It’s always fun to chat with author Carolyn Miller & today she’s here to talk about her new contemporary romance, Hearts and Goals! I’ve loved the two books I’ve read so far in this series so make sure you add them to your TBR list 🙂
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 teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and LM Montgomery, Carolyn loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her contemporary romance series includes the Original Six hockey romance series, and the Independence Islands series, and her historical series include the Regency Brides and Regency Wallflowers series.
HEARTS AND GOALS by Carolyn Miller
SERIES: Original Six Hockey Romance #4
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2022
He’s a goalie with a big heart, while she’s afraid to trust again. Can he learn the language of love to win her heart?
After a series of tragedies, Maggie Joly’s dreams have been confined to her work at Montreal’s botanic gardens and caring for her little boy. Besides, wishing for more would simply be selfish, especially when she’s already loved well. But when a surprising workplace encounter sees her in the arms of a handsome sweet-talking stranger, she’s soon forced to reassess whether romance might still be in her future after all.
Working in this fairytale-like city is a dream come true for Beau Nash, Montreal’s new goalie. And while he’s excited to explore all his new city offers, he hadn’t counted on meeting a striking brunette with heart-melting eyes, or so quickly bonding with her and her son, even though Maggie’s faith is a little tenuous, and shadows from the past mean she might never really be ready to love again.
An incident at the Gardens forces Beau to choose between his dream job and the woman of his dreams, while an accident on the ice invites Maggie’s deepest fears. Perhaps a Pumpkin Ball might help convince them to believe in happily-ever-afters once again.
Hearts and Goals is the fourth book in the Original Six, a sweet and swoony, slightly sporty, Christian contemporary romance series.
Hi Carolyn! Welcome back to the blog!
Carolyn: Over – it looks classier
Carrie: ah that’s a good point!
Carolyn: If it’s sugar free vanilla coke I’m all in!
Carrie: I prefer sugar free cherry coke, but I’m with you in principle haha
Carolyn: Ocean. My mother-in-law lives beside the sea, and I love the sound of the waves and the smell (even though as a redhead I burn easily). Some might consider where we live in the ‘highlands’ as more mountainlike (or at least hilly), anyway 🙂
Carrie: ooo the highlands sounds like my kind of place!
Carolyn: Give me a good toasted sandwich any day. Ham, cheese, tomato, avocado, or turkey, cheese and cranberry sauce. Quick, easy, and delicious!
Q: Which books are “on your nightstand”?
Carolyn: I’m actually co-writing a rom com (a contemporary based on Pride and Prejudice!), so I’ve been reading a lot of those recently to get more of a feel for the genre. So a reread of Angela Ruth Strong’s excellent Husband Auditions awaits, plus several others, such as Lindsay Harrel’s and Sarah Monzon’s books too.
Carrie: ooo yay! That’s some research I can get behind 😀
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Carolyn: (This is from Heart and Goals’ Beau Nash): Carolyn can get pretty focused writing all those books (I think I heard something about 8 or more books releasing this year – whoa!). She probably should chill out a little more and have some fun (maybe learn to shoot some pucks?). But she cares about people, and loves making people smile while she makes them think, so it’s all good.
Carrie: awww! I love that
Q: Which character in Hearts and Goals was the most difficult to write?
Carolyn: Hearts and Goals is set in Montreal, Canada, which presented unique challenges for this Aussie author. Maggie Joly was a challenge, because she is from Quebec, speaks French, and is a widowed mother of a young boy. She’s also on the faith journey, so trying to balance all of those qualities made for some fun times – especially when it came to figuring out the French language! It’s actually Quebecois French, which is a little different to ‘normal’ French, so I had to rely on some wonderful Quebec-based reading friends who helped me get it right. I do love this aspect of the book, having Beau struggle to learn the language to impress Maggie. But who doesn’t want to read a book where they can pick up some tips on learning the language of love?
Carrie: i bet that was challenging but rewarding!
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Carolyn: As per usual I did NOT have the whole plot for Hearts and Goals worked out beforehand. I mean, I knew there’ll be a happily ever after…
So I started with a scene set in Montreal’s botanic gardens, which I’d visited with my husband a number of years ago, and worked in various things along the way. I’d come across a charity golfing tournament that the Montreal Canadiens’ team is involved with to raise money for Montreal’s Children’s Hospital, so it was fun ‘translating’ the videos onto the page, which then further inspired Beau’s passion for helping sick kids. (I might’ve used a Carey Price viral video moment as inspiration too). I love seeing how the plot can unroll as I press further in – and then see God answer when I pray about how to bring it all together in the end!
Carrie: He is so sweet to answer us, isn’t He?
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Hearts and Goals & why do you love it?
Carolyn: For sheer romance factor I love this scene, where Beau is trying out his French:
“I really like you,” he murmured close to her ear, where a tendril of her hair had escaped. “Ma belle Maggie.”
“Je t’aime bien aussi, mon bel Beau,” she murmured, her eyes dark as she gazed up at him.
Okay, so he was still learning this French stuff, but that sounded awfully close to the I love yous he’d heard sung in many a café. “What did you just say?” he whispered, his feet stumbling to a pause.
Maggie’s eyes still held a mischievous twinkle. “You want to know the difference between je t’aime bien and je t’aime?”
“Some may disagree, but I’ve always understood je t’aime bien to mean I like you well enough.”
“Well enough?” Beau’s chest panged.
“Whereas je t’aime,” she said, inching closer, her heels meaning her face was in perfect kissing range of his, “means something more.”
Excuse me while I go get a fan!
Carrie: You can’t have my fan – i’m using it! #allthehearteyes
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: Ooh, Big Apple Atonement, the fifth book in the Original Six hockey romance series, releases May 5, and I think readers who like reformed bad boy books will enjoy this one (think ‘Saint with a secret; sinner with a heart of gold.’) Then it’s back to Regency for Midnight’s Budding Morrow at the end of May, then more contemporaries, including the sixth book in this series, (and the one that just might be my personal favorite) Muskoka Blue.
What about you? What makes you want to read Hearts and Goals by Carolyn Miller?