Janine Rosche is the author of With Every Memory, as well asthe Madison River Romance Series and Whisper Canyon Series of novels. Prone to wander, she finds as much comfort on the open road—including Route 66—as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her stories. When she isn’t traveling or writing novels, she teaches family life education courses, produces The Love Wander Read Journal, and takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs.

In this interview, Janine talks with us about her latest novel, The Road Before Us.

FF: Can you please provide a brief summary of your novel, The Road Before Us?
The Road Before Us is a multigenerational story spanning three eras of Route 66 in which each character has their own reason for taking on the 2,448-mile journey from Chicago to Los Angeles. In 1956, Benny is chasing her dreams while Paul is fleeing his nightmares. In 2003, Jimmy is searching for a place to hide, a place of refuge to protect his daughter. Then in 2024, Jade is longing for a fresh start alongside Bridger who just wants to know who he is and where he belongs. As they all soon discover, no one travels their road alone. Our stories are interwoven and what brings redemption for one may doom another.

FF: Jade Jessup’s life is in upheaval. Can you please relay the events that led to the loss of her job, her fiancé, and her overall credibility?
Once considered a financial prodigy, Jade has an unfortunate history of placing her trust in the wrong people. This spells disaster when her fiancé defrauds her clients of their life savings in a Ponzi scheme. Although the feds have cleared her of wrongdoing, the court of public opinion reaches a quick and harsh conviction. Now, the people who have been kindest to her, the Alderidges, are the ones who have paid the highest cost.

FF: As a means of making recompense, Jade helps an aging Hollywood starlet, Benny Alderidge, seek financial restoration. How does she go about doing this?
Benny and her adult foster son, Bridger, aim to make a documentary about the 1956 adventure across Route 66 that brought together Hollywood’s most beloved couple despite great odds. If all goes well, the film will earn enough to make Benny comfortable in her twilight years. But for reasons Jade only fully understands later, Benny and Bridger can’t do it alone. They need her help, and though she hates to admit it, she needs theirs. If the American public sees that Benny Alderidge holds no ill will toward Jade, maybe her career doesn’t have to be over.

FF: Please introduce readers to Bridger. Who is he and what role does he play in The Road Before Us?
Bridger Rosenblum has had a traumatic life. He’s a Samoan transracial adoptee who was brought to the United States as part of an international adoption scandal in 2003 only to be discarded to the foster care system as a teenager. Benny and Paul Alderidge took him in and loved him through his hardest moments. With Paul now gone, Bridger will give anything to protect Benny and be deserving of her love. He believes that this documentary is his one shot to earn the right to the Alderidge name. Only then will he agree to being formally adopted by Benny. Despite all of that, he is an absolute joy. Readers will love sharing the road with him!

FF: Why did Benny decide to reenact her 1956 Route 66 trip?
Before her husband passed away, Benny promised to stay here on earth until Bridger—the lost boy they’d taken into their home—found his way in life. It is her wish to help him make it as a filmmaker. Doing so while sharing the inspiring love story she shared with Paul is a double win. And all the better if she can also show the world that Jade Jessup—the lost girl she and Paul loved as their own—is innocent and worthy of a second chance.

FF: As Jade, Benny, and Bridger travel along the back roads of America, Jade reminisces on the last time she traveled these roads. But it does not evoke the lovely memories that Benny has experienced. Without giving away any spoilers, can you provide a hint of why their experiences were so different?
As an adult, Jade has no relationship with her parents. As a child, she was a pawn in their ugly custody battle, a used and abused victim of her mother’s attempts to inflict harm on her father. After one calamitous visit, Jade was taken on what she believed was a spur-of- the-moment vacation by her father. They traveled across Route 66 to a small town where she got a new look, a new name, and a new life. Even now, Jade is haunted by the secrets and lies that destroyed her childhood, and she’s afraid they’ll return to destroy what little she has left, taking Benny and Bridger down too.

FF: The Road Before Us delves into the concepts of forgiveness and family. Can you tell us a little more about how these themes come into play in the lives of your protagonists?
I believe that family plays the largest role in who we become and how our lives play out.

As a family life educator, I teach about this concept and all the complexities that accompany it. In The Road Before Us, Jade, Benny, and Bridger create their own patchwork family where blood and shared history doesn’t matter as much as love and loyalty. Even so, this family, like all others, isn’t perfect. There is a reason why the term forgiveness gets over 540 million hits on Google each year. Too often, we sin against those who love us the most. Before the last page, these characters must decide which sins they are capable of forgiving and which sins have caused separation beyond repair.

FF: What do you love most about writing contemporary novels that delve into strong emotional experiences?
The last thing I ever want someone to feel is lonely. I think that’s why my favorite Bible story is the one of Hagar in Genesis. Pregnant with Abraham’s child and alone in the desert, God found her and cared for her. As a result, she named him “the God who sees me.” I want my readers to know that whatever they are facing, they are seen, and they aren’t alone. While they may not be going through exactly what my characters are, I hope the emotional experience is one they are able to relate to. If nothing else, there is comfort in being seen.

FF: What about your own background influenced your writing of The Road Before Us?
In 1961, my father drove his convertible across Route 66 to California where he met my mother while cruising Main with a large teddy bear in the passenger seat. That lore instilled in me a desire to drive that road myself and maybe, just maybe, write a book about it. The Road Before Us is an ode to my own parents’ love story and the role Route 66 played in it.

Adoption is another aspect of this book that is highly personal for me. My family fell victim to an international adoption scandal in 2012. Fortunately, all that we lost was money, time, and hope, while others lost children they loved. Knowing that what happened in Ethiopia had happened many times before (such as in Samoa in the early 2000s) was heartbreaking. Through the character of Bridger, I wanted to shed light on what children experience when such crimes are committed. Not only that but I wanted to share the intricacies of adoption, specifically transracial adoption. Such a beautiful concept and yet, there is often as much grief as there is joy. In fact, the fear that Benny holds—that Bridger would ever deny his birth culture to preserve her feelings—is the same fear I have with my daughter (who we welcomed into our family through domestic adoption in 2013). In that way, this is my most personal book yet.

FF: What do you hope readers will gain from reading The Road Before Us?
In addition to finding at least one character to whom they can relate, I hope this book sparks an interest in a trip across Route 66. It is an immersive experience in American history and even offers glimpses into what life here was like before European settlement. It offers the absolute best of what it means to be human without forgetting the most heartbreaking, which I only touch on in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa scenes. It truly is a trip of a lifetime. Route 66’s one-hundred-year anniversary is coming up in 2026, so start planning your trip.

The Road Before Us
Janine Rosche
Genres: Romance, Women Fiction
Release Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0800742966
ISBN-13: ‎978-0800742966

Book Summary:
How far would you go to fix the mistakes you’ve made? For Jade Jessup, the answer is 2,448 miles. Once one of Chicago’s significant financial advisors, Jade lost her credibility when her fiancé (and coworker) stole millions of dollars from their clients in a Ponzi scheme. Now she’s agreed to help one of them—an aging 1960s Hollywood starlet named Berenice “Benny” Alderidge—seek financial restoration.

Jade sets off along Route 66 with Benny and her handsome adult foster son, Bridger, who is filming a documentary retracing the 1956 trip that started the love story between Benny and her recently deceased husband, Paul. Listening to Benny recount her story draws Jade into memories of her own darker association with Route 66, when she was kidnapped as a child by a man the media labeled a monster—but she remembers only as her dad.

Together, these three travelers will learn about family, forgiveness, and what it means to live free of the past. But not before Jade faces a second staggering betrayal that changes everything.


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About The Author

Janine Rosche is the author of the Madison River Romance and Whisper Canyon series of novels. Prone to wander, she finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her stories. When she isn't traveling or writing novels, she teaches family life education courses, produces The Love Wander Read Journal, and takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs.