Monroeville High School graduate, author, third-grade teacher and Tennessee resident Jen Stephens once again wants to include you in her novel writing process.
Stephens, who graduated high school in 1994, held a contest about two years ago while writing "The Heart's Journey Home," the first book in her Harvest Bay Series. Through the Reflector, she sought the names of important individuals in the lives of the paper's readers. She asked readers to explain to her how those friends or relatives influenced them and received names of 10 men and 10 women. Stephens randomly chose one of each and based a minor character in her novel on those individuals. The people Stephens randomly chose were Jon Olien, a New London man who died of cancer at age 37 and Cassandra Ground, a 19-year-old Monroeville resident who was killed in a car accident.
"The Heart's Journey Home" centers on a widow whose husband died in a car accident. She decides to move back with her children to her hometown in Ohio to start over. The fictional town, Harvest Bay, is based on Monroeville and Castalia, where Stephens' parents are from.