22 Jul 2014

“October Snow” by Jenna Brooks

2 Comments Book Reviews
October Snow Cover Image
“October Snow” by Jenna Brooks is a fantastic book. It left me emotional in a good and a bad way. The subject of domestic violence is difficult to handle and Brooks pulled it off by choosing three women with different levels of experiences of the problem. Knowing cases of domestic abuse myself I felt the story was incredibly authentic and realistic.
It is heart wrenching to see some of the struggles – legally and emotionally, but the friendship between the women is truly beautiful. The book offers great insights, relatable characters and a griping story. A must read.
Josie spent twenty years as a battered wife, dying for a hero. 

Now, she’s dying to become one…

Josie Kane is a “difficult” woman, a pure enigma – one who survives her abusive husband by honing her unnerving talent for playing mind games: she knows exactly how to manipulate a bully. 

Finally divorced, she thinks the abuse is over, and she’s free. She’s wrong. And her cynicism is building. 

Josie works with battered women, trying to rescue them from a fate similar to hers. But on the night that yet another battered woman is murdered by her husband, pining for a hero as she dies in Josie’s arms, her cynicism becomes a quiet, simmering hatred. 

Her one remaining refuge is in her bond with Maxine and Samantha, the two friends whom she loves like sisters. When Samantha becomes pregnant by Jack – an abuser who makes known his intentions to use the baby as a weapon of control – Josie’s hatred ripens to a vengeful fury. 

She sets out to take on one more batterer, manipulate one more bully… And she lures Jack into the crosshairs of the ultimate mind game. 

Her friends are convinced that she intends to rid Samantha of Jack. They’re right. 

But with Josie Kane, as always, there’s a twist. 

With her friends helpless to stop her – and with Samantha hanging in the balance – Josie squares off with Jack in a life-and-death, winner-lose-all battle of wits to determine which side will win Sammy’s future. 

And this time, there will be a hero.

Interview: 1128001230a

You have written quite a profound story. How did you decide on the subject matter of domestic abuse?
Wow. Thanks for the compliment. 
I’ve worked with a lot of battered women, mostly mothers. (How I wound up doing that is a very long story.) About three years ago, I was with a client in a courthouse parking lot, and her estranged husband started yelling some pretty nasty stuff at me – including his opinion that someone should rid the world of me, so to speak. He was sitting in his car, revving the engine and shouting these things, and it was all I could do to stop myself from flashing him an obscene gesture. Not the most professional reaction, I know, but he was absolutely absurd and I got annoyed.
I was still fuming as I drove home, thinking about my reaction to him, and it suddenly occurred to me that there was a story in there. So I wrote October Snow.
Do you find that people know enough about Domestic Violence? 
They know about it – that it exists, I mean –  but far too many people form opinions and beliefs on the issue that have no connection to reality.
Do we all need to learn more? 
About empathy and understanding, and how to help the battered woman, yes. About what’s best for her children, yes. About the topic itself, no. Everyone is aware of it. 
Is there help for the victims, do you think?
The little real help that’s out there is minimized, even negated in many cases, by the bad information that people accept as fact. The Family Court is in many ways an industry now, and the players therein make a lot of money off of abused women and their children. And with the advent of the Fathers Rights movement, the entire court system – which is, in the end, a reflection of the culture – goes a long way toward facilitating DV by Proxy, in my opinion. 
You have created great characters. 
Which one is your favourite?
 I don’t mean to sidestep the question, but I honestly can’t say.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
My readers have sent me several great suggestions on that, so I go back and forth with it. The only character that I haven’t changed my mind on is Jo – I’d cast Chelsea Noble to play her.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
I’m kind of a mixture of Jo and Max. I have some of the better traits of Max – and if I’m honest here, I have to admit that my personality includes the more irritating aspects of Jo. Knowing that makes me very grateful for the friends who tolerate me.

What is your main reason for writing?
I want to get people thinking about the issues that I write about. Exploring those issues within a fictional setting lets me illustrate them in (what I hope is) a more effective way.

What do you do when you don’t write?
I’m an editor, and I’ll probably be launching a full-service business with that very soon. I’m looking into it, anyway. I also teach seminars, write a column for a women’s health club franchise, and I occasionally do some private coaching. Other than that, I eat too much, stalk my kids, and hang out with my little sister.
Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it?  AN EARLY FROST cover
I’m an Indie author, so my covers are my own. I design them so they reflect the entire arc of the story in a snapshot. I don’t put people or faces on the covers, because I like them to be symbolic.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?
I write at my dining room table, with hard rock in the background. Unless I’m having trouble finding a mood, then I put on some Brad Bailey – his music has gotten me through more than one dry spell. 

What is your life like outside of writing? 
I think every author gets to a point where they don’t have a life outside of writing, because everything has the potential to become a story (or a part of a story).

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
I went and asked a friend about this. She said my oddest quality is my sense of humor, because it’s totally warped, and my best quality is the way I care about things.
What would you choose as those qualities?
My oddest, I think, is how shy I am. I’m a social zero, for real. And what I like best about myself is my anger, because I’m angry at the right things.
What songs would you pick to go with your books?
The theme song of October Snow is Ronnie Milsap’s “Inside”. It’s the relationship between Max and Jo, set to music. For An Early Frost, it’s “Somewhere Only We Know”, by Keane.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
I listen closely. Then I pour a drink, call my sister, and whine at her for a while. Then I look for where the criticism is correct. If you don’t do that, you don’t learn anything.

What are you working on now? 
Now that An Early Frost is out, I’m working on a new novel, Ventriloquist. It’s about Maternal Alienation, which is an issue that isn’t talked about enough. I’m hoping to launch it early next year.


Twitter: @shesjennab
OCTOBER SNOW on Amazonhttp://tinyurl.com/mjjmno3   
AN EARLY FROST on Amazonhttp://tinyurl.com/mshzlgg
written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

2 Responses to ““October Snow” by Jenna Brooks”

  1. P. C. Zick says:

    This book sounds very important. I’m going to recommend it to a friend who runs a woman’s shelter. She’s thought about writing a book as well. I also liked what Jenna said about a writer’s work life never ending. So true. A friend once asked me to “shut it off” when I was turning everything I saw into a story. I asked her, “Why would I want to do that?” Thanks for bringing me yet another great Indie Author, Christoph.


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