Behind The Scenes of ALWAYS THE HERO with Anna J Stewart

Welcome weekend visitors! Thanks so much for stopping by. This weekend I'm sharing a bit of behind the scenes info on my March release, ALWAYS THE HERO. This is the fourth story in my Butterfly Harbor series for Heartwarming, but don't worry! Each book stands alone, I promise. For those coming back to this Pacific Coat town, you'll get to catch up with some old friends and characters. So let's get started!

Where did the idea for this novel come from?

From the second Matt Knight walked onto the page in The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor, I knew he'd be getting his own story. He was one of those unplanned characters, but he arrived with enough mystery and interest that I was anxious to get to know him better. He's a guy who seemingly has it all together, but there's a lot going on under the surface.

Which makes Lori Bradley his perfect match. They're both wounded. Him physically, her emotionally. But they bring out the best in one another, which always makes for the best kind of romance.

In looking at the cover, if you could caption it, what would it say?

It's a beautiful, colorful, world.

How long did it take you to write?

Two months. That seems to be my sweet spot these days. Once I got going, I found I didn't want to stop, especially when Lori started gaining confidence and making changes in her life. 

What is your favorite scene?

There are a few, but I think my favorite is when Matt turns a garden hose on Lori and a water fight ensues. It's a moment of inhibition for her, one she embraces; something she wouldn't have done at the beginning of the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

By all rights I should say Matt or Lori, right? But that's a given. My favorite in this story would be another unexpected walk-on. Kendall Davidson. She served with Matt in the military and has a truck load of baggage that's going to be difficult to unload. She's seriously damaged by life, but she finds a new start in Butterfly Harbor.

Tell us one thing you learned during research.

Most of my research had to do with flowers. Lori is a closet florist (she helps manage an inn in "real life"). She has a greenhouse and has a green thumb Martha Stewart would envy. Getting to learn about the different meanings behind flowers, how they thrive, what works best in a coastal climate, that was all really fascinating. I also got to read up on the types of flowers that attract butterflies and bees. Always a bonus, especially for Butterfly Harbor.

This is your 6th Heartwarming book, and your fourth Butterfly Harbor story.  Exactly what does that mean to you?

Every book is special I think. Back when I first began to dream of being a Harlequin author, I figured I'd have made it if I had one or two. This exceeds the dream. As will the next two (at least). 

What do you plan to work on next?

Just last week I wrote the end on The Rancher's Homecoming, which will be the final story in the Heartwarming continuity series: The Blackwells of Falcon Creek. Mine will be out in December, but the series will launch in August with Carol Ross's The Rancher's Twins. This is my first western/cowboy book, so I'm both nervous and terrified.  Right now I'm in the middle of Calliope Jones's Butterfly Harbor book, which should be out in early 2019.

What are you reading for pleasure right now?

I've got four Nora Roberts books piled up next to my desk, but right now I'm reading Kadie Scott's The Wrong Kind of Compatible. I love geeky heroes. that I think of it, Butterfly Harbor might need a geek!

Always the Hero

He never relied on anyone but himself…

But he needs her now! 

Butterfly Harbor deputy Matt Knight wants two things: to date Lori Bradley and the chance to adopt Kyle, a troubled teen. Wounded in Afghanistan, Matt knows he can’t move forward anchored to the past. But once he regains the guarded hotel manager’s trust, will his need to protect those he loves cost him a future with this extraordinary woman?

USA Today and National Bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to spicy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. When she's not writing, you can find her at the movie theater or binge watching her favorite TV shows and dealing with an overly affectionate cat named Snickers. You can visit her online at


  1. What an absolutely gorgeous cover! Congratulations on your release! I'm sensing there'll be a story with Kendall's taking center stage...Best!

    1. Hi M.K.! I really hit the jackpot on that cover, I know. So pretty! And yep! I'll be starting Kendall's book in just a couple of months. I can't wait! Thanks for posting!

  2. You had me at Butterfly Harbor--who can resist a place like that? And yes, you hit the jackpot with the cover, but then, all our Heartwarming covers are so appealing, aren't they? Sounds like a great story. Congratulations on your newest book and all the best writing your next!

  3. Congratulations on your latest HW book! I fell in love with that cover the moment I saw it. Who could resist it? It’s so great your dream of writing for Harlequin has come true big time!

  4. I have loved all of the Butterfly Harbor books and can't wait for the next one. Write faster, Anna.

  5. A wonderful series, Anna, and I’m joining the chorus here in applauding the cover. Congratulations!

  6. Just had to chime in, even though know I'm late. Because, Congratulations! As usual, this story sounds wonderful. I think you should do a post about butterflies and the plants who love them. I would love to know what to plant to attract more of them. And I think we all should be doing that for the bees and the butterflies.


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