Friday, June 15, 2018

Jeanne M. Dickson: Rita Finalist

1.) The RWA Rita call.

When my cell phone rang, I was upgrading my PJ bottoms to sweatpants. The cell was in the family room. By the time I got there, I’d missed the call. Since I didn’t recognize the phone number, I assumed it was a junk call. Then, the landline rang. I flinched. Ran into the living room. Answered the phone. The voice on the other end said she was with the RWA board, and Grounded Hearts had finaled in the Rita’s Inspirational category. I sank into a chair. Pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The rest was a blur.

2.) The first person I called was my husband. 

3.) It’s been a year of ‘debut first,’ but I was excited to land my first local newspaper interview spotlighting my Rita final. Writers tend to be insecure, so the other cool thing about being a Rita finalist is the boost of confidence. 

My debut book Grounded Hearts is set in WWII Ireland.
4.)In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

5.) I wrote six manuscripts before I made my first sale with Grounded Hearts.

6.) I’ve been nicked-named the ‘Contest Queen’ by my local RWA chapter! I won and finaled in many RWA contests through the years, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, and was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Most recently I won The Tara and Pages From The Heart.

7.) My advice to aspiring authors is never give up. Rejection is part of the game. The road to publication is a journey filled with potholes, detours, and heading up one-way streets in the wrong direction. Keep the faith and keep writing.

8.) I’m thrilled and truly honored to be a RWA Rita finalist, especially to be included among the talented authors in the Inspirational category.

Short bio:  Jeanne was born into an Irish-American family, the only girl in a family with four brothers. Her Irish grandmother lived with them, and was a constant source of stories about life in Ireland and the saints and ancestors long gone from this earth. She credits her mother, her aunts, and grandmother for her love of storytelling. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes. Jeanne writes stories set in WWII Ireland and also contemporary tales of Irish/Irish American characters.


  1. Jeanne, congrats on your RITA final and on your publishing success! Your story sounds wonderful! See you at RWA!

    1. Thank you, Debby Giusti. You have always been so kind. I appreciate your encouragement through the years. Looking forward to seeing you at RWA!

  2. I love the cover and the premise. I’m headed to Ireland later this summer. My great grandparents came over in the 1800’s from Ireland. I’m looking forward to see the island. Congratulations on your final in the RITA.

    1. Thank you, Terri! Grounded Hearts on audio is performed by Alana Kerr Collins with her sweet Irish accent. You might enjoy listening to my book during your long flight to Eire. Hope you have a wonderful time!

    2. Terri, I'm going to Ireland too! This fall! Maybe our planes will pass in mid-air! :)

  3. Thank you Ladies of Inspired Romance for the interview. I'm thrilled to be a RWA Rita finalist and I'm delighted to share my journey with your readers. Blessings.

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