It is always a special treat to chat with Courtney Walsh, and today I’m delighted to be chatting about her new Nantucket romance, What Matters Most!
Courtney Walsh is the author of more than ten contemporary romance books. 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.
WHAT MATTERS MOST by Courtney Walsh
SERIES: Nantucket Love Story #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2022
“Courtney Walsh’s books always capture my heart!” —Becky Wade, author of Let It Be Me
Emma Woodson is hoping the cobblestone streets of Nantucket and the charm of her late husband’s family cottage will be the fresh start she and her young son, CJ, need. Securing a dream job at an art gallery is one more step along the path to a new life . . . and away from a piece of her history she hopes will never be revealed. Falling in love with the kind and handsome guy she hires to clean out the rental apartment above the garage wasn’t part of the plan.
Jameson Shaw came to Nantucket for one reason: deliver his letter to Emma and never return. But when he sees an opportunity to help her, he takes a chance, desperate to atone for his past. He never planned to keep his connection to her husband a secret or to fall in love with her. After all, he knows that their new relationship might not survive the discovery of who he really is.
Hi dear Courtney! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: What inspired you to write What Matters Most?
Courtney: I’ve been carrying around this story idea for a very long time, and I was thrilled to finally get to write it. I think the moment I started thinking of the characters and scenario I’d already created living in Nantucket, the whole thing finally came together for me. It was like the missing piece the story needed.
Carrie: that’s awesome!
Q: Speaking of… What role does the Nantucket setting play in this story? Is it a place of healing for the characters?
Courtney: Oh, Nantucket, how I love it! Yes, the settings in my stories play such a huge part of the overall story, and in this case, Nantucket becomes a place of second chances. I love when a setting can be woven into the story in that way, providing much-needed peace for my characters.
Carrie: ooo i do too! And I’ve always wanted to visit Nantucket 🙂
Q: The main characters in What Matters Most are keeping secrets about their pasts— is it challenging as a writer to gradually reveal these things within the story? If so, in what ways?
Courtney: I think it’s important to a story to have secrets that are gradually revealed because that keeps the reader wanting to turn the pages. I DO think knowing when to reveal these secrets is the challenging thing, simply because there are so many different ways to do that. You want to make sure it makes sense to the story and you don’t want to drag it out too long or it will frustrate your reader. I tend to stop in the middle of writing every single book and go back to the beginning to read simply to get a handle on the pacing. Then I finish the last third of the novel with that in mind. For some reason, this always helps!
Carrie: that’s a great strategy!
Q: Emma, the protagonist of What Matters Most, is a young widow. How was writing her story different from writing your previous main characters?
Courtney: I tend to give all my main characters deep wounds in their backstory. However, Emma’s was especially emotional, but the approach I took to writing her was the same as always, which is pretty in-depth. Character creation is truly my favorite part of writing, so I take great care at that stage and just fall in love with my heroes and heroines!
Carrie: it absolutely pays off because your characters are always so vivid & we love them!!
Q: Several characters in What Matters Most are artists— what wisdom from your life as a creative did you include in the story?
Courtney: I am always drawn to the arts when dreaming up characters. Creating characters who love art or photography is right in my wheelhouse, so I love researching these things simply because I love it! (You’ll probably never find a mathematical character in one of my books for the opposite reason!) I think my life as a creative informs a lot of these character traits simply because it’s not book research I’ve read about, but experiences I’ve had, so I’m able to make them a little more believable as a result.
Carrie: makes all the difference, i’m sure!
Q: What did you learn from writing this story?
Courtney: That I really want to go back to Nantucket! But also, I think writing a book like this reminds me how important grace is. Not only for other people, but for ourselves and our mistakes. We can so easily convince ourselves that we are beyond redemption, but that’s never, ever the case.
Carrie: Amen – so thankful ♥
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of What Matters Most by Courtney Walsh to one of my readers! (US only. 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 Matters Most is on tour this week with JustRead Tours.
Head over to this post on Instagram for giveaway terms, details, and how to enter.
What about you? What makes you want to read What Matters Most by Courtney Walsh?