Lowell Middle School teacher publishes first novel
Lowell Middle School teacher Katrina Alexander is writing a series of romance novels, and the first installment has just been published.
Alexander projected there will eventually be six books in her “Jacobs Landing” series. The first book in the series is called “A Perfect Miracle.” It is now available for purchase on Amazon.com in hardcover, paperback or as an e-book.
The book is set in Jacobs Landing, a seaside town in Maine. Gabrielle Levesque, recently widowed, finds a stray dog on her front porch and becomes reacquainted with her high school crush, Dr. Andrew Leland, the local veterinarian.
Alexander said her initial inspiration was simply the name of the potential character who ended up becoming the main protagonist of the novel.
“The idea for my book started off with nothing more than Gabrielle Levesque's name, the close knit feeling of a small town inspired by my own experiences living in Lowell and the idea that every couple has a love story worth sharing,” Alexander said. “Since I teach French, I wanted to use this language in my novel, even if it was only as a cultural influencer. Maine is one of the lesser-known areas with a Franco-American population, but [it] has always captured my imagination.”
Although the novel is set in a fictional town in Maine, it's based on locations around West Michigan, including Lowell.
“Jacobs Landing was actually inspired by our historic area in Lowell, as well as our local dog park,” Alexander said. “The rest of the settings were loosely based on any lake town you might encounter, because I grew up in the Muskegon and Grand Haven areas. The Hackley and Hume homes in Muskegon inspired Gabrielle's Victorian home and some of my friends' homes on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan inspired the waterfront homes in the novel.”
Future books in the “Jacobs Landing” series will focus on other fictional residents of the fictional town, but that doesn't mean there won't be updates on the subsequent fictional exploits of favorite characters.
“Future books will include appearances of [the] main characters, but other Jacobs Landing residents will become main characters,” Alexander said. “New supporting characters will also be introduced. Jacobs Landing is a small town and, as the reader progresses through the series, the idea is for the reader to get to know more people and places in this town, to feel like this town and these characters could be real people and places one might encounter.”
Her writing influences include many very successful romance authors.
“Janet Evanovich is a fun read, especially her 'Wicked' series,” Alexander said. “I love the irreverent humor in her stories and tried to capture some of that in my book. My earliest influences were Gothic romance writers Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Madeleine Brent. Those were ladies (even though Madeleine Brent was actually a man) who knew how to develop characters and plot.”
Alexander started writing stories in childhood. She says she used to trade stories with her brother and would often pester other relatives to read her stories. She's had a few things published here and there, but “A Perfect Miracle” is her first work of fiction in print.
“I had a poem published in my school high school yearbook and a couple letters to the editor, but this my first published novel,” Alexander said. “I still find it surreal to open my book and realize that I wrote it. To see my words in print, to have people enjoy what I wrote, it's a dream come true.”
For more information about Alexander and to keep track of the “Jacobs Landing” series, visit katrinaalexanderauthor.com.