Contemporary

Blaze Of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett

Monday, September 10, 2012

It’s like coming home…Why series are so great! by Elisabeth Barrett

I grew up in a small town in Connecticut. I don’t get back there as often as I’d like, but every time I do return, it’s as if time has stood still. No matter how long I’ve been away, the town never changes.

I ride through the center of town to check out which stores are the same and which are different. Although some shops close and are replaced by new ones, they all still have a similar feel. The bagger at the village market still gives me a wink at checkout, and the library still has that stone hippopotamus out front that all the kids love to climb on.

And my childhood home is seemingly just as I left it, although the garden is a bit more overgrown. There’s the same loose flagstone in front, the same huge rhododendron on the side. If I head around back, I know I’ll be able to find a snake or two in the woodpile. The postman still putters down the street at exactly the same time, and my neighbor still gives me a huge wave when I go on my daily constitutional. I’ve come home.

This is exactly how I feel when I return to a series of books I’m reading. The pleasure of immersing myself in a recognizable world with familiar characters is extremely enticing. The Anne of Green Gables books did that for me as a kid, and as an adult, I adore series such as Robyn Carr’s Virgin River, and Emily March’s Eternity Springs.

When I set out to write my own books, I knew they were going to be set in small town New England and even more—they’d be a continuing series! Eventually I decided that the books would revolve around four brothers—the Graysons. And thus the Star Harbor series was born! Writing Deep Autumn Heat, the first Star Harbor novel, about Seb Grayson, a celebrity chef, and Lexie Meyers, a local restauranteur, was fun—sparks flew in the kitchen and out between those two, and I loved setting up the series. But it wasn’t until I’d laid the groundwork in Deep Autumn Heat and then got to revisit Star Harbor in later books in the series that things really started to heat up for me.

In Blaze of Winter, novelist Theo Grayson (Seb’s twin) returns to Star Harbor to work on his latest novel. He’s glad to be near his brothers, back in his hometown (where nothing much has changed in the years he’s been living on the West Coast). But when he takes a room at the Star Harbor Inn and runs into Avery Newbridge, who’s in town to help her aunt manage the inn, everything is suddenly different. Avery, a beautiful, guarded social worker, is a source of endless fascination for Theo. She motivates him to write, and he’s more than keen to peel back her walls, layer by layer, until he reveals the woman underneath.

It was a blast to return to Star Harbor, and Theo’s interactions—with both his brothers and with the townspeople—were extremely fun to write. 

I couldn’t wait to catch up with several fan favorites from Deep Autumn Heat —namely Buster Quigley, the man with a mysterious past who works as a grill cook at the LMK (Lexie’s restaurant), Babs Kincaide, a part-time sculptor who runs a seafood dive during part of the year, and Luke Bedwin, the kindly owner of the hardware store. I’m even more thrilled that in Long Simmering Spring and Slow Summer Burn (both coming in 2013), I’ll get to revisit all of these characters yet again!

Now I’ve told you some of my favorite series. Why don’t you tell me some of yours? One commenter will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 14th at midnight (EDT).You’ll need a NetGalley account, and to comment on this post.

About Blaze of Winter: Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger. Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn. Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.

About Elisabeth: Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter. Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. Series are her absolute favorites!