Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Writer's Wednesday:: Holly Jacobs Book Of The Heart

This week at The Pink Heart Society we continue our inspirational stories of women whose lives have been touched by Breast Cancer with a post from Harlequin Everlasting author Holly Jacobs...

I was in my teens when I met me someday-to-be-husband. From that first meeting on, he gave me so many gifts. The gift of love. The gift of laughter. He always believed in me when I couldn’t quite believe in myself. He gave me four beautiful, intelligent kids (yes, I may be biased, but it’s true...they’re great). And he gave me his mom. You see, when I married him, I didn’t just get a mother-in-law, I gained a friend. We used to joke that if my husband ever divorced me, I was going to make sure I kept his mom in the divorce settlement. His mom and I traveled together, had season tickets to touring Broadway shows. She was an amazing woman. Her name was Dorothy, but we all called her Dort. Dort was Irish right down to the twinkle in her eye and her gift of story. She was a walking encyclopedia of family histories, had the ability to see the bright side of any situation and had a laugh that lit up a room. She was a mother, wife, grandmother, sister... She was a teacher, a friend, a mentor. She was truly just a gift to everyone who knew her.

She was a gift whose life was cut short by breast cancer.

I am known for writing comedy and humor. I love writing that type of story. You see, they say that writers write what they know. And for me, that’s been true. I’ve written many books featuring children, books with slimy dogs (we owned an Old English Mastiff) and books that have a lot of humor (a mainstay in our house). But a few years after Dort died, I knew I had a different story to tell. One that again was drawn from my family’s personal experience and loss. And I started writing a book that featured a secondary character with breast cancer, I knew that despite the fact the book was fictional, it would hit close to home in an entirely different way from my past experiences. The House on Briar Hill Road deals with a family who’s coping with the matriarch’s disease. Their reactions are different than my family’s, but I believe they ring true.

On many levels, this book is a milestone for me. It’s the first book that’s gone so far afield from my comedy/humor roots. And it’s the first book that contains an element of something was so very close to home. Most of the time when I’m writing a book, I find myself laughing as I work. This time, I made myself cry. There was a sense of catharsis in writing it. But I knew I wanted to do more than just tell a story about a family coping with cancer. So, part of my royalties from this book will be donated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

Like I said, this book is fiction, despite the fact it was pulled from my own experiences. And I’m always careful to never draw too much inspiration for a character from a real person. But in the book’s Kathleen, you’ll catch glimpses of my mother-in-law’s spirit. Dort was one of those people who just radiated a warm and loving heart, and a sense of joy that always infected anyone who met her. Of all the books I’ve written, this one truly is the book of my heart.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Holly!!!

You can buy Holly's book of her heart The House On Briar Hill Road from both Amazon and Amazon UK

To find out more about the lovely Holly and her books you can visit her Website

And remember gang that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and you can help support free mammograms simply by clicking the button on our sidebar. Yes - just that. ONE CLICK and you could help save a life!!!


  1. Hi Holly,
    My book arrived from Amazon...but after reading your sweet tribute to your MIL, I fear I must wait until losing my mother wears off a bit. I've loved your comedy, especially Hung Up On You.
    So glad I ordered HOBHR...
    All the best,

  2. I lost my mother to breast cancer 7 years ago and it still hurts. She was unfortunately the type who never went to the doctor unless my father (who had passed away by the time she got sick) took her so she told no one she was sick. By the time I found out about it (by accident) it was way to late and treatment was not possible. I took care of her through her last few months with the help of a home health care nurse. I really don't think she wanted to live after my father died. They had been married for 2 days short of 50 years.

  3. I want to thank the wonderful Pink Heart ladies for allowing me to visit today! Thanks, Ladies!

    Carol, I'm so sorry for your loss. And I've really tried to make sure readers know this isn't one of my comedies. I'm glad it didn't catch you by surprise, and I totally understand holding off on reading it. I know I couldn't have written the story right after losing Dort. It would have hurt too much.

    Ellen, I'm sorry for your loss as well. I'm glad your mother and father-in-law had those almost fifty years together, but it must have hurt to lose them both so fast.


  4. Hi Holly, you were lucky to have such a good relationship with your mother in law. It must be a comfort to know that you enhanced her life and brought her so much happiness. How lovely to be friends with your chid's spouse. I've been fortunate, my mother is a breast cancer survivor - twice - and she's still with us at 80. I'm sorry for you loss.

  5. Oh, Leigh, I'm so glad your mother overcame the disease not once...but twice! Give her a hug from me next time you see her!


  6. Thanks for sharing, Holly - big hugs from me as I lost my mum to breast cancer when I was only 20 and she was way too young (the same age as I am now). That's what made me write 'Where the Heart Is' - so I know where you're coming from. (And I'm also very honoured that M&B know how strongly I feel about this and included my December release in their BCA support campaign.)