Yeah, Anna, we're so glad you're here.
So, where did you get the idea for this novel?
Every year, my aunts and my cousin and I spend a week in Tennessee—that we cleverly call “Girl’s Week.” I got the idea while we were there. My family has been in the Sevierville area since the Revolutionary War, and I wanted to explore the idea of life in a small mountain town. I love the loving and the living, the traditions, the scandals, and the good deeds that go on in small towns. And Tennessee’s beauty—the cold mountain streams, the limestone outcroppings, the mist rising through the mountains—that beauty owns me.
In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption, what would it say?
“Lean on me.”
What is your favorite scene?
My favorite scene is later in the book, when Noah trusts Emma enough to admit some important things about his past in a place that’s special to both of them. Emma realizes she’s known Noah almost all her life, but he’s kept some deep, dark secrets that might have made a difference to them if she'd known.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I can’t choose between Noah and Emma. I understand Emma because she loves her nan the way I love my grandma, and she’s trying hard to be better than she’s ever been, and she wants love even though she still doesn’t know if she’s worthy of being loved. But Noah has fought hard for his family and his self and his reputation. He tried hard to fight for Emma, when she wasn’t capable of trusting that she mattered to him. He cannot say no to a person in need of help, and he tries to find room for forgiveness—though he’s endured far too much to forgive in his life. I love them both.
What music would match the mood of this novel?
I think the song, “Gravity,” by Sara Bareilles is a perfect theme song for Now She’s Back.
This is your 17th book. Exactly what does that mean to you?
I hope that I’m learning with each book. I'd like to reach more deeply into readers’ hearts.
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m working on Owen’s book. He’s Noah’s brother, and his story will be the next in a series of 3 books set in Bliss, Tennessee. I'm loving living in Bliss!