SWAMPSCOTT — “Believe in your dreams. Follow them. Reach for them. Make them happen.”
Those words are from Lina Rehal’s first self-published romance novel, “Loving Daniel,” but the philosophy easily applies to the Lynn author’s beliefs. She dreamed about writing fiction, and she made that dream come true.
“Those words are from a poem I wrote. I put a passage from a poem, written by me, at the end of every book. They pertain to the story and I am advising readers, as well,” she said.
Rehal will read from and sign copies of her latest book, “Jillie & Sam,” at Swampscott Public Library on Monday evening at 7. Swampscott’s Jerry Brooks will also be presenting his first novel, “Owldoll.” The two are members of the Red Rock Rewriters, a group of North Shore writers that meets weekly in the library’s Baldwin Room. Admission is free.
“‘Jillian & Sam’ came out of nowhere,” she said. “I wrote it in four months. The laundry wasn’t getting done and I didn’t clean house. Every morning I’d get my coffee and go to my computer. My first book, ‘Loving Daniel,’ took a year. This went remarkably quickly.”
The plot synopsis: “After sixteen years of traveling the world, handsome photographer, Sam McGovern, gives up his high-paying position with a prestigious magazine and returns to Cameron Cove to claim the only woman he’s ever loved.
“Jillie Walker often wondered what her life would have been like if she had followed her heart all those years ago and gone away with Sam McGovern. It may have been wishful thinking, but she always held on to a secret hope he’d come back to her. When he showed up on her doorstep late at night in the middle of a thunderstorm, it was nothing like the many scenarios she had imagined.”
Rehal said she started writing when she was in the fifth grade, working with Revere classmates on a mimeographed yearbook. “Four other girls and I wrote about what it means to be a lady, and the boys wrote about what it means to be a gentleman. That was my first published piece,” she said, then laughed. She later wrote features and travel articles for North Shore newspapers, including The Item. “But fiction is my love. Coming up with different characters and creating their world is lots of fun.”
“Carousel Kisses,” a 2011 series of nostalgic essays, poems and photos about growing up in 1950s-’60s Revere and Lynn, was Rehal’s first published book. A novella, “October in New York: A Love Story,” followed in 2016, and then came the full-fledged contemporary romance of “Loving Daniel,” the first book in her Tucker’s Landing series about people in a small coastal town in Massachusetts, and “Jillian & Sam,” the initial book in her “Love in the Cove” series. The prolific Rehal is now working on sequels to both “Loving Daniel” and “Jillie & Sam,” with secondary characters taking center stage.
When Rehal retired from her executive secretary position at the Jewish Rehabilitation Center, she suddenly had much more time to write. Her computer skills also helped her grasp the difficult process of self-publishing. “I’m a writer, but today writers who self-publish their books have to deal with formatting and marketing and everything that goes with it, like social media. I’m (promoting my books and appearances) on Facebook a lot.”
Rehal said she most enjoys writing about “seasoned romance. My characters are mostly in their late-40s, early 50s. Some of my subplots are about older couples in their late 60s. As they say, love has no expiration date.”
She and her husband, retired Lynn banker Dick Rehal, have been married 19 years, the second marriage for both. Between them, they have five children and five grandchildren. Their 12-year-old granddaughter, Katie, helps Lina come up with names for the characters.
Rehal, a member of the Romance Writers of America and founder of the former North Shore Scribes writing group, said her books are available at Wicked Good Books in Salem and online at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats.
For information about Rehal and her books, go to www.thefuzzypinkmuse.com.