For me creating a story is a lot like making a good homemade stew. You search the freezer, and something catches your eye. Aha! Your star ingredient. Then you rummage in the pantry, asking yourself, what if I added this? And that? And maybe just a dash of this? Before long, you’ve got a pot of deliciousness simmering and ready to share with the people you care about.
HOMETOWN HOPE started off with a hero. Hoyt Bradley came to my mind fully formed–a broad-shouldered, blue collar guy with a bad habit of using books for coasters. Great with his hands, good-hearted, hard-working–and getting desperate because his daughter hasn’t spoken a single word since her mother’s death three years ago. I’ve known lots of men like Hoyt–in fact, I’m married to one–and I knew that when it came to helping his little girl, his motto would be “whatever it takes.” He’d set his jaw and move mountains if he had to, one boulder at a time.
Then I wondered–what if I took Hoyt out of his comfort zone of construction sites and power tools and threw him right into a place guaranteed to make him antsy–a bookstore! I added in a shy, scholarly owner, Anna Delaney, a former classmate whose crush on an unsuspecting Hoyt back in high school didn’t do her heart any favors. And–I made Anna and her bookstore the keys to helping Jess recover her speech.
I added additional flavor to the story by asking myself some interesting questions. Why do “opposites” so often attract–and what problems tend to surface when they do? What happens when God decides to answer our prayers in the unlikeliest way we could have imagined? How often does our own lack of faith stand between us and something we long for?
As I explored those ideas, HOMETOWN HOPE took shape and simmered–and now this story stew is ready to share! The paperback was released on June 18. The Kindle version releases on July 1–and it will be on shelves as a July release along with five other fabulous Love Inspired stories.
Meanwhile, I’m already rummaging in my cupboard for the ingredients for a new story! So help me out here–what flavors do you appreciate most in your love stories? Opposites attract? Reunion romances? Stories with single parents and cute kids? Second chance stories featuring older characters? Maybe I can mix your favorite into my new book stew!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laurel Blount lives on a small farm in middle Georgia with her husband, their four children, a milk cow, dairy goats, assorted chickens and ducks, four spoiled cats and one bossy goose with serious boundary issues. She divides her time between farm chores, baking, homeschooling and writing. She’s busy, but she’s never bored!
HOMETOWN HOPE is Laurel’s third Love Inspired romance. Her debut Love Inspired novel A FAMILY FOR THE FARMER was the recipient of the 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence in the Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements category. This book also received two 2017 Holt Awards of Merit and was a finalist in the 2017 Carol Awards. A BABY FOR THE MINISTER, her second Love Inspired, was released in September of 2018.
Whenever she’s not working, you can find Laurel with a cup of tea at her elbow, a cat in her lap and a good book in her hand. She loves to hear from readers! Drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website: www.laurelblountbooks.com and be sure to sign up for her monthly newsletter!
(1) winner will receive an autographed copy of Hometown Hope, a $10 Starbucks gift card, a travel coffee mug, and a bar of Milltown soap–which is produced in author’s hometown (Dough bowl is not included.)
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 17, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only.
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