Good morning, Seekerville! I’m not usually a morning person, but I’ve taken vacation this week to do something crazy—be a full-time writer! I’m so excited to have a whole week to do nothing but hang out with imaginary people. So, let’s get this party started! Who’s got the coffee?
One of the most fun things about being a writer—at least for me—is getting to create a community. I’ve chosen to set all my books in the fictional beach town of Port Provident, Texas. And while I love “meeting” new characters and getting to know them and tell their stories, I love writing a series because it means I get to go back and visit old friends from previous books.
In my first book, Saving Gracie, I got to tell the story of Gracie Garcia, an English as a Second Language teacher who falls in love with Jake Peoples, the developer that she first met when he handed her an eviction notice. In my second book, Second Chance Sweethearts, the story centers around Gloria Garcia Rodriguez---Gracie’s nurse-midwife sister—and her high school sweetheart, Rigo Vasquez. Gracie and Jake make a few appearances in the book, and now have a baby girl, Gabriella. One of the most fun scenes for me to write was when Jake gets to give Gloria dating advice after all the grief that Gloria gave him in the first book.
In August, I released The Doctor’s Unexpected Family. This time, my readers got to learn the backstory on City Councilwoman Angela Ruiz, who appeared briefly in both Saving Gracie and Second Chance Sweethearts. In this story, a medical emergency after a hurricane brings her to depend on Dr. Pete Shipley, a skilled doctor…who just happens to have been Gloria’s boss at the local birth center.
At the beginning of October, I’m releasing Shelter from the Storm—thestory of Becca Collins and Dr. Ross Reeder, two animal lovers who can’t stand each other. They’re thrown together because of Hurricane Hope, which is the key theme of this current Port Provident-based mini-series. In Shelter from the Storm, you’ll find out if Becca and Ross can quit arguing long enough to find common ground and save the furriest residents of Port Provident from the effects of the storm. Plus, you’ll get to see Rigo Vasquez, Angela Ruiz and more.
Visiting Port Provident is like attending a family reunion—but without all the potluck dishes. (Unless you count the fresh seafood at Porter’s or the homemade Mexican food at Huarache’s, the restaurant owned by Gracie and Gloria’s family!) And that’s just the way I planned it. I wanted to create a diverse community that reflected the one I used to live in. I wanted to feature different characters from diverse backgrounds, because I’m a big believer that we need diverse books. To me, Port Provident is a town whose strength comes from the people, community, and churches you’ll find there—in short, it’s probably a lot like where you live. (Well, just with a beach that’s only blocks away from wherever you are.) In fact, I say that the stories of Port Provident are “Inspirational Romance in a Beachside Town You’ll Want to Call Home.”
And I’m especially proud of the fact that recently, The Doctor’s Unexpected Family hit #1 on Amazon’s Hispanic-American literature chart. It means that there’s a place on bookshelves for diverse characters of faith. And I couldn’t be more excited that this milestone happened during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15. In fact, on October 2, I’m joining other Christian authors in a Facebook party to celebrate our books featuring diverse characters. I’d love to invite you to join me. RSVP here!
What about you? Do you enjoy reading characters from all walks of life? Are you like me—do you enjoy books in a series so you can go back and visit “old friends” as you read new stories? What are some of your favorite series to read?
I’m in vacation mode, so I’m going a little crazy today. I’m going to give away a Kindle
copy of The Doctor’s Unexpected Family and a pre-order copy of Shelter from the Storm (you’ll get it when it releases in early October—but just in case you win a different book, be sure and go to my Amazon page and click the yellow “follow” button so you’ll be notified of upcoming releases in the Port Provident series—there are two more scheduled through the end of this year!)
Plus, I’m also going to throw in FIVE copies of Storm Surge, my non-fiction book that released last month. It’s my memoir of the life lessons I learned going through Hurricane Ike and the Bible verses and stories that had special meaning to me at that time—and if you’re going through storms in your own life, I hope that they’ll inspire you to ride the waves and rise above. My time of rebuilding during Hurricane Ike inspired the Port Provident: Hurricane Hope series, so it’s also a glimpse for readers into the real-life story behind the stories. Comment below for your chance to win!
The writing bug bit Kristen Ethridge around the time she first held a pencil. A 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award Finalist, Kristen was discovered by Harlequin through their 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest.
Kristen is the award-nominated author of the Port Provident series with Harlequin’s Love Inspired line and Laurel Lock Publishing. Her August 2015 release, The Doctor’s Unexpected Family, reached No. 1 on the Amazon Hispanic-American literature chart. Her favorite stories are filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after--and her favorite happily ever after is the story of God's love. Although she has fun creating characters, Kristen's favorite people are her family. She lives in Texas with her husband, children and a self-important poodle. Keep up with Kristen by joining her newsletter list and her author pages on Amazon and Facebook. You can also visit her online at www.kristenethridge.com.