Shannon here: Romantic Mystery author, Lynette Sowell shares insight into her real life romance and her characters’ romance from State Secrets, her contribution to the 4 in 1 anthology, Cherry Blossom Secrets. Every time you comment, your name goes in the drawing for a copy. Deadline Feb 4th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lynette:
- Where is the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?
I think the beach is incredibly romantic. We have a favorite vacation spot as a family, and now that the kids are on their own, my husband and I have made the trip by ourselves twice. It’s incredibly relaxing, with the sand, sun, palm trees. We leave our cares on the mainland and enjoy the time away from it all for a while.
- Do you and your spouse have a favorite romantic restaurant?
Yes, we’re big fans of a local Italian place called Giovanni’s. They started out in a strip mall storefront and in the last year or so they opened a gorgeous Tuscan-style building on the main drag. The atmosphere makes you feel like you’re not in a Texas town anymore. One of their rooms has these giant “wine barrel” booths that are
- Do you and your spouse have a favorite song?
I’d have to say that would be “Bless The Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts. We married when I was 27 and he was 32. We’d both made poor choices before in relationships, and yet through it all with God’s grace and nudge, we woke up one day and found each other.
- Who is most romantic, you or your spouse?
That is a tough one…there are times I think he’s definitely more romantic than me. But we try to practice a loving lifestyle, which is more than the mushy-gushy, “awww” type of things you’d expect on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary or birthday. He makes my breakfast nearly every morning—a hot breakfast. I consider that extremely romantic. Recently I surprised him when we were on vacation visiting family. I knew we didn’t have the time or budget for a day trip to New York City, like we’d hoped, but I managed to plan a day trip to the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island instead, so he could see them decorated for Christmas. I think part of romance is being thoughtful toward the other person. When Valentine’s Day comes around, I already feel very spoiled!
- Where did you and your spouse go for your honeymoon?
We spent a long weekend at a bed and breakfast in called the Heart Cottage, in Clifton, Texas. It’s private, in a beautiful rural location.
- Where is the most romantic place your hero and heroine have ever been?
Definitely Paris. They liked taking long walks, enjoying the cafes and soaking up the history. Their memories of Paris follow them both back to the United States when they meet up again, she working for the White House as a chef, and he in his job at the FBI.
- What is your heroine’s favorite romantic vacation destination?
My heroine would definitely choose France. Tara is a classically trained chef and loves to sample different foods as well as old favorites. Plus, that’s where she met Jack. I have a feeling that’s where they’ll spend their honeymoon, first in Paris and then traveling through the countryside. Hopefully they can both get the time off to go once they tie the knot.
- How soon after meeting the hero did the heroine know he was the one?
Tara hoped so—initially, within a month of them spending time together as a couple. Of course, the fact that they met in Paris helped, too. However, Jack works for the FBI. There’s a lot he can’t tell her. Plus, his work schedule pulled him away at a moment’s notice. Tara worked long hours in Paris, so she was used to that. Sort of. Then, he broke her heart when he finally didn’t show up anymore…no phone call, no explanation. So when State Secrets opens, she has her doubts, and rightfully so.
- How soon after meeting the heroine did the hero know she was the one?
Jack didn’t know at first, but no one captured his attention or heart like Tara did. He really got scared, like some men do. Given his line of work, he’d seen the toll it took on relationships and marriages. While he and Tara were together in Paris, being in the “city of lights” made him believe that maybe they could work it out. Then after one particularly long, rough mission, he didn’t call her again. He couldn’t face that. Finally, in State Secrets, he gets a knock “upside the head,” as Tara’s cousin would say.
- Who said, “I love you” first, your hero or your heroine?
Jack did—to his utter shock and amazement—while they were in Paris. Then fear got the best of him…
About Lynette: Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of five novels and six novellas for Barbour Publishing. When Lynette’s not writing, she divides her time between editing medical reports and chasing down news stories for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press. Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained. She loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip.
About the book: Tara Whitley, an assistant White House chef, doesn’t expect to become an amateur investigator. Then old flame and FBI operative Jack Courtland steps back into her life and recruits her to help uncover a plot to sabotage the next State Dinner.
But she doesn’t expect Jack to uncover feelings for him she thought had long since died. Can she trust him with her heart, or will secrets separate them again?