Please join me in welcoming Hope Bolinger back to the blog today to chat about her new contemporary romance, Finding Harmony, written with Alyssa Roat!
FINDING HARMONY by Alyssa Roat & Hope Bolinger
SERIES: Roseville Romances #2
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Mountain Brook Ink
RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2022
Can two people-pleasing musicians win the grand prize, or will they be forced to give up music for good?
Newly hired worship leader Elijah Peterson can’t seem to catch a break with his church’s congregation. With conflicting demands from congregants, he struggles to find a way to make everyone happy, especially Don, a man who’s rumored to have driven out the last worship leader.
Music teacher Olivia “Liv” Wilson says yes to everything—piano lessons, church volunteering, extra shifts—all while struggling to help pay her dad’s medical bills. As jobs fall through, she’s hit with even worse news—with bills piling up, they could lose her childhood home.
When their meddling roommates force Elijah and Liv into a cooking class together, the two come up with a plan. They’ll enter an indie songwriting competition—with a cash prize that could be enough to save Liv’s house. And maybe if Elijah can win, his musical family and congregation will finally take him seriously.
But winning the competition might mean losing themselves in the process. Can they find a way to strike harmony between writing songs they love and songs the audience wants to hear?
Can Two Writers Stick to the Same Romance Story?
by Hope Bolinger, author of Finding Harmony
You all may have heard once or twice that romance really does stick to a formula.
But how did my co-author and I pull it off together? What would happen if one person wanted to veer off the path and do their own thing?
After all, the book Finding Harmony is all about fighting our need to people please, and instead, to follow the call placed on our hearts. How do we know that Hope or Alyssa didn’t veer too off script? Or if they did, was it a good thing?
First, we started with an outline.
And pantsers, not to fret, Alyssa is a pantser too. But if we know anything about romance, you do have to hit all the right beats. So we made sure to plot all of those out during a two-hour planning session.
Secondly, we chose a character. I (Hope) grabbed the outgoing worship leader Elijah. And Alyssa tackled the sweet, bubbly pianist Liv. We would alternate chapters: first Liv, then Elijah, etc.
Thirdly, we would regularly call each other when we read the “latest” chapter to talk about where we thought the story was heading. If we made any new discoveries, we’d share them at this stage.
“But hold up, Hope,” you may say, “Does this leave any room for you two to veer off the path? To be yourselves?”
To answer that, absolutely! For instance, most romance heroes tend to be very stoic and very masculine. Elijah, on the other hand, is what we call a “cinnamon roll,” very sweet and soft.
Another instance of us “going off the path” includes the fact that we tackle a very tough subject in this—how congregations can treat pastors and worship leaders. Elijah has to deal with a congregation member who is withholding tithing until Elijah gives into his demands.
Our romance tends to tackle deeper subjects than what you may typically see in sweet romance.
Writing romance, like Finding Harmony, involves—well, finding harmony between ourselves and the romance formula. You need both. Too much of the formula, and you may lose the authors. Too much of the authors, and it may not seem like a romance anymore.
But I am so grateful to have worked on this with Alyssa. We found that harmony in so many ways. And if you’re thinking about joining with a co-author to also find that harmony in a manuscript, I highly recommend it!
Hope Bolinger is a Managing & Acquisitions Editor at End Game Press. More than 1300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Eighteen of her books are under contract or out now with traditional publishers, and she hopes more of her stories will find a home soon.
Alyssa Roat is a multi-published author and has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as an agent, editor, writer, and publicist. Her name is a pun, which means you can learn more about her at www.alyssawrote.com or on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as @alyssawrote.
What about you? What makes you want to read Finding Harmony by Hope Bolinger & Alyssa Roat?