Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me and Until I Met You. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the projects manager for My Book Therapy and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.
In this interview, Tari discusses her latest romance novel, Since You’ve Been Gone.
FF: Each of the books in the Restoring Heritage Series focuses on a new development in the town of Heritage. Can you please tell us a little more about what your newest book, Since You’ve Been Gone, contributes to the series and the town?
Where the first two novels were about clearing and landscaping the town square, this novel focuses on a business along the square as well as the largest employer in the area, Heritage Fruits. As much as we want Heritage to look cute for it to succeed in the future, the local business must also thrive. My hope is that it will leave the reader with a hopeful feel of Heritage’s future. Who knows, maybe someday we will return.
FF: When Leah returns to Heritage, she learns that she is going to have to readjust her plans and dreams in order to discover a new one. Without giving away any spoilers, can you give readers a hint of what this might look like for Leah?
In the prequal novella P.S. Goodbye, Leah and her twin Caroline close the family business they inherited and leave Heritage to pursue other dreams. In Since You’ve Been Gone, Leah assumes she can return and pick up where she left off. She soon discovers that restarting a business that was failing before is almost impossible. Leah will have to decide on how much she is willing to bend on her plan to make the dream happen.
FF: Jon and Leah have both returned home to Heritage, but for very different reasons. What motivates Jon to come home and how has his relationship with Leah been complicated by their past?
Jon initially returns because his sister has been kicked out of her private boarding school. But now that he is back, he decides it is time to finally take on the position that his father left him, owner of Heritage fruits. But taking the reigns back from his uncle is proving more difficult that he hoped.
Jon and Leah’s past was mostly complicated because they saw it very differently. Jon always had admired Leah, but Leah saw his confident attitude and wit as his way of making fun of her. Even after she finds out the truth, she has a lot of baggage preventing her from letting him too close.
FF: The fictional town of Heritage has become a place of finding new life and new hope in community for its residents. More than that, it is a place where love seems to be just around the corner. Can you tell readers why you chose this setting for your series?
I grew up in a small town and I love the community aspect of it. There can be times when the fact everyone knows your business can be frustrating. But there is also a peace in knowing that you never have to go through anything alone, even when you want to. I miss it so much now that I live in a city and wanted to create that closeness for my readers because I think we all long for it.
FF: What do you hope readers have learned or experienced from the Restoring Heritage Series?
That God is a God of second chances—and third and forth . . . He is about pulling us out of our darkness and being the light to our path. Everyone of my characters in the series finds a second chance of sorts. And I hope my readers will see that no matter the situation, God is a God and second chances.
FF: What are you working on next?
I am working on a series on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon that will combine the feel of small-town community with a touch of adventure and mystery. Logan and Liam, who we met in You Belong with Me will each finally get a story along with many new faces.
Since You’ve Been Gone
Restoring Heritage Series #3
Release Date: September 7, 2021
With her vision and his know-how, this thing just might work . . .
Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, but he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.
In order to avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s building, Jon will have to strike a compromise. Can the two of them work together? Or will their troubled past set the tone for their future?
Buy Since You’ve Been Gone from the FF Store HERE!
Buy Since You’ve Been Gone from Amazon HERE!