I am so excited to chat with Courtney Walsh today! She lives in my hometown in northern Illinois, and her best friend’s husband pastors the church that my grandfather helped plant. And by now you should all be singing Disney’s “It’s a Small World After All” (and if you weren’t, now you are. You’re welcome.) 🙂
Courtney Walsh is the author of Paper Hearts, Change of Heart, and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com
Her new book, Just Look Up, released yesterday (July 4th) from Tyndale House.
After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home–a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work–something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.
Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.
Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along–if only she’d just look up.
Hi Courtney! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Courtney: Apples. I eat one almost every day. The texture of oranges isn’t my favorite, plus, they can’t really be eaten with almond butter, so apples win!
Carrie: I agree 100%
Courtney: SUMMER! SUNSHINE! In Illinois, the winters get long…I crave that sunshine on my face so summer all the way!
Carrie: Don’t hate me … but I miss Illinois winters 😀
Courtney: Dogs! VERY allergic to cats. Plus, I kind of think they’re creepy. (Don’t hate me!)
Carrie: No worries – this is a ‘we prefer dogs’ zone 🙂
Courtney: Oh, coffee! I found out I’m mildly allergic to coffee, but it’s still like kryptonite for me. I love it sooooo much!
Carrie: I know some people (mostly authors) who would find a coffee allergy most devastating lol!
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Courtney: I think it would be multi-tasking. I have lots of projects going at the same time, though this doesn’t always work well for me. For instance, when I’m cooking dinner and get distracted, it almost always ends in the fire alarm going off…On second thought, maybe this isn’t a great superpower after all…LOL
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Courtney: Anne Shirley, no question. I discovered Anne when I was sick and my mom brought home the movie. I was NOT expecting it to be good, I thought it was just some dumb movie my mom found at the video store. But I was sick, and I had nothing better to do, so I watched it and an instant love affair began… I read the books. I fell in love all over again. That story is still one of my all-time favorites. And Anne, with her big imagination, is still one of my all-time favorite characters.
Carrie: I love Anne too! I think she’s every imaginative girl’s kindred spirit 🙂
If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Courtney: It would tell you that I have a lipstick addiction problem (I have three different lipsticks right now…) and that I have a special love for all different kinds of writing utensils. The pencil pouch I stole from my 9-year-old is a dead giveaway. It would also tell you that I’m incredibly busy because I have my old wallet, so packed with receipts it can’t be closed sitting right next to a brand new wallet, just waiting to be filled and organized. I’ve been walking around with both wallets for two weeks, I just don’t have time to make the switch.
Carrie: LOL I’m right there with you on the writing utensils and being too busy to switch things out!
Just Look Up follows two people who find themselves ‘back home again’ at the same time. What or who gives you that feeling of home?
Courtney: My parents’ house for sure. It always feels welcoming and somehow, the second I walk in, I can feel myself relax a little. Maybe it reminds me of simpler times or something, but whatever it is, it’s one of my favorite places, and I wish I got there more often.
Carrie: i love that! Yes.
Between Lane Kelley and Ryan Brooks, which character surprised you the most?
Courtney: Brooks, for sure. Ryan is different from the other heroes I’ve written, though I didn’t expect him to be at first. He’s funny and his bluntness takes Lane (and me) off guard. He doesn’t mind pushing her buttons—in fact, he kind of loves it. And I loved that he was willing to put himself out there to pursue her. Lane is the type of girl who needed to be pursued—she’s convinced she doesn’t need anyone.
Carrie: I’m swooning over him already!!
What do you most want readers to take away from Just Look Up?
Courtney: This book is really personal for me. Lane was an overweight kid who was teased, who lost friends overnight for no reason—and she grew up to be a woman with something to prove, someone who would work tirelessly to prove it. That’s all familiar to me. I’ve lived through all of that, and I think in writing this book, even more so than the message to put our phones down and look up at the world around us, is a deeper message of grace. We don’t have to strive. We don’t have to work. God’s love is a gift freely given—we just have to reach out and take it. I hope readers feel that when they close the last page.
Carrie: I can absolutely relate to Lane – and that deeper message of grace.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Courtney: Right now I’m working on the next book in this series, Just Let Go, which will release next year, and I also have another novel coming out at the end of September called Hometown Girl. I’m excited about this upcoming year! 🙂
Carrie: SO much to look forward to! Yay!
Courtney Walsh is offering a copy of Just Look Up to one of my readers! (US Only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What is something you’re allergic to that you really love?