Q&A: Denise Hunter (Barefoot Summer)
Denise Hunter’s newest series, Chapel Springs Romance, started this May with Barefoot Summer (Thomas Nelson). The series follows the McKinley family’s grown children as they each attempt to find love.
Q: This book kicks off your Chapel Springs Romance series. What can readers expect from this series?
The series is set in the Midwestern river town of Chapel Springs which is loosely based on Madison, Indiana. I gave a nod to the quaint little tourist town by naming the heroine Madison. Readers can expect a healthy dose of romantic tension, laughter, and tears. And always, a happily ever after.
Q: Your main character, Madison, is dealing with grief from losing her twin brother. How does her brother die and how does this change Madison?
Madison's brother drowned when they were 17. Many people who lose a twin are left feeling as if they've lost part of themselves, and this is what Madison is trying (unsuccessfully) to cope with. She sets off on a quest to find peace by trying to accomplish her brother's dream--winning the town's annual sailing regatta.
Q: What elements are necessary for a good romance?
A hero and heroine the reader can relate to, a strong obstacle keeping them apart, and good old-fashioned chemistry.
Q: How did you dream up this story?
I wanted to write a story centered on a close-knit family. The McKinleys are the type of family that meets for weekly bar-b-ques and backyard basketball. They argue and make up and tease and support. I think we all long for close connections, and I wanted to write a story that allowed the reader to feel like a part of the family. Each of the books of the series feature the love story of one of the grown McKinley children, so romance is central, but each book is also layered with the dynamics that come with being part of a large family. Madison, Indiana has an annual regatta, and that inspired the idea behind Madison's goal of winning the regatta in her brother's memory.
Q: Can you tell us about Beckett O'Reilly, Madison's love interest? What piques Madison's interest in him?
Beckett O'Reilly is a man from the wrong side of the tracks. He lives under his father's nefarious shadow and made some pretty big mistakes prior to finding his own faith. He's had feelings for Madison for years but has always felt she was beyond his reach. One of those mistakes stands in the way of any possible relationship between them. When Madison is forced to accept Beckett's help, she discovers a lot of chemistry between them. As she gets to know Beckett, she overcomes her preconceived notions and learns he's a trustworthy and honorable man.
Q: The story also involves a lot of sailing. Is this a personal hobby of yours?
In all my writing I've never struggled so hard to get the details right on any particular subject. There's so much to sailing! I wouldn't have been able to write the sailing scenes without the help of Rik Hall, a veteran sailor. If I do any sailing in the future, it will strictly be as a passenger!