Shannon here: Contemporary romance author, JoAnn Durgin shares insight into her characters’ romance plus a chance to win her Christmas novella – Starlight, Star Bright. Comment on this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Dec 21st,, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s JoAnn:
- What’s the most romantic thing your hero ever did for your heroine?
Dante helps lace up Amanda’s snow boots, and in doing so, he captures a bit of her heart. Interestingly enough, that action is mirrored by the heroine, Julia Sinclair, from the first book in this Christmas series, doing the same for her hero, wounded firefighter, Jake Marston. Another scene that’s “romantic” in a unique way is when Amanda comes into the kitchen of her friend Hannah’s home and finds Amanda singing an Italian lullaby to baby Sophie. Slightly off-key, too, which draws Dante to Amanda even more. Nothing more appealing than a strong man gushing over a child to melt a woman’s heart.
- What’s the most romantic thing your heroine ever did for your hero?
Amanda captured more of Dante’s heart when, after hearing his personal story and knowing he has no family with which to share Christmas, invites him to stay in Starlight and share Christmas with her. She also defends him against the town bully, and that’s also romantic in its own way.
- Where is the most romantic place your hero and heroine have ever been?
Walking home in the moonlight in Starlight and tossing snowballs at one another was very romantic, and it was also a night of revelation that was a significant turning point in their relationship in moving it forward.
- Do your hero and heroine have a favorite romantic restaurant?
Barney’s Diner will forever be their favorite place because it’s where they first met…and it’s significant in another very major event in their lives. Their first date—shared over candlelight and deep dish pizza and a rich, cream-filled, layered sponge cake called zuccotto—is at Lucia’s, the new Italian restaurant in Starlight.
Here’s a link to Martha Stewart’s recipe for this Italian treat and a photo: http://www.marthastewart.com/338959/zuccotto
- What is your hero’s favorite romantic vacation destination?
As Dante tells Amanda, spending time with her in Rome, Italy, any time of the year would be very romantic. Because he lives there, it’s a strong possibility this could happen—if only Amanda agrees.
- What simple gesture does your hero do that melts your heroine every time?
Amanda admires and appreciates Dante’s humility and his willingness to step in and help with projects all over Starlight during the Christmas season. He’s an unsung hero, and the townspeople grow to quickly love him. Although it’s not a gesture, as such, Amanda’s heart also melts a little more each time Dante speaks Italian. What could be more romantic than an Italian-spouting cowboy?
- What simple gesture does your heroine do that melts your hero every time?
Dante loves it when Amanda laughs—a lilting, rich sound—and tilts her head so that his attention his drawn to her lovely, long blonde curls. He also adores her caring spirit to help wherever it’s needed.
- How soon after meeting the hero did the heroine know he/she was the one?
Both Dante and Amanda are drawn to each other, but it seems they’re destined to share a star-crossed relationship. He lives and works near Rome, Italy, and she lives in Florida (although her heart belongs to her beloved hometown of Starlight).
- Who is most romantic, your hero or your heroine?
They’re both equally romantic, and it does take two, as they say. But if one had a slight “edge” over the other in this area, I’d say that Dante is perhaps slightly more romantic, especially with his Italian heritage. He’s also naturally more reserved and quiet than Amanda, and he thinks before he speaks, a fact noted and appreciated by Amanda. He’s a natural leader and knows how to be a protector. Simply put, Dante is the epitome of the strong, silent hero.
- Who said, “I love you” first, your hero or your heroine?
Surprisingly, it was Amanda, and in Italian, no less. It happened in a moment of frustration and confrontation, and when she least expected it. In doing so, it heightened the tension, and the heartache, even more. But—no matter the personal consequences—she needed Dante to know the depth of her feelings for him before he returned to Italy.
- If your hero and heroine end up married, where will they go on their honeymoon?
The author reserves the right not to answer this one. You must read the book to find out!
About JoAnn: Starlight, Star Bright is the sequel to the popular Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, part of Pelican Book Group’s 2012 Holiday Extravaganza. The author of seven books, JoAnn is an estate administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky law firm and lives in southern Indiana. Visit her at www.joanndurgin.com or via her Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook.
About the book – Starlight, Star Bright: Dante Moretti, Texas-born goalie of an Italian World Cup champion team, expects Starlight, Iowa will be only a blip on the radar of his life. Grabbing a quick meal at Barney’s Diner during the holidays, Dante meets two women who capture his heart in very different ways. Then his rental car won’t start and leaves him stranded. Does the Lord have a plan for bringing him—and keeping him—in Starlight?
Amanda Marston is excited to be home for her brother’s wedding. When she drops in for a cup of coffee at Barney’s, she’s charmed by the mysterious, Italian-spouting cowboy. Before she can blink, the handsome stranger is helping with projects all over town and working his way into her heart. Does God have a plan for Dante in her beloved little Starlight or will he take her heart with him when he returns to Italy?
Come back Dec 11 for Carla Olson Gade!