What is the inspiration behind
, the sixth installment in the Haven Point Series set in Idaho?
It really started with the heroine, Katrina Bailey, who was the sister to a few characters I have featured previously in the series. Whenever she appeared, she was this flighty, flirty young woman but I knew there had to be more to her. As I was writing her sister’s book, RIVERBEND ROAD, I could tell Katrina was on a journey, trying to figure out her place in the world. I couldn’t wait to find out more! She turned into a much more nuanced character than I could have imagined in those early days!
Let’s talk about Bowie Callahan, a computer-tech millionaire who has it all. How does his life change with the arrival of his little brother?
Bowie never knew he even had a little brother when suddenly, unexpectedly, he becomes the boy’s guardian. He has to completely re-evaluate his priorities. What I love most about Bowie as a hero is his willingness to step up to care for his brother even though he feels completely out of his depth, given Milo’s challenges. And given his own rather feral childhood, Bowie knows he can’t let his brother suffer the same fate. It’s a struggle at first. SERENITY HARBOR opens as he’s still trying to adjust to this major life change and figure out how to juggle everything.
Katrina Bailey is a schoolteacher who Bowie hires to care for his sibling, Milo. Why does she accept this position?
At first, she doesn’t want to. She’s in town for her sister’s wedding with no intention of taking a temporary job. Not only that, but Bowie doesn’t make a great first impression on her. She takes the job for two reasons – one, she needs the outrageous amount of money he’s offering in order to pursue her own goals and two, she is drawn to Milo and wants to help him if she can.
Why did you choose to include a character with autism in your latest story?
It’s hard to answer that question! I never intended it when I was brainstorming ideas for Katrina’s and Bowie’s book, but as I started plotting, I needed a compelling reason for the independent Bowie to be willing to seek help from someone else. Though parenting every child is hard, parenting children with any disability can feel overwhelming. Adding behavioral issues into the mix adds an entirely new dimension of stress. Somehow it felt right for these characters.
My husband and I have a son with multiple disabilities and while autism isn’t a condition we have firsthand experience with, we’ve been around enough children on the spectrum at our son’s school and in other settings to get a glimpse into some of the particular challenges and joys they face. It was important to me to stress that Milo is a child first, like every other child. His autism is a part of him but not the entire picture.
Finally, are you currently at work on your next project? If so, what can you share with us?
Yes! The next book in Haven Point features librarian Julia Winston and notorious ladies’ man Jamie Caine, who is probably the character whose story my readers ask for most. SUGAR PINE TRAIL will hit bookstores Sept 26th. I’m currently working on a book about Katrina Bailey’s brother, FBI agent Elliot Bailey, which will come out next summer. I’m having a wonderful time visiting old friends and catching up on their lives!
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