Healing the wounds of the past doesn’t come easy in this novel of friendship and forgiveness from award-winning author Liz Talley.
Summer Valentine has returned to Moonlight, South Carolina, a very different woman from the naive wallflower who left years before. These days she’s straightforward and savvy, determined to do right by her son, David—even if that means cashing in her struggling music career in Nashville and returning to the town that drove her away. Sure, she took a fall. But at least she now knows where she stands…
Despite her anger over the past, Summer believes David deserves a relationship with his father, Hunter “Hunt” McCroy. Though Hunt’s illustrious career has faded, privilege still protects him from his worst mistakes.
Someone else is back in Moonlight too: Rhett Bryan, the golden boy of Hollywood, who’s taking stock of his own life after a tragic accident. As his rekindled friendship with Summer quickly deepens, she must reconcile the painful history that ties her to both men—one she’s finally forgiven, one she’s afraid to love—to claim healing and happiness.
Several years ago, I attended writer’s boot camp in Shreveport hosted by NOLASTARS, the Louisiana chapter of the RWA, Romance Writers of America. Liz Talley was also part of the group. The participants were to do a quick flash fiction exercise. I scribbled away in my little notebook, but when the teacher asked for volunteers to read, I quietly closed it and slid it out of sight. Not Liz, she stood up and read the most adorable scene. The lady can write. And off the top of her head!
I heard about Liz Talley’s newest book months ago, and immediately added it to my TBR list. Then Liz agreed to answer a few questions for me for an interview post!
Can you tell us a bit about your newest book, Come Home to Me? I’ve read that this particular book is a little different than your previous books. In what way is this story unique?
Come Home to Me is a romantic story of finding forgiveness and a place to belong. The story starts in LA but quickly moves to fictional Moonlight, SC, a small town on the South Carolina coast near Hilton Head. The book is told from three viewpoints by former friends whose world was changed the night of their senior prom. They return to Moonlight as troubled adults, with my heroine seeking to do right by her son by allowing him a relationship with his father, the boy who date raped her all those years ago. It’s a complicated, beautiful tale made a bit different for me in that I have dual timelines. I’ve done plenty of flashback scenes before along with a prologue or two, but I’ve never balanced weaving a story that had two distinct timelines. Another particularly difficult part of writing this story was writing the date rape scene. I wanted to make the consent issue more smudged than clear cut date rape so that my heroine doesn’t feel as if anyone will believe her, and I wanted the boy responsible to feel he did nothing truly wrong. In other words, I wanted to explore consent and the common placations women are offered even when they know they’ve been violated, and bring about a better understanding of what constitutes consent. All the while unraveling characters who must learn to own up to who they are and the mistakes they’ve made.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The date rape scene was hard to write, but there were others just as difficult. The book opens with the tragic death of a child, and later, the hero must confront the parents of the child. Both were very emotional to get onto the page.
A serious topic was the seed that developed into this story. If you were given a few minutes to speak on this issue in front of an auditorium of young men the first day of their college experience, what would you say?
Whoa, this one is tough. I think I would tell them that sex isn’t something they’re automatically entitled to, and I would encourage them to treat it as a gift more than a right. I would also suggest they use their mouth first for conversation about expectations. One of the best ways to double check if you’ve sought consent is to watch a short Youtube video called “Consent Tea” produced by Blue Seat Studios which expresses in simplistic terms how to make sure your date/partner/significant other is onboard with what you’re doing. Being a guy is hard, trying to dissimilate body language, phone texts, the unspoken concerns isn’t easy. So why not just be blunt and ask “Is this okay?” That simple question conveys concern, respect and ensures that any physical exchange is welcome. And ensuring consent not only shows concern for a person’s partner, but it protects from misunderstandings that can lead to greater hardship down the road.
What are you working on now?
Currently I’ working on the last book of the Morning Glory series, Third Time’s the Charm. It should be finished and ready for release in early summer. After that, I’m considering a Christmas novella to wrap up the Morning Glory series. I’m still waiting on a few proposals and/or my muse to tell me what’s up next.
Thank you, Liz! I so appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.
Liz Talley is the author of twenty-five heartwarming stories of love and laughter. A finalist in both the Golden Heart and Rita Awards, she’s garnered number one spots on Amazon Romance lists and was honored with RT Reviews Best Superromance 2014. Robyn Carr says “laughter and tears spring from the pages” and Kristan Higgins says her stories are “written in a warm, intelligent voice.” Liz makes her home in North Louisiana with her high school sweetheart, two teen boys, and three rescue dogs. When not writing romance, she likes to read, volunteer and watch Netflix. You can reach her at www.liztalleybooks.com