Today, I’m delighted to host my friend Julie Carobini. She writes fun stories set in California along the ocean. She has a new book releasing this week, and it’s another good one. I read — no, savored — Fade to Blue over several days, letting myself enjoy the heroine’s journey.
In honor of the release of Fade to Blue, I’m giving away a copy of Sweet Waters, the prior book in the Otter Bay series. To be entered leaving a comment about your favorite ocean/water escape. Congrats to winner Sarah Forgrave.
Suz Mitchell is a determined dreamer and won’t allow her ex-husband Len’s jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah’s life. An accomplished artist, she moves with her child across the country to California’s central coast and lands a job restoring priceless art for the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the ocean.
A serious old flame, Seth, also works at Hearst and jumbles the dreams inside Suz’s heart. While sorting out the awkwardness of their past split and current spiritual differences, a repentant Len shows up eager to restore his family.
What I loved about this story is that Suz is a gal I wanted to bring home for coffee. I needed to know how she waded through so many issues and how they resolved. There also was a major twist at the end that I loved. It really upped the stakes and made me love the outcome all the more.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Fade to Blue, go HERE.
I always want to know how people got started writing. Where did your interest start?
My father wrote magazine articles on the side, including interviews with entertainers such as Fred Astaire and Fred MacMurray. Always loved that! I too became an article writer almost twenty years ago, but I always yearned to create fiction. I wrote two novels that did not sell, but as they say, third time’s a charm, and my debut novel, Chocolate Beach, released in 2007 (re-released with recipes in 2011 as an eBook). By that time, I had a renewed faith in God as well as a redefined focus on the kinds of stories he was leading me to write.
What compelled you to write this book?
Ever since the inception of the Otter Bay Novels with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about that real castle on the hill and its eccentric, yet astute owner. Of course, novels are more than their location. So after writing the 2nd of these stand-alone novels, A Shore Thing, even I longed to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that story. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity … ?
What surprised you as you wrote this book?
Writing this story was much like holding a seashell, constantly turning it over in my hand. Though they’re often tossed into the sea with nary a glance, seashells are intricately beautiful—even when broken. The more I examined the shattered life of Suz—the heroine of Fade to Blue—the more beauty I found. Only the One who restores our souls can make that happen.
Are there specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
I hope readers get lost in the story and the beautiful setting, that they revel in God’s creation as much as I did while writing it. I also hope they experience the Good Shepherd’s gentle leading (Psalm 23), and fall in the love with the concepts of forgiveness, sacrifice, and grace—as much as they do the breathtaking locale.
How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him? This story reminds me not to dwell on the past, but to prayerfully, joyfully—and ‘hope’fully— move forward. Such lessons there! Suz Mitchell made mistakes in her past—so have I—yet healing brokenness and restoring souls is God’s business. Praise him for that!
Anything else you want to add in closing?
Just that I hope people reading this are encouraged to follow their heart’s desires with the Good Shepherd as their guide. God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Although I’d always wanted to write, I had no inkling that I’d be writing beach- themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my head. I followed that idea, and now find myself talking about my fifth novel filled with ‘waves of grace.’ Be encouraged!