Friday, May 8

Insight into the Characters of the Love at Solace Lake Series by Jana Richards

One of the themes we Word Wranglers talked about was our inspiration for a story. What were we thinking when we wrote the characters?

Back in the eighties when I lived in Saskatchewan, a prominent provincial politician was convicted of brutally killing his wife. It was a horrible story, made even more tragic because of the children left behind. The youngest child, a girl, was only nine years old when her mother was murdered. I always wondered happened to her and how she coped with the tragedies of her childhood.

Fast forward thirty-five years. Keeping that long-ago murder in mind, I began writing the Love at Solace Lake series about three sisters who were raised by their maternal grandparents after their father kills their mother in what the police rule a murder/suicide. I tried to imagine the emotions such a trauma would have caused, and the scars they were left with as children, and as adults.

Harper, the oldest sister, was ten when her mother died. She can’t quite believe the father she knew and loved could have done this to her mother, to their family. But the evidence is all there, so she has to accept it. By the time Harper is an adult she has lost both parents, her paternal grandfather and the maternal grandparents who raised her. The only family she has left are her two younger sisters and they live far away and have no interest in the old fishing lodge where they were raised and where she still lives. She’s left feeling abandoned. Everyone she’s ever loved has left her in one way or another, so she shies away from relationships and intimacy. It would be too painful to lose anyone else.

Scarlet, the middle sister, was eight at the time of the murder/suicide. She’s grown up feeling responsible for her mother’s death because of something she did that day. In her head she knows it’s not her fault but in her eight-year-old heart, she believes she’s to blame. The guilt has followed her all her life, leading her to break two engagements. After living through the end of her parents’ marriage, and their deaths, she’s afraid of relationships. She focuses on her career, but the lack of relationships in her life, even with her sisters, leaves her feeling isolated. She can’t tell them what happened on the last day of her parents’ lives because she’s afraid they’ll blame her the way she blames herself.

Maggie was less than two years old when her parents died. She has no memories of them and feels cheated because of that. Like her sisters she was raised by her maternal grandparents. Gramma Dorothy was a difficult person and she and Maggie were always at odds, especially when Maggie was a teenager. When Maggie was fourteen, during one particularly awful fight, Gramma Dorothy suffers a fatal heart attack. Maggie feels responsible. If she hadn’t fought with her, if she hadn’t threatened to run away, perhaps she wouldn’t have died. After her grandmother’s death, Harper stepped into a more parental role with Maggie, and she hated it. She resented her sister’s control over her life and fought against it. As soon as she finishes high school, she moves away from the fishing lodge and the small town where she grew up but finds herself vulnerable to a new type of control. She longs for a relationship with her sisters, especially Harper, but now that she’s an adult, she needs Harper to be her sister rather than her mother.

Through these feelings of abandonment, denial, guilt, shame and resentment, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie attempt to forge relationships with each other and with the men who come into their lives. But those childhood scars make forming relationships difficult. It will take a lot of love to see them through.


  1. This is SUCH a great series. I'm glad to read about its beginnings.

  2. Thanks Liz. It was fun to write, and I'm especially proud of it because it's my first self-published series.