Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Still the One by Rachel D. Russell presented by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Still the One
Series: Deep Haven Collection #1
Author: Rachel D. Russell presented by Susan May Warren Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
It’s never too late to finish a love story… Cole Barrett, former Army Ranger, has a new mission objective. Sell his grandfather’s house and put Deep Haven, a place that holds too many hurts, in his rearview mirror as fast as possible. Recently divorced, single, and unattached, Cole just wants a new life as a US Marshal. One where he can forget the past and start new. Unfortunately, there’s a tenant in the garage apartment who’s refusing to move. Even worse? It’s his childhood crush, Megan Carter, and her son. Wedding planner and single mom Megan Carter loves Deep Haven. To her, it’s the place where she makes dreams come true—at least, everyone else’s. Her big dream is to purchase the Black Spruce Bed & Breakfast to turn it into a premier event venue and, if she can stay booked for enough weddings over winter, she’ll have the needed funds to buy the inn, move out of Grandpa Barrett’s garage apartment, and finally give her nine-year-old son, Josh, the life he deserves. She just needs four thousand dollars in the next thirty days. Still, she’s oh, so close…until Cole Barrett returns to Deep Haven. Even if he’s not back to fulfill a silly childhood promise to marry her, but she never expected him to evict her! The last thing she needs is more expenses. Or for another man to walk into her heart…and break it. When a blizzard strikes Deep Haven, and Megan is overrun with wedding catastrophes, it takes a former Ranger to step in and help. Besides, the more he comes to her rescue, the sooner she’ll be able to move out…and he can move on. And that’s what they both want, right? Return to Deep Haven with this magical tale about the one who got away…and came back.
BOOKS IN THIS SERIES
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at www.susanmaywarren.com.CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Rachel D. Russell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and My Book Therapy’s Novel Academy and is a regular contributor to the Learn How to Write a Novel blog. The mother of two teenagers, she often interrogates her husband on his own military and law enforcement experience to craft believable heroes in uniform. The rest of her time is spent cantering her horse down the Oregon trails. Visit Rachel at www.racheldrussell.com.
CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Merging the creative energies of best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Lindsay Harrel, Sunrise Publishing is the matchmaker for established authors who want to build on their current success for future growth and aspiring authors looking to break out, build an audience, and hone their writing skills.
CONNECT WITH SUNRISE: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Rachel! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and giving my readers the chance to get to know you and your new book- Still the One a little bit better! I like to start these interviews the same way with something fun to break the ice: can you share 5 random facts about yourself that we will NOT find in your bio?
The first time I ever flew on a plane, I was in my twenties, heading to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, Georgia. I spent nine months doing CrossFit and now train in my garage gym. I have daphne shrubs outside my front door and they produce the most beautiful, romantic fragrance each spring that I rave about to anyone who will listen. I play flute. One of my cats loves when I sing or laugh (I do both a lot) and she will come running and talk at me if I stop. It’s both weird and flattering.
Let’s talk writing! You always wanted to be a writer but took a more practical route into law enforcement instead. What brought you back to writing?
There was another step in there, too. I actually went from wanting to be a writer to biology to law enforcement to writing. There was a plausible connection there, though. While getting my (very practical) degree in biology, I was hired as a park ranger and that led me to law enforcement and then a career working for the federal government. I dabbled in writing—mostly poems and short stories all throughout. One day years back, I was doing a wellness questionnaire and it asked, “If you could be doing anything, what would it be?” My response was immediate. Less than a nanosecond—I’d be writing. It had always been my deepest desire, but I hadn’t believed I could actually do it. The next question on the survey asked, “What are you doing to work towards that goal?” At the time, I wasn’t doing anything. So, I got to work and started writing again. Then, I sought out places to learn how to improve my writing and kept after it.
What drew you to the inspirational romance genre?
I’ve always been a romantic. For me, a good love story that reflects to some degree the struggle and beauty of relationships is the best. Add in the faith journey and it completes the picture. It’s what I love to read and what I love to create.
I must admit, Susan May Warren is one of my top 3 favorites, so I was very excited to see that this novel is taking us back to her creation Deep Haven. How did that come about and will fans see a lot of familiar faces?
I’ve been a member of Susan May Warren’s Novel Academy for several years—we meet once a week for an hour-long class. In following that, I heard about Sunrise Publishing being launched and tuned in to the Fall 2019 announcement of their “season one” application call for mentoring and a two-book contract for three authors. Everything was done blind (names and identifying information was stripped off before they reviewed submissions). I had to submit a writing resume, a writing sample, and a synopsis of the book I wanted to write for the new Deep Haven Collection. When I made it to the final selection round, I had to write the first scene for the Deep Haven novel—and I was one of the three writers picked. Fans will definitely see familiar faces and places in Still the One.
Was it intimidating to write about a town that so many already know and love so well?
Absolutely! Getting all the details right was imperative and even as a fan myself, when you’re writing it, it’s a lot to keep track of. We had to age everyone appropriately, figure out who had kids, what ages they were. Hair color, eye color, where they live. The details of Deep Haven itself. And, then, nailing their personalities—or, at least, hoping to. I hope readers can tell that it was written from the heart. I love Deep Haven and the people in it as much as the next superfan.
What are some of the biggest tips or encouragement that Susan has given you as your mentor that you might pass along to other aspiring writers?
Susan May Warren is an incredible author and a gifted teacher. Having her mentorship over the past year has grown my writing so much—but, I am still in the earliest stages as an author, with Still the One being my debut novel. Her fans know she’s a really fast writer. I’d get bogged down sometimes by how slow I write and she’d remind me not to compare where I’m at to where she’s at. I think that’s really important for other aspiring writers. Don’t compare where ever you are at on your journey to where anyone else is at—your journey is unique and special.
One of my other favorite phrases is that writing a novel isn’t magic, it’s a lot of hard work. So true!
On a practical level, she really helped me work on scene goals and scene tension. The characters have to have a reason—a goal—as they walk into the scene.
Can you tell us a little bit about Still the One?
Beyond the back-cover copy, the story question I started with is, “Is it ever too late to finish a first-love story?” Imagining a youthful relationship that never had the chance to develop due to circumstances as they grew into teens and adults. The “what-if’s” never explored. How life sends people in different directions.
What if circumstances brought them back together again? How are they the same, yet different because of the experiences they’ve lived? How can they ultimately use the trials they’ve been through to be better people?
So, you have Cole Barrett, a former Army Ranger. He’s the get-things-done guy and he has a plan. But his plans are turned upside down when he runs into his childhood friend, Megan Carter, upon his “stopover” in Deep Haven. It’s about friendship and forgiveness, loyalty and self-worth.
I wanted to capture the sweetness of a childhood friendship and the confusion of growing up, losing touch with people we care about.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
Most of all, I hope the novel points readers back to God. In our fallen world, love is hard and messy. Those we love most can hurt us deeply. How do we handle forgiveness when it’s hard? How much do we try to control our lives instead of trusting it to God? How do we measure self-worth? These are real struggles many of us face and, for me, reading the character journeys in this kind of novel has an impact on own my self-reflection. Writing it had real impact on my own faith.
Thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions. Before you go, are there any other projects you are currently working on that you can share?
Thanks for having me! I’m currently in the rewriting process for my second Deep Haven novel, Then Came You. It’s book four in the new collection and—wow—if I hadn’t put enough pressure on myself already, I asked if I could write Boone Buckam’s story. (Yeah, not sure what I was thinking! Talk about tough!) Boone is from the PJ Sugar series and he is such an amazing guy. He’s taking a trip from Kellogg to Deep Haven. I hope fans enjoy seeing him again.
I’m also starting to noodle out my next novel. The character David, who is a secondary character in Still the One, is the hero in the next novel I plan write. At this point, I know how the novel starts, but haven’t had time to put too much onto the page.
(1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card + 3 Still the One ebooks (one ebook for the winner and two to give to friends)!
Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 18, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 25, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
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