Happy Wednesday and belated book birthday to Annie Rains and REUNITED ON DRAGONFLY LANE! My review will be going live next week but I’m here today with a fun interview with Annie about both the Sweetwater Springs series and her upcoming series later this year – Somerset Lake. This book is the final installment in the Sweetwater Springs series, which makes me incredibly sad, but there’s a wonderful setup to ease into Somerset Lake. 😉 There’s a pretty amazing story about one of my very favorite books in the series, CHRISTMAS ON MISTLETOE LANE, in the interview below!
Did you pull any inspiration from real life, your hobbies, your own personality, etc. when developing the characters Chase and Sophie?
There have been characters in the past where I added little pieces of myself to their lives and backstories. I didn’t do that for Sophie or Chase in this book though. I have never been a climber, hiker, or any of the outdoor things that Sophie and Chase once enjoyed doing together. I did enough research on these activities that I feel like I have been out there on a mountain though.
When writing a companion series like this, did you have to map out certain main characters you were hoping to feature and plan out love interests? Chase was a new addition introduced in the last book, so I’m curious about how far out you’d plan couples and stories!
I planned out the series for the first three books, expecting that Sweetwater Springs would end there. Then my publisher asked for 3 more, so I looked at a few of the side characters like Emma at the Sweetwater Cafe. I was not planning on a book 7, but I’m so glad there was this final installment in my Sweetwater Springs series. For a town that loves their dogs so much, it’s only fitting that the final hero be the guy who takes care of these pups and their medical needs. Sophie Daniels was in all the prior 6 books, so she really deserved her turn to shine as well.
Now that Reunited on Dragonfly Lane is out as the final book in the Sweetwater Springs companion series, is it bittersweet to move on? Could you see yourself returning if you’re able to?
It really is bittersweet. I’ve already written 2 full length books in my Somerset Lake series, and I feel very at home in this new world. I miss my old world too though. I was asked to write a novella for next Christmas, however, and I made it a road trip between these two towns. So I did get to return to Sweetwater Springs and visit a few favorites of mine, including Dawanda.
Which book in the series was the most challenging to write and which was the most fun?
I think Christmas on Mistletoe Lane was the most challenging because it was the first book I sold to my publisher. It was written as a summer book and after my editor acquired it, she emailed me and asked me to rewrite it as a Christmas book. And I had one month to do it. A Christmas book has a completely different tone than a summer book. A Christmas story requires hope and magic, trips to a Christmas tree farm, festivals, and town tree lightings. So I first freaked out and then I buckled down and did the hard work. I’m grateful for this experience because this is where my love of holiday books started. It was so much fun! So there’s your answer to the second part of your question. Christmas on Mistletoe Lane was also the most fun, with Sunshine on Silver Lake being a close second because I just love Jack Hershey.
Which business in downtown Sweetwater Springs do you wish was real? What gave you the inspiration to include it in the town?
I love Dawanda’s Fudge Shop. I think that’s the place I miss the most in Sweetwater Springs. The quirky redhead with a fancy for cappuccino readings was a lot of fun to write. I’d love to stop in and sample some of that fudge and maybe try a cap too. There’s a fudge shop in a new beach town a couple hours from me that I drew inspiration from. It’s just a regular shop–no Dawandas or fortune telling.
What should readers know about your next series, Somerset Lake?
For my Somerset Lake series, I drew inspiration from Lake Lure, NC where the Dirty Dancing movie was filmed. It’s a beautiful lakeside town, a bit old-fashioned, and there are a few quirky places that define small towns. One of the many things I love about small towns is that everyone knows each other and there’s a lot of opportunity for friends to enemies and second chances. Readers will see that in my new series. You’ll meet Sophie’s best friend, Trisha Langly, in Reunited on Dragonfly Lane; she’ll be the first heroine in my Somerset Lake series!