In August 2014, I moved to Texas to study play therapy at the University of North Texas. It was my dream program. It wasn’t just my top choice program, it was my only choice program. I decided that I wanted to study play therapy at the University of North Texas before I even began my undergrad.
The program was everything that I wanted. I loved my classes. I knew 100% that I had made the right choice of school. But still, for the 3 years that I was in Texas, I was desperately homesick. When I sat down to write my newest novel, HOME, I hoped to capture the enormity of that homesickness.
I wrote the first draft as part of National Novel Writing Month in 2016, during the final year of my grad program. It was a cathartic first draft. I wrote about how hard it was living in Texas. I wrote about all of the things I didn’t like about the place. I wrote about what it was like to miss family and friends.
And then in August 2017, I moved home and I wrote the second draft of the book.
The thing is, it was nearly as hard to move back home as it was to leave in the first place. Living away changed me, and suddenly the old life that I was coming home to didn’t fit quite right. I was back with my family and my friends, but I missed the friends that I had made in Texas. I missed the food. I missed the heat. I missed how big and busy everything was.
In the second draft of HOME I tried to incorporate all of those things that I had come to love about Texas.
Rowan’s story of moving to Texas and struggling with homesickness is not my own. As I wrote this novel, she became her own character with her own struggles and desires. The book is first-and-foremost a romance, and the story is about Rowan and Kate more than it is about Rowan and Texas. However, this book originated in my own longing for home and my own understanding of what it meant to be torn between two places. I hope that I captured that conflict in the novel.
I truly believe that it takes a lot of heart to write a book – any book – but this novel will always be a little extra special to me.
HOME is now available in both e-book and paperback through Bywater Books: https://www.bywaterbooks.com/product/home-by-jenn-alexander/