Happy Release Day to Lin Stepp & her TWO new books – The Interlude (set in my happy place of the Smoky Mountains) and Claire at Edisto!
Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, businesswoman and educator. A New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, Lin now has sixteen published books, including her twelve beloved Smoky Mountain novels set in different locations of the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains, as well as a Smoky Mountain novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies. In addition, Lin’s first novel in a new Edisto Trilogy recently released, set on the South Carolina coast. Lin and her husband also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and a Tennessee state parks book. Stepp’s latest 2019 releases are The Interlude, set in the Greenbrier and Pittman Center of the Great Smoky Mountains and Claire at Edisto set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Lin enjoys keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog on her website at: www.linstepp.com
In this gentle, inspirational romance, Lin Stepp reveals the healing touch and deep peace the beauty of the Smoky Mountains can bring to a hurt and troubled heart.
Too much work, too much pressure, and too much heartache can lead even a strong young woman like Mallory Wingate to the edge of a nervous breakdown. Now her doctor and employer have insisted she take a space to heal and rest—so like it or not, she’s heading to her grandparents’ resort in the Smoky Mountains. Hoping to sleep and rest on the flight home, Mallory is entertained instead by an unexpectedly charismatic stranger, making her forget many of her problems and even making her feel deliciously female again.
Lucas James, flying home from a pro golfing event, hadn’t expected to enjoy an interlude of flirting with a pretty stranger on the plane. A stranger he never expected to see again but who turns out to be the granddaughter of his boss at The Millhouse Resort. Worse, he quickly learns she’s passed through a recent history of emotional problems that remind him all too painfully of his past wife. The last thing Lucas wants is to get involved with anyone like Cecily again. Surely it won’t be too hard to keep his distance while Mallory is at the resort.
Set against the alluring backdrop of coastal South Carolina, CLAIRE AT EDISTO takes the reader on a sweet and gentle journey showing that love and new beginnings can often bloom from the deepest sorrows.
Standing in grief and shock at the grave of her young husband, Claire Avery wonders what she and her young daughters will do now. They live in the church parsonage they need to vacate. She hasn’t worked since her marriage twelve years ago. Old issues and complications hinder relationships with her family. Struggling for answers, Claire accepts her brother-in-law’s offer to stay at his beach house at Edisto to give her a season to heal and think. But even the peace and beauty of the coastal island bring new problems along with unexpected joys as Claire seeks to find her way.
Parker Avery always promised his brother Charles he would look after Claire if anything happened to him. Charles stood by him three years ago when his wife Ann died and Parker is determined now to be a help to Claire and the girls. As time passes, instead of feeling like a hero, he feels like a heel instead as he realizes he’s developing feelings for his own brother’s widow. To make things worse, he watches with pain and jealousy as Miles Lawrence waltzes into Claire’s life. What can he expect though? It hardly seems right that Claire, even after a season of mourning, would ever fall in love with her own brother-in-law.
Hi Lin! Welcome back to the blog!
Lin: I love an orange with breakfast in the morning … and an apple in my pack on the hiking trail.
Carrie: best of both worlds! And apples are great for an energy boost, aren’t they?
Lin: Winter is my least favorite month … and I’m rejoicing now to see spring coming with summer not far behind. Summer, of all the seasons, is my favorite … warm days, shorts, flip flops, playing in the lake or ocean, walking barefoot in the deep green grass, laying out on a big quilt reading in a field of flowers. It’s the best.
Carrie: This is where you and I part ways lol. I’m a winter girl all the way. Spring & Fall are ok too… but summer can just go away as far as I’m concerned 😛 Too hot. haha!
Lin: When I was born, a kitten—belonging to no one my mother could find—showed up at the door, jumped into my crib to sleep with me, and I’ve had cats in my life ever since. We just lost our two older cats Sophie and Tucker and I’m sure it won’t be long now until some kittens or cats find their way into our home again.
Carrie: awwww ♥ I’m not a cat person at all but that’s such a sweet story!
Lin: My husband J.L. and I love music … CDs we play at meals or for fun, the symphony when we can find time to get to special performances, listening to the radio when we travel—even singing along with our favorites.
Carrie: I’m a big proponent of singing along to music on road trips!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Lin: Growing up my favorite superhero characters were always the ones who could FLY … Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, Superman and Supergirl. Of course, in reality I’ve never leaped off a tall building or flown to Neverland … but I found a way to do the next best thing … My husband and I head to the Smoky Mountains and hike high up into the mountains on the many wonderful trails whenever we can. In fact, we hiked a favorite trail today … discovering wildflowers along the pathway and looking out over the high ridges into the valleys below. John Muir wrote: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” I always feel like a superhero hiking in the mountains … and it lifts me out of myself and out of my cares whenever I do, almost like flying.
Carrie: Love Muir – and the Smokies ♥
Q: Tell me some good books you’ve read recently.
Lin: I read all the time around writing my own books and I love books of all kinds, especially romances, mysteries, and Southern fiction. Here are seven books I’ve read lately that I really loved!!
- Grandma Gatewood’s Walk (about the first woman to walk the AT) by Ben Montgomery
- The Midwife of Hope River (about a midwife during the Great Depression in West Virginia) by Patricia Harman
- Lowcountry Book Club (the latest in this fun Lowcountry mystery series – I’ve read them all!) by Susan Boyer
- The Accidental Bestseller (about four author friends and the harsh reality of the publishing industry) by Wendy Wax
- The House of Unexpected Sisters (a new No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency mystery, each set in Africa) by Alexander McCall Smith
- Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands (stories of seven western women after the Civil War advertising for husbands) the novellas by Cynthia Hickey, Susan Davis, and others.
- The Convenient Groom (a fun romance) by Denise Hunter.
Carrie: The Convenient Groom is one of my all-time faves, as are those Barbour collections. I’ve been wanting to read The Midwife of Hope River and The Accidental Bestseller!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Lin: Although I’ve been known to scribble out book ideas while traveling or on napkins in restaurants … when I settle down to write a new book, it is always in my home office. Like the old line by Virginia Woolf saying a woman needs ‘a room of her own to write’ … I am grateful to have a full room for my office and a dedicated place in which to write. In my room are bookshelves of references, resources, and favorite titles, an old desk handed down in my family I cherish, and a long computer desk that holds my big iMac and printer. Around the room are mugs full of pens and pencils, stacks of papers and folders related to ongoing books, and behind my desk is a big bulletin board on the wall collaged with magazine and internet pictures representing the characters and places in my ongoing book…. When I come here, the world goes out. And I write.
Carrie: I love that!
Q: Which of your main characters is most like you?
Lin: Professionally, Vivian Delaney—in my first published book The Foster Girls—was a professor and a writer, so I felt in tune easily with the challenges she faced in both jobs … Also in my latest book Claire at Edisto, I related easily to Claire, a busy young mother with little time to develop her own talents. I still remember those younger years raising my children and how hard it was to pursue my own dreams while helping my children pursue theirs, and while working and keeping the home front running smoothly.
Carrie: Something most moms can relate to, for sure!
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Lin: Perhaps because I’ve been a professor for twenty years, teaching research and psychology … I have developed more of an organizational mind and method. I extensively plan and research every book I write and then create a chapter-by-chapter outline before I start writing. The outline never restricts my writing … but just provides an ordered plan for my book and all the conflicts and happenings that will occur in it. Generally I spend about three months researching and planning a book and about three months writing it. I write two books a year … and sometimes more if my husband and I are also working on one of our joint guidebooks.
Carrie: that’s wonderful!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from your books?
Lin: I’m tempted to just say “a sigh and a smile.” …I love bringing readers to the rich story settings in my books along with a good heart-warming story. I always want readers to stay entertained from start to finish in every book I write, to fall in love with the characters, but also to never be quite sure what will happen next in the story. …I also want readers to feel like they have visited in the settings of my books—in different areas around the Great Smoky Mountains, where most of my novels are set, or at the beach at South Carolina, where my new trilogy takes place. It’s such a joy to me when I get fan mail saying “your books made me feel like I was there” or when readers come to my book signings telling me about making road trips to places around the Smokies because they read about them in my books. One fan called me “a great ambassador to the Smokies” and I loved the idea of that title….Because I put seeds of faith in all my books, I also love when readers tell me how some spiritual seeds I planted into my story encouraged their faith. These are the best compliments of all….Most of all I want readers to regret when the book ends because they enjoyed it so much.
Carrie: love that! Great goals!
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.
Lin: The Interlude was the twelfth and final book in the Smoky Mountain series of books … But because readers have loved my books set in the mountains so much, a new series of stand-alone books called The Mountain Home Books begins next year. These will continue the mountain-set stories readers love so much … but branch out a little in setting, taking readers a little beyond the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains. The first will be Happy Valley, publishing next spring, set between Maryville and Townsend in a little valley below the Chilhowee Mountains … followed by Downsizing, set in the Glades or Arts and Crafts Community above Gatlinburg, then Eight at the Lake, set in Dandridge on Douglas Lake, with many more to follow …
Also next spring the second title in the Edisto trilogy Return to Edisto will publish … with the third Edisto Song to follow the next year. I’ve completed all three of these books and it was so much fun to take readers down to the quiet South Carolina beach our family has enjoyed vacationing to for so many years.
Additionally … my husband and I are starting a new guidebook, Free Things to Do and See Around the Great Smoky Mountains, which will take us on more adventures around the TN, NC, and GA sides of the Smokies starting later this spring – and into the next year or two.
Writing is such a joy … and J.L. and I have both so enjoyed becoming authors and sharing our adventures and stories.
Carrie: I’m looking forward to each of these but especially that guidebook on free things to do and see in my happy place!
What about you? Have you been to the Smokies or Edisto? Where do you love to go on vacation?
My tour company, JustRead, just finished a blog tour with Lin’s books.
Check out the launch page HERE to learn more about her & these two new destination reads!