Harvest Wishes Starlight Inn Book 1 by Jessica Anne Renwick Genre: Sweet Romance
When sparks fly, will they relight an old flame or leave her life in ashes?
A failed marriage. No job. A looming court date to face her abusive ex-husband. Worst of all, she’s had to move back in with her parents. But just when Madison Talbot thinks things can’t get any worse, she bumps into her high school sweetheart—literally. Romance is the last thing Madison needs, especially with the man who once left her high and dry—so she keeps telling herself.
Dylan Stewart returned to Cedar Lake to be with his family after an unimaginable tragedy and is set on staying for good. When Madison moves back to town, he’s got one more reason to make his work-from-home arrangement stick. As the guy who broke her heart first, can he help her see him in a new light?
After reconnecting over festival planning at the Starlight Inn, old feelings between them spark to a flame. But between family meddling and the wounds from Madison’s traumatic past, the ties between them soon begin to unravel.
Can these two learn to face the world together, or are they doomed to repeat their past mistakes?
They hit the end of the path, where the trees receded and a beach sprawled out in front of them. The sun, now dipping behind the mountain on the other side of the lake, cast an orange glow across the valley. A familiar dock stretched out onto the still water, faded with years of wear.
They were quiet for a moment, Madison reveling in the beautiful evening. She edged closer to Dylan’s side, and he put his arm around her. Her chest warmed at his touch. It felt as if nothing had happened between them. No emotional teenage break-up, no decade apart. No, something has changed. Their dynamic had shifted. The old spark and comfort were there, but the awkwardness and unsureness of youth had disappeared. He stood next to her as a man. A good man, with no hint of anger threatening to strike out at a moment’s notice.
She tilted her head to glance up at him, noting the lines on his face as he gazed at the water.
He looked down at her. “What’s up?”
“This is nice. Like, really nice.” She bit her lip, unsure of what to say. “And I had such a great day with you—” Just tell him. Pull up your big girl pants, Madison. For once. “Are we starting something here?”
His lips twitched with a smile, his voice husky. “Do you want to start something?”
Jessica is an award-winning author who writes cozy stories with themes around friendship, family, and of course--romance! All of her romance books are sweet and clean. If small towns and happily-ever-afters are your cup of tea, then check out her Starlight Inn series!
She enjoys a hot cup of tea, gardening, animals, consuming an entire novel in one sitting, nerding out with video games, and real-life mountain adventures. Jessica resides in Alberta, Canada on a cozy urban homestead with her loving partner, fluffy backyard farm dogs, four chickens, and an enchanted garden.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have always loved reading, even as a small child, and that naturally progressed into a love for writing and storytelling. I wrote my first novel when I was thirteen. It was definitely not publishable, but my mom was super supportive and helped me print it out, and we sent it to several publishers. I received some very kind rejection letters about how they did not publish books written by children, and that sparked something inside me that urged me to keep going. Through my early adult years, life took over and I never wrote anything I seriously considered publishing. But I hit a certain point when the desire to improve my craft and pursue writing seriously took over, and I haven’t looked back since!
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I live in a small city and have urban chickens! My partner and I transformed our backyard into a huge garden. When our city opened up permits for backyard chickens, we applied right away and got in. I grew up on a hobby farm and having animals around was something I missed a lot. My partner and his dad built an amazing coop and run area in our garden (we call it Cluck Cottage), and I love spending time out there with our girls. Our hens are egg layers and pets and will live out their golden years here with us. We also have two fluffy dogs (a shih tzu mix and a poodle) who we call our “backyard farm dogs”.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born here in Alberta, Canada. I grew up on a hobby farm with horses, cows, goats, and many other pets and livestock. I live in the city now (and enjoy it too!) and stay true to my country roots with gardening and chickens.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Read! I’ve always been a big reader. Other than that, I also enjoy walking our dogs and hiking, gardening, and playing cutesy video games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, or Pokémon.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I strongly believe that anybody who writes is a writer, whether they are published or write for a career or not! I know that’s easier said than done, but having that affirmation while I was writing my first book really helped to keep me motivated.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I have a lot of favourite movies, but one I re-watch year after year is The Holiday. I love it so much!
What inspired you to write this book?
This book has been simmering inside me for a long time. I am a domestic violence survivor and feel that stories around this issue are so important. I really wanted to make sure I told Madison’s story with a theme of hope and moving on to a new, peaceful chapter of her life with healthy relationships. Through my own healing journey, I’ve met so many other women who have had similar experiences to mine. I hope this story can not only provide a fun, cozy, entertaining read, but also connect with people who’ve been through this.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Harvest Wishes is the first book in my new Starlight Inn series. I have so many stories inside me about the people who live in Cedar Lake and can’t wait to get them out there! The second book is coming out in July, and I have a holiday-themed third book coming this fall.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I have a novella that’s free for my newsletter subscribers. It’s Sophie and Marshal’s love story, and you also meet Madison while she’s going through her move back to Cedar Lake. Dylan makes a few appearances as well. It’s filled with all the same fun, romance, and cozy vibes as Harvest Wishes! If readers are interested, they can grab their copy at https://www.subscribepage.com/pumpkinpromises
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Harvest Wishes?
Madison Talbot has recently left an abusive marriage after years of wanting to get out. She’s twenty-eight, living at home with her parents, and trying to find a new job—but she’s also one tough cookie and striving to rebuild her life. With a sarcastic sense of humour, she’s not afraid to face her issues or deal with the family drama going on around her.
Dylan Stewart moved home to be his family after an unimaginable tragedy. When we meet him, his boss is demanding he move back to the city for work, and Dylan is doing his best to prove that he can work from home and do a good job while staying in Cedar Lake. He’s sweet and caring and would do anything to help his family.
These two were high school sweethearts and had a rocky break up, but sparks fly when Madison literally falls back into his arms at the Starlight Inn!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
As hard as it could sometimes be, I did enjoy thinking back to that time in my life when I was going through Madison’s situation. Yes, it was hard, but it also sparked a new beginning for me. I can look back now and see it with a different perspective and am so grateful for the support I had around me and my own determination to rebuild my life.
I also really enjoyed the banter between these two main characters! They were so fun to write.
Who designed your book covers? Ana Grigoriu-Voicu with BooksDesign.com. She is so talented!
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would hang out with Sophie in the kitchen of the Starlight Inn, learning to bake all the amazing goodies she comes up with!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I wouldn’t say I base my characters exactly off real people, but life experiences and relationships definitely shape my writing.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I try to be flexible with this, as my characters definitely hijack things sometimes. I do create an outline to make sure I know where the story is going, but I am always open to the changes that might come along the way. The changes my characters veer me into always strengthen the story and make it better.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Like many other writers, I have a few old partially-finished manuscripts that won’t be published. I also have the second book in this series drafted, and it won’t be out until July.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Cinnamon vanilla or pumpkin spice.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Nora Roberts! I’ve been reading and loving her books since I was in high school. She’s so prolific, and her books are always so good. She’s definitely an author I admire.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was a kid, but I didn’t take it too seriously until about 7 years ago.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Most of them come to me as I plot/outline the novel, but sometimes a new one will appear while I’m writing/drafting.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I see this as my main career. I also copyedit and proofread for other authors, but I’m working toward making writing and books my full time career.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I read a lot, and I read in a lot of genres! Of course, I love romance, but I also love fantasy (even better if there is a romantic sub-plot in there too).
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I write with ambiance noise in my headphones. Sometimes it’s nature sounds, sometimes it’s other settings. For the Starlight Inn books, I like to use one that has cozy kitchen noises.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I only draft one book at a time, but I may be working on edits of another book at the same time.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Computer. Though the idea of a typewriter appeals to me.
Advice they would give new authors?
Keep learning, and keep with it! Especially if you are writing your first book, just keep going. Don’t be a perfectionist on your first draft, you can always fix things later in your revisions. Just get it done. The true magic happens during revisions and editing!
I would also suggest checking out the NaNoWriMo website for resources and taking part in their challenges!
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