new lives.
Some were married after quick, whirlwind romances. Others had the luxury of getting to know each other before they tied the knot. But for all these couples, marriage was the only answer. The customs of the day demanded that if they wanted to sleep together, they had to be married. And so they did. The times were perilous with no guarantee of a tomorrow. A sense of urgency compelled them to grab all the happiness they could.
In my story, Anne is not married before she comes to Canada because a wedding couldn’t be arranged before her fiancΓ© was shipped home. Though the majority of war brides were married in England, some were not, and married in Canada instead. These women would have had to pay for their own passage on the war bride ships.
The war brides traveled on special ships, usually former luxury liners like the Queen Mary that had been converted to carrying troops during the war. Depending on the weather during the crossing, and the young woman’s constitution, she either had a wonderful adventure or a miserable, seasick trip. Some made new friends with the other war brides and enjoyed the abundance and quality of the food onboard. Almost every account I read talked about how thrilled they were to be able to eat foods that had been scarce in Britain since the beginning of the war. Simple things like white bread, butter, fruit and eggs were mentioned.
Once they arrived in Halifax, the war brides were directed to special trains that took them to their new homes. For brides whose destination was one of the Maritime Provinces, the train ride was short. But for those who were on their way to the Prairies or the west coast, the train ride took several days. In my story, Anne is destined for Saskatchewan on the Canadian prairies, so her train ride would have been at least five days.
Finally, the war bride would reach her final destination. Her husband or her husband’s family would be there to greet her. In most cases, it was a happy reunion. But not always. I read stories of husbands who told their British wives to go home because they didn’t want them anymore. A friend of mine in her eighties told me of a war bride she knew who was rejected by her husband when she arrived. This is Anne’s experience. By the time she arrives, her fiancΓ© has married someone else.
Despite the often fast courtships and hastily arranged weddings between people from different backgrounds and cultures, the majority of these marriages endured. These marriages and the families that were created helped to build post-war Canada, and are a testament to the strength of character of the war brides.

  


Steve Wojtas

For over ten years, Steve Wojtas has voiced everything from audiobooks in the genres of non-fiction, horror, and romance, national television campaigns for Disney and Quicken Loans, to corporate narration for Google, Adobe, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft.

He obtained and MFA in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied speech through Shakespeare. He has appeared at numerous Shakespeare festivals as well as Chicago PD & Chicago Fire on NBC, and Proven Innocent on FOX. He lives in Chelsea, MI with his wife, Shannon, one year old daughter, Lily, and their retired greyhound, Boondocks.

He can be contacted through his website at www.stevewojtas.com




When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
Well I'm a narrator because I was already a professional VO artist. I was a
professional VO artist because I was a classically trained stage actor. I was a stage actor
because I majored in theater in college, after starting in Computer Science and deciding
that I was having more fun and was more talented at acting than programming. But I
think if you really want to trace it all back, it actually started when I was four years old
and my mom asked me what I wanted to be. I considered it very thoughtfully, the way
only a four year old can do, and I thought of my favorite thing in the entire universe. So I
told her, after much consideration, that I wanted to be a cartoon. Now, I knew I wasn't just
going to be one because I wanted to be one. I figured there was some sort of college for
the transformation. But she informed me that cartoons were drawings, and they weren't
actually people. I cried and yelled at her as if it was her fault. It wasn't until I almost
graduated with my theatre degree that my mother reminded me of that story. I think what
I do is as close as I'll ever come.

How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something
you stumbled into by chance?
It was definitely a conscious choice. I was already a professional VO artist doing
commercials and corporate VO and I loved listening to audiobooks. But while I
was still acting on stage and a little on TV, I thought it was silly that I wasn't acting
in my VO work. I hoped audiobooks were going to scratch that itch.

A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is
essential to a successful narration career?
Well I wouldn't want to say “essential” but it does give you a command over
words that other forms of acting don't seem to. You'd think working with a mic in
film would be closer but its not. With film, its all in the eyes. On stage, it mostly
about the words. So you learn to communicate those as clearly as possible while
maintaining truth in your performance.

What type of training have you undergone?
I got a BA in Theatre from Lehigh University and an MFA in Acting from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison. My voice teacher in grad school, Susan
Sweeney, is the reason I can do what I do.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for
narrating?
It helps to do a lot of different things orbiting around this world. I'm working on a
narrating a book right now, but I also just recorded a Disney commercial, filmed
an episode of Proven Innocent on Fox and an episode of Chicago PD on NBC. In
there I'm also doing small corporate narration projects. I'm in and out of the booth
all the time but it's always for a different project. Add to that an audiobook is
always its own animal. If its fiction, its always fun to find the drama and bring new
characters to life. If its non-fiction, it's always interesting learning something new.

Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
My wife was pumping gas early one morning and the pump was playing a
commercial. She was a theatre director for a long time, so we both know a lot of
actors. We often have to play the “who is that” game when we hear something on
the radio or see something on TV. So she thought “Who is that? I know that
voice.” And then she realized it was her husband! In her defense, she hadn't had
her coffee yet. Also in her defense, I was watching football and my quicken loans
commercial came out and for a split second, my brain did the same thing. “Who is
that? I know that voice... Oh, it's me!”

If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card. It's a sequel to the much more
popular Ender's Game, but Speaker always stuck with me more. Thousands of
years pass between the first and second books, but only a few decades for our
protagonist because of relativistic speeds he's traveling in space. Traveling so far
and so fast that humanity forgets that you're the one who accomplished what you
accomplished was always fascinating to me.

What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to
“real reading”?
What? Do people really say that? What are they talking about? “Cheating”? Is
there going to be a test at the end of this and no one told me? How about
everyone just experiences stories they wish to experience stories.

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
Practice-practice-practice. Read out loud and record yourself. If you're at a stage
where you find listening to your voice strange, then you haven't listened to it
enough! If you already have a computer, it'll only cost you a couple hundred
dollars to set up something that you can actually practice and then audition with.
If you start doing every day, you''ll find out really quickly if its something you're
built for.

What’s next for you?
I'm actually working on my own novel. It's a prequel to Shakespeare's The
Tempest titled Caliban's Song. I tell the origin story of the monster of the play,
Caliban, opening with his very pregnant mother being banished to the very
strange island where the story takes place. I'm hoping to have the print version
done this summer and then the audiobook I'll obviously be recording myself later
this year.


When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist, and in 2018 “Lies and Solace” won Best Contemporary romance in the I Heart Indie contest.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their geriatric Pug/Terrier cross Lou. Jana loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com



   


Subscribe to Jana's newsletter and get a FREE eCopy of Take a Chance on Me (a $2.99 value)!

Teacher Darcy Ferris loves travel almost as much as she loves her Toronto neighborhood. But no matter how far she roams, she always returns to the genteelly shabby Victorian mansion where she grew up, the last place her father lived. Darcy’s world is turned upside-down when the Victorian is slated for demolition.

Since architect Nick Cummings’ mother’s death, his father has retreated from his real estate developing business, and from life. In a desperate attempt to interest his father in living again, Nick buys a beat-up Victorian mansion and draws up plans to replace it with a Victorian-inspired condo. But he doesn’t expect such opposition from his new tenant, Darcy Ferris. Nor does he expect to fall in love with her.

Nick and Darcy must come to terms with the past before they can forge a future together. And they’ll need to take the biggest chance of all – on love.



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