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Melina Howard wasn’t looking for romance. She was looking for someone to crew in a sailboat regatta, and she thought she had a ringer in former
sailing instructor Blake Allen. It should have been a simple afternoon sail, but nothing is simple when you add a family feud, a town drowned deep
beneath the lake’s surface, and a patriarch unwilling to forgive and forget.
Q & A with Veda Boyd Jones regarding Summer Breezes
Q. Are you a sailor? How else would you know so much about sailing?
A. Jim and I are half-owners of an old 25-foot Catalina. Our sailboat partners live in New York and are only here for a week each year. The rest of the year, we’re in charge of the boat that’s harbored on Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
Through the years I’ve learned things like a rope is a rope on land, but once it’s on a boat, it becomes a ‘line.’ There’s a reason for the specialized vocabulary of sailors. Starboard (right when you’re standing in the back of the sailboat) and Port (left) are always the same, no matter which way you’re facing. That way, when it’s critically important to tack or drop a sail, everyone knows to which side the captain is referring.
I talk big, but I know very little about sailing. My chief job onboard is to fix sandwiches and hand out drinks or cookies.
There is a peaceful feeling when you’re out in a boat and the sound of lapping waves is all you hear. No roar of a motor disturbs the quiet.
Q. The love story sounds like Romeo and Juliet?
A. Very perceptive. That’s exactly what the plot is based on. Nothing like a family feud to add tension to a novel. In this case, I researched the building of the dam on Grand Lake and learned that two towns were moved when the river valley was flooded to form the lake. I put the hero’s family on one side of the issue and the heroine’s family on the other. Instant tension.