Please join me in welcoming author Penny Frost McGinnis to the blog today to share about the island inspiration behind her new novel, Home Away From Home!
HOME AWAY FROM HOME by Penny Frost McGinnis
SERIES: Abbott Island Series #2
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Mt. Zion Ridge Press
RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2023
When Marigold Hayes turned fourteen, her mother died, and her father went missing. For forty years, she has searched for her dad and lived a quiet life on Abbott Island, until she met Johnny. As her love for Johnny grows, her sorrow from the relentless search for her father breaks her heart. She begs God to help her move forward with her life before she has no love left to give. Then three mysterious strangers show up who could change her life.
Johnny Papadakis moved to Abbott Island ten years ago. His ex-wife had pushed him away and discouraged him from having a relationship with their daughter. After years of hard work, his restaurant flourishes, so does his relationship with Marigold. As he seeks Marigold’s hand in marriage, his daughter shows up on his doorstep, looking for a place to call home.
Can Marigold and Johnny settle the past and move toward the promise of a blessed future?
Inspired by the Island Life
by Penny Frost McGinnis, author of Home Away From Home
Have you ever vacationed or visited somewhere that sparks your curiosity?
The ferry ride from Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio, to Kelleys Island (there is no apostrophe) in Lake Erie opened the door to my imagination. The waves lapped the ferry, filled with cars and people. As we drew near to the island, homes along the shore came into focus. Beach houses, Victorian homes, and slips filled with boats lined the shore.
We’d visited the island a few times, but today I understood that God displayed before me the setting for my Abbott Island series. Beautiful, laid back Kelleys Island is the model for Abbott Island. From the walking trails to the stately homes, I fell in love with the village and the natural setting the island offers.
The state park covers 667 acres and includes six miles of hiking trails. Ruins of the lime kilns and quarrying operations, a sandy beach or two, and a campground add a playground of discovery. When we hiked past the kilns to the alvar, I knew Marigold and Johnny would walk that trail in Home Away From Home.
The kayaking business Marigold owns sits on the beach near the Glacial Grooves. On one trip to the island, my husband and I kayaked around the cove on Lake Erie. The woman who ran the kayak business inspired me to create Marigold’s character. She was a bit older, had long braided hair, and dressed in a bohemian style. She was so kind as she showed me how to get in and out of the vessel and start my adventure on the lake. Although she no longer lives on Kelleys, the kayak rental still serves customers.
A restaurant on Kelleys Island inspired me to make Johnny’s Place a Greek-American restaurant. When we dined at Captain’s Corner, they served Greek salad, spanakopita, dolmathes, and hummus. I added hamburgers and fries for variety and because a couple of the characters love burgers.
In Home Where She Belongs, book 1, Sadie owns two cabins and a house left to her by her grandparents. On the island, two small cabins and a house sit near the road on the southwest edge. They were the perfect spark for creating her new business. Joel, in the same story, is a police officer. My husband and I took a trip to the island with our daughter, Kati. She ran one of the island races. As we waited for her to finish, I got to talk to a sweet young man who patrolled the streets to make sure the racers were safe.
As a writer, I’ve learned to be aware of my surroundings, or maybe that’s natural for me. With every visit to Kelleys, I picked up another element for the Abbott Island series. One of my favorite experiences was meeting a great blue heron on a small beach where we search for lake glass. The heron posed for me and let me get within three feet of her. This beautiful creature, I named Esther, has a cameo in Home Where She Belongs.
Before I go, I have a confession. When I visit Kelleys Island, part of me expects to see my characters walking around. I guess that’s how strong the writer’s imagination can be.
I’d love for you to visit Abbott Island by reading Home Where She Belongs and Home Away From Home. If you have time, take a trip to Kelleys Island, Ohio. It’s a lovely place, and you might be inspired to write a story.
If Penny Frost McGinnis could live in a lighthouse or on an island, she would. Instead, she and her husband are content to live in southwest Ohio and visit Lake Erie every chance they get. She adores her family and dog, indulges in dark chocolate, enjoys fiber arts, and baseball. She pens romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope. Her life’s goal is to encourage and uplift through her writing. Visit her blog at Hope for Today’s Heart, where she brings God’s hope to people’s lives through the written word.
Penny Frost McGinnis is offering a print copy of Home Away From Home 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 about you? What makes you want to read Home Away From Home by Penny Frost McGinnis?