Danielle: Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Carrie! We are thrilled to have you here. Can you tell us about your new series, Sea Spray Island, that starts with your latest release, CELEBRATION AT CHRISTMAS COVE?
Carrie: The books in my Sea Spray Island series are humorous, heartwarming holiday romances set on an island where the scenery is gorgeous, the townspeople are quirky, and the heroes and heroines are definitely not looking for love…but they’re finding it anyway!
Celeste is still grieving the loss of her mother and had plans to spend Christmas in the Caribbean, but her plans are thwarted, and she ends up on a small Massachusetts island. What do you think readers can take away or learn from Celeste’s predicaments in this novel?
Without giving too much of the plot away, I hope readers will connect with Celeste’s experience of believing she knows exactly what she wants in life until she encounters obstacles that force her to consider other possibilities she might not have imagined for herself.
Nathan is also dealing with loss, and he wants the holiday season to be very special for his daughter, Abigail. When he meets Celeste, he’s unsure if he’s ready for a new connection. How did Nathan’s many facets—he’s a community leader, a single dad, and a widower—affect his journey in CELEBRATION AT CHRISTMAS COVE?
Nathan’s dedication to his family and his community is definitely admirable. The problem is that he becomes so focused on trying to create a memorable Christmas that he ends up completely stressed out and he hurts some of the very people he wants to make happy. Also, in some ways, he uses his status as a widower, a father, and a community leader as an excuse not to get involved in a romantic relationship. So, even though his commitment to serving other people is a positive trait, he has to learn how to balance it with his own needs.
What are some of your favorite things about writing a holiday novel?
Writing a holiday novel automatically puts me in a festive mood, regardless of what time of year it is, which is a lovely way to feel when you’re working. Likewise, I enjoy knowing that these uplifting novels are (hopefully) enhancing my readers’ sense of relaxation, entertainment and celebration during the holiday season. And even though my books are completely fictitious, I have so many wonderful holiday memories and traditions to inspire me that I never get writer’s block. Plus, “researching” my holiday novels gives me an excuse to listen to holiday music and bake holiday treats.
Sea Spray Island is such a charming small-town setting! What inspired this delightful town?
I’m so glad you find it delightful. I intended Sea Spray Island to be a cross between beautiful Martha’s Vineyard and peculiar Port Wenn, which is the fictitious town in the British TV comedy-drama series, Doc Martin. I liked the contrast of a spectacular setting with eccentric, flawed characters.
You’ve written in a variety of romance subgenres! Is there a different genre of writing you’d like to write someday?
I admire mystery and suspense writers who keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats right up until the last page. I doubt I’d ever be able to sustain that level of intrigue for an entire book, but I might like to try writing a cozy mystery someday.
Rapid Fire Random Questions
Cats or dogs: Dogs, but don’t tell my cat I said that. Just kidding, I don’t have a cat. I have chickens.
Book you recommend the most: Uh-oh. I have several author friends who might be disappointed if I don’t say it’s one of their books, so I’m going to have to pass.
Favorite smell: Salty sea air.
Ketchup or mustard: Mustard.
You’ve been invited to a costume party - what do you dress up as?: An octopus, because it’s from the sea and it has the ability to produce ink, which seems like the perfect costume for someone who writes island romances. And I’d definitely make my own costume.
What fictional city/location would you visit? Pemberley, near Lambton (in Pride and Prejudice).
Favorite childhood movie: I admit, I didn’t actually see The Princess Bride until recently, but if I had seen it when I was a child, it would have been my favorite.
How do you practice self-care?: Long walks, bubble baths, and belly laughs. Preferably on a daily basis.
Breakfast or dinner? Dinner (but I do enjoy breakfast for dinner).
You have a totally free afternoon - no deadlines, no obligations, no Twitter notifications! What do you do?: Catch up with the people I’ve missed the most while I’ve been under a deadline!
Sea Spray Island #1
In this humorous and heartwarming romance, sparks fly between a woman who can't wait to leave a wintry New England island, and a widower who would do anything to stay.
Travel magazine writer Celeste Bell is in a terrible mood. Not only was her flight to the Caribbean diverted to a Massachusetts island, now it looks like she'll have to spend Christmas there. Single and still mourning the loss of her mother a year earlier, Celeste is desperate to avoid any emotional entanglements and all holiday festivities. She just doesn't feel like celebrating.
But that's exactly what community center director Nathan White and his young daughter Abigail want to do. Nathan is entirely focused on making sure that his daughter has a happy Christmas, especially with the knowledge that if he can't raise money for the community center soon, it will close and they'll have to leave the island. When he meets Celeste, Nathan begins to feel a connection and wonders if he's brave enough to risk his heart once more.
Thawing their frozen hearts, and saving the community center will require a Christmas miracle. But tis' the season...
Romance Holiday | Romance Contemporary [Berkley, On Sale: October 26, 2021, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593438954 / eISBN: 9780593438978]
Sweet, humorous and heartwarming.
Carrie Jansen earned an MFA in creative writing and published many poems and short stories before becoming a novelist. An avid bodyboarder and beach walker, she spends as much of the year as she can on Cape Cod, where she draws inspiration for her contemporary romances. She also writes Amish romance novels under her pseudonym, Carrie Lighte.
Danielle Jackson is a contemporary romance author, 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 as the Editorial Manager of FreshFiction.com and co-host of the Fresh Fiction podcast. Danielle also moderates industry panels, interviews authors, and hosts a romance book club.
Danielle lives in Chicagoland with her very own romance hero husband, darling daughter, and two tempestuous cats. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @DJacksonBooks.
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