Please join me in welcoming the fabulous Carolyn Miller back to the blog! It’s always a treat to chat with her & today we’re talking about her new contemporary romance novel Restoring Fairhaven!
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include the bestselling The Elusive Miss Ellison, and her contemporary books, including Restoring Fairhaven, book 6 in the Independence Islands series, are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc
You can connect with Carolyn on her website, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
SERIES: Merriweather Island #6
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Celebrate Lit Publishing
RELEASE DATE: December 8, 2020
Love hurts, or so the songs say, so who wants it?
Taking on her ailing father’s gardening business on Merriweather Island, Samantha Green only wants to escape her ex and to make her father proud.
But Sam gets more than she bargained for when Greener Gardens accepts the job of restoring the gardens of a reclusive writer, Max Fairhaven, whose historical novels about romance and unrequited love litter bookstore shelves and movie marquees all over the world.
Max much prefers the fictional world to the real, and the gardening girl’s interruptions means he’s driven from his writing cave far too often for his liking.
How’s he supposed to craft stories with her distracting him all the time?
Things change when he learns something of Sam’s family challenges, and his admiration slowly kindles. With his secretary’s goading, he’s forced to confront the past, while facing the fact that he needs to change in order to avoid a lonely future.
Gentle pruning and a whole lot of banter forges a friendship between this not-so-Southern belle landscaper and the half-British author. But is their budding attraction enough to grow into a flourishing happily-ever-after?
Restoring Fairhaven is the final “Merriweather book,” but don’t forget to embark on a tour of the next island in this series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
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Hi my friend! Welcome back to the blog!
Carolyn: We only got Netflix at my house this year and don’t have the Hallmark Channel, so that makes this answer pretty easy! (Don’t get me wrong, I love a GOOD Hallmark movie, but so many seem to be a join-the-dots twinkly-lights-fake-snow 5 minute romance trumps career / existing relationships / reality that they get hard to want to watch. I like escapism, but not when it’s completely mindless!)
Carrie: haha that’s a fair point for sure!
Carolyn: I think I love listening to music a teensy bit more, mainly because I spend so much time with words and some audiobooks require more concentration than I want to give. Music can be as escapist as it needs to be.
Carrie: absolutely agree!
Carolyn: We like board games here: Pictionary, Scrabble, Rummikub, Bananagrams, Articulate. My family is a big fan of Consequences, a kind of story-writing game which is hilarious!
Carrie: ooo that sounds like fun!
Carolyn: There’s nothing quite like holding a ‘real’ book, being able to look at the cover as you like, flip back to find that phrase that struck gold, so I’m going to lock in ‘Print,’ thank you, Carrie.
Carrie: final answer? 😉
Q: Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Carolyn: I love the Blue Castle by LM Montgomery (even though my copy has a sadly tattered cover) because of the gorgeous descriptions of Muskoka (I actually dragged my husband to visit the area ten years ago – gorgeous!!!).
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade might forever be one of my most favourite contemporary romances because a) redheaded heroine (hello!) and b) hot hockey guy. (I love NHL – what can I say? 🙂 )
It’s a toss-up between Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion by Jane Austen because of P&P’s witty banter and the angsty feels of poor Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth.
Again, it would be mean to pick favourites when it comes to Georgette Heyer, but if pressed I might go for The Nonesuch, because of the wit and strength of the hero and heroine. Love it!
And referencing the Austen theme, one of my most reread novels is Possibilities by Debra White Smith. I love this contemporary take on Persuasion, with a strong compassionate heroine and the travails of her family, but the whole series is pretty fabulous.
Carrie: that is the ONLY Becky Wade book i haven’t read yet – argh!!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Carolyn: I write at home, mostly in my study-that-is-actually-my-second-daughter’s-bedroom (I sacrificed my REAL study for my eldest daughter so she can have a room to herself while she completed her last year of school). This means I have to be pretty focused as she likes to kick me out when she returns from school, but it’s a nice sunny space where our puppy DeeDee can sleep while she waits for the magic to finally ease so walkies can ensue. But I like my desk, cluttered though it may be with knick knacks and postcards of places I’ve seen and prove evocative for my stories (like Muskoka, and Lyme Park used as Pemberley in the Colin Firth production of P&P). Despite the occasional mess, everything has its place and I can stay motivated fairly easily.
Carrie: that sounds like a delightful place to write!
Q: Which of your main characters in Restoring Fairhaven is most like you?
Carolyn: Oooh, good question. Max Fairhaven is a historical novelist, so it was fun to use SOME of my quirks in a character who is an author. But then Samantha Green is also a bit like me, albeit a more sassy version (she just says the things I think – or write 🙂 ).
Carrie: ooo i need a character that will say the things I think so I don’t have to LOL
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Carolyn: Obviously my stories will ultimately have an HEA, but apart from that it was a case of listen to the characters and listen to what they want to say and do.
Carrie: that whole process fascinates me when authors talk about it… lol
Q: What’s different about the writing process for a contemporary vs. historical romance?
Carolyn: Restoring Fairhaven is only 50,000 words as opposed to 90,000+ words for my historicals, so it’s much faster. And because I don’t have to worry about whether certain words or phrases were around in Regency times I find I can have a lot more fun with it, so readers will find a lot of dialogue and banter. I actually started my writing journey by writing contemporary (a winter Olympics story in a series I’m self-pubbing next year!) so it’s nice to return to my roots, even though I’ll still continue with my historicals, with a new Regency series called The Wallflowers, the first of which releases in April next year. It’s also been fun collaborating with the other ladies in the Independence Islands series and planning our stories and entwining events and characters. Restoring Fairhaven can be read as a standalone, but readers will get just that little bit more by reading the other books in the series. You can find out more at the Celebrate Lit website.
Carrie: yay!!!! I think you have such a fabulous contemporary romance writing voice – along with your equally fabulous historical romance voice – so I’m super excited that you’re doing both!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Restoring Fairhaven?
Carolyn: I’d love to encourage readers to believe God has more than what our circumstances allow us to see. I think we underestimate the good nature and blessings of God, so for those who are struggling with ‘is this it, God?’ kinds of questions, I hope you’ll read Restoring Fairhaven and be encouraged in your faith to dare to trust God for the future, to remember that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3.20).
Carrie: love this!
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.
Carolyn: So my next Wallflowers book in my Regency world (tentatively titled Dusk’s Darkest Shores) releases in April, then it’s my next book in the Independence Islands series that I’m collaborating with Chautona Havig, Melissa Wardwell, Tabitha Bouldin, Kari Trumbo and Rachel Skatvold. Regaining Mercy releases in June and is about a failed reality TV star and what happens when she returns to her narrow-minded community. And I’ll also be focused on releasing the first of my books in a contemporary romance series in August / September, a good friends-to-romance story early readers LOVE, which combines my love for NHL, Boston, missions and witty banter.
Carrie: so excited!!!
Carolyn Miller is offering an ebook of Restoring Fairhaven to one of my readers! (Open internationally. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) 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 makes you want to read Restoring Fairhaven by Carolyn Miller?
What a wonderful interview, I have this novel in my stack and can’t wait to start reading it. Have a very Merry Christmas!
God bless you Stacy – I hope you enjoy!
I should have known you’d be an NHL fan! No wonder I love your books. 😀
Looking forward to more of yours, especially the hockey ones. How in the world did you decide on hockey when you’re in Australia? People think it’s weird that I like hockey because I’m a Texan. Hey, a good game’s a good game, right?
That, my friend, is a most excellent question. I think it’s the general toughness (& Canadian-ness?) I’ve admired. Don’t get me wrong – we do tough sports here in Australia (our football players don’t wear padding or helmets, just saying) but there’s always something intriguing about the different, isn’t there? And I CAN’T WAIT to share my hockey stories with you all! (And my other stories. ALL the stories. Even the ones I’ve written about rugby…)
SO looking forward to it. Do you have a particular team/teams you follow?
Mine, of course, is the Dallas Stars.
Oohh, I figure as an Aussie I’m allowed to pick and choose. So I have followed Toronto and Vancouver (bc they’re Canadian, the birthplace of hockey) and Chicago (I saw an NHL game there- woohoo!) and I was cheering on the Stars in the Stanley cup!
I was SO proud of them. Of course, I wish they’d won, but they did so much better than anyone expected. It was a great run. 😀
Thanks SO much for having me, Carrie – this was so much fun!
Thanks for the chance to win!
I want to know what happens between the gardener and recluse writer!
Lady Carolyn is one of my favorite authors. My TBR pile grew from her answer to her 5 most favorite books…some new to me. Although, I enjoy Hallmark predictable movies, especially when our current circumstances have been filled with an overwhelming “unknown” lately. I look forward to reading this soon!!
I enjoy gardening, flowers, and a good book. So I would enjoy reading Restoring Fairhaven.
I have read all of her historical novels, and she is favorite. I am curious to read a contemporary by her as well. Thanks for the opportunity.
I have enjoyed Carolyn’s regency romances in the past, so I’m really excited to read contemporary story by her. Thank you for the chance to win!
Hi! I am always so excited to find a new to me author. I can’t wait to read Restoring Fairhaven. It sounds like such an interesting book.
I love regency which Carolyn normally writes, so I think it’s interesting to see what she can do with a contemporary romance. I also love the cover!