I suspect you’re equally excited to begin this fresh new year. I'm quite thankful that those I'm closest to haven't been too adversely affected by the pandemic and were able to spend some of last year exploring new hobbies and knocking out house projects. As a writer, I’m naturally introverted, and many of my favorite pastimes like hiking, gardening, and cooking were there to fall back on when I needed solace from the weighty news rocking the world in so many different ways. So, too, were the stories I was working on.
Last spring, as I completed revisions on Summer by the River (releasing March 2), I was immersed in the fictional world set in a midwestern tea garden in the historic town of Galena, Illinois. In addition to taking twenty-five-year-old Josie Waterhill, the lead character, through her journey as she makes peace with her past and learns to embrace the life she’s created for herself, my thoughts were filled with Galena history, calming tea blends, mouth-watering quiche, and dense, salty scones that helped make the story’s setting come to life. It probably goes without saying I found it necessary to bake my share of quiches and scones while writing this book. As a happy consequence, I have a few favorite new recipes. If you like to bake, be sure to sign up for my newsletter as I’ll be sharing some of the ones mentioned in the book as we near the March 2nd release date.
If you’ve never been, Galena is a quaint midwestern town tucked into the hillsides and bluffs along the Galena River. I highly recommend adding it to your list of places to visit as it becomes time to make travel plans again. One thing I love about Galena is that eighty-five percent of the buildings are on the historic register. You’re surrounded by Victorian mansions, cobblestone streets, and old red brick shops, restaurants, and homes.
While walking through the town, it was if I was stepping back into history. Swept away as I was, I was inspired to work a bit of fictional Galena history into Summer by the River. Carter O’Brien, a freelance journalist from New York, arrives in Galena in hopes of learning the reason behind his grandfather’s disappearance in the town in 1940. While researching an unsolved murder which occurred that same year, he’s directed to speak with Myra Moore, the elderly owner of the tea garden where Josie works. Once there, not only does he unearth some unexpected history, but he also falls quite heavily for Josie, and an unlikely chain of events ensue.
I hope you love this story as much as I do. I’m pleased to share that Main Street Books (a charming independent bookstore in St. Charles, Missouri, another historic town I adore) is taking orders for signed copies now through February 20th.