Please provide a brief summary of your new novel, Turn to Me. In the final moments before his death, Finley Sutherland’s father tells Luke Dempsey that he left the first in a series of treasure hunt clues in his will for his daughter. He asks Luke to protect her until the treasure hunt is complete. Luke, an ex-Con, agrees. However, soon after he goes to work at Finley’s animal rescue charity, he starts to fall for the idealistic, dark-haired beauty. He begins to wonder. Is he tough enough to protect her from danger? And if so, who’s going to protect him from losing his heart? At the beginning of the novel, Finley’s father is incarcerated with Luke. Can you tell us about the nature of Finley’s relationship with her father? Finley’s an only child, born to a single father when he was in his fifties. She became the greatest joy of his life. He loved her with fiery devotion, and she loved him just as deeply in return. Turn to Meis a contemporary romance novel, but it also has a mystery thread. What challenge did you experience when incorporating both of these elements into your story? Balance was a challenge! I consider myself a romance writer first and foremost. So, on one hand, I didn’t want the mystery to overshadow the love story. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy driving the plot of my stories forward with a big story question. In Turn to Methe story question is, “What’s waiting at the end of the treasure hunt?” I ended up using that question as the tie that binds Finley and Luke together long enough for them to fall in love. Through the experiences of your male protagonist, Luke Dempsey, this story engages themes of redemption and letting go of what is behind us. Can you elaborate on that? Luke’s younger brother died when he was fourteen and, ever since, he’s blamed himself. His guilt and grief set him on a path of rebellious self-destruction until, eventually, he landed imprison. When Turn to Me begins, he’s been out of prison for months and he’s determined to make a new, clean start. The events of the novel give him both an opportunity to meet the God of redemption and to release the guilt that has strangled him for so long. In your opinion, what are the essential elements that all great love stories must have?1) Romantic conflict. The reason why the couple can’t be together is the linchpin that forces them to face obstacles, to overcome, to sacrifice for their relationship. 2) A hero and heroine who are ideally suited to each other. They can be complete opposites and still complement one another in wonderful ways.
Read an Excerpt
Finley Sutherland’s father had left her several things in his will, the most surprising of which was a clue. “But… I don’t understand,” she said to Rosco Horton, attorney-at-law. “Your father planned a treasure hunt for you.” Mr. Horton leaned forward over his impressive potbelly, huffing at the exertion, to extend a white envelope to her across his desk. “He stipulated that you be presented with this, the first clue in the treasure hunt, at the reading of his will. “She accepted the envelope, instantly recognizing her father’s handwriting and the thick flow of black ink from his favorite fountain pen. For Finley, he’d written on the outside. “He asks that you store the envelope in a safe location,”Mr. Horton said, “and wait until the morning of your next birthday to open it. When is your next birthday?” “January.” “Do you think you can resist peeking until then? ”Absolutely.” It felt sacrilegious to even consider violating request left for her in her dad’s will.