Today I'm welcoming Babette James, successful author of Summertime Dream. I met Babette at the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, and am so excited about her new romance...
Would you tell us about your AMAZING road to publication?
My road was both long and short. I’ve always loved writing and making up stories and I always wanted to be an author, but unfortunately, I let anxiety and doubt divert me from seriously pursuing publication until recently. I realized I had a choice: I could just keep filing the story ideas away, never be published, and live with wishful thinking, or damn the doubts, start the scary process of submission and maybe still never succeed, but at least I wouldn’t have to live with the worse regret of never trying. I have received several rejection letters since that moment on different stories, and each one delivered a different level of pain and frustration, but I determined to use them to make me tell a better story and make me a better writer. My first rejection letter was the best one and I will always remember that kind editor who took the time to write a few encouraging and critical comments in her letter and spurred me on to keeping hope and continue my efforts. Those efforts brought success in 2011 when The Wild Rose Press made the offer for my first novel, Clear As Day.
What is your new book about?
Summertime Dream is my new spicy contemporary romance novel from The Wild Rose Press, about a workaholic consultant who simply wants to unload the dilapidated house he inherited, but a writer struggling with her overprotective family, his grandmother’s mysterious past, and unexpected love challenge him to reassess his lifestyle and he discovers the home he never knew he needed. It’s the second novel in my River series, which began with Clear As Day. Summertime Dream is technically a prequel to Clear As Day, and occurs the summer before, but the stories can be read in either order.
The Fourth of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.
An unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However, disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his hectic life— love.
A recent brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence. But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can her small town dreams work with his big city life?
Could you talk a little about your main characters and their conflicts?
Christopher arrives in Falk’s Bend, Missouri, to dispose of the house he inherited from the great-grandmother he never knew. It’s an interruption in his busy career, and he only has a week to deal with everything before heading back to Los Angeles, but he wants to learn why his grandmother hid her past. Then he meets Margie and all his neatly organized life plans are turned on end.
Margie loves her family and small town life, but after she nearly died the year before and a broken engagement, her loving, smothering family isn’t ready to let her spread her wings and find her independence. She wants to find love again, but her ex-fiancé’s abandonment has also left her with some fears. Meeting Christopher offers the opportunity to try a little change.
The immediate attraction between them shocks and fascinates Margie and Christopher, and despite his impending departure, they can’t resist each other as they explore the mystery of his grandmother’s past. But Christopher can’t see Margie fitting happily into his on-the-run life in Los Angeles and Margie is afraid to trust Christopher completely and doesn’t want to leave Falk’s Bend. His grandmother made difficult decisions because of love, now they need to decide what they are willing to do for love.
How did you come up with the story?
I made the mistake of asking my characters how they met. I had enjoyed writing Christopher and Margie as friends of my hero and heroine in Clear As Day, but they were already married and happily in love and I was busy working on the sequel to Clear As Day, where again they were only minor characters. I never intended to give them their own story or write a prequel. Best laid plans… The initial inspiration for Summertime Dream came from writing the Fourth of July picnic scene, which was originally started as a mental diversion from working on Dave’s story, the intended sequel to Clear As Day. Then my characters got involved. The picnic scene, pondering their backstory as I was working on Dave’s story, and the idle spark of what if… all combined and exploded into a full-fledged novel. My sweet happy couple had shadows in their pasts and problems to resolve before they reached their happily ever after. I absolutely loved writing their novel and watching the two learn what they needed in their lives as they dealt with the house, Margie’s family, the mystery of Christopher’s grandmother, and fell headlong into love.
Where can we find your book?
Summertime Dream is available now in Kindle on Amazon and coming very soon to print.
Could you tell us something about your current projects? Will we see another book from you soon?
I’ve had so much fun writing stories for the circle of friends in my River series and I have more stories in the works for the series. First on deck is Dave’s story, Love Burns, which takes place in the series timeline immediately after the events in Clear As Day, so fingers crossed for that one to be submitted soon. I love this couple’s chemistry, and while it’s been a challenge to complete, I’ve enjoyed seeing their story come to life. Once I’m finished editing and submit Dave, I have the next novel to complete, tentatively titled Blame the Moonlight, which is about two-thirds into the draft. I’d like to finish and submit that one by the end of the year, then rough draft the fifth story. After that, I have two more begun. I’m also working on a four-book novella series.
We’d love to see an excerpt of Summertime Dream.
Margie touched his shoulder and had him turn away from the mess to focus on the view toward the river.
Here the picturesque natural beauty of the property began: the land sloped gently down past the ancient summer house and purple martin houses to the reedy pond where a duck flew in and landed with a quack, and stretched on through weedy tangles of wild blackberry and rogue saplings to the ancient apple and plum trees sagging with unripe fruit, and beyond to the river invisible in the distance, marking where the Engberg’s farm began on the far bank.
Appreciation softened his tense face.
“Beautiful, isn’t it? I fell so in love with this place when I was little and dreamed I’d live in a house like this someday.” Margie laughed. “Of course, in my dreams it was a bit less rundown.”
“I’d imagine so. Interested in buying?”
“Oh, if only I could, I would in an instant. I’m sure the property alone is worth far more than I can afford. It’s a huge piece of land. And the repairs and restoration...” Longing swelled. She sighed. Someone else would buy and live in her dream home.
Quiet fell between them for a while. Bees buzzed in the clover. Birds sang, chirped, and flitted. A hummingbird whizzed past. Two more ducks joined the first amid quiet bickering quacks. Dandelion fluff drifted by on an unfelt breeze.
A truck rattled down the lane, breaking the moment.
“Suppose we ought to head back...” Christopher turned, so close their arms brushed, but instead of retreating, he hesitated. Their eyes locked. Where dismay and frustration had filled his green eyes, want simmered. The heavy air electrified.
You need a change.
On a surge of bewildering crazy courage, she stretched up and kissed him. The brief brush of lips to lips left her shaken and her heart pounding, like she had just come up for air.
His eyes widened in his serious, craggy face.
No, oh, no. Blowing out a unsteady breath, she pressed a hand to her stomach. She’d carried her day’s adventure one impetuous step too far. Her heroines were the daring part of her. She’d never even kissed on a first date before, and this wasn’t even a date.
Before the apology fluttering in her mind could break free, he cupped her cheek and touched his mouth down on hers.
Thinking faded as feeling soared. His gentle touch sweet and fascinating, his lips warm and firm played over hers, unhurried in his caresses and enticing brushes. He laced his fingers into her hair, cradling her head in his hand. He tenderly nipped her lip and licked at her mouth, inviting her rather than taking.
She sighed, delighting in this lovely, reckless rush. Yes. Yes. Yes. Forget that they had just met.
She could want again.
Gripping his shoulder, she accepted the heady invitation, and the kiss deepened into perfect.
Have you got any advice for aspiring authors?
My favorite tip is "Just write." Pour that story out and let your characters talk. Also, most importantly, never give up on your dreams.
Now for the fun stuff…
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to experiment with bread recipes for my bread machine, and once the weather warms up, I’ll be out in the yard trying to stay ahead of the weeds. I also enjoy sightseeing when I traveI. I don’t watch much television, but I do enjoy Once Upon a Time, Bones, and Castle.
I love dogs and cats. I currently am owned by two cats.
Favorite cruise destination?
I’ve never been on a cruise, but I think I’d like to take one of the cruises to Alaska or one of those European river cruises.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, most definitely coffee. Can’t happily start my day without it.
Come fall in love at the river:
Summertime Dream is available on Amazon: http://viewBook.at/SummertimeDream
“Summertime Dream is a perfect glass of Lemonade on a hot day. Simple, elegant and beautifully written. I enjoyed each scene. Loved the chemistry between the characters and the house. Great story!” ~ Deborah Diez
Clear As Day, (★★★★½ RT Book Reviews, ★★★★★ Top Pick The Romance Reviews) is available at:
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=175_133&products_id=4806
And at all other eBook retailers
About the Author:
Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette now lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.
How to find Babbette:
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/babette.james
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BabetteJamesAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B007KDJWV8