Welcome, friends! I’m having a little Romance Rendezvous with Courtney Walsh today, whose book Just Let Go released at the beginning of this month (and just happens to be next on my TBR!) Grab your drink of choice and join us!
~ About the Author ~
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go will be her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children.
~ About the Book ~
For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.
Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.
~ Rendezvous ~
Welcome to my blog, Courtney! Let’s begin by talking about what draws you to the romance genre.
Oh my goodness, so many things. I’ve always found, as a reader, that the part of a book or movie I’m most interested in is a romance. Even when I’m watching action movies with my husband, I really care most about the love story. I love a strong hero and an even stronger heroine. I love reading (and writing) reluctant vulnerability, because that’s what love does, it makes us vulnerable even when we don’t want to be.
That’s true! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who always looks for the romance. 😉
As a romance writer, you’re in the business of making readers swoon. What makes Courtney Walsh swoon?
Well, I’ve been married a long time, so things like coming home and finding my husband has cleaned the kitchen make me swoon (ha!) But truly, any time I see him doing what he loves, any time he plays the piano or gets up in front of a group of kids and teaches them something, it makes my heart feel too big for my chest. And oh, I still really love to hear him sing. 🙂
I’m with you on the clean kitchen, or getting the washing in… Sometimes, it’s the little things, isn’t it?
Who are some of your favourite romance authors and why?
I have so many that I love! Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg. They create the kind of characters and romantic tension that keeps me turning the pages!
Why do you think romance is such a popular genre?
I think we all love the fairytale, and we love to escape into a world of happily ever after. One of the criticisms I hear from non-romance readers is that romance is too predictable, and I suppose in a way it is because you know it’s going to end happily (or at least it should!!) but that’s what I love about it. I don’t like wondering if the main character is going to die at the end. I want to feel that happy “Love is wonderful!” feeling at the end of a romance. And I think it gives us all hope knowing that somewhere out there, those two characters are living a beautiful, happy life.
The general outcome might be predictable, but there are so many ways to get there. I’m in it for the journey as much as the happy-ever-after. 🙂
What do you enjoy most about writing romance?
The kissing scenes. LOL! I LOVE writing romantic tension. I especially love writing dialogue between a feisty heroine whose met her match in her hero. But I also like to add a little something different to my stories. I don’t write just a straight romance, I always like to have something else going on, to deepen the character arcs a little bit. I like for my characters to discover something about themselves throughout the course of the story beyond just the fact that they’re in love with the other person. That discovery is one of my favorite parts!
LOL! Spoken like a true romance writer! 😉
What’s your favourite kind of romantic tension?
Well, all of it! Ha! I love romantic tension. I love the slow, sweet moments, the lingering looks, when one hand brushes against another—anything that strengthens the connection between the hero and heroine is going to be my favorite!
What’s your favourite kind of romance plot?
Well, I’ve done several different plots in my books—in Just Let Go, it’s an opposites attract story. I really loved that because the characters are so different, so it makes for some fun writing. I also really love writing characters who have a history—friends who realize they love each other is a big one.
Friends to more is definitely one of my favourites too. But then so is opposites attract! Lol!
How does being a Christian influence the way you approach writing romance?
I really love romance and the whole idea of falling in love, but I don’t like (as a reader) anything that’s too crass. I really believe some of the best romantic moments are the least descriptive or the ones where the two characters barely touch. Think about the moment in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy pulls his hand away from Elizabeth and the camera shows a close-up of his fist, obviously reacting to the moment he touched her. I have always believed that those moments can be more powerful than describing every single detail in a sort of crude way. So, I love romantic tension that sizzles but I don’t believe I have to be vulgar to describe it. I wouldn’t want to read that, so I don’t write it.
It’s knowing when less is more, isn’t it?
Speaking of which, time to pucker up! Readers and writers have different preferences when it comes to how kisses are written in romance novels (and how often). How do you like to capture those memorable moments on the page?
It depends on which POV I’m in. I think men and woman approach these moments differently. So the heroine might be having an emotional reaction while the hero may be more physical. I like to mix both in, though, because I feel like the moments before a first kiss are so juicy and fun to capture. I think one of the best parts about writing romance is coming up with so many different (and fun) first kiss scenarios! 🙂
I think readers probably do, too!
So let’s talk about Just Let Go specifically. What draws you to Grady as a hero?
I’m drawn to someone who is the best at what they do, but who is on the verge of losing it all. I find that compelling because he’s at a crossroads—his whole character is being challenged, and I find that fascinating. I also love that he’s fairly misunderstood. He’s not who everyone thinks he is—and Quinn is the one to discover that. There’s something sort of intriguing about a person who is as fearless as Grady appears to be, especially for someone like Quinn.
What draws you to Quinn as a heroine?
Well, she’s a lot like me. Cautious. Careful. Controlled. She doesn’t like risk. I love challenging that whole idea that we can control every detail of our lives—we can’t, which is where faith comes in. Quinn is on a journey to discover that. I’m also drawn to her because she’s believing a few lies about her life and herself, and I really want to help her see the truth.
What did you enjoy most about writing Quinn and Grady’s story?
I really enjoyed their banter back and forth. They’re so different and have such different perspectives about, well, everything, so I had a lot of fun with that—it made the moments where they connected about something or found common ground that much more poignant.
Do you have a favourite Quinn and Grady moment you can share with us?
There’s a moment where they go skiing—Quinn kind of gets roped into this—and Grady takes the time to teach her how to ski. It’s the first sweet moment between the two of them, and in that setting, it was really fun to write.
I can’t wait to read it!
Thanks for joining me today, Courtney!
Your turn, readers. Why not let us know what makes YOU swoon.