Carolyne Aarsen’s newest novel Homecoming Reunion (Love Inspired) tells the story of a man who’ll never be good enough. Or so he’s been told.
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOUR BOOK HOMECOMING REUNION?
Homecoming Reunion is part of a five book series put out by Love Inspired called “Home to Hartley Creek”. This series is about five cousins coming back to the town they came from. Homecoming Reunion, the fourth book in the series, flowed out of the stories of the other cousins. I wanted someone who was coming back to Hartley Creek to prove to the town and to his ex-girlfriend, that he had arrived financially. Garret was always floating around in the back of my mind as I wrote the other books and when I came up with the idea of ‘proving oneself’, he started to come to life.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOME ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
The book was originally supposed to center around a sawmill, but my editor helped me to focus it on something that was more appealing so we came up with the idea of an inn. My husband and I used to run a sawmill so that was why I wanted to use a sawmill. In the end, the inn was a much, much better solution.
However, Hartley Creek itself, is based on a town called Fernie in British Columbia and the cafe, Mug Shots, where people hang out, is a real cafe in Fernie. Check it out if you ever get there! Awesome food!
Q: WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
I think all of my characters have a bit of me in them and a bit of my husband and a bit of my friends. I often will put my characters in a situation and than have to sit back and say, how would I react? Or how did so and so react? Sometimes the research will give me insight into a character’s actions, but very often I draw from my own emotions. In fact, there are times I’m glad no one can see me working. At times I’m pantomiming my character’s emotional reaction. My office has a door for a reason!
Q: IN YOUR NEW NOVEL, WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
My heroine’s mother. At first she was just supposed to be a shadowy presence who was a romantic figure who had died, but as she developed, I ‘discovered’ things she had done that had huge repercussions for my heroine and the inn she was managing.
Q: WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
Right now I am working on a three book series that also takes place in Hartley Creek that deals with three friends who each own their own businesses and get together once a month for a book club meeting. It’s been fun going back to Hartley Creek again and bringing back some of the characters from the other books.