Audrey Wick is an author and full-time professor of English at Blinn College who believes the secret to happiness includes life-long learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over 20 countries, and sipped coffee at every one.
In this interview Audrey shares her thoughts on the inspiration behind her latest novel, Island Charm.
FF: How did you select the names of your hero and heroine? Are their names significant to the story or their personality in some way?
Both the hero and heroine in Island Charm have last names which are symbolic: Anna Worthington is looking to make “worthy” choices in spite of a situation she lands in that is a bit out of her control. Gunnar Lockhart is someone who has “locked” his heart to love based on past choices, but when Anna arrives on the scene, he’s ready to open his heart to the future he deserves. I hope readers connect with both of these likeable characters!
FF: What prompted you to set your novel in Key West rather than some other coastal place?
The places I write about are ones that are special to me, and Key West is no exception. I first experienced Key West in the summer, but years later, I traveled back in winter. Whether it is July or January, Key West is beautiful any time of year. That year-round beauty prompted me to choose this setting for Island Charm.
FF: Who is your favorite character, and why?
The hero, Gunnar, is my favorite character because he has a heart of gold. He’s a Key West resident who has befriended an older man named Jack, who is battling dementia. The kindhearted way that Gunnar cares for Jack makes his attractive, but he also has a wonderfully playful side that he’s able to show the heroine as he opens his heart to love.
FF: What prompted you to make your heroine a twin?
I wanted to write a honeymoon imposter story, so the idea of twin sisters worked well. Originally, however, this manuscript started with a scene of the first sister’s broken wedding. Writing that was important so that I could fully explore the situation that brings Anna to the island, but ultimately it didn’t seem like the right scene to open this beach-set romance. I really wanted Anna to shine in the story, and her sweet relationship with her twin, Brie, is a thread that I was still able to weave throughout the chapters even though Brie appears in very few of them.
FF: When did you decide to become a writer and when did you feel as if you’d finally become one?
My day job is a college professor of writing and literature, so I’ve always had an interest in those subjects. But it’s largely because of my day job that I consider myself a writer. I want to be a writing teacher who writes because wrestling with words on the page keeps me in touch with what I ask my students to do on a regular basis. When they write, I write! So professionally, I felt like I had become a writer when I became a teacher of it.
FF: To which secondary character are you particularly attached, and why?
Jack is a secondary character who stole the show for me while writing this book. This colorful senior citizen ended up playing a much bigger role in the plot than I had originally intended because the more I explored him as a character, the more complex he became. I’m definitely attached to him, and readers have told me they are too!
An imposter in paradise.
When Anna Worthington’s twin sister gets jilted by her fiancé, Anna steps in with a plan for a girls’ Key West getaway instead of a honeymoon trip. Yet when her twin has her own crisis of commitment and doesn’t board the plane, Anna finds herself on a romantic getaway that she’s forced to navigate alone.
A vacation romance with an expiration date.
Gunnar Lockhart, whose specialty is island tourism, is the perfect match for helping Anna complete her vacation bucket list, but time together forges a connection more personal than either anticipate. As they make island memories, Anna has to untangle her mixed emotions. Are her feelings toward Gunnar real? Or like her sister’s wedding day, has this connection been doomed from the start?
Pelican Book Group
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Buy Island Charm from Amazon HERE!