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Sharon Robinson has captivated readers with Stealing Home, her memoir of a life growing up in the public eye, and Jackie's Nine, a book for young readers about the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped her father, Jackie Robinson, achieve his goals. Now, she has turned her pen to a new genre to delight a new audience of readers: the lovers of romance novels. STILL THE STORM is an engrossing story of betrayal, forgiveness and triumph set against the backdrop of political ...
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Sharon Robinson has captivated readers with Stealing Home, her memoir of a life growing up in the public eye, and Jackie's Nine, a book for young readers about the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped her father, Jackie Robinson, achieve his goals. Now, she has turned her pen to a new genre to delight a new audience of readers: the lovers of romance novels. STILL THE STORM is an engrossing story of betrayal, forgiveness and triumph set against the backdrop of political drama in a wealthy Connecticut suburb.
Drawing from her own first-hand knowledge of the political campaign process and life in the public spotlight, Ms. Robinson has written a strong, savvy heroine who readers will immediately embrace. Jennifer Kelly is a fiery, free-spirited professional fundraiser who returns to her hometown to confront her father and the past after learning that she has a half-sister she has never met. When she returns home, she is quickly drawn into the political web of Michael Wingate, Connecticut's first African-American to run for the U.S. Senate and the candidate her father, Moses, Michael's political mentor, is about to endorse. Moses agrees to help Jennifer find his other daughter on one condition: Jennifer must remain in Connecticut and lead Michael's fundraising efforts during the last stage of the campaign. Thrust into the frenzied pace of the campaign, Jennifer and Michael discover a shared passion for politics and each other; while just weeks into her work, shocking yet true revelations about the candidate are uncovered that threaten his Senatorial bid and their budding romance. How Jennifer handles finding her half-sister, falling in love and coping with hurt and disappointment takes the reader on this one woman's courageous, whirlwind attempt to "still the storm" within.
Whether writing for adults or young readers and with the same sensitivity that she has brought to her non-fiction books, Sharon Robinson, once again, weaves the value of commitment (one of the nine highlighted in Jackie's Nine and a common thread across her career) through STILL THE STORM. Readers are certain to be seduced by these characters and turn each page eager for more.
About the Author
Sharon Robinson is the vice president of educational programming for Major League Baseball and serves on the Board of Directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Prior to joining Major League Baseball, she had a 20-year career as a nurse-midwife and educator, teaching at such prestigious universities as Yale, Columbia, Howard and Georgetown. Ms. Robinson is the author of Stealing Home (HarperCollins) and Jackie's Nine (Scholastic). She has a son and resides in New York City and St. Croix.
Q: What inspired you to turn to romance fiction writing after having written your memoir and a book for young readers?
A: I grew up a fan of romance books. My grandmother introduced them to me when I was about fifteen. Much later, I became a nurse-midwife, married, divorced and raised a son. Between my career and sharing stories with girlfriends, I've heard just about every love story imaginable. Through it all, I continue to believe in love. As a writer, I wanted to share this optimism with others.
Q: How did you adjust to writing in such a different style?
A: Moving from non-fiction to romance was an interesting process. The fact that the writing was so different intrigued me. After studying the elements of fiction writing and experimenting with a story, I finally got into a rhythm. I shelved the first book I was working on and started fresh. STILL THE STORM flowed beautifully. I quickly got into the story and found myself anxious to spend time with my characters; the story took shape from them. At times, I included Jennifer and Michael in my conversations with friends just like they were real people. To me they are.
Q: Having written in three genres, what, if any, common themes do you carry through your writing?
A: The complexity of the human experience, importance of family, facing adversity, and forgiveness are themes that are interwoven throughout Stealing Home, Jackie's Nine and STILL THE STORM.
Q: Where do you find time to devote to your writing with such a busy professional schedule?
A: To begin with, I'm blessed with a strong supporting cast of family, friends and coworkers. They encourage me and help me manage my time. Secondly, I'm devoted to developing my craft; I feel compelled to write every day. With frequent travel, I've learned to write or edit my work on planes, trains or in my apartment in New York City. Scenes are continuously germinating in my head whether walking the streets of Manhattan or sitting on the beach in St. Croix watching a sunset.
Q: What do you feel are the most compelling attributes of your heroine, Jennifer Kelly?
A: I certainly admire Jennifer's independence and her willingness to confront her past, but I also like how she took a risk with Michael.
Q: After whom did you model your characters or did you create them entirely from imagination?
A: That's a tough one; there's no pure answer. Jennifer and Michael really came to life as the story unfolded and, as the story twisted and turned, my characters remained true. Certainly, there are pieces of myself in Jennifer. Earlier in my career, I worked as a fundraiser, and, like the character, we both share hobbies such as a love of horseback riding and baking.
Q: What led you to set STILL THE STORM against a political backdrop?
A: I chose the political setting because most people find the quest for power intriguing and question each action a politician takes and because I've been involved in politics since I was a kid.
Beyond those basic facts, I've always been interested in politics. I remember as a young girl listening to my dad's reasons for supporting one candidate over another. When I was ten, my father campaigned for Richard Nixon while my mother openly planned to vote for John F. Kennedy. If I'd been old enough, I would have voted for Kennedy myself. Anyway, as Election Day neared, my fifth grade teacher sent the class home to find out whom our fathers were supporting. I went home and begged my father to change his mind. Naturally, he refused. The next day, my class was divided according to the political party of their fathers. The majority of the class turned out to be Democrats and, much to my annoyance, I was labeled a Republican. The classroom exercise got me talking with my dad about why he chose Nixon over Kennedy. He told me how he'd studied Kennedy's voting record and met with him before making his decision. While I was a bit suspect of his judgment, it got me thinking about why someone runs for political office, and I still ask myself this question. Writing STILL THE STOROM helped me to answer it.
In my book, Michael Logan Wingate claims to be in politics to make a difference. As the story progresses his motives and willingness to compromise for the sake of his ambition are put to the test. In the process of working through the crisis, Michael becomes any man and we share in the struggle.
Q: Where does Jennifer find the strength to deal with the hurt and disappointments of the men she loves, and what do you hope readers will take from her experience?
A: That's an interesting question. Jennifer's strength teaches us to face adversity honestly without loosing faith in love.
Q: What's next for you?
A: More romance, certainly!
Posted May 3, 2002
Jennifer Kelly, professional fundraiser, returns home after a five-year absence to confront her father about the family's past. A secret he sought not to have discovered by Jennifer was. Moses and Sarah Kelly, her parents, would rather leave the past alone and rebuild their relationship with their daughter. When confronted by Jennifer, the Kelly's decide that the only way to rebuild the relationship is to seek out the mystery person from the past and move them towards healing. Moses introduces his prodigy and surrogate son, Michael Wingate, an ambitious senatorial candidate, to his daughter hoping she will work on his campaign. The sparks fly early and they are convinced that neither can work with the other. However, Jennifer, always intrigued by a challenge, agrees to work on the campaign as his fundraiser. During the short time that they work together, the attraction to one another intensifies. Although both are intrigued by the possibility of a relationship, yet neither moves to establish one until passion throws them together. At the end of a successful campaign for Michael, the secrets of both Moses and Michael's past unfold. The irony of the lives of the mentor and the prodigy are interwoven due to unbelievable circumstances. I cannot reveal this twist in the plot as I do not want to give the story away. All of the characters are shocked in the realization that no secret is a secret if one or more person knows of the secret. Ah, what a web we weave when we choose to deceive! Still the Storm is an interesting and fast read story set in Connecticut. It was a stretch for me to believe the location, but once past that, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It is a story of deception, triumphs over adversity and, most importantly, forgiveness. The author captured the heart and soul of her characters and makes you want all to be well with them. Overall, I found this a realistic jaunt into the lives of the rich and famous. It was an easy read and the ending was one that will give you a belief in the happy after ever ending â?¿ even if it took a miracle, jet plane and a ton of forgiveness to get there. But, isn't that what life is truly about?
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