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Lee Tobin McClain | Exclusive Interview: THE SECRET CHRISTMAS CHILD


The Secret Christmas Child
Lee Tobin McClain

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Rescue Haven #1

December 2019
On Sale: December 1, 2019
224 pages
ISBN: 1335479589
EAN: 9781335479587
Kindle: B07RCG4WR2
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Lee Tobin McClain:
Christmas on the Coast, November 2020
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Reunion at the Shore, July 2020
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Cottage at the Beach, March 2020
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The Secret Christmas Child, December 2019

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Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Lee! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest novel, THE SECRET CHRISTMAS CHILD.

Thanks for having me on Fresh Fiction! I’m a dog lover with a heart for kids, so creating a series centered around an organization that matches up rescue dogs and at-risk boys just made sense.

But don’t take my word for it, check out the book description here:

Reese Markowski can’t believe he’s hiring his ex-girlfriend--but to save his program for dogs and at-risk kids, the veteran needs Gabby Hanks. Single mom Gabby’s fierce love for her infant daughter is undeniable, as is the child’s effect on Reese’s wounded heart. Their holiday reunion is a joyful surprise, but nothing prepares Reese for the truth about Gabby’s baby. . .

Gabby Hanks never expects her new boss to be her ex-boyfriend, Reese. She needs the job and will do whatever it takes to keep a stable life for her young daughter, Izzy. Even though she has been through a lot, Gabby is hardworking and determined to make the most of her circumstances. What do you love the most about the character of Gabby?

One of my favorite parts of writing Gabby was creating the relationship between Gabby and her grandmother. Gabby loves her grandma so much--after all, the woman raised her--and she also knows her grandmother is getting older and needs help. She’s careful to offer that help in a way that preserves her grandmother’s dignity. And she’s well aware that it’s a two-way street:  she also needs the help and support of her grandma. It’s a mutually-beneficial, fun-loving relationship that reflects the web of family relationships that are a key part of so many women’s lives.

After returning home because of an injury during his deployment, Reese Markowski throws himself into his job working with rescue dogs and at-risk kids. His unexpected reunion with Gabby and having to work with her during the holiday season is almost too much, especially when he finds out she has a baby. How does Reese change throughout this novel?

Reese starts out defensive and angry, quick to take offense. It’s natural, given his difficult childhood and the struggles brought about by his wartime injury. But through connecting with Gabby, her daughter, and her grandmother--plus a bunch of loveable boys and dogs--Reese loosens up and lightens up, which allows his natural warmth and heroism to shine through.

There’s nothing like Christmastime in a small town, like Rescue Haven! What inspired this charming locale?

I grew up in Ohio, where THE SECRET CHRISTMAS CHILD takes place, and I’ve always found its small towns beautiful and charming, especially when decorated for Christmas and covered with a pretty layer of snow. My daughter and I spend Christmas with my sister and her husband, who’s a pastor at a beautiful little church in rural Ohio. In a way, I get to spend Christmas in Rescue Haven every year!

Forgiveness, hope, and second chances are all big themes in this novel and come up throughout the Christmas season. What do you think makes these appealing subjects to explore during this time of year?

During the holidays, we tend to take a longer view of things. We get away from our busy everyday lives, see distant family, go to church; all activities that make us think and reflect. We’re more likely to let go of a grudge, renew a relationship, or give a friend a second chance in those circumstances--at least in the ideal world of a romance novel!

What’s your go-to holiday dish to share with friends and family?

I have to confess that I’m not much of a cook. In the past, I did make Mamie Eisenhower’s fudge, in the tradition of my grandma, and everyone loved it. But I have ZERO self-discipline. I can’t make it without eating massive quantities myself.

We’re gearing up for Christmas shopping – do you plan out your gift-giving in advance or do you wait until the last minute?

Last minute!

What can readers expect from you next?

I have a new series coming out in 2020 titled The Off Season. It’s about a waterfront town on the Chesapeake Bay during the non-tourist months. The town has a unique program for police officers healing from injuries, along with their K9 partners. In other words, it’s all about beaches, protective heroes, and dogs!

Rapid Fire Random Questions

Cats or dogs: Dogs!

Book you recommend the most: Anything by Rachel Dylan or Dana R. Lynn--two wonderful Christian writers whose romantic suspense will keep you turning the pages.

Favorite smell: Honeysuckle

Ketchup or mustard: Both!

You’ve been invited to a costume party - what do you dress up as?: Something easy and comfortable. Most recently, I was a dog walker.

What fictional city/location would you visit?: Susan Mallery’s Happily, Inc.

Favorite childhood movie: Dr. Zhivago. Very romantic!

How do you practice self-care?: I put it on my to-do list!

Breakfast or dinner?: Breakfast FOR dinner! Pancakes are my passion.

You have a totally free afternoon - no deadlines, no obligations, no Twitter notifications!  What do you do?: Read, walk my dog, and watch an episode of my favorite guilty pleasure TV show, Hoarders.

THE SECRET CHRISTMAS CHILD by Lee Tobin McClain

Rescue Haven #1

The Secret Christmas Child

Will a fresh start heal old wounds?

His high school sweetheart returns with a baby. . . And a devastating secret.

Reese Markowski can’t believe he’s hiring his ex-girlfriend--but to save his program for dogs and at-risk kids, the veteran needs Gabby Hanks. Single mom Gabby’s fierce love for her infant daughter is undeniable, as is the child’s effect on Reese’s wounded heart. Their holiday reunion is a joyful surprise, but nothing prepares Reese for the truth about Gabby’s baby. . .

Inspirational Romance | Romance Holiday [Harlequin, On Sale: December 1, 2019, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781335479587 / eISBN: 9781488043253]

About Lee Tobin McClain

Lee Tobin McClain

USA Today bestselling author Lee Tobin McClain read Gone with the Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. When she's not writing small-town, heartwarming love stories with happy endings, she's probably snapchatting with her college-student daughter, mediating battles between her goofy goldendoodle and her rescue cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University's MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

Rescue River

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | AMAZON

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Fresh Fiction Editorial Manager Danielle Dresser is an avid reader, lackluster-yet-mighty crafter, and accomplished TV binge-watcher. Once upon a time, she was a publisher publicist and continues to cultivate her love of books and reading by chatting with the best authors in the business. She lives in Chicagoland with her very own romance hero husband, darling daughter, and two tempestuous cats. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @dj_dresser. 

 

 

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