Toni Blake: So Lori – we’re here to talk about small town romances, a topic which is near and dear to both of our hearts. They come in so many shapes and sizes, though – where do we begin? Maybe a good starting point is – what do you think readers find so appealing about small town romances? For me, I think that for many people living in this fast-paced, technology-driven world, a book set in a small town feels like a return to a simpler place in time, and it’s a setting where people are connecting in more traditional ways than, say, through Facebook or Twitter.
Lori Wilde: I agree. A small town romance is more than just a love story set in a small town. It's about the community and the setting as well. Small towns stir feelings of nostalgia for a time and place where happy memories reside.
TB: So true that the community is such a large part of these books, particularly books like ours, written as a series. I’ve loved building a community in my Destiny, Ohio series and then focusing on different couples in each book, as well as using the books to explore different aspects of the town. Do you find that your readers get more attached to the characters in small town books?
LW: I think readers get attached to characters in any series. It's like a great TV show, they keep coming back book after book to see what's going to happen next.
TB: Reader loyalty is an amazing and wonderful thing! I love building up interest in a secondary character over a number of books until finally telling his or her story. And it’s so fun when readers want more of a character you never planned to write a book about – and they ask for that character’s story until you give them one, as they did for Duke Dawson in Half Moon Hill.
LW: And you did a wonderful job with Duke's story. I just heard Half Moon Hill was nominated for a RITA award. Congratulations. That's got to be gratifying that when a character that generated so much reader interest turns out to pay off big!
TB: Thank you so much! I’m thrilled with the nomination, and you’re exactly right – apparently the readers knew what they were talking about when they asked me to give Duke a story, and I really loved writing it! And Half Moon Hill is the last book – for now anyway – in my Destiny series, so it’s nice to see it get a nod like this as I move on to a new small town setting in my Coral Cove series. The first book, All I Want Is You, came out at the end of May, and I can’t wait to introduce readers to this quirky little beachside town. What can readers look forward to next from you?
LW: Ooh, a new series with a beach town just in time for summer. I'm already thinking sand and pina coladas and the scent of coconut oil and fried shrimp and, and...I know readers will love getting their hands on this series! For me, my June book Love With a Perfect Cowboy wraps up my Cupid, Texas.
TB: Ah, I know readers will be all over that! And who doesn’t want the perfect cowboy in the perfect little Texas town? I know you and I both grew up in small towns, and that’s probably how we ended up writing about them. May they forever have a big place in readers’ hearts!
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