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Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind Grounded Hearts by Jeanne Dickson

It’s always a thrill for me to welcome a fellow WWII author to the blog. Jeanne Dickson is stopping by this week to share the inspiration for her new novel, Grounded Hearts. Here’s a little bit about the book:

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

Jeanne, what inspired you to write the story?

Grounded Hearts is very dear to me. The idea came from family history and stories.

After my mother passed away, my father and I became very close. When I’d visit him at his ranch in Paso Robles, we’d sit together at sunset on the deck overlooking the vineyard, and he’d open up to me in ways he never had before. I suppose he’d only shared his inner thoughts with my mother before she passed, but now I treasure our conversations. The germ of a story that would become Grounded Hearts came from one of those late night discussions.

My father was stationed in England during WWII. Issued with a weekend pass, he decided to fly to the U.S. Army base in Northern Ireland, and then visit family who lived nearby. Once there, he borrowed a bicycle and peddled across the border into Eire, “Free Ireland.” A few minutes into his ride, a member of the Garda, the Irish National Police, stopped him. The officer told him to turn his army jacket inside out, or he’d have to arrest him as a combatant and send him to the K-Lines internment camp. My father did as directed and continued on his way without further incident, which was fortunate because 240 soldiers from both sides of the conflict faced internment in Ireland during the war.

Remembering the story, I started the “what if” game. When I researched the period the Irish called “The Emergency,” the more fascinated I became and a WWII romance between a downed RAF pilot and a feisty midwife emerged.

Unfortunately, my father went to join my mother in heaven before Grounded Hearts was published, but I’d like to think he’d get a kick out of the book because some of the people in the town are based on family stories. And indeed, the gutsy women in my book resemble members of my extended Irish family.

Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards inclu ding the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

Wow, what an incredible story, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing it with us! Jeanne is giving away a copy of the book. Just follow the instructions below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for joining us, Jeanne!

40 Comments

  1. I gained a love of reading and storytelling from my mother!

  2. I think it is neat when family history inspires a story.

  3. Among other things, I gained my love of history from my family. My parents were young adults who married during WWII, and they always talked a great deal about it and the preceding Depression. Thanks for the interesting and educational article!

  4. Love of swimming in a lake.

  5. The love of passing down family history from one generation to the next. The older you become, the more important you realize this is.

  6. My parents passed down their love of books and reading to all of my siblings and me. We also have a love of family and of getting together.

  7. My mom passed down her love of family and ensured I had a spiritual foundation. Loyalty is also something she instilled in me!

  8. My family loves reading! 🙂

  9. I inherited my love of baking from my Mother. If I can become half the cook she was, then I will have mastered the kitchen. To cook one of her recipes and have family members say it reminds them of her dish is the highest compliment anyone can give me.

  10. I inherited my love of reading and music from my family.

  11. I inherited my love for reading and music 🙂

  12. Reading, needle arts, gardening, farming.

  13. I have inherited the love of the outdoors & cooking from my family. Sure miss all of them.

  14. I inherited my love of farm life from my granny!

  15. This sounds so interesting.

  16. I picked up cooking and baking from my mom and my aunt (mom’s sister). I love reading and sewing but no one that I know of does any reading or sewing on my side of the family and those I know of on my husband’s side don’t either.

  17. I to credit my love of reading to my family, particularly my aunt. As children she helped my sister collect the Nancy Drew books and me the Trixie Belden books.
    Now I get her books for birthdays and Christmas.

  18. I love this. I look forward to reading it soon. Very intriguing story line.

  19. I believe I also inherited a love of storytelling from my family. My dad was a great story teller. I also inherited my love of books from my parents as well.

  20. I inherited my love of reading from my Grandfather. He was a voracious reader and I am too.

  21. Reading, cooking, jigsaw and crossword puzzles 🙂

    Thanks for the great giveaway! Grounded Hearts sounds so good!

  22. The love of and Loyalty to family

  23. Love the cover! Looks like a great read.

  24. From my family I inherited a love of family history,stories,and pictures. So glad my parents shared so much with me,I’m trying to pass these stories to my niece so she can do the same. Thanks Liz and Jeanne for the interview and giveaway!

  25. WW2 stories are some of my favourite and I like the idea of family history inspired stories. Did you intend us to visit your personal FB page? It’s a good idea to have a separate (public) author’s page.

  26. Mom read to us from a very early age, and also took us to library. So that is how I started enjoying books.