Musings

  • J.C. Hannigan

Rebel Soul: Straight From My Soul


I still remember the very day I sat down to start writing Tessa and Brock's story. I saw everything so clearly, every detail, every little bit of background information that made it all what it came to be, and I couldn't get it out fast enough.


Rebel Soul was written in a month, and Rebel Heart came shortly after. I struggled the most with getting Becky's story just right, of course, but Rebel Song flowed just as flawlessly from my finger tips as the previous books, once I figured out how to handle that painful bit of her trauma.


The Rebel Series has always been one of my favourite series that I've ever written, it just...feels like home, you know? Probably because out of all my books, this series was inspired most by real life.


I mean, a lot of my writing is; I draw on character inspiration from people I've known and situations I've been through or been close to, and seen happen from an "outsiders view". But this series? Yeah...it was written as a homage for my husband, his family, and everything I love about the Muskokas.



The idea for the Miller's heritage property was inspired directly by the heritage land my husband's family has owned for over ninety years. It was purchased by his paternal great grandfather. He built a farm house and a woodmill, and started milling trees around the lake. He raised twelve kids there, including Matt's Nana (who is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, with a fountain of knowledge you can't help but get lost in). When Matt's grandpa died, he left everything to his eldest daughter, who decided to turn the land into heritage land before she passed so generations to come could enjoy the land.


In Rebel Soul, Tessa is warned very early on to "stay away from that Miller boy" by her father. At first, she's irritated and perplexed; after all, Brock Miller was her older brother's friend, not Tessa's, and she has never had anything to do with him. But of course, when we're told not to do something by well-meaning but overbearing family members, that's when we usually don't listen...


This little bit was inspired by the early days of dating Matt, when many of my family members wanted me to "rethink my seriousness" towards the tattooed boy who seemed to lack direction. But I saw something in him, the way Tessa sees something in Brock, and I opted to listen to my gut.


Boy, am I glad I did! We've been married for 10 years, and dating for almost 12 now. We haven't been handed the most easiest deck of cards to play with either, and yet we always come out stronger...and we always will.


Like Brock, Matt had to earn the respect of my family, but that was easy to do when he always had mine. He just showed them who I knew he was, and now...I'm pretty sure my family likes him more than me!


Family is a heavy theme throughout this series, and an important one at that...but another element I love about the Rebel series is the friendships throughout it. From Tessa and Elle's friendship, to the bro-buddy group of Gordon, Brock, Travis, and Grady...all of these friendships were inspired by the good ones in our life.



There are many elements to this series that came straight from my heart and soul. It can be really intimidating putting so much of yourself out there on a page for people, but I keep ripping myself bare for each of my books, it seems. Honestly, though? That's one of the reasons why I love writing.


The Rebel Series has a few more stories coming. We still need Tommy and Sam's story, and Gordon's got to settle down eventually...right?



If you're digging what you've read here so far and want to take a chance on the Rebel Series, all of the books are available in Kindle Unlimited. Plus...the first book, Rebel Soul, is on sale until January 28th for just 99 cents!


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