Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead.
As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?
Wild Women Authors is pleased to start off the new year, and a multi-author book promotion, aka the Candy Hearts series out of Wild Rose Press, with Dr. Noah Brownlee, male protagonist from Jana Richards' fabulous story, Chill Out.
Where are you from, Noah? I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, nicknamed Winterpeg by the rest of the country. My childhood was spent with my older brother Dylan, playing hockey on outdoor rinks in the winter, and swimming in the lake at our friend’s cottage in the summer. I went to university here and became a doctor. I’ve been away for a couple of years, working with Doctors Without Borders in Africa and the Middle East, but now I’m back home. In February. I almost forgot how cold it can get here. There’s a reason for that nickname.
Tell us a bit about Chill Out. Like I said, I’ve just come home after being out of the country for two years. I needed a place to stay, so I contacted my friend Tyler, who owns the cottage on the lake where I swam as a kid. The place is only about an hour’s drive from Winnipeg, so I thought it would be the perfect, quiet place to decompress and think about what comes next in my life. I’ve got some things to work out, like how to salvage the relationship with my brother. But when I got to the cottage, it was already occupied. Apparently Tyler’s wife had already offered the cottage to her friend for the weekend without telling him. I’d leave, but a blizzard is raging and I barely made it here as it was. Looks like we’re stuck here together until the storm passes. Just me, Renata, and my dog Spike.
What did you think the first time you saw Renata Cabral? I was annoyed. I wanted peace and quiet and privacy. And I thought she was pretty, though I’d met more beautiful women. But I have to admit she was good with my dog.
Always important: being kind to animals. What was your second thought? That I couldn’t have been more wrong. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, both inside and out. I thought I wanted to be alone, but I’ve been alone too long. I don’t know what I would have done without her this weekend.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Perhaps it was love at second sight, when the scales fell from my eyes and I could really see her. When I let myself feel again.
What do you like most about her? I love how she can sense my mood and thoughts. I love her gentleness with Spike. And I especially love her sense of humor and playfulness. She’s fun to be around.
How would you describe her? Beautiful, kind, funny, smart, and maybe just a little nosy.
How would she describe you? She’d probably describe me as hairy. It’s been a while since I shaved or cut my hair. She probably thinks I’m secretive and uncommunicative, too.
What made you choose medicine as a career? An idealistic desire to save the world, I guess. I’ve learned it’s not so simple.
What is your biggest fear? That the rift that’s kept my brother and me apart for the last two years will become permanent and I’ll lose him forever.
How do you relax? I like to cook. My mom taught her boys how to find their way around a kitchen. She taught us how to make simple, wholesome food. She’s gone now, but every time I make something she taught me how to cook, I think of her.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I’d have to say it’s Yoda from Star Wars. He is many things; a teacher, a warrior, a wise man. We need more Yodas in the world.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best piece of advice I ever received came from my mother. She told me that people come and go in your life, but family is forever. Family will be there for you when the world turns its back on you, so you need to cherish those relationships. I let myself forget her advice the last couple of years because of my falling out with my brother, but I’m back now and I want to make things right with him.
Thanks, Noah. It's been nice getting to know the character from a story we really enjoyed reading. Good luck to you. Now, a few questions for Jana.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? Books by my favorite romance fiction authors like Nora Roberts, Mary Balogh, and Suzanne Brockmann, to name a few, have taught me about storytelling, expressing emotion with my words, and creating strong characters. But some non-fiction books have also had an influence on me and have taught me a lot about writing. For instance, “Writing the Breakout Novel” and “The Fire in Fiction” by Donald Maass have taught me so much about what it takes to craft a book that rises above the crowd. I’m still working on those lessons!
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I was able to bring a couple of small pieces of my life into this story. Spike is modeled after Indigo, also a Mastiff, who belongs to my friend and colleague Michelle. Indy comes to work most days and is about as laid-back a dog as you’d ever want to meet. But she’s big and can be a little intimidating when you first meet her!
Renata says she could never work in healthcare like Noah does. She’s an accountant and says the best thing about accounting is that nobody dies. I also work in accounting, and I used to get upset when something didn’t balance or I made a mistake. Years ago one of my supervisors, who had originally trained as a nurse, would calm me down me by saying “Nobody died.” That put the situation in perspective for me. Numbers can always be fixed but sometimes people can’t. I’ve always remembered those words.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Chill Out is my sixth published work with The Wild Rose Press. I find them very professional, and they’re always working to help their authors to be better writers and better marketers. And I adore my editor Nan Swanson.
What project[s] are you working on now? I have several things on the go right now. I’m working on a series about three sisters who inherit an old fishing lodge in Minnesota and try to bring it back to life, while at the same finding love, and solving the mystery of their parents’ deaths. I’m also working on a series set in a small town and centering on a veterinary clinic where many of the characters work. I also have a time-travel series in the works. In order to enter heaven and earn his wings, a man must help others go back in time and find the love they lost in the past.
What's up next for you? I see a lot of writing in my future! The above mentioned series are all works-in-progress; none are finished. My goal for 2016 is to complete one, if not all, of these series. Watch out for me in 2017!
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