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Creating Characters: Where Do They Come From? by Jane Myers Perrine

Posted by on January 18, 2013

We had so much fun with Jane Perrine when she joined us last spring to talk about her book, The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek, we decided to ask her back to tell us more about the main character from the Tales from Butternut Creek series. She has also offered a free book to one of our commenters. Don’t forget to enter your email below.

So here she is …

clip_image001“Where do you get your ideas?” I’m always asked. Often, I have to confess that I don’t know. They appear in my brain. With others, I can trace them back but usually only after I’ve finished the book.

One of the earliest seeds of the character Adam Jordan, the young, inexperienced minister and the teller of the Tales from Butternut Creek series, came from a story my father told. He was ordained when he was eighteen in the Christian Church in Lewisburg, KS. His first sermon was on the Old Testament; his second, on the New Testament. “After that,” Dad told me, “I got really worried because I didn’t have anything more to preach on.”

But he did. For nearly sixty more years, while he practiced medicine, he preached, filling pulpits all over the Kansas City area and never accepting a penny for those sermons. People liked to hear him preach because he had a quiet and humble faith that could be seen in his every action and heard in every word he spoke. As Francis of Assisi wrote, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

My parents always took me to church. I sang in the high school choir, was active in youth groups, and went to church camp every summer. In all those settings, I met people who influenced my life and I’ve thanked them in the dedication of many of my books. Many became part of the creation of Adam Jordan although I didn’t realize at the time I’d ever write this character.

Of course, there’s my husband, one of the finest and most faithful people I know and a great preacher. When George was called to serve a small church in the Ozarks of Missouri a year after we married, I followed. For the character of Adam Jordan, add in the influence of my husband as a young inexperienced minister called to a small church in a small town.

In addition, there was my own experience. I, too, am an ordained minister. In seminary, I was called to serve a small Kentucky town on weekends. I didn’t enter that town in a tow truck but I can tell you, I was both thrilled and worried.

All these threads came together in Butternut Creek. Although George says I stole his life in these books, I didn’t, not completely. I borrowed parts of many lives. I also used mine, what I thought life would have been like if I’d been called to serve a small church in the Texas hill country. However, I chose not to use a woman minister as the main character because I didn’t want to tell that story. I felt that to delve into the problems a woman in ministry faces would detract from the core of the novels, the story of small town love and faith, of Christian community and service.

Adam lives his faith, quietly and humbly. He cares for his congregation and community, he walks his sermons. My deepest hope is that Adam will inspire the readers who visit Butternut Creek.

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I’ll donate a copy of either THE WELCOME COMMITTEE OF BUTTERNUT CREEK or THE MATCHMAKERS OF BUTTERNUT CREEK to a commenter in the US or Canada. I can send it by mail or for Kindle through



Award-winning writer Jane Myers Perrine has worked as a Spanish teacher, minister, cook, rifle instructor, program director in a state hospital, and been an active volunteer but she always wanted to write. Finally, she found time and has published books with Avalon Books, Love Inspired, and FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group. Her short pieces have appeared in the Houston Chronicle and Woman’s World magazine.

Jane’s Butternut Creek series is about a young minister serving in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas and is filled with affection and humor. The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek, the first book in the series, was published in April, 2012. The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek will be available in November 20, 2012. The third book, The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek will be available in late 2013.

With her minister husband George, Jane lives north of Austin where their lives are controlled by two incredibly spoiled tuxedo cats.

The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek

Undaunted, the Widows of Butternut Creek continue their search to find a bride for Pastor Adam in The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek, the second of the Butternut Creek series.

For once, Adam and the Widows—the elderly ladies who run the church Adam serves–agree on something. Gussie Milton is the perfect woman for him. But Gussie is skittish after a traumatic experience in college. Oh, sure, she’d like a relationship but has trouble trusting and throws herself into caring for her aging parents, running her photography business, and serving the church. As Adam court Gussie, the Widows push and Gussie shies away. Can the Widows’ meddling change the couple’s lives forever? Here’s a hint: the third book in the series has the title The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek.

Other posts you might like:

Jane Perrine and the Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek

Quilts and Historical Fiction, by Stephanie Grace Whitson

I’m Dyslexic—By Jane Perrine

29 Responses to Creating Characters: Where Do They Come From? by Jane Myers Perrine

  1. Connie Almony

    Our winner for the giveaway is Emily Reynolds!!! Thank you all for stopping by and entering.

  2. Jane Myers Perine

    Wendy–hello and many hugs. Thanks for stopping in.


  3. Wendy Newcomb

    Thank you for the opportunity to win the second book in Jane’s series. Love your blog.


  4. Jane Myers Perine

    Nancee–I really enjoy this blog. The chance to meet nice people, talk about faith, and mention my books is wonderfully fulfilling. Kay, Maxie, Veronica, Marianne, and Emily–that you for stopping by. Good luck!

  5. Jane Myers Perine

    Janet, I’m so glad you read THE WELCOME COMMITTE–and that you want to visit Butternut Creek again!

  6. Karen

    Would LOVE to read your books…..I am a blogger and book reviewer and would be blessed to do this for you if i win :O)

  7. Rose Milligan

    These sound like good books. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  8. Maxie Anderson

    Jane, These books sound good and I’m sure have some funny moments there. I tried to win Matchmakers in the BookReporter contest, but no luck. Maybe will get lucky with this one. I like the Title. Makes you think, ‘oh yea, here comes trouble”. Ha1 Please enter my name Connie. I would love to win. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  9. KayM

    Since my husband was a minister, and I well remember his first attempts at preaching, I think this series would be delightful to read. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your books, Jane.

  10. Veronica Sternberg

    This looks really good! Thanks for the insight on where characters come from. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. Connie Almony

    Nancee, I’m hoping to have Jane back for the release of the third book to let me interview one of her characters. It promises to be lots of fun!

  12. Nancee

    I read your blog when you featured Jane last spring, and I appreciate you featuring her once again. Her books look like wonderful reads. Thanks for featuring Jane once again, and for offering a giveaway of one of her books!

  13. Emily Reynolds

    Would love to win a copy! Please toss my name in the hat. Thanks so much for the giveaway, and best wishes for the success of this novel. 🙂

  14. Marianne

    Butternut Creek sounds like a wonderful place to visit! i would love to get to know the people there. Thanks for the chance to win!


  15. Jane Myers Perine

    Janet, Merry, Maryann and Patty–good lick on winning the book. I think you’d like to visit Butternut Creek. Patty–I’d love to know what you think–if Adam’s experiences are anything like yours.

  16. Patty

    Sounds like a fun series! Being single and having grown up in a small town it sounds like something I can relate to=).

  17. Jackie Smith

    What great sounding books….am so anxious to read them! Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. Maryann

    What a wonderful interview and a wonderful book series. I would love to read about Butternut Creek.

  19. Merry

    I think the Butternut Creek series sounds like one I can love. Thanks for a chance to win one of the books!

  20. Janet Estridge

    I have read “The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek” and would love to have a chance to win the second book, “The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek”.
    Thanks for the opportunity to do so.

  21. Jane Myers Perine

    Hello, Tammie and Jo. Connie will put your names in the pot (or hat or whatever she uses) and let me know who wins a book. Very good luck.

  22. Jo

    Sounds like a wonderful story and one that I definitely want to read. Thanks for the opportunity!


  23. Tammie Edington Shaw

    Sounds like great story. Love to win a copy.

  24. Jane Myers Perine

    Carrie, I should have said, my publisher sent me five sets of the CDs.

  25. Jane Myers Perine

    Hi, Carrie! I got several sets of CDs of THE WELCOME COMMITTEE. I don’t know about audio. Katie, I hope you’ll visit Butternut Creek and, Bonnie, thanks for leaving a comment. Good luck to all!

  26. Bonnie Jean

    Thanks for posting the interview. I’m looking forward to reading this series.

  27. Katie Johnson

    The Butternut Creek series looks great. I would be so happy if I won.

  28. Carrie Fancett Pagels

    Lovely post, Connie! I keep looking at this series. Hope it comes out on audio!