Andrea Thome is a former broadcast journalist who fell in love with a Major League baseball player after interviewing him. They got married and when she is not out and about pursuing photography as a hobby, she likes to write contemporary romance. As our Author of the Day, Thome reveals what inspired her first book, talks about how she created her own book covers and gives us some insights into what to expect from her next.
Please give us a short introduction to what Walland is about.
Walland is a love story about two people who are running away from love and run right into each other. India is a network television personality whose life has taken a sudden turn, prompting her to take some time off for a photography workshop at a luxurious resort in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Wyatt is a man with scars that run deep. He’s built a careful life for himself, and has no intention of letting anyone get close to him…again. When they meet, it’s magic. But is the spark enough to sustain them for the long haul?
What inspired you to write a story about two people who are running away from love?
I was inspired to write about people running away from love because I wanted to more deeply explore the idea that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Sometimes the best experiences in life surprise us when we least expect them.
Why did you decide to start writing novels?
I was a broadcast journalist myself, until I married and started my family. I decided at that time that it was most important for me to be home with my children and husband during those important years. When my kids were both finally in school full time, I knew I wanted to go back to work but still have the flexibility to be available for them when they needed me. It was the death of my mother almost three years ago that really lit the fire under me. I felt the hourglass turn upside down, and knew that if I was going to try my hand at being an author, there was no time to waste. I started writing Walland on New Year’s Day 2016 and finished it just a few months later—on my mom’s birthday.
Tell us more about India - in which way is she different from your typical romance novel heroine?
India is a strong, independent woman. She’s effortless, classy, and although she’s vulnerable, she’s not looking for anyone to ride in on their white horse and save her.
Wyatt is a man with scars that run deep. Why did you give him this background?
Wyatt is a real renaissance man. Very ruggedly handsome, but with a tender heart. He’s been hurt and he’s not looking for love when the story begins. I think it’s interesting to see what ultimately makes him come around to the idea of second chances.
Why, would you say, do Wyatt and India make such a good couple?
Wyatt and India are a good match because not only do they have explosive chemistry, but they have a good time together. They laugh with each other. I’ve found that with my husband, that’s been the key to staying married for almost twenty years. You’ve got to laugh. During good times and bad.
What is it about the Smoky Mountains that inspired you to use it as the backdrop for your book?
I chose the Smoky Mountains as a backdrop because we’ve traveled there many times and it’s got that moody, sexy, mysterious energy that fit the story just right. I love the smell of the woods and the curve of the mountains. It was always Walland.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Besides writing, I absolutely love photography. Both the cover of Walland and the cover of the second book in my Hesse Creek Series, Seeds of Intention, were photographs I’ve taken. The boathouse on the cover of Walland has special significance for my family as well. I share additional photos I’ve taken from places unique to each of my books on my website.
What is the most romantic thing you have ever experienced?
To me, the most romantic things are the smallest gestures. I have friends who’ve been married for a while, and every time they go anywhere together, the husband always rushes ahead to hold the door for his wife. It’s thoughtful. Watching a man tuck a piece of hair behind a woman’s ear is lovely. An older couple holding hands makes me melt. There is romance all around if we just stop and notice it.
Walland is your debut novel. What has the experience been like so far?
I’ve loved every moment of writing, editing, publishing and promoting Walland. It’s been such an education! I’ve taken what I’ve learned and tried to apply it to my second time through the process with Seeds of Intention, which comes out on September 5. The business of being an author isn’t easy, and just because you write a book, doesn’t mean people are going to rush out and read it. It’s work. But I love it so much, it doesn’t feel like a job. That’s the key.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite time of day to write? Favorite writing spot? Favorite music to listen to?
Even though it doesn’t feel like a job, I do try to treat it like one. I write at all hours of the day and night; whenever the mood strikes me. A favorite place to write is in my screened in porch. I call our two cats my “co-authors.” Music is a must; so much so, I developed a play list for Walland that includes songs that are in the book and others that were inspiring to me. Lots of country and bluegrass for Walland, but with a little Grateful Dead mixed in for good measure. That particular playlist is in a blog that’s posted on my website for those interested. Soon, I’ll be posting the playlist for Seeds of Intention.
What are you working on right now?
Having finished Seeds of Intention and waiting for its September release, I’ve started the third book in the Hesse Creek Series, due out sometime in late summer/early fall of 2018. I’m LOVING my female lead in this book. She’s one cool chick! A hallmark of the Hesse Creek Series is pulling threads of characters from the first and second book into subsequent stories, so there are some familiar faces from Walland in both Seeds of Intention and this new third book. I’ve had so many people ask if Wyatt and India are in Seeds of Intention. The answer is YES! But we have two exciting new lead characters who I hope readers will love just as much.