Paula is back today to tell us about her new release, A Packaged Deal. Welcome back, Paula! Give us a brief summary of the book.
A Packaged Deal is the first book in my new Towering Pines contemporary romance series. Here’s the back cover copy:
Snuggle next to a fireplace in Towering Pines, the Colorado ski town where friendship is served up in hearty helpings and love is as true as the cobalt blue sky.
When Olympic hopeful Aspen Carlisle gave up her ski-racing dreams to raise her orphaned siblings, she found out the hard way that men aren’t interested in a “packaged deal.” Thrust into a stiff learning curve on motherhood, Aspen discovers the love and support of her friends in Towering Pines, but when the handsome new resort manager Stephen Wallace shows kindness to her little family, can she drop her guard long enough to allow him into that trusted circle—and her heart?
As Aspen struggles to believe in him, Stephen battles ghosts of his own. Time with Aspen and her family causes old issues to bubble to the surface. Does he have what it takes to push through the fear and regret, or will he stay stuck in the pain of the past? If he can believe in himself enough to become the husband and father they need, he’ll discover how wonderful a packaged deal can be.
I heard a rumor this book is something you started at seventeen or eighteen?
It sure is! I still have the handwritten cursive manuscript on lined notebook paper to prove it. I’m forever grateful to Mr. Wyly for agreeing to let me write a novel instead of doing what everyone else was doing during that nine weeks of creative writing class my senior year in high school. It was one of those touch points that kept my dream of becoming an author alive and sustained it during my busy years as a teacher and young mom when I thought I would write and didn’t.
How much of the story was written? How did it change?
I think I had less than fifty hand-written pages, but even much of the unfinished story-line lived in my head all those years. The story matured with me, of course. The heroine became Aspen instead of Kimberly. Originally there were two men vying for her attention, but the more grown-up me didn’t want to do that. One thing that didn’t change is Aspen’s need to take care of her siblings. That was in the original storyline. It’s precious to me, maybe because I love my brother, Curtis, so much. Sibling relationships are so important! I did move the family to Colorado and created Towering Pines.
Towering Pines seems like a wonderful place to live. Is there a real town it is patterned after?
Yes and no. I started writing this story when my middle son, Stephen (yes, couldn’t resist using his name for the hero) was in middle school. He was on Nederland Middle School’s ski team with my nephew, Caleb, who lived in the area. My sister-in-law and I would take turns driving the boys up the mountain. While Stephen skied, I sat in a coffee shop made out of railroad cars and wrote.
Thus the Whistle Stop was born. Is that the coffee shop in your story?
Yes. And I was actually sitting in the Train Cars Coffee and Yogurt Shop, the real place in Nederland, having a writing day with my buddy Kathleen Kovach and a cute little girl came in named Willow. I was struggling to name Aspen’s sister, and when Kathy and I heard the mom call her daughter Willow, we know it was perfect. (Kathy and I are both authors – with Pegg – in A Bouquet of Brides which releases in January.)
We’ll have you back to the blog as that release date gets nearer. So your fiction city and resort, Towering Pines and Eagle View Resort, are patterned after Nederland, CO, and Eldora Mountain?
Yes and no. Nederland and Eldora are unique in Colorado. Eldora is a small resort, and Nederland still feels like a real town, not only a tourist stop. I enjoyed attending events at the local school and manning the concession stand to raise money for the ski team, so I did buy into the community atmosphere. That said, I imagine Towering Pine and Eagle View a little fancier than Ned but without giving into the rich-ski-town-catering-to-tourists feel that is connected to the larger Colorado resort towns. I love Nederland. It’s a quirky little place with a variety of characters. Just Google “Frozen Dead Guy Days.” But I imagine Towering Pines a little more down-home and a little less . . . exotic. I grew up in Oklahoma, so it’s probably that small town girl trying to create the community atmosphere of the south/mid-west region and place in the Colorado Mountains.
Where can readers get this book? Is it a Christmas story?
A Packaged Deal is available on Kindle and in paperback. There are Christmas scenes, but I think of it more as a story that takes place in the winter.
When does book two in the series release and what’s its title?
Rattled releases spring of 2018.