Yaaaaay!!! Today, Nicole Deese is here!!
I had the absolute privilege of meeting Nicole in Nashville in August, and she is such a sweetheart, y’all. And a hoot. (More on that later)
Nicole Deese is a full-time lover of humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled fiction. She is the author of seven inspirational romances including the Love in Lenox novels, A Cliché Christmas and A Season to Love, and The Promise of Rayne.
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found reading near a window while sipping a LaCroix. She lives in small-town Idaho with her handsome hubby and two sons.
Nicole’s latest book The Promise of Rayne released on November 1st.
Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.
Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.
Welcome to the blog, Nicole!!! I start all my guests out with a fast four –
Nicole: Apples. Truth is, I’m a lousy orange peeler. Often I have to resort to using my teeth, which means that by the time I’ve finished “peeling” said fruit, my mouth is coated with a can’t-be-brushed-away taste and my lap is sprinkled with sponge-like confetti pieces. So yeah, I choose apples.
Carrie: I’m thinking that, yes, that’s the wisest choice for you LOL
Nicole: I LOVE WINTER! Partly because I enjoy wearing my cozy (ahem, lazy) clothes around the house. But also because I truly DESPISE hot weather.
Carrie: Yessssssssss to all of the above.
Nicole: Dogs, although most days my Golden Doodle, Warner, looks more like a Muppet than a canine. Even still, Warner would get his feelings hurt if I didn’t choose him.
Carrie: Well, of course he would. Muppets… uh.. I mean DOGS have feelings too 😉
Nicole: Neither. I’d give both those drinks up for a La Croix sparkling water any day of the week. Although, I’d totally drink it out of a mug if that makes my answer to this question more legit. Just say the word, Carrie.
Carrie: snort. No, you’re good … especially since I like neither of those options as well! Or is that “I like neither of those options either” ? Well… whatever. I also do not like coffee or tea LOL.
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Nicole: I’d be a Harmony Bopper. Haven’t heard of it? Well, allow me to share this under appreciated superpower with you! As a Harmony Bopper, I’d have a magical wand (perhaps with a sparkly star at the end of it with a few pretty ribbons twirled around the handle) that when pointed at a conflict, would immediately restore peace and harmony to any strife-causing situations. This wand could work wonders on pre-adolescent boys, frustrating co-workers, political debaters (social media included), and even those pesky “budget convos” with the spouse.
Carrie: Can we hire you out for the next week or so?
Tell me some good books you’ve read recently!
Nicole: I’m currently reading a fantastic book by Amber Lynn Perry, So Rare a Gift. Brilliant writing paired with a refreshingly unique premise. L-o-v-i-n-g it! I also have a sweet holiday romance waiting for me to devour, Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk.
Carrie: Both of those books are on my TBR list to be read SOON!!!
I recently had reason to learn that when you, Nicole, pack for a weekend-long writer’s conference you basically pack to survive the Apocalypse 😉 Please see photographic evidence below, provided courtesy of author Sarah Monzon.
In fact, we had to rearrange the trunk of my car, like a puzzle, in order to fit Nicole’s suitcase in there 😉
Yes, I’m in my jammies. Don’t judge.
So now I’m curious. If I dared to peek inside your PURSE, what would it tell me about you?
Nicole: Hahaha! I do tend to *slightly* over pack. My purse? Um…. Let’s just say a person could live off the snacks in there for close to a week, and if they needed a manicure, well, I’ve got them covered in that department too. Oh, and I just counted six shades of lip gloss located in the small zipper compartment on the side. Pretty much, my purse could double as a Bug Out bag for all the “preppers” out there. (Shout-out to all my north Idaho friends!)
Carrie: Hahahahahaha! As my DubT would say, “I die.”
Levi and Rayne. Reviewers are calling them “gripping” and “amazing” – I’ve even seen “swoonworthy” for Levi more than once! (I agree!) How would YOU describe your main characters?
Nicole: Rayne Shelby: Rayne is a young woman struggling to find her place—within her family, her career, and especially within the confines of her own heart. She’s intelligent, compassionate, hard-working, dream-oriented, and heart-strong.
Levi Harding: Sigh. The man can be infuriatingly perceptive when it comes to observing people—especially his neighbors, the Shelbys. He’s quick-witted, honest to a fault, loyal beyond reason, and relentlessly head-strong.
The Promise of Rayne is also at least partly a story of feuding families and the effects of bitterness. Such a timely issue in our society lately where opinions and beliefs can so easily – and vehemently – divide friends and family and acquaintances. What can we learn from The Promise of Rayne about healing and forgiveness?
Nicole: I think, as a whole, people (myself included!) struggle to accept how harmful holding onto a grudge can be. Rarely do we foresee a tiny seeding of bitterness growing into the life-sucking weed it eventually becomes. Perhaps we feel that offering forgiveness to our offender—for whatever he or she has done or said—is far too gracious an offering compared to the level of wrong they’ve committed. Yet, we are the ones who suffer most when we harbor ill will toward another person. We are the ones who lose. We become stuck, trapped in our own self-righteousness. And that is one ugly, awful place to live. This concept is the foundation for The Promise of Rayne. And just like in the lives of my fictional characters, we can’t experience true freedom until we are willing to let our grievances with one another go. Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, wrote one of the best quotes on this very topic: “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
Carrie: Yes, so well said. By you and by Anne Lamott. I heard Beth Moore say once that forgiveness doesn’t make IT alright; forgiveness makes YOU alright. That has really stuck with me through the years.
What do you most want readers to take away from The Promise of Rayne?
Nicole: By the end of this story, I hope my readers have a fresh—and perhaps—broadened understanding of the gift of mercy.
While I grew up in a Bible-teaching church, professing Jesus as my lord and savior since childhood, I’ve spent embarrassingly little time acknowledging the price that was paid for my sin, for my corrupt and immoral human heart. Because the truth is, it’s so much easier to discuss the prettier parts of faith. The parts that come perfectly packaged with shiny gift labels like joy, grace, love, peace, hope, compassion, and eternal life. But mercy? Mercy is far more sobering a topic. It’s a vulnerable conversation about the exposure of our brokenness and the depth of our need. And yet, without mercy, without the undeserved extension of God’s hand as it rescues us again and again from our darkness, as it plucks us from our shame, and failure, and despair, we would know nothing of the other beautiful gifts that accompany a life of faith.
Carrie: Mercy and brokenness go hand in hand, don’t they? Both so beautiful but like you say a little sobering and uncomfortable.
Again, Nicole, thank you so much for stopping by! And humoring my fond laughter at your apocalypse-ready expense 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you!
Nicole: I’m currently working on the third book in the Love in Lenox novels. Yep, I’ve headed back to my cute little town in the mountains of Eastern Oregon. This is a sparky love story between an uptight single dad who’s struggling to connect with his son and an artsy free-spirit who charms her way into the center of their lives… and their hearts. <3
Carrie: Ooo… I like sparky love stories 😀
Connect with Nicole online:
More books by Nicole Deese
What about you? Do you pack light or does your suitcase rival Nicole’s?