Please help us give Jacquie D'Alessandro a very warm welcome to the Romance Dish!
First--the location. Seaside Cove is a fictional barrier island on the North Carolina coast and is based on a combination of two of my favorite places—the south shore of Long Island (where I grew up), and the North Carolina coast where I love to visit. The beach has always been my “happy place.” There is just something so soothing about the sound of the ocean, the scent of salt water, the feel of sand beneath my feet.
Second--the characters. When a book begins forming in my mind, it starts with either the hero or the heroine, and in the case of Summer at Seaside Cove, it was the heroine who “spoke” to me first. I could see Jamie Newman very clearly in my mind—a woman whose life has fallen apart. A woman who’s been betrayed by her sister, and whose high-maintenance mother is driving her nuts. All she wants to do is escape—to a place where no one knows her, no one wants or expects anything from her. A place where she can re-evaluate, re-group, and re-assess. And what better place than the beach? But of course I couldn’t make things too easy for her!
Which brings me to her “sanctuary" — which was also very clear in my mind, and was nothing like the pristine, cozy beach cottage depicted on the internet photos Jamie found. No, Jamie’s summer rental turned out to be the cottage from hell, complete with a leaky roof, broken stairs, and an absent landlord. And that brought me to the other main character--Jamie’s landlord…a man who, when he finally showed up, turned out to be much more than Jamie had bargained for. A man who also escaped to Seaside Cove for reasons of his own. And maybe if Jamie’s family would quit showing up on her doorstep, she might actually get to discover what those reasons are.
Then I had to create a cast of secondary characters. I already had Jamie’s family, but then I needed some Seaside Cove folks for Jamie to interact with. And Seaside Cove activities for her get involved in — or dragged into as the case may be. Which led me to create what I hope are some colorful neighbors (who will carry over into the next book) and the annual Clam Festival — the sort of event that is hugely popular in small towns everywhere.
I love putting pets in my books and knew that a chocolate Labrador retriever would be featured in the story. One of the gals in my neighborhood book club had a chocolate Lab named Godiva and I fell in love with that name. I told her, “that’s going in a book!” At the time I wasn’t sure what book, but I knew I’d be using that name. As soon as Summer at Seaside Cove began forming in my mind, I knew it was the perfect Godiva book. Sadly, the real-life Godiva passed away a few months ago. I hope I did her namesake proud — she was a great dog.
Summer at Seaside Cove was both enjoyable and challenging to write. Unlike my historical books which all contain mysteries, there was no mystery to solve. And unlike my shorter contemporary stories, I had the word length to really delve deeply into my characters’ emotions, as well as the time frame (an entire summer) for those characters to get to know each other and themselves. I wanted to convey the full range of feelings involved with heartbreak, loss, betrayal, desire, love, and redemption. Jamie’s summer in Seaside Cove changes her life, and it’s a journey I hope readers will take with her and embrace.
So tell me — do you have a “happy place” where you love to go to decompress? Or somewhere you dream of going to decompress? Tell me about it — and please feel free to ask me any questions about Summer at Seaside Cove — or any other book. Or heck, about anything! Wanna talk about the Royal Wedding? Fine by me! (Wasn’t it fabulous, aren’t they a great couple, and isn’t that Harry too cute??! And maybe he should think about dating Pippa??) I’ll send one randomly chosen commenter a signed set of my Mayhem in Mayfair series (Sleepless at Midnight, Confessions at Midnight, Seduced at Midnight, Tempted at Midnight). Good luck! xox
Thanks, Jacquie! I can't wait to pick up my copy of Summer at Seaside Cove!
Okay, readers, here's your chance to win a complete set of Jacquie's historical Mayhem in Mayfair series so start commenting!
To learn more about Jacquie, visit her website, friend her on facebook and check out her regular blogs at Whine Sisters.