Monday, February 22, 2010

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Jean Hart Stewart

This week's special guest at the Tiki Hut is magical romance author Jean Hart Stewart.

Jean feels she’s very much a Californian although she was born in Ohio. California has been home for a good many years. Life changed drastically for her when she was six and her father died incredibly from an errant golf ball. A dishonest insurance agent forced her sheltered mother to seek work, and she became a teacher. Her hours required Jean to be alone in the house in the afternoon, and since she was forbidden to leave till her mother got home, she became an avid reader. The local library supplied most of the books and she developed early her two of main interests, Jane Austen and King Arthur.

Reading is still one of her favorite activities, although she sometimes has to push it aside to make room for her enduring love of writing. Her journalism degree was used infrequently until recently. Marriage and raising two children pleasantly got in the way. After twenty years of being a real estate broker and with the kids raised she finally could devote her time to writing, her first love.

Jean's enchantment with the lore and legends of Druids and, therefore, delving into their history led to fascinating research that inspired her popular Garland of Druids Series for Cerridwen Press. She now enjoys writing stories filled with magic and romance for her Songs of the Mages Series, also for Cerridwen Press.

Few things in her life have been so satisfying, especially when all her books have a happy ending. Wonderful to make happen. It only gets more interesting when a secondary character demands his very own book. Who would want to deny him? Not Jean!
Decisions, decisions, decisions !!

Do you remember the decisions that shaped your life? The decisions you yourself made, not the ones fate forced on you? Sometimes they stick in your memory forever, and often you don’t even notice their importance at the time.

I made one when I was sixteen, in high school and thrilled to pieces when a handsome hunk (hereafter known as HH) asked me to a school dance. You don’t really want to know how long ago that was, do you? I’d secretly drooled for weeks over this guy, and could hardly believe my good luck. Then, only a week before the big dance, my very favorite aunt died suddenly. She’d always been the mainstay of our small, fatherless family, coming to visit whenever her teaching job allowed her to help out. I quite simply adored her.

On top of the sorrow of her death, I learned her funeral would be the weekend of the prom. Services were to be in another part of the state, and in order to attend, you guessed it, I would miss the dance. My mother, bless her, left it entirely up to me. So I had to decide on my own what to do.

You can imagine how I was pulled in opposite directions. Finally, after much agonizing, I chose to attend the last services for Aunt Ella. HH took the news with polite acceptance, and you guessed it, I never heard from him again, except to pass him in the school corridors.

Was I surprised? No. Was I devastated? Pretty much. Although even underneath my regret I was proud I’d made the right and hard decision. Ella had changed my life for the better in so many small ways. I do think that decision helped shape me for the better. I’m so glad I didn’t go the selfish route, although at the time it was hard, hard, hard.

Now I’d love to have you tell me if you can remember your first difficult decision. How you responded? How old were you? Did you make the same choice you’d make today?

Come on, I’ve told all, now you tell me about yourself.

WIN - This week, we'll have two winners - leave Jean a comment today about your first difficult decision and your name goes in the hat to win either a free download of GARETH'S GAMBIT or JENNIVERE'S JOURNEY. Be sure to leave your email address, so we can get contact you if you're one of this week's winners!


  1. Welcome to the Tiki Hut, Jean and super congrats on the new release!!! I love the magical spin you put in your romance novels.

    Seems my childhood was filled with difficult decisions....where would I even start??? But the big one that comes to mind is probably saying no to my first "real" boyfriend thinking (and rightly so) that he'd break up with me (which he did).

    Man, I wouldn't wish being a teenager on anyone!

  2. DeNita, thanks for commenting. That was really a biggie and tough to make if you liked the guy. Good for you, girl. Teenagers (like my granddaughter) have it even rougher today than I did.

  3. One of the most difficult decisions for me to make was going away to university...I'd always been my Mum's protector against my abusive father and I was torn between wanting to escape and forge a path of my own or stay and shield my Mum. I chose to go to university with my Mum pushing me every step of the way but 2 years later...I decided to come back and step in again and this time was able to help my Mum out when she chose to end the 24 years abusive marriage. Looking back, I know that it wasn't easy to go away for those 2 years but I now realize that the time apart made me stronger and more assertive and better able to deal with the difficulties that lay ahead of us.

    Thanks for your great interview.

    Anna Shah Hoque

  4. Anna, I'm so glad you answered. Your story is real and touching. You go, girl. Jean

  5. This wasn't my first difficult decision but it did make a large impact on my life...

    After being in the workforce for over 10 years, being in a comfortable and stable position, working close to home, I decided make a career change. Basically, I decided to start my career all over, again, from the bottom. It was rough for a few years but now I'm in a secure job with excellent benefits and I'm really enjoying it.

    Let me tell, there were many days when I questioned my decision but looking back, I'm glad I did. I'm in a good place (mentally and physically) now.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  6. Tracey, so glad it worked out for you. I had a career in real estate, and when it got too snarky walked out. Finally had time to write and that's certainly a wonderful decision. Change is scary, but fun, isn't it?

  7. Mine wasn't really a difficult decision, but it's only later that I realise what an impact it had. It was simply my decision to leave school at 18 and not go to university, which was expected of me, but which I just didn't have any interest in doing. Ten years later I still get stared at by people who don't seem to understand why I made that decision. "But, you seem quite bright," they stutter, as if the only reason I might not have gone was if I was too stupid to spell my name on the application form.

    I think I knew then that it would mean I would never have a normal career path, but I already knew I wanted to write. I figured if I was going to spend several years learning how to do something I wasn't getting paid for, it might as well be the career I actually wanted. What it meant was that any jobs I ever took were just a means to an end, and that I knew I'd have to make a success of being a writer since I had no fallback career to support myself!

    Possibly you can trace this all back to one big decision I made, albeit gradually, as a child. It was this: Don't Be Normal!

  8. Love the answers I'm getting. I have a daughter who didn't want to college either and did very well without it. She's now senior coordinater for the Math graduate school at UCSD. She's a definite charmer with great people skills that somebody had the sense to recognize. Good for you. Cat/Kate.

  9. Getting divorced was probably the most difficult decision I ever made and at times, I'm still not sure it was the right thing to do, but at the time, there seemed to be no other choice.

    I think the first was to get married right out of high school instead of going away to college. Now, of course I know I made the wrong decision.

    But of course our choices and how we deal with the aftermath of those choices make us into the people we are...good or bad.

  10. Laurie Jo, All you can do is all you cn do, right? What-ifs can drive you nutty. And you're dead on, it's how we deal with our decisions, even mistakes that count. You sound in good shape to me, and thanks for answeing....Jean

  11. very interesting post guys. i have made so many decisions that haven't been easy, but i guess that's what life is all about right.

    keep on

  12. Thanks for commenting, JT. It's part of life's testing process,I think. Jean

  13. Fun topic. I love that you chose your aunt's funeral over the prom, because you know you'd never forgive yourself if you hadn't.

    As a writer, I'll bet it's interesting to think about what changes your life would have if you had chose differently. What if...

    Good luck with your books and thanks for the great topic.

  14. Jerry, I had as much fun as anybody with that topic. Some very interesting and honest answers, I thought. Thanks for commenting...All of them so good I'll have to put the names in a hat to pick the winner. Jean

  15. Winners are Anna Hogue and TraceyD. I'm' e-mailing them now. I thought it was great. The responses were so interesting, Thanks a bunch. Jean