Author’s life is “Beyond Beautiful”
By Kathryn Koch
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Local author Jan Bornstein’s life isn’t anything like the lives of the characters in her first book, but like her characters, she’s pursuing happiness in a new love.
A full-time nurse for more than 30 years with experience teaching young nurses, Bornstein has discovered a love for writing to express her creative side. She has been through a number of changes in her life in the past year, including moving to Marshfield in October, and now she can add “released a novel” to that list.
Bornstein said she has proved something to herself with the release of her literary debut, “Beyond Beautiful.”
“I was able to be more creative, and I have more confidence in myself,” she said.
Bornstein has also learned more about music from all her research developing her main characters, Jenna Bradford and Scott Tenny. Bornstein said it was difficult developing Jenna’s character, as she tried to put herself in her place, but both were created to show the human side of characters that might otherwise fit a stereotype because of their fame.
Jenna is a successful singer and daughter of a famous Hollywood actor who carves out her own career and finds fortune and fame. Scott is rock star who has cleaned up his act after years of drug and alcohol abuse and has his career back on track. Bornstein describes “Beyond Beautiful” as a love story about two rock stars and the trials and tribulations they face while maintaining the love they have for each other.
Bornstein was walking through Barnes & Noble one day when she found herself in the music section. She thought to herself that she had never seen a book along the lines of the movie “A Star is Born” about two singers who fall in love. Once home, she started doodling ideas on paper.
“It sort of spontaneously came,” she said.
Bornstein tackles some complex adult themes in “Beyond Beautiful.” It’s her experience with patients addicted to alcohol or drugs, or both, combined with research on addiction that she uses to write about the subject of Scott’s past. She is also too familiar with stories of childhood sexual abuse from her work, which she draws on to tell Jenna’s story.
Bornstein started writing in September 2005 and finished her book at the end of April 2006. When she faced the challenge of writing scenes, she kept at it until she was done.
“There were many 2 o’clock in the mornings,” she said.
Writing was a different kind of stress than she was used to, but she found an outlet in writing after a busy day at work.
“It’s my way of relaxing and relieving stress,” she said.
A friend who lives in New Hampshire saw an advertisement on television for an editor who works with first-time authors, and Bornstein called her to gauge her interest in her story.
One concern her editor, Nancy Grossman, had was that the book was the size of “War and Peace,” Bornstein said. She suggested that Bornstein consider a set of three books instead, and “The Song Trilogy” was born. With plot lines that were clearly delineated, Bornstein didn’t need to start over, but it was a matter of editing.
“I never dreamed that it would get to this,” she said. “I still can’t believe it. I amazed myself at what I came up with.”
“Beyond Beautiful” leaves readers wondering what happens next for Jenna, Scott, their families, friends and other characters in their lives. Bornstein said she hopes the book will be a fun read and leaves readers looking forward to the second book in the trilogy, which she plans to title “Sweet Emotions.”
Bornstein and Grossman have started editing the second book, working together online to prepare it for release on a date still to be determined. The release of the third book, tentatively titled “Deuces are Wild,” would follow.
Bornstein has been working in the home health care field since 1984, and until the end of October lived in Lakeville. She was familiar with the Marshfield area, having visited while working for a health care agency, and liked the town’s proximity to Boston and its location on the ocean.
Living near the ocean is already passing off. Bornstein plans to write a sequel to “The Song Trilogy,” and on a recent visit to the ocean, inspiration struck again, with an idea for sequel.
Bornstein said writing “The Song Trilogy” has been a great experience, and so has been meeting new people along the way. She doesn’t want to give up nursing, but would love to stay in the field while continuing to write. She’s not sure what comes after the sequel, but she’s excited about the possibilities.
“It’s like I’m a little kid saying there are so many things I could do,” she said.