As Mother’s Day approaches, Jill Gregory reveals the special bond she shared with her mother . . .
Mother’s Day is a universal holiday, yet such a personal one for each of us. To me, this day reminds me of my lovely mother whose heart and soul made our home so warm and loving. Slender and dark-haired, she passed away from breast cancer when I was twenty-one, but in the time we had together, she gave me a lifetime of love, kindness, gentleness, and wisdom.
It was my mother who introduced me to the books of Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart. They were her favorite authors and she read and collected all of their books. And of course, when I was old enough, she shared them with me. What a gift!
Once I started reading these wonderful books, they quickly became my hands-down favorites as well. I devoured them, one after the other, as if they were the finest of chocolates. And each one of these books which first belonged to my mother now sit prominently, first and foremost, on my own bookshelves. Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart, perhaps more than any other authors, inspired me with a desire to write books that would captivate readers in the same way that I was captivated by theirs. I wanted to create stories that would delight readers and keep them turning the pages as quickly as possible — exactly as my mother and I did when we stayed up late at night in the kitchen, sitting side by side while everyone else in our home slept — both of us deeply and happily glued to our books.
As this Mother’s Day approaches, I realize that my mother had yet another great impact on the books I write. At the heart of all of my western romances, especially my Lonesome Way series of books – Sage Creek, Larkspur Road and Blackbird Lake – the essence of the story is home. Coming home, finding a place to call home, realizing the importance of home – all of these longings are at the heart of my stories. I see now that it’s because of my mother’s love and the way she lived her life that I have such a strong sense of home, of what a home is and should be and can be.
A place of love, belonging, laughter, and peace.
All of these are at the center of every happy ending, aren’t they? As Mother’s Day nears, I wish and hope that everyone joyously celebrates the mothers who gave them the gift of home and love – and, of course, books!
Mothers shape the lives of their children in so many ways, and one day doesn’t even seem nearly enough to honor them.
But let’s try!