Claire at Edisto The Edisto Trilogy Book 1 by Lin Stepp Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Standing in grief and shock at the grave of her young husband, Claire Avery wonders what she and her young daughters will do now. They live in the church parsonage they need to vacate. She hasn't worked since her marriage twelve years ago. Old issues and complications hinder relationships with her family. Struggling for answers, Claire accepts her brother-in-law's offer to stay at his beach house at Edisto to give her a season to heal and think. But even the peace and beauty of the coastal island bring new problems along with unexpected joys as Claire seeks to find her way.
Parker Avery always promised his brother Charles he would look after Claire if anything happened to him. Charles stood by him three years ago when his wife Ann died and Parker is determined now to be a help to Claire and the girls. As time passes, instead of feeling like a hero, he feels like a heel instead as he realizes he's developing feelings for his own brother's widow. To make things worse, he watches with pain and jealousy as Miles Lawrence waltzes into Claire's life. What can he expect though? It hardly seems right that Claire, even after a season of mourning, would ever fall in love with her own brother-in-law.
Claire couldn’t remember how long she’d stood in the same spot. Rain poured down in sheets, dripping off her umbrella, soaking into her shoes, puddling around her feet. Through her tears, she watched the water run in rivers over the freshly covered gravesite in front of her, beating down the remaining flowers not yet removed, pooling in the spots where chairs and tent poles stood earlier. Now and then a rumble of thunder sounded in the background as if angry over the unexpected death of a man so young….
Hearing footsteps, Claire glanced behind her to see Parker making his way now across the cemetery under a broad black umbrella….
Claire reached down to retrieve a red rose from one of the floral arrangements left behind, turning the flower over in her hands. “However did you stand it when Ann died?” she asked at last.
“We bear things because we have no choice to do otherwise,” Parker answered….
“It’s going to be hard being here day after day without Charles. There are too many reminders of him everywhere. A change as soon as we can make one might be best for us.”
Return to Edisto The Edisto Trilogy Book 2
Return to Edisto Island in the rich, Lowcountry story of a young woman's difficult decision to run from threat and danger, changing the course of her well-ordered life and, in turn, the life of the young man who loved and lost her.
It was a long trip back to Edisto Island, South Carolina, and the beach house that shaped so much of Mary Helen Avery’s early life. Now her mind flashed between anger and hurt over the difficult situation she’d left behind at the job she loved. Was she doing the right thing to leave? Should she have stayed to fight? She hoped at the quiet, beloved island she knew so well, she’d find the answers she needed and peace from all this turmoil.
J.T.’s heart took a familiar lurch when he saw the car with New Jersey plates parked at the Avery’s beach house. Even after ten years, the memory of Mary Helen Avery still tormented him. Finding her on the porch weeping lit old fires he thought long dead. Was he a fool to hope for something more between them with all their problems of the past? Probably so, but if she stayed long enough, he’d find one more chance to try.
“Now tell me what you’re doing heading to Edisto? Is everything all right?”
“Why should something be wrong? Don’t you think even a workaholic like me needs a vacation now and then? Aren’t you always telling me that?” Mary Helen had no intention of dumping problems on Suki before a show.
“Well, yeah, but…”
“So I’m taking a break. It seemed like a good time.”
There was a small silence. “I wish I could be there with you. Edisto is our happy place.” …
That’s where Mary Helen headed now, to Edisto Beach, where her family had vacationed since her earliest memories, and where she, her mother, and sister lived after her father’s death seventeen years ago. … The beach helped to sooth their hurt and sorrow then, and Mary Helen hoped it would do the same for her now.
Edisto Song The Edisto Trilogy Book 3
In EDISTO SONG a young woman, at the pinnacle of success, is forced to reexamine her dreams as she finds her life as a concert pianist not what she envisioned and those her life is entwined with far from what she believed of them.
Sarah Katherine Avery, becoming internationally known as a young concert pianist of great promise, finds herself at a difficult moment in her career-home in New York, getting ready for a concert with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra but feverish and ill. After pushing on for weeks through illness, her neighbor and friend encourages her to talk to her agent about taking a break for healing after this concert. Worn and disillusioned, Sarah heads over to the concert hall to talk to Jonah but the shock of what she encounters at that meeting spirals her life in a new direction.
Andrew Cavanaugh has traveled to New York from Beaufort to be a support to his boss's daughter, Sarah Katherine Avery-Suki to him-for her concert performance. A friend of Suki's since childhood years at Edisto, and always a supporter of her gift and her music, Andrew is shocked when Suki collapses on stage. He learns as he sits with her at the hospital that her life holds unhappiness none of them knew of but her answers for how to resolve her current problems threaten to send his well-ordered life right out the window.
Andrew smiled as he saw her come out on stage to enthusiastic applause, dressed in a floating white dress with the red cummerbund and shoes she’d become known for, her fair hair shining like a halo in the stage lights. Seeing her move closer to the piano, he leaned forward, suddenly not smiling anymore. Something was wrong. She’d almost stumbled and her smile looked plastic, her face as white as a sheet. … Would she be all right? he wondered. Should he do something? Ever since Suki had been a little girl, Andrew had always felt tuned in to her in a way not many were. He could feel her moods, her love for her music. He’d been her support through the years as her gift had grown, along with her family and her teachers like Morgan Dillon.
Suki sat down on the piano bench, shaking her head slightly as if dizzy. Not everyone would have noticed, but Andrew did. She took a moment a little too long to adjust her dress and her seat. Acting awkward in her movements, when usually so poised. When she put her hands toward the piano to prepare to play, … he saw her head shift oddly, her hands drop from the piano, her body seem to go limp, and then she fell over toward the orchestra, sliding off the piano bench in a faint.
Lin Stepp is a New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, A native Tennessean, businesswoman, and former faculty member at Tusculum College, Lin has twenty-one published books, including her beloved Smoky Mountain and Mountain Home novels, all set in different Tennessee and North Carolina locations, a novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies, and three novels in her Edisto Trilogy, set on the South Carolina coast: Claire at Edisto (2019), Return to Edisto (2020) and Edisto Song (2021). Lin and her husband J.L. also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide, and two state parks guidebooks for Tennessee and South Carolina. Stepp’s latest novels set around the Smoky Mountains are Downsizing (2021) centered near Gatlinburg and Happy Valley (2020) set near Townsend. Lin’s title Claire At Edisto was the 2019 Best Books Award Winner in Fiction: Romance, sponsored by American Book Fest, her novel Welcome Back a finalist in the 2017 Selah Awards, and Lin and her husband’s guidebook Discovering Tennessee State Parks a 2019 Best Books Award Finalist in Nonfiction: Travel Guides with American Book Fest. Lin enjoys speaking for events, festivals, libraries, and book clubs, reading, hiking, exploring out of doors, and keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog and newsletter which you will find on her website at: www.linstepp.com
What inspired you to write this book?
The Edisto Trilogy books were inspired by my family’s vacations most every summer to Edisto Beach, a small South Carolina island halfway between Charleston and Beaufort. Because I love the island so much, I wanted to bring my readers to visit it “via book.” After over a dozen successful novels set in the Smoky Mountains, it was a departure from my “mountain book branding” to write a beach book … but my readers have loved this new series. EDISTO SONG is the third in the trilogy, following CLAIRE AT EDISTO and RETURN TO EDISTO.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
The main character in EDISTO SONG is Sarah Katherine Avery, called Suki by her family. Readers who have read the previous two books in the series first met Suki as a little girl with a natural musical gifting for the piano in CLAIRE AT EDISTO. In this book, Suki’s dreams have been realized and she is traveling as a concert pianist…. Another personal side story here is that I had to do a lot of research about classical piano for this book, listening to piano music, learning about the concert tour, its demands and joys. I took piano as a girl, which gave me some base for writing about a pianist, but I had an extensive, new respect for the art after completing this novel.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Edisto Song?
The two main characters in EDISTO SONG are Sarah Katherine Avery (aka Suki), a concert pianist, and Andrew Cavanaugh, an assistant manager in an antiques store called Westcott Antiques in Beaufort, SC. Both Suki and Andrew were always a little different from the norm growing up, Suki playing the piano, in part by ear, from a young age and Andrew, a little quieter and more serious than his peers with often different interests. Near the same age, Suki and Andrew had always been friends growing up, but their lives later veered off in different directions. It seemed unlikely they’d ever be anything more than old friends. … What changes this situation and what happens to both you’ll need to read the book to learn!
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Before I begin any new book I always see the overall plot of the story in my mind and visualize who the two main characters will be. Then I plot, research, and plan the book for about three months until the storyline comes to life more and more, the suspense elements and conflicts emerge, and the main characters and side characters start to develop and take life. At a certain point in the process, I feel ready – like a heavily pregnant woman –to birth a new book. By that point I know every character like a family member or friend, their backgrounds, their strengths and weaknesses, their problems and goals, and much more … and by that point I’ve written a clear “chapter by chapter” story outline to follow as I write.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Character names are important in a book and need to reflect the character in some way, the time and the place where a book is set. Because I visually see and then collect actual pictures to represent all my book characters … I study those pictures, and pour through my “Name the Baby” books looking for just the right name for each character. I also cruise through the obits in the newspaper and through an old telephone directory, where I often find wonderful name ideas, too.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved spending time “In My Mind” at Edisto Beach while working on this book. And I really enjoyed the “gifts” the different characters possessed in these three books and their unique and individual personalities. It was a lovely adventure developing Claire Avery’s story from sadness and loss to happiness in CLAIRE AT EDISTO … and then bringing readers back to Edisto again to see old characters once more and to enjoy learning what Claire’s girls, now grown, had become in the two sequels, RETURN TO EDISTO and EDISTO SONG.
Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
All my characters, in all my books, come totally out of my rich, creative imagination. I’m too fond of my family and friends to consider weaving any of their lives or characters into my stories … and I wouldn’t risk their affections trying.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel you hold the reigns to the story?
I hold the reins. I am a consummate “Planner” in my writing style versus a loose “Panster” … so I always maintain the control over my story and my characters. Like in teaching a college course, I’m the professor, the orchestrator, the teacher. I know what needs to be accomplished and what needs to take place in each chapter just as in every class. But I can always allow the characters in the book, like with my college students, to veer off on some interesting area of discussion or action for a short time, but then I artfully pull them back on course again.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I will let one of my readers, Dolly Parton, try to convince you that my book might be a good read instead of trying to convince you myself.
“Well, I’ve finally come across someone that believes in all the things that I do … love, family, faith, intrigue, mystery, loyalty, romance, and a great love for our beloved Smoky Mountains. Dr. Lin Stepp, I salute you.” By request I send a copy of every new book I write to Dolly—a wonderful honor.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes. Several future books are completed and waiting to get into the editing and publication queue…. So I can say assuredly there are more to come! … Upcoming Mountain Home books will take readers to Dandridge, TN, on the lake near Cosby in the Smoky Mountains, to Cherokee, North Carolina, and to the charming small town of Waynesville near Asheville. A new book series set at the coast is in the works, too, and my husband and I are planning a new state parks guidebook for Georgia when all this covid mess lifts to makes travel easier again. …I also have a number of children’s picture books written, that I wrote in the past to entertain my own children, which I hope to work on in future—possibly even doing the artwork—and to submit for publication.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Vanilla…. Sweet, rich, and wholesome, with a hint of mystery.
What did you edit out of this book?
Nothing major … just all the little misspelled words here or there, minor edit and punctuation mistakes, weedy words I tend to overuse, and any unclear wordings I found when self-editing or that my editor caught and flagged. As one of my editors said, I write a very clean, nearly ready to publish book. Probably because of all the pre-work and pre-planning I do ahead of time … and perhaps because of all my own academic and business editing background.
Is there is a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I have many favorite authors whose books I’ve read and loved. Of those living, I’d love to have a sit-down chat with Jan Karon, who wrote all the Mitford Books. Many people have said my books have a similar flavor to hers and I consider that a wonderful compliment since I’ve read them all. I’d love to sit down over tea or coffee and “talk books and writing with Jan.”
What can we expect from you in the future?
I write far ahead of publication … so I know the next books scheduled for publication. In 2022 a new Mountain Home book is scheduled for publication titled EIGHT AT THE LAKE, a wonderful story with eight children in it to entertain my readers. This new book is set near Dandridge, Tennessee, Douglas Lake, and Cosby in the nearby Smoky Mountains. In addition, in the next year a 365-day devotional guide my husband and I wrote together called A JOURNEY OF WORDS is scheduled for publication….. More Mountain books will soon follow and I’m working on a new 4-book beach series for the future, called The Lighthouse Sisters. When all this covid stuff subsides, my husband J.L. and I also plan to do another state park guidebook for Georgia.
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