Shannon here: Contemporary Romance author, Christa MacDonald takes us on a tour of Sweet River, Maine, the setting for her latest series including, The Redemption Road (book 3 from her Sweet River Redemption series). Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for an e-copy of The Broken Trail (book 1 in the series). Deadline: Aug 11th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Christa:
Fact and Fiction – Sweet River, Maine by Christa MacDonald:
One of the things I love about reading contemporary romances is a setting I’ve never experienced before. A small town in the Midwest is interesting to me because I’ve never lived in that area of the country or even traveled much beyond one trip to Michigan. May I say, that lake y’all have is crazy! It looks like the ocean, but it’s warm and no salt? Beautiful, but after growing up along New England’s shore, I could not get my head around it.
I love reading in-depth settings, like a city so detailed that you could almost use the book as a map from your hotel to the best late-night pizza. Or stories set in the south where you can hear the cicadas sing, feel the heat, and almost smell the honeysuckle.
My books are set in the fictional town of Sweet River, Maine. It’s in the north where outside the tourist towns, there are many towns afflicted with the twin challenges of rural poverty and drug addiction. It is a world of difference from the big cities of Portland or the city Game Warden Alex Moretti in the third book, The Redemption Road, is from, Lewiston. One of the things I’ve contended with in writing this series is the need to balance the real-life aspects of the setting and the needs of the story itself.
The area of northern Maine is truly beautiful. There are thousands of acres of untouched woods. Exploring them feels both magical and a bit foreboding. The mountains, lakes, and fields combine to make some of the best hunting and fishing in the country. Its motto is ‘Vacationland’ and counting in the sandy beaches to the south and the rocky ones to the north it’s a paradise of outdoor living. But that hides the struggle of the people to make a living there. Industries rose up in the 19th and 20th century only to fall in this one.
I try to take a thread of this reality and weave it into the story so it blends in with all the other details to make the setting feel fully-formed. I hope readers ‘visit’ Sweet River and get to know Maine if they’ve never been. I hope they also see that it’s not so different from Michigan, or rather that its people aren’t so different. I’ve always said travel is the best way to keep Americans united and books are a great way to travel without leaving your favorite chair.
About Christa: Christa MacDonald began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. While at Gordon College she traded the sketchbooks for floppy discs, publishing short personal narratives in the literary journal The Idiom. After graduation and traveling cross-country she settled down to focus first on her career in operations management and then her growing family.
When her children reached grade school Christa returned to her love of writing, finding the time between conference calls, dance lessons, and baseball games. When not at her desk working or writing, Christa can be found curled up in her favorite chair reading, out and about with her husband and kids, or in the garden. She lives with her family along the coast of Massachusetts in the converted barn they share with a dog and two formerly-feral cats. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Redemption Road:
It’s redemption that he needs, and she’ll pay any price to help him find it.
As the new game warden in Sweet River, Alex Moretti is focused on enforcing Maine’s wildlife laws and little else. Moving from tragedy to a fresh start, all he wants is a way to fix his life in the tranquility of the north woods. Until he meets Annie Caldwell at Coffee by the Book. But his own bitter, dark life is a threat to Annie’s sweetness and light. It’s better for him to stay away.
Annie doesn’t know how to label her relationship with Alex, but she is determined to figure it out. After a few false starts and a kiss under the Christmas lights, their romance goes from fiction to fact. Annie has fallen hard. Then trouble shows up. Someone is stalking Alex, seeking to punish him for a mistake which ended in deadly consequences. When Annie becomes a target, he tries to push her away, but she won’t abandon him. Alex is desperate to keep Annie safe while he attempts to reconcile the past, but what he really needs is redemption. And she will risk her life to help him find it.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now! Christa’s books – Amazon
Question for Readers: If you’ve traveled cross-country or several states away in the US what was your favorite part of that trip or the place you visited? Have you done a big road trip (I love them!)?
Come back Aug 3rd for Christa’s inspiration for her latest book!