Another Sit Down Saturday! Today we’re celebrating Virginia McCullough’s January release of Something to Treasure.
So, Virginia, tell us a little about this novel. It’s part of your series, isn’t it?
It is. My January release is Book 2 of the Two Moon Bay series and features Dawn Larsen, who readers were introduced to in Girl in the Spotlight. As a loyal friend to Lark McGee, I knew she deserved her own story and now she has it. Jerrod Walters is a newcomer to town and meets Dawn even before he—and his boats—arrive and dock at the marina. Dawn and Jerrod get to know each other because she’s a successful public relations consultant and he’s launching a new location for his shipwreck diving and water tour business.
Something to Treasure shows characters struggling with valuing the past, but then moving on despite their losses and even tragedies. Dawn and Jerrod are each at a crossroads when they meet and begin a professional relationship. She takes him on as a client and he needs her skills to make his business work.
At some point, their feelings shift though, and so does the potential for what will happen in the future. I think of Dawn and Jerrod’s story as exploring the endurance of family bonds, the value of friendship and community, and a belief in possibilities. Like all my novels, Something to Treasure, is a story of hope, healing, and second chances.
What’s the best thing about the cover?
For starters, it’s wonderfully romantic—and it shows what could be a typical sight on a Wisconsin summer day on Lake Michigan: couple enjoying a day on the water—and each other.
What appealed to you most about these characters?
Jerrod and Dawn are both completely unapologetic about their love for their work—and each is ambitious. Dawn is a dynamic PR professional and a premiere networker. They approach their businesses with passion and energy, but they’re each at a crossroads and need to redefine their lives some, too.
What is your favorite scene?
Dawn and Jerrod have been dancing around their attraction, and Dawn decides to put her cards on the table, so to speak, with the expectation Jerrod will do the same. They’ve just attended a community event Dawn organized, and after it’s over, she asks him to take a walk with her to a favorite spot on the shore, and she’s not prepared for what happens:
“Is there something wrong? A problem we need to address?”
“It’s personal, Jerrod.” Dawn stopped and turned to face him. “It seems like one of us has to acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room, and it might as well be me.”
The flicker in his warm eyes revealed surprise.
Without adding to her preamble, she blurted, “I like you, Jerrod. I get the sense you like me.” She shook her head. “Are we ever going to acknowledge this thing between us?”
His head jerked back. In an instant, the air around her changed. The sound of the waves lapping the shore grew louder. The slightly fishy smell in the air intensified.
Jerrod grimaced, as if in pain, and looked past her, gazing out into space. What happened? She couldn’t have been that wrong. She hoped.
“Say something, will you?” Was he going leave her standing there feeling like a fool?
“I don’t what to say, except I’m sorry.” He took a couple of steps away from her. “You don’t want to like me in any way other than as a client and friend. Good friend.”
In for a penny and in for a pound. In an instant that old saw had popped into her head. Why? Maybe because she was trembling inside and wasn’t thinking straight. But the adage fit. She’d taken a chance and might as well commit to it all the way. “Is that so? Well, then go ahead, tell me. Why is that?”
“Because I’m no good to anyone.” He puffed out his cheeks and exhaled in obvious frustration. “Coming here to try out a new location for my business is the first substantial step I’ve taken in two years.”
“Since the awful tragedy.” Her tone was matter-of-fact. She’d understood that. He didn’t need to point that out.
“Yes. But a few moves in the right direction don’t mean I have anything…uh, anything to give you.” He planted one hand on his hip, and widened his stance. “This is all wrong. You have so much to offer the right person. You should find someone who can freely take what you want to share. You’re a special—”
“Don’t… you… dare patronize me with empty flattery.” Her voice rose on each word.
“I’m not.” He lifted his hands in air, appearing helpless to find the right response. “I’m not going to apologize for saying what’s obvious to anyone who knows you.”
“Yeah, well, my ex-husband told me how special I was as he tossed his clothes in a couple of suitcases and carried them out the door. I was still so special when he shoved them in the backseat of his car and drove off to Carla’s house.” She paused and in a lower voice added, “I’m not kidding. And the next time I saw Bill he still went on and about how smart I am and how he’d fallen so hard for me. Oh, and by the way, we built such a great life.”
“Dawn…please. I’m sorry.”
She pretended he hadn’t interrupted and kept on going. “But he fell in love with someone else all the same. So, forgive me if I don’t want pat reassurances about how terrific I am.”
Jerrod let his head fall back. “I know you won’t like to hear this cliché, but it’s not you, it’s me. I’m the one who’s emotionally numb—dead. You’re a woman with enthusiasm for life—you understand joy. I have all I can do to be any kind of a dad at all. To my one child. I’ve got nothing left over to give.”
When she made mistakes they were almost never insignificant little nothings. No, not her. This was a real whopper.
Her emotions surprised her though. She might have been really hurt, like she’d fallen on her face. Oh, she was bruised, all right, but not humiliated or in pain from rejection.
Maybe because she didn’t believe him.
Who is your favorite character and why?
I have two favorites—I can’t choose between Dawn’s son, Gordon, and Carrie, Jerrod’s daughter. Gordon is thirteen and thinks Jerrod’s diving is pretty cool. He’s serious about learning to dive and exploring the shipwrecks with his mom’s new client. Carrie is a five-year-old sponge—she notices everything, including her daddy’s new friend. The kids were especially fun to write.
Tell us one thing you learned during research.
The Great Lakes are majestic in their way and have a rich history—the U.S. and Canada built great cities on their shores, not to mention all the small towns that have flourished because of the lakes and the prosperity they’ve brought. I grew up on Lake Michigan and as resilient as they are, the lakes are fragile, too. I came away with a renewed sense of environmental awareness—and maybe a little awe as well. We must treasure these lakes!
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Love, Unexpected, Book 3 (May 2018) of the series, so we’ll take another trip to Two Moon Bay. I especially enjoyed bringing back some characters from Books 1 and 2 and exploring more of the town. Zeke Donovan, the owner of the marine supply store, is surprised by what shows up at his dock, and very soon, he’s surprised again by who happens to stop by.
As for what’s next on my writing list, some other characters in a different kind of town are calling out—they’re demanding I tell their stories, too. That’s how it works, so, we’ll see. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy Dawn and Jerrod’s story.
With the release of Something to Treasure, Virginia is looking ahead to Book 3, Love, Unexpected. Like Virginia’s other novels, this three book series tells the stories of men and women—and some kids—who could be our neighbors and friends struggling with everyday life issues.
Both a writer and a vagabond all her adult life, Virginia built her ghostwriting-editing business in many locations and currently lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She enjoys hanging out with other romance and women’s fiction authors to drink giant cups of coffee as they brainstorm new stories. Her other award-winning romance and women’s fiction titles include The Jacks Of Her Heart, Island Healing, The Chapels on the Hill, Amber Light, and Greta’s Grace.
Visit Virginia on Facebook or at www.virginiamccullough.com
Happy birthday, Virginia! I love the Lakes, too, and love it when they are a setting!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Liz. Urban and rural, they offer great possibilities for settings of all kinds.Delete
Congratulations on your January release, Virginia!ReplyDelete
Thanks--it's been great fun this month!Delete
I really liked the book. Love the setting, too.ReplyDelete
I appreciate your saying so. Glad you like my little Two Moon Bay.Delete
Congrats on your release, Virginia! I love, love the lakes!ReplyDelete
Seems that people who haven't lived on our near the Great Lakes don't think of them often in almost any context. But we once we experience them, or grow up with one of the lakes as a landmark, we love them!Delete
Congratulations, Virginia. I enjoyed Dawn and Jerod and their kids, and it was interesting learning about shipwrecks.ReplyDelete
Thanks--I learned a lot about shipwrecks, too. Glad you enjoyed Dawn and Jerrod's story!Delete
Congratulations on your release, Virginia. I look forward to reading Something to Treasure!ReplyDelete