I found a minor character from the first novel, Claire Simpson, to be the main protagonist. She was a teacher, not married, and specialized in helping children learn. The setting was a given from the first novel—Newport, Oregon. But I had exhausted many of Newport’s attractions in that first book, so finding new points of interest to keep readers invested would prove challenging. That’s when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) entered the story.
I knew that NOAA had decided to move its headquarters in Bellevue, Washington to Newport in 2009. The agency created quite a stir in the coastal community, bringing hope for an influx of new families, an increased need for schools, and a general imprint on the economy. My son, who had studied Marine Biology at the Hatfield Marine Science Center a few years before, knew many of the people named as essential players in the switch. Several had been his professors.
Not everyone involved with NOAA, though, made the move to Oregon. Many kept their homes in Washington, since much of their work happened at sea. They opted to work from a Newport base, but to go home to Seattle. That triggered a need in my story to provide a really good reason for moving south.
With that background in mind, I created the hero, Montgomery Chandler, and his family, who might have chosen or needed to make the move from Seattle to Newport. But to be a romance, he couldn’t be married. So I upped the stakes. He was widowed and had two children—a set of twins. His work for NOAA often meant extended tours on the ocean and with two small children and no other family around, he needed help. Enter his sister Ellen who has time on her hands and lives (where else?) in Newport. She can provide the family support he needs to do his job. She will also provide the emotional stability for this threesome to heal from their grief and move on.Claire, though, needed her own set of problems. I had to ask a lot of questions. Why was she single? Had she had opportunities for love? Was Newport too small to find a forever love? Had something in her past made her shy away from relationships?
Yes! That was it. She’d been jilted by a former love interest, and not just any boyfriend, but her fiancé who backed out of their engagement three days before the wedding. Ouch!
Readers face those same challenges in their everyday lives. Forgiving someone for something he or she did to hurt us often takes all of our inner strength to accomplish it. Moving on to forgetting the incident often proves to be one requirement too many. Claire will find that fact to be too true, but so necessary
Both Claire and Monty face hurdles they must overcome before they can find their way back to love. The walls they have built around their hearts must be torn down. Can love overcome the barriers they hide behind?
I hope you like the story.
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