Interview with Courtney Walsh on Just Let Go

Courtney Wash is back on Just Commonly to chat about her latest release, Just Let Go. Trust me when I say you will not want to let this one go! 

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Interview with Courtney

1. Hi Courtney! Welcome back to Just Commonly! Before we get started, can you tell us a bit about you, especially for those readers that haven’t met you yet?
Thank you so much for having me back! In a nutshell, I’m a wife and a mom to three kids (Sophia, age 17, Ethan, age 14, and Sam, age 10.) My husband and I spent twelve years in the ministry and now own a performing arts studio and youth theatre in Rockford, IL. After writing two scrapbooking idea books, my first novel was published in 2012, and I’ve been writing fiction ever since! 😃

2. What kind of reader will take a special interest in the types of stories you write? 
I think a reader who loves small towns, clean romance and authentic characters will like my books. I write contemporary romance, but I always like to layer in a good amount of depth to my characters and their journeys. I want them to be an escape, but with a bit of takeaway too. 

3. Check on all accounts! No wonder I love your stories! What do you think will surprise readers when it comes to picking up a novel by you? 
Maybe that they are more than just romance novels. And that my characters deal with real-life situations. I don’t like fluff (except on my new puppy) 😃 so I like to challenge my characters. 

4. O, your new puppy is SOOO cute! What can you tell us about your latest release, Just Let Go?
Just Let Go is an opposites attract love story about a risk-averse, small-town flower shop owner and an adrenaline junkie Olympic skier. Both are on a journey to learn that in order to move forward, you have to let go of the past—and sometimes that means forgiving people who haven’t apologized or even forgiving yourself for the mistakes you’ll always regret. 

5. Where did the idea of featuring an Olympic athlete come from? Why an Olympian? 
Well, I am amazed by Olympic athletes. Not only because I am probably the most non-athletic person you’ll ever meet, but also because of the incredible amount of work it takes to become such an elite athlete. I admire hard work like that, but I wanted to turn that idea on its ear and create a character who had never really had to work all that hard for much of his success—and then take the ease away. At the beginning of the story, he’s at a crossroads, so it was fun to challenge him—will you step up to the challenge and do the work, or will you give up because it’s gotten hard? 

6. Speaking of Grady, he is so different, and I do mean different than Quinn! Do you think it’s easier to write characters that are complete opposites (you know, the old saying of “opposites attracts”)? 
It definitely makes the conflict easier to write! When two characters don’t see eye-to-eye on much of anything, you’ve got built-in conflict. But finding that common ground is the real journey, and it was fun to write! 

7. I’ve dreamt of opening a flower shop when I was a little girl, so I love reading about Quinn’s ideas. Yet, her dream have more to do with nostalgia and past hurt. Was her story one that fleshed out on its own or it took time to let it develop? 
Sadly, I feel like none of my stories flesh themselves out on their own. (LOL) So, as with most of my characters, I had to really flesh out her story. I had an image of Quinn as a little girl sitting on porch—I can actually see her in my head—and that was where her backstory came from. Why is she sitting there? What has just happened to her? What is she waiting for? Answering those questions told me a lot about my heroine. And my heart broke for her. 

8. Both Grady and Quinn have some emotional hurts that strives them forward professionally, yet it’s also the very reason that impedes on their personal development, and eventually put their professional career at an impasse as well. I know it’s a loaded question, but when we get “stuck” in one area, why do you think it spirals down in others unless we get “unstuck” first?
Hm. That’s a tricky one! I know for me, especially when I’m holding a grudge or carrying unforgiveness, it just filters into every area of my life. I mean, so many things filter into various areas of my life. For instance, if I’m stressed out about one thing, say, a thread in a novel I’m writing that just is not working—that stress finds its way into so many other areas of my life. I’m short-tempered and cranky with my family, even though they have nothing to do with the real issue. Our emotions are a giant spider web, but less organized. A big ball, interconnected, so one emotion affects another and on and on… 

from Courtney's article of
"Five Things to Let Go Today" on Seekerville

9. There’s a theme of forgiveness that ties into the story for both our characters. Why do you think it’s so important to forgive in order to more forward? 
I think the answer to this one is above—because so many of our emotions are interconnected and one affects another affects another until pretty soon your whole life is tied up in a knot. 

10. The title in this second book of the Harbor Pointe series, Just Let Go hits the nail in the head. It’s so simple, but so hard at the same time. What’s one way you “let go” when it’s hard?  
I think letting go of the past, of our hurts, of our anger, of our unforgiveness is one of the most difficult things we are asked to do. Even when your head knows it’s best, it’s still really hard! I think we have to know that it’s not instantaneous. Letting go takes time, and it takes laying whatever it is down every single day, over and over again. 

11. What is it about “letting go” and “let God” that makes it a wonderful theme to write about, but also a theme that each reader may grasp differently? 
We’re all so unique in our journeys, aren’t we? While I may struggle with feelings of insecurity or jealousy, someone else may struggle with something completely different. As readers read this novel, my hope is that it does speak to them in a personal way, whatever their struggle. 

12. Jaden surprised me a lot in Just Let Go. He’s like a wise soul trapped in a boy’s body at times. Was his character always meant to be the one to sort of snap our characters back to life and give them a dose of faith?
No! Jaden was one of my favorite surprises and also one of the reasons I tell myself it’s good that I’m not a strict plotter. Jaden was meant to be a fan of Grady’s from the start, but making him Quinn’s nephew was something that sort of happened accidentally as I was writing his first scene. I work with kids and teenagers, and they teach me a lot, so I wanted him to be an unlikely source of information for both Grady and Quinn. I love the idea of finding out that people aren’t what you first think they are—it’s so true to life. 

13. Will we see him again? And in what capacity? 
I’m not sure! I hope so. 😃 I am kicking around a few ideas, and I sure did like him, so we’ll see! 

14. What can we expect next for the crowd at Harbor Pointe?
I am planning one more novel in the Harbor Pointe series, though I have two heroines I’d like to write about, so we’ll see which story captivates me most! I really am not ready to leave this town—it is one of my favorite places to spend time! 

15. O, maybe a novella or make it a fourth book in the series? 😉 I really love the side story the flowers play in the story of Just Let Go, from Calvin and Anna’s to the play on classic literature. Do you have a favorite flower and story to go with? 
I have three favorites—lilacs, tulips and peonies—but lilacs are the most nostalgic for me. We had lilac bushes in our yard growing up, and my mom loves them, so I always think of her when I smell them. Plus, they’re so fragrant! 

16. Without giving away too much, can you give us your favorite line or part from Just Let Go?
I have a lot of favorite parts. The first time Grady invades Quinn’s space, when he teaches her to ski (though she is so reluctant), and every time one of them does the unexpected. Those were all fun to write. 

17. Between Just Look Up and Just Let Go, what would you like readers to take away from reading the series as a whole?
I would love for readers to walk away from these books feeling like they’ve made a bunch of new friends. I always want my books to feel like an escape, like the reader is transported to another place. Those are the kind of books I most love to read. But I’d love it also if they made readers think or challenged them in certain areas of their life that they may not have been all that inclined to explore otherwise. 

18. Well, I say you've accomplished your goal! Let’s chat a bit more about you. What book or books are on your nightstand currently? 
SO many! Whenever summer rolls around, that’s when I feel like I finally get to read (which is crazy because our business is always busiest in the summer…) During the school year, when I’m on deadline, I struggle to find time. So, I’m anxious to read (in no particular order!)
  • Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter
  • The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck
  • The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano 
  • Falling for You by Becky Wade
  • No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
  • Things I Never Told You by Beth Vogt
That’s a LONG list, isn’t it???

19. Nah.. Not too long. Which one of your books would you suggest to first time readers of your books to get to "know you" as writer?
This is like choosing my favorite child!! I don’t know if I can say for sure. I think Just Look Up is a good one to start with, but I’ll always have a soft place in my heart for A Sweethaven Summer (and the other two in that series!) 

20. And to end, what’s next for you and what can your fans expect?
I’m excited to be working on a number of things right now… I have another book releasing this fall—Things Left Unsaid—and then next summer I’ll release my third Harbor Pointe novel. I’m really excited about that one too! 😃

O! Me too! And I love that title! Thank you, Courtney for chatting with me again! Love having you here.

About Just Let Go

Title:  Just Let Go
Series: Harbor Pointe, Book 2
Author: Courtney Walsh
Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers
Audio Release Date:  June 5, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Fiction
Links*: Goodreads l Amazon l Book Depository l CBD l Itunes l BAM!

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.
Includes discussion questions.

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BOOKS IN THE HARBOR POINTE SERIES

  

About Courtney

Courtney Walsh is the author of Paper Hearts and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright. 

CONNECT WITH COURTNEY:  websitefacebooktwitterblog


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