Robin Wells always knew she wanted to be a writer. You could say she was born into a family of bibliophiles – her parents were both librarians. Her dad was the dean of libraries at Baylor University in Waco, and her mom was a reference librarian. She admits that even though she grew up surrounded by books – as is the case for so many people – it took her awhile to realize (and accomplish) her own literary dreams.
“I’ve always loved reading, and I made up stories and poems before I was old enough to write them down. Becoming a novelist was such a closely held dream that I was afraid to put it to the test. What if I tried, and I wasn’t any good at it? So I put it off,” Wells said.
Wells earned a liberal arts degree from Oklahoma University and went to work in advertising and public relations. She handled public relations for the Oklahoma tourism department, and even became the regional director of advertising and public relations for a major hotel chain. But she just couldn’t shake that feeling.
“I finally decided to get serious about writing a novel after I had my first child. Becoming a mother made me think big thoughts, such as, ‘What do I want for my daughter?’” Wells said. “Well, I wanted her to follow her dreams. And it made me painfully aware that I hadn’t followed my own. Watching that little baby grow and change was like watching time fly, and it made me realize how easily my someday could turn into never.”
So she dove into fiction writing headfirst. She says she took a course, bought lots of how-to books, joined a local chapter of Romance Writers of America, joined a critique group of other aspiring writers, and most importantly – she wrote. And wrote and wrote.
“I sat down every day and put words on the computer. My first novel didn’t sell, but the second one did,” she said.
Robin and her husband Ken recently moved to Kingwood from Mandeville, LA – just across the lake from New Orleans. The couple lived in Louisiana for 27 years, where they raised their two daughters. Ken’s job brought them to the Houston area about a year-and-a-half ago, and they are loving it, especially the trees and the small town charm, she says. Walking in East End Park is one of their favorite activities.
Wells’s latest book pays homage to her beloved Pelican State. “The French War Bride” takes place in fictional Wedding Tree, LA – and is the second in a series centering around World War II (WWII). This is Wells’ 18th published novel. She admits she’s always had a special fascination with WWII.
“I’ve always been interested in the WWII era, because I had ‘older’ parents who met during the war when my father was training to become a B-17 navigator. They dated for a few months, corresponded when he was sent overseas, and became engaged by mail. Mom and Dad wed the week Dad returned to the United States, and they were happily married for 68 years,” Wells said.
“The story of their whirlwind, wartime romance has always intrigued me because it seemed so out-of-character for the two highly practical, weigh-every-decision people I knew. They were both librarians, for heaven’s sake!” she said. “But then the 1940s were a time of enormous change and turmoil, and the uncertainty of the war made many people take unusual leaps of faith. There was a sense of urgency, a desire to seek opportunities before they passed and were gone forever.”
Wells says this was the starting point for her novel; she wanted to write about how the war made people do things they ordinarily would not do.
“I’d majored in French in college, studied in Grenoble, and always been something of a Francophile – so it was pretty easy for me to decide that I wanted to write about the war from a young French woman’s perspective,” she said.
Wells is currently writing her third novel set in the fictional town of Wedding Tree. She says it is tentatively titled “The Secret Paris Husband.” Books one and two, “The Wedding Tree” and “The French War Bride” respectively, are available for purchase at all major booksellers. Wells says she loves to hear from her readers--and as her schedule allows, she is happy to attend book club meetings featuring her book. She can be found at robinwells.com and on Facebook.
According to the Author: About “The French War Bride”
“The French War Bride” is the story of a young woman who comes of age during the occupation of Paris, then tricks an American Army doctor into marrying her so she can come to America. The book begins when 91-year-old Amelie O’Connor finds Kat Thompson at the door of her assisted living apartment in Wedding Tree, LA. Kat left town 70 years ago when her fiancé, Jack O’Connor, returned home from WWII Two already married to French war bride Amelie.
“Before I die, I want to know how you stole Jack from me,” Kat tells Amelie. “I know that you duped him, but I want to hear how.”
Over the next two days, Amelie tells of a girlhood interrupted by war. She describes the dark days of Paris under Nazi occupation, her secretive work for the French Resistance, and the impossible choices war imposes – choices that contrapose the survival of loved ones against the accepted standards of right and wrong. She tells how she met and married Jack, crossed the Atlantic on a war bride boat, then struggled to earn Jack’s trust after he uncovered the trail of deceits Amelie had left in her wake.
Is it true that all is fair in love and war--or is nothing fair in either? “The French War Bride” shows how we should reserve passing judgment on others, because there’s so much more to each person’s story than what we think we know.