Why did I spin the Mimosa Lane novels into a new series called Echoes of The Heart?
Lots of things inspire stories. And when you write romance novels, even more lovely things fall into your lap when you start to dream up new plots and characters—there are unlimited ways to bring people together, make them long for one another, and then torture them for the length of a novel, making them think their hearts’ desire can never be. Bwahahahahahaha… ;o)
And then there are all the wonderful “larger” story elements that you get to explore, and the world around the characters that shows us so much of them (and shows them so much of what they want and are willing to fight for, so they can have their happily ever after). And it’s those deeper, richer story elements and themes that can surprise you the most—and make writing “women’s” stories so rewarding and exciting.
So… As I wrote Love on Mimosa Lane, one of those “richer” story elements grabbed my imagination and ran with the story. A foster family kept grabbing page time, one scene after another, as they cared for their kids and the community rallied behind them. And I started wondering about the older foster children, the ones who’d aged out of the system and were living their adult lives, and how they’d still want to know these amazing parents and, one by one, would be drawn back the community that shaped them.
Here in My Heart is a long novella (or a short novel, depending on how you look at it—but it’s DEFINITELY a super fast read ;o). It’s about half the size of my 400+ page novels. Which means it’s in no way a short story. Because like all my novels I try to pack as much setting and characters and theme and, well, story in as I can. But at its heart, we find Dru Hampton, one of the Dixons grown foster kids, needing to find her forever home with Brad Douglas, the bad boy who got away. These two are a hoot to watch spar with each other and fall in love again, as well as care for Brad’s cantankerous grandmother and one of Dru’s younger foster siblings. Theirs is a second-chance-at-love story, a coming home story and so much more. You’re going to smile your way through this one, even as parts of their journey grab at your heart and make you misty.
But early reviewers are also saying the community—the small down of Chandlerville we fell in love with in the Mimosa Lane books, that we get to delver deeper in as the lens of the Echoes of The Heart books widens—is just and endearing and exciting to know. How a small town comes together to support their own. How people protect the children in their midst, whether the kids are their own or now. How we see love bloom as we face and conquer adversity together. I learned as I wrote Here in My Heart that that community (as much as Dru and Brad’s adventure in rediscovering their love for each other) was why now is the right time for me to be writing this story.
What are some of your favorite things about your home town growing up? Do you look for any of those things in the communities you live or spend time in now? If you could move your life or your job or your family to your “ideal” community, where and what would it be?
Title: Here in My Heart by Anna DeStafano
Echoes of the Heart
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 163 pages
Live and work together, or lose everything that matters…
The ultimatum tilts Dru Hampton’s contented life in Chandlerville, Georgia, on its ear. The man that Vivian, her cantankerous boss and benefactor, wants Dru to partner with—live with—is Brad Douglas, who’s let Dru down every way a man can.
Sheriff’s deputy Brad Douglas has come a long way since his rebellious youth. He’s back home to care for Vivian, his ill grandmother. He’s stayed out of Dru’s way all these years to make up for the hurt he once caused her. Now, the delightfully mischievous Vivian’s dying wish is for them to rebuild at least a working relationship together…and she’s betting on them rediscovering much more.
The family business and the Douglas home that Dru and Brad both cherish will be sold if they don’t resolve their differences. Can these childhood sweethearts make up and reclaim each other’s hearts before it’s too late?
Purchase Link: Amazon
Nationally bestselling author Anna DeStefano has searched her entire life for the soul of the matter at the heart of her world’s mysteries. As a small child, she drew from her experiences, senses, and dreams to paint a lush fantasy world, filled with endless possibility and characters of her own creation. Putting pen to paper, Anna transforms these inner landscapes into rich storytelling.
Hers is a realistic but optimistic vision, searching for hope and transformation through intense emotional journeys. Her fuel–the inner passions and conflicts of the characters she crafts. Much like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, Anna’s characters face the ultimate of human choices: finding the courage to conquer their fears and thrive until, despite every obstacle, they become the beautiful things they’re meant to be.
An author, workshop and keynote speaker, writing coach, and acquiring editor, Anna’s creative vision permeates every challenge she undertakes. She wants you to stop, look, and keep digging, until you find the soul of your own fantasies. Her novels’ rich blend of realism and fantasy invites Anna’s readers into her creative mission to dig deeper and see each of life’s moment with emotional honesty and clarity. Discovery and joy are her touchstones, regardless of how difficult her characters’ journeys might be. She will challenge you to transform into all you’re meant to be, as well. She speaks and blogs regularly. Join Anna each week for Soul Of The Matter, Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, How We Write, Waterfall Challenges, and more.
Past President of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), Anna’s also Senior Tech Writer with a GA Tech honors degree an 10 years of experience working in Corporate IT. Her novels have garnered numerous awards including twice winning the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, the Maggie Award for Excellence, and finalling in awards such as the National Readers’ Choice and Book Seller’s Best Awards. She’s the author of over 16 novels since 2004 in four different genres, with nearly half a million copies of her books in print in over 5 different languages.