Scroll down for a chance to win a copy of Liz Johnson’s book, On Love’s Gentle Shore. Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to last week’s winner of Over Maya Dead Body, Kay Garrett! Please e-mail your mailing address to my assistant Christen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fifteen years after she left Prince Edward Island, Natalie O’Ryan had no plans to return. But when her fiancé, music producer Russell Jacobs, books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose’s Red Door Inn, she sets out to put the finishing touches on the perfect wedding. But she can’t possibly prepare for a run-in with Justin Kane—the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay.
Justin’s never forgotten Natalie or the music career he always dreamed of pursuing. He’d been prepared to follow her off the island until his dad died and he was left to run the family dairy farm. He’s done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him—but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he’s been missing.
After Natalie’s reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin’s property. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness—and that there may be more than an old friendship between them.
Can you tell us about your newest release? Is it part of a series or a stand-alone?
On Love’s Gentle Shore is the third and final book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams Series. It’s the story of best friends, Natalie and Justin, who planned to leave the island together after high school graduation. But when tragedy struck, Justin was forced to stay. Natalie left. Fifteen years later Natalie, who never planned to return, is back, staying at the Red Door Inn, and putting the finishing touches on her island wedding. Justin has done his best to care for the family dairy farm, which became his responsibility when his father died. But seeing Natalie again reminds him just how much joy he’s been missing out on. When her wedding reception venue falls through, Natalie reluctantly agrees to hold it at an old barn on Justin’s property. But as they work together to restore the building, they discover that there may be more than just an old friendship between them.
Is anything or anyone in this book based on real-life experiences?
This whole series was inspired by my love for PEI. I’ve been to the island four times, and I fell in love with the gentle waves, towering pines, and kind people. I wanted to share all that and more with readers. A few minor characters are tied to my memories there, like Captain Mark, who is a real-life lobster fisherman and took my family out on his boat.
Who was your favorite character in this story, and why?
That’s hard to say. I love them all, but Mama Cheese Sandwich might have been a favorite. I adored her love for her son, her strength, and her compassion.
Compared to your other books, was this one easy to complete or challenging? Any idea why?
This book was definitely a challenge. I moved from Tennessee to Arizona in the middle of writing it. Then I started a new job and had to get settled into a new city. That level of change made focusing more difficult, and my writing time definitely took a hit. On top of that, I hated saying goodbye to these wonderful characters and the inn on the north shore. I’ve loved writing about the Red Door Inn.
What was the hardest scene in this book to write? What made it difficult?
The emotional scenes are always hardest for me to write. In this book it’s the one where Natalie discovers a secret about her childhood that could have changed everything about the horrible memories she harbors. When she tries to find someone to confirm the truth, she runs into Justin instead and has a total melt down. It makes me cry every time I read it.
What did you (or your editors) edit out of this book?
Surprisingly not much in the way of word count. But the biggest change during edits were adding an epilogue—my editor wanted to catch up with the other characters from the previous books a bit more, and I was so happy to include them in the wrap up—and cutting out some of Natalie’s head time. She spent a lot of time thinking about her past, and it was dragging down the plot, so we did some shifting/reshaping so that her history is still an important part of the story but isn’t slowing things down.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing from the point of view of the opposite sex?
I tend to overthink and overanalyze every situation, and I always want to make my heroes do the same. But I don’t think that’s always accurate. So I often have to pull back on their internal analysis and let them just act or react to a situation.
Liz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the first time she set foot on it. When she’s not plotting her next trip to the island, she works as director of marketing for a Christian radio network. She is the author of several novels including The Red Door Inn and Where Two Hearts Meet, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Tucson, Arizona.