Templand is a parallel universe. It is strange and often frightening. It exists beyond the horizon of the known universe while at the same time residing within it. It is populated with vaporous malcontents like me who never leave behind any physical evidence that we exist. We live in Templand from day to day, week to week, with nothing connecting ourselves to the Real World except the neverending hope that when we collect our paychecks at the end of one week, there will be another paycheck coming to us in the next. Although I know I am not alone in Templand, all my neighbors here seem to be invisible, making Templand a decidedly lonely parallel universe indeed.
How did I get here? The answer is complicated.
I’m not exactly what you would call the traditional corporate office-worker type. I come from a long line of working-class Joes and Janes who worked by the sweat of their brows in the dank and filthy bowels of rubber factories, paper mills, and coal mines. My factory-worker-turned-homemaker mother died of an aneurysm when I was still a child, and my copier-salesman father was absentee more than he wasn’t. My grandparents, who raised me pretty much by proxy, were old-fashioned, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps Appalachian laborers who were raised on cabbage and hominy grits during the Depression and who broke their backs nearly all their lives in the hope that their children and grandchildren would have a better life.
A better life was exactly what I sought. I graduated high school at the top of my class, got a full scholarship to college. Had part-time jobs from the time I was old enough to get a work permit and always paid all my own bills. I set my sights high. My dead mother’s version of the American Dream (a simple Ohio ranch home with a dandelion-free lawn, a comfortable job, a dependable husband) was not what I wanted at all. I wanted to be educated, and then I wanted to use that education to change the world.
Even with this life plan well in place by eighteen, I didn’t know exactly how I would accomplish it. I thought I could pursue a career as a freelance writer or editor, a journalist, perhaps a college professor---even if at the time I knew nothing about how to get any of those jobs. They certainly weren’t a “sure thing,” and my family of factory workers and bootstrap-pullers frowned on anything that wasn’t a “sure thing.” They swore by punching a clock---a straightforward job application, union card, and a paycheck in the bank every Friday.
I didn’t want a dull punchcard job, even if it meant stability, three squares, and a mortgage. I wanted the kinds of jobs you saw women have in movies and on television, the ones that were short on stability but long on hype. I wanted to be Ally McBeal, not Roseanne Barr.
But I am no Ally McBeal. I am overeducated Eastern Ohio trailer trash. In the Real World, overeducated Eastern Ohio trailer trash almost always gets stuck being Roseanne Barr.
by Jill Elaine Hughes
New Adult Contemporary
Date Published: 5/25/2012
The heroine, Melanie Evers, is a plucky young working-class woman from Akron, Ohio struggling to support herself in Chicago in the post-9-11 economy. TEMPLAND follows Melanie's journey through the temporary employment world from a college student on "just a summer job" to a 28-year-old woman with a lot of intelligence (and a heap of student loan debt to match) through multiple layoffs and a series of ever-more-wacky temp assignments, as she struggles not only to survive, but also to find romance and always remain true to the honest, working-class values instilled in her by her beloved grandfather.
In her long, solitary journey through Templand, Melanie encounters adventure and romance on her search for that always-elusive Permanent Job---which she finally gets, along with her man. TEMPLAND is a highly entertaining, wickedly funny social satire, contemporary romance, and mystery novel all rolled into one.
JILL ELAINE HUGHES is a journalist and playwright as well as a New Adult fiction novelist. As a reporter, she has contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Washington Post, New Art Examiner, Cat Fancy magazine, and numerous other media outlets. Her plays have widely published and produced in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, and many other U.S. cities, as well as in the UK and Australia. Before self-publishing New Adult fiction, she published many erotic romance novels under the pen names “Jamaica Layne” and “Jay E. Hughes” for publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Virgin Books, Decadent
Publishing, and Ravenous Romance.
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