Justin Cushman’s billions can’t seem to cure what ails him: chronic pain and a dying spirit. When he goes home to the Finger Lakes to address both, he meets Gianessa Dupioni, a massage therapist still healing from an ugly divorce.
Gianessa isn’t looking for love, but Justin isn’t the sort of man to take no for an answer.
As you know, I’m a huge fan of all things Irish/Scottish, and with a name like Katie O’Boyle, you must be, too. Do you have any Celtic threads running through your series?
KATIE: Definitely! Each book of the Lakeside Porches series involves a particular apartment building, 14 Lakeside Terrace, originally occupied by Bridie O’Donohue, grandmother of the hero of book one. Besides being beautiful, influential and wealthy, Bridie was a self-admitted “fay one” from the old country (Ireland), and she had the gift of matchmaking. Her spirit plays a part in each of the books by moving romance along when it falters. The same grandson is a fan of Celtic meditation and has a bit of Bridie’s sixth sense, which is important in each book. And in each story, either the hero or heroine (or both) has Irish ancestors, and those connections are important to the stories.
Is healing a common theme throughout your books?
KATIE: Healing, hope and love are themes in each of the books. Irish families have their share of alcoholics and children of alcoholics. Without being preachy, each of the books considers some aspect of alcoholism and recovery and their impact on loving relationships; always the emphasis is on the solution, with a twelve-step thread woven throughout. Some of us need to heal in order to love well, and many of us heal through love.
How important is your Finger Lakes setting to the plot in COMING HOME TO LOVE?
KATIE: The Finger Lakes of upstate New York are so beautiful! The books are set in Tompkins Falls, on the shores of fictitious Chestnut Lake, which I’ve placed between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. Justin Cushman, the hero of Coming Home To Love is a world-traveling entrepreneur who returns to his hometown of Tompkins Falls and finds his true love. He has always dreamed of building a home near a birch grove on his family estate, and once he stands on that spot with the woman he loves, he can never again leave the Finger Lakes.
What would Justin be like on a date?
KATIE: Fun! Despite his tendency to be a “growly bear,” Justin is witty, charming and a terrific dancer, at his best on a date or at a party.
Your cover is outstanding. What is that drink, and where can I order one?
KATIE: It’s meant to be doppio con pana (a double shot of espresso with whipped cream on top), Justin’s favorite. At first, he had a little trouble finding it in Tompkins Falls and bought his own espresso machine. Pretty quickly, though, he educated most of the region’s coffee hangouts in how to make it. Some, like the creator of the book’s cover, insist on adding a little chocolate to the top, which I love.
What would you like your readers to take away from COMING HOME TO LOVE?
KATIE: I think the heroine Gianessa, with her megawatt smile, says it best, “Sometimes we just go with what the universe sends us.” Our dreams and prayers are sometimes answered in ways we don’t immediately like, but we come to see they’re the best things that could ever happen to us.
Can you give us the rundown on what type of reader is going to love COMING HOME TO LOVE?
KATIE: If you’re one that wants to believe the struggle is worth it, you’ll love Justin and Gianessa’s love story. Through honesty and willingness, they create a beautiful life together.
I also think readers who love or live with a difficult mate will be inspired by the turnaround in one of the characters who begins the book as a dry drunk and emerges as a grateful, joyful, loving partner.
And now, a bit about you. Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, as soon as I learned to read, which was around age eleven (some of us struggle), I wanted to write. My teachers encouraged my writing, and I thought of myself as “a writer.”
What’s the best advice you can give aspiring writers?
Believe in your story. Stay true to your voice. But seek out people who know their craft, and learn from them.
My thanks to Katie for being here today. If COMING HOME TO LOVE sounds like your kind of story—and why wouldn’t it?—click HERE
And don’t miss the first in the series, STEPPING UP TO LOVE.