Sit Down Saturday with Tara Randel

Today we’re celebrating the release of The Wedding March

So, Tara, where did you get the idea for this novel?
When my editor and I sat down to discuss future books in The Business of Wedding series, we wanted to focus on wedding professionals. You can’t have a fun reception without music, right? So my brain started coming up with scenarios and I wondered, how would a new artist feel if she experienced writers block just as her career was taking off? And what if she met a man who could help her, if he hadn’t walked away from the music industry? From there, Cassie and Luke came to life.

The help only he can offer… 

Cypress Pointe, Florida, is a long way from LA, where pop singer Cassie Branford needs a hit to prove she's not a two-album wonder. But her case of writer's block could be over when the struggling songwriter meets Luke Hastings at a family wedding.

The legendary musician walked away from success at the height of his career. Yet Luke is already inspiring Cassie with his dedication to building a permanent community outreach center for troubled teens. Volunteering to help bring music into these kids' lives is also bringing her and Luke closer. Maybe they're not as different as he thinks…

In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?
Another beautiful wedding in Cypress Pointe, Florida.

How long did it take you to write?
About four months. Last year was busy, since I was juggling my Heartwarming books, as well as writing for a mystery line.

What is your favorite scene?
When Cassie and Luke perform together for the first time. They have two weeks to pull a benefit concert together. Cassie hasn’t been on the stage since struggling with writer’s block. Luke only plays small venues since he quit the music business, so he and his band have a tough time getting in sync with Cassie. Throw in loose cords on stage and a keyboard pedal that keeps sticking, and it’s enough to give anyone stage fright. Until it’s time to stand before the crowd.

Minutes later, they climbed the steps leading to the platform. Denny stood center stage, thanking the crowd for coming out and supporting Kid’s Klub. Then Cassie was moving with the band, stepping onto the stage to wave to the fans. When she turned to take her place at the piano, their eyes met again, hers with a sparkle Luke wouldn’t soon forget. Gone were the nerves. In that one broad smile, the mild-mannered woman from seconds before melted away. This was the Cassie who’d been born to entertain.

He lifted the guitar strap over his head and settled it on his shoulder. Cassie winked at him, the gesture sending a wallop to his gut, just as Sonny counted a three beat with his drum sticks and they launched into the first number.

They played for an hour. Cassie entertained the fans not only with her music, but by engaging and laughing with them, as well. The urgency of her wish to overcome writer's block stuck Luke as she sang. If she didn’t come up with new songs, would her career truly be over? Glimpsing the joy on her face right now, he knew he wanted to help her move forward, even if it meant tearing off the bandage still covering his emotional wounds.

As he considered the future, he couldn’t keep his eyes from Cassie as she regaled the crowd, and him, with the magic of her music.

Who was your favorite character and why?
Cassie and Luke, for differing reasons. It  was interesting to write about a character with a creative block, because I experience this from time to time when writing. With Cassie, she has a tough time conquering the block, but digs down deep to figure out what is causing it. Thankfully, I go to the gym when I’m stuck with a scene and as soon as I rev up the treadmill, ideas usually pop out at me. 

With Luke, it was about looking at the past and wondering if he’d made the right decision walking away from a lucrative career. I’m sure there are many people that can relate to questioning the decisions they’ve made. Each character had their own unique set of problems to overcome.  

Tell us one thing you learned during research.
I have friends who are incredibly talented musicians. Through the years I’ve learned a lot about music and the business through them, but I spent a great deal of time with a special songwriter friend. Taylor walked me through writing a song (vastly different than a book, and much shorter!). We talked about theme and melodies and how she manages a block. Many of the scenes in the book came from conversations we shared together.

What music would match the mood of this novel?
My own music? Which sounds odd, but I came up with lyrics for different songs in the process of writing this book. I’ve always wanted to write lyrics so, maybe I can look forward to an additional career?

This is your 15th book, the 5th with Harlequin. Exactly what does that mean to you?
When I started this journey of writing, I never dreamed I’d come so far. It’s been a long haul, a wonderful learning experience, a great thrill and after my family, what I love most. Through the years I’ve met and made friends with other wonderful authors, friendships I treasure to this day.

What do you plan to work on next?
Right now I’m working on a new series idea to send in to my editor. It’s still in the beginning stages, but I’m excited about moving in a new direction.

I’m also exciting to share that The Wedding March is currently on tour with Prism Book Tours. Click here for the schedule and a chance to enter in the tour giveaway.

And don’t forget the Love Is Blooming giveaway, still going on, sponsored by the March Heartwarming authors.

Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her newest Heartwarming, The Wedding March, book 4 in The Business of Weddings series, available now. Visit Tara at Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books


  1. Great sit down, Tara! I adore this cover and I'm so excited to read Cassie and Luke's story. I always enjoy reading a story where one of the characters is a writer. Like you, I hit the treadmill or elliptical to get "unstuck" too. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Jill. I'm reading Second Chance Romance now!

  2. I'm so happy to be sharing a release month with you, Tara.

    Congratulations on the release of the wonderful THE WEDDING MARCH and for it being your 15th book!

    Anyone reading this is encouraged to stop by the Harlequin Facebook page later today to vote for Tara's beautiful cover!

  3. Yay, Tara! Your new book sounds so good. And of course this cover is to die for. Off to vote for it now.

    1. Thanks so much! Love the focus on Heartwarming!

  4. I hope you win the cover contest. Loved it and the book. Keep them coming.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Melanie. I always think it's interesting to learn the creative backstory. Have a great day!

  6. Tara, I love all your books and this cover is so, well, lovely and beautiful, I want to be a guest! Congratulations all around. I've already voted for you. YOU SHOULD WIN!!!

  7. Love the pink and white combination, so romantic. I voted too!

  8. Beautiful cover and a great-sounding story. Congratulations on your 5th Heartwarming book. I wish exercising gave me good ideas.

    1. The folks at the gym must think I'm odd since I carry a notebook to the treadmill, but it works. As writers, I think we all find the place that helps us come up with new ideas. Find it and stick with it is my motto.

  9. What a wonderful story, and I think your lyrics are amazing. Maybe you do have another career waiting.

    1. If I was brave enough to pursue it, LOL. Thanks!

  10. Congrats on the 5th/15th book, Tara! I love how our stories have such similar musical threads (I used a few of my own lyrics in A SONG FOR RORY as well.) And I'm excited we're sharing this release month. I love your Business of Weddings line! :)


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