Today we here at Big Canvas Reads are chatting with Small Town Romance Author, Sophie Bartow. Sunny has read all of her books and loves them, so we let her do the interview. Enjoy, give feedback, inquire about our reading and reviewing, free of charge, and most of all, have a Happy Holiday Season in what has been a crazy year. **Always, Natillie, Natalie, and Sunnny**
SA: Hi! Thanks for coming by Big Canvas Reads and letting me ask you a few questions.
SB: Thank you for giving new authors your time.
SA: You write romance. Why do you choose to write on the sweet side of romance in a “sex sells” kind of world?
SB: Oh, dear. There are so many reasons. Yes, sex sells but sex scenes are a dime a dozen and if the sex scene is written poorly, it can totally throw off the entire book. But mainly, it’s because some of my favorite authors have made a name for themselves by writing just really good books. When I decided to move from writing fanfiction to general, I went to a few workshops and I came away with this takeaway. They said that one way for people to not take you seriously is if your story meanders. That each scene needed to push the plot. That in fanfiction, it was okay to include those cute little scenes, but that when people pay for your story, they want the plot to constantly move forward. And so, as I write, that is always in the back of my mind. Therefore, if a sex scene moves my plot, it will be in there. If not, it won’t.
SA: You are known to me for your “Swan Harbor” Romance series, How did you come up with your world set in Maine?
SB: Many years of watching television and reading. And I just pull from my brain. For example, the town square was pulled from watching Days of Our Lives. The dock from visiting San Francisco, Sally’s stemmed from watching several small town shows that had a ‘diner or bar’ where everyone met. And originally, I planned on setting it in a small town in Florida, but then ice skating and snow kind of showed up and well… I live in S. Florida so… I moved it to Maine and plopped it in an area of Maine that seemed to fit the small town setting I was looking for.
SA: Of your male leads who would you date?
SB: Ha! They all have traits that I admire in men. And while I’m a sucker for dimples and a British accent, I’d probably say Danny, the hero of my first novella. When I wrote him, he became this giant teddy bear in my head and as a speech/language pathologist professionally, I can definitely appreciate someone who didn’t let his stutter stop him from anything.
SA: Of your Female leads who is your favorite? Is it because she is most like you or no?
SB: Again, there are bits/pieces of me in all of them, I think. But if I had to choose a favorite, it might be Ava King, the heroine of my latest, Kisses, Family & Hope. I certainly, don’t have anything in common with the way she was brought up, or her married, life BUT I appreciated her journey. That a health scare after the age of 50 had her looking at her life and deciding to pursue the life she wanted. I can relate to that as after 30+ years in one profession, I’m going after something brand new.
SA: I read your whole series and adore it. Your characters are creative and entertaining but I am also a sucker for anything Christmas and can’t wait till the Christmas novel comes out. What is your favorite holiday?
SB: Christmas is probably my favorite holiday too. I have dozens and dozens of decorations and love for the entire house to be decorated. And my poor family when it comes to searching for the perfect tree. It can’t be too skinny, can’t have holes etc. A funny story was when my daughters, twin, were around 18 months old. We put the tree up and for some reason, it fell over. My husband was at work and my boys at school and so one of my girls and I were holding the tree, while I sent the other one to get the phone so we could call my parents to come help. Thankfully, she followed directions and Pappa cam to the rescue. LOL.
SA: Does any certain Holiday have an odd tradition at your home?
SB: We go to my parent’s house for Christmas Eve and do gifts and eat. Christmas morning the kids get to see their gifts from Santa (much more fun when they believed) and then my parents, etc come over for a big breakfast. Gifts are opened afterward. Then people come back late afternoon for the meal. A few years ago, I read a poem and wish I had started it when my oldest was born as for some reason I always bought way too much. The poem is: They get something they want, something they need. Something to wear and something to read. It makes it much nicer.
SA: Being a Romance writer, are you a girly girl? Make-Up, hair done, nails done?
SB: I was before kids in some ways. But then I had kids and realized that it was more important to be comfortable. And because I run my own private practice, I dress comfortably, which most days is shorts and a comfy t-shirt.
SA: what is a luxury item or service you would love to have in your everyday life?
SB: Oh, a maid for sure! One who cleans, plans the meals, shops and then cleans again.
SA: Any new stories/projects on the horizon you want to give readers a sneak peak of or a cover reveal? Or elaborate on the Christmas novel coming?
SB: Let’s see.. Finding Her Lost Heart is a new novella that pulls from a dangling thread I left in Welcome to Swan Harbor. It is on KU
My Christmas story is called A Tree, Mistletoe & A Sunset and is more of a romcom then most of my books are. And not only does it involve a new couple, Harper and Aiden, but you also get peeks into the lives of couples met in the three previous books. Killian and Emma, Liam and Elsa, and Ava and Finn.
I also have a short story coming out in the (Do you know what the book is called) on December 25 that I set up in my Christmas Story regarding a certain gift Ava purchases for Finn for Christmas.
And in February, I’m writing a book that is a parallel story. In Kittens, Puppies & Love, I started weaving a secondary mystery that has continued through each book since. Hope, Hearts & Forever, is the story of Hope and Ian in 1718 paralleled w/ the residents of Swan Harbor and their fight to save the town and its hope.
And while I do have 4-5 more stories set in Swan Harbor that will pull from a dangling thread left in From Darkness into Love, I’m not sure of the timeline for 2021. I’m going to spend some time marketing.
SA: Thank you so much Sophie, have a great Holiday Season and thank you so much for always giving me a solid, fulfilling, loving romance every time I start reading one of your novels. Keep it up!!
SB: Thanks for supporting me, Sunny. A happy holiday season to you and yours.