Nicole Deese is a Christy Award and Carol Award-winning, bestselling author of hope-filled, humorous, and heartfelt contemporary romance novels. She has penned numerous contemporary romances filled with humor and hope that tug on the heartstrings. Her humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include her award-winning Love in Lenox Series, Before I Called You Mine and the Carol Award-winning All That Really Matters.
In this interview, Nicole talks with is about her latest book, The Words We Lost.
FF: Can you please tell us a little bit about your new novel, The Words We Lost?
At its core, The Words We Lost is an intimate journey which follows the special bond of three best friends and the significant impact their memories play even after their trio is broken by a tragic loss. Through a unique narrative which features a literature-loving protagonist, the firstborn heir to a family legacy, and the surfacing of a mysterious manuscript, the two friends who remain must push past their own raw history in order to honor the last wish of a friend who loved the written word almost as much as she loved them.
FF: The Words We Lost is the first novel in a collection of stories which features the publishing industry as a connecting series theme. Will you share a bit more about how that theme ties the series together?
Each book in the Fog Harbor Romance Series will features a fictional publishing house based out of San Francisco, California called Fog Harbor Books. Each standalone romance will highlight either an editor, author, or audiobook narrator from Fog Harbor Books and reference past characters who will be reoccurring throughout the series.
FF: Your protagonist, Ingrid Erikson, has a unique occupation as a senior acquisitions editor at Fog Harbor Books. What inspired you to choose this particular job for her?
Even before I plotted the details of The Words We Lost, I knew Ingrid would need a career that would place her in close proximity to books. As a child who grew up in hardship, books were a welcome escape to Ingrid, and as she aged, books became the bond she shared with her two dearest friends. It made sense that she would stick close to what she knew and loved most, and ultimately, her career path helped launch her best-friend-turned-famous author, Cecelia Campbell.
FF: The Words We Lost centers on themes such as friendship and forgiveness, but also deals with the impact grief can have on relationships. Can you tell us a bit more about how those ideas are portrayed in this novel and what led you to choose those topics?
When the premise for this book first came to me, I loved the idea of writing about such close-knit friends, but I also knew the plot would require me to tap into my own personal experience with grief in a raw and honest way. After losing my youngest sister in a car accident when she was only twenty-six, I’ve felt the impact grief can have on a family and close relationships. Though challenging to write at times, my own journey and reflections about loss and hope played a huge role in the drafting phase of this novel. My goal was to offer an empathetic perspective into the wants, needs, and overall responses of each individual character as they traveled their own road to healing.
FF: What do your readers have to look forward to in this collection of novels?
In addition to the behind-the-scenes peek into the publishing industry, I think readers will be pleased with the predominant, page-turning romances inside each story world. There’s a second-chance romance with high angst, drama, and chemistry, a forced-proximity romance with flirtatious banter and plenty of heart-melting confessions, and a slow-burn, friends-to-lovers romance filled with toe-curling delight and loyal devotion.
FF: Was there anything that you found particularly interesting about the publishing industry in your research or in your own experience as a published author that you included in the book?
I had a lot of fun inside this story world and made sure to pack Cecelia Campbell’s narrative full of author-y statements and thinking. I chuckled to myself more than once at her dramatic antics and the lengths she’d go for her fictional works. As for Ingrid, there’s a scene toward the end of the book where she’s reflecting on the different aspects of her job and noting which editorial tasks bring her the most joy. I interviewed a handful of editors and was able to write this scene with them in mind. I hope it’s as meaningful to my readers as it was to me—I’m so incredibly grateful for my editors!
FF: What do you hope readers will take way from this story?
Ultimately, I hope my readers close this book feeling like no matter how lost, broken, hurt, rejected, or estranged they might feel in their own story, there’s always a next step if they’re willing to take it.
FF: Can you share what you’re working on next?
I’m currently working on the second book in the Fog Harbor Romance Series and enjoying the refreshing, humorous personalities of my two main characters immensely!
The Words We Lost
Fog Harbor Romance Series #1
Release Date: April 11, 2023
Three friends. Two broken promises. One missing manuscript.
As a senior acquisitions editor for Fog Harbor Books in San Francisco, Ingrid Erikson has rejected many a manuscript for lack of defined conflict and dramatic irony—two elements her current life possesses in spades. In the months following the death of her childhood best friend and international bestselling author Cecelia Campbell, Ingrid has not only lost her ability to escape into fiction due to a rare trauma response, but she’s also desperate to find the closure she’s convinced will come with Cecelia’s missing final manuscript.
After Ingrid jeopardizes her career, she fears her future will remain irrevocably broken. But then Joel Campbell—the man who shattered her belief in happily-ever-afters—offers her a sealed envelope from his late cousin, Cecelia, asking Joel and to put their differences aside and retrieve a mysterious package in their coastal Washington hometown.
Honoring Cecelia’s last request will challenge their convictions and test their loyalties, but through it all, will Ingrid and Joel be brave enough to uncover a twice-in-a-lifetime love?
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