I am honored to welcome Jen Gilroy, author of The Cottage at Firefly Lake with a special guest post in support of her blog tour with TLC Book Tours. I was disappointed I was not able to fit this book into my reading schedule as it looks like a good one! Summer is a great time to sit in a beach chair, lie in the hammock or relax wherever you choose and settle down with a cold drink and a good book. The Cottage at Firefly Lake is the first book in the Firefly Lake series. The next book, Summer on Firefly Lake, comes out on July 25, 2017.
So please join me in welcoming Ms. Gilroy to the “small town” that is Broken Teepee:
IT’S A SMALL-TOWN WORLD
Write what you know
Write what you know is advice often given to beginning writers and it makes good sense. To write from your heart, you need to know what resonates most deeply in your own life. How have you experienced love and friendship, and loss and grief? What do you value most? And how do you live those values in your daily life?
Small towns are a defining characteristic in both my life and fiction. And in writing what I know, it’s that small-town world I come back to again and again to explore the relationships that shape women’s lives—romance yes, but also bonds with children, extended family, friends and communities.
Although I grew up in a city, my parents were small-town people. From early childhood, the time I spent in the small communities my mom and dad came from, had a profound influence on how I saw the world and my place in it.
I gave these small-town roots to Sean, the hero of my first book, The Cottage at Firefly Lake. He’s a Vermonter born and bred and for him, the small town of Firefly Lake is:
“The place where four generations of his family slept in the graveyard nestled at the foot of the hill. Where he’d gone in and out of friends’ houses like they were his own. And where people still looked out for each other, and a man’s word was his bond.”
For good or bad, there is a strong sense of connectedness in small towns.
After living and working halfway around the world for most of my adult life, I recently came back to the area where I spent childhood summers and now live in a small town much like those I write about.
It’s the kind of place where people stop their cars in the middle of the main street to chat. At the post office, where I collect my mail, local obituary notices are pinned to the front door. And when I read the weekly paper, I usually know at least one person mentioned.
Whether in real life or fiction, small towns aren’t perfect. However, in an increasingly anonymous world, I draw strength and inspiration from the warmth, kindness and generosity that characterizes these tight-knit and friendly communities at their best.
Soon after I moved to my new small-town home, a member of my extended family asked me how I was enjoying the “rural folk.” The smug tone said it all. How could anyone, especially someone like me who’d lived in and traveled to so many great world cities, ever be happy in a place where “news” is when the local grocery store begins stocking beer and wine, and a young black bear wanders into the small downtown on a sunny spring afternoon?
But how could I not be happy here? I come from generations of “rural folk” and they are the people I know best and write about.
At a time when the global news headlines are grim, there is also both comfort and security in living in a place where life has a slower pace and, as in The Cottage at Firefly Lake, “neighborliness is a way of life.”
Possibly because I’ve lived and worked in so many different places, the search for “home” runs through everything I write. For my fictional characters, home is not only defined by geography, it’s also a state of mind.
As Charlotte (Charlie) the heroine of The Cottage at Firefly Lake reflects:
“Her Vermont…was picking blueberries in the patch of tangled bushes behind the cottage. Catching fireflies in a cracked mason jar on summer nights when the moon bathed the dark hills in white light. And the sense of belonging and being home in her skin [she] had never found anywhere else.”
This idea of home runs through the Firefly Lake series, including the second book, Summer on Firefly Lake which is out next week, and Back Home at Firefly Lake, releasing in early December.
When I came back to my roots in my own life, I came back to the small-town world that is the compass for my soul and my fiction. It’s where I feel comfortable in my skin. And it’s where family, friendship, and abiding love sustain and inspire me, and where I’ve learned lessons to last a lifetime. I came home.
About The Cottage at Firefly Lake
- Series: Firefly Lake (Book 1)
- Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Book Group, Grand Central, Forever
~ “In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Susan Wiggs and RaeAnne Thayne comes an emotional second chance love story about redemption and finding your way home, the first in a new series by debut author Jen Gilroy” ~
Some mistakes can never be fixed and some secrets never forgiven . . . but some loves can never be forgotten.
Charlotte Gibbs wants nothing more than to put the past behind her, once and for all. But now that she’s back at Firefly Lake to sell her mother’s cottage, the overwhelming flood of memories reminds her of what she’s been missing. Sun-drenched days. Late-night kisses that still shake her to the core. The gentle breeze off the lake, the scent of pine in the air, and the promise of Sean’s touch on her skin . . . True, she got her dream job traveling the world. But at what cost?
Sean Carmichael still doesn’t know why Charlie disappeared that summer, but after eighteen years, a divorce, and a teenage son he loves more than anything in the world, he’s still not over her. All this time and her body still fits against his like a glove. She walked away once when he needed her the most. How can he convince her to stay now?
About the Author:
Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in Ontario, Canada. She’s worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write contemporary romance and women’s fiction to bring readers’ hearts home. Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.
The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.
Connect with Jen
The Cottage at Firefly Lake is the first book in the Firefly Lake series. The next book, Summer on Firefly Lake, comes out on July 25, 2017. Be sure you enter to win copies of both books in the Firefly Lake series.
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