His Forever Love

by Nancy

Today we welcome back Bellebooks and Steeple Hill author Missy Tippens. Her second release, His Forever Love, is out this month! She’s here to celebrate and to tell us a little about the book. Welcome back, Missy!

Many authors wrestle with that second book. Was His Forever Love a struggle for you?

I didn’t so much wrestle with the book, but wrestle with myself to produce another book. It took me a while to make the second sale. I highly recommend writing and writing before selling (don’t keep working on the same old book). That way you have something ready to go. I had 16 months between books 1 and 2 and really hated to wait that long.
What gave you the idea for this book?

Well, this book started out very different! It’s had about three or four totally different versions. But the part that has remained the same through most versions is that it’s about unrequited love. The hero had a crush on the heroine when they were growing up. They were best friends and study partners. But right before graduation, when he had finally gotten the nerve to share that he loved her, she showed up with a ring on her finger. As soon as they graduated, he took off for Boston and never looked back. And of course, she was devastated that her best friend deserted her.

I wanted to bring these two back together and write about the nerdy guy finally getting the popular girl. 🙂

I love stories about friends. I’ve just started this one and am enjoying it. Tell us about the hero and heroine of His Forever Love.

Bill is a brilliant physicist who lives in Boston and pours himself into his work. He’s finally found the place he really fits in and is accepted—with his peers and coworkers.

Lindsay is a caregiver for Bill’s grandmother in a small town in Georgia, and together they run a community center for kids. She has poured herself into taking care of her nephews (whose mother deserted them) and pretty much taking care of everyone else in her family.

Tell us about the story.

Here’s the back cover blurb: In Magnolia, Georgia, local legend says that a couple who holds hands around the “forever” tree will have an unending love. Even so, Bill Wellington held Lindsay Jones’s hands around that tree years ago…and then left her behind. He chose the big city, and now he wants to bring his grandmother there. But to his amazement, he finds that Granny has a boyfriend—and a vibrant life. A life that includes Lindsay, Granny’s caregiver. Bill never thought he’d want to come home, yet Magnolia clearly has its charms. As does Lindsay, who makes him long for a second chance at forever love.

And I’d love to share an excerpt from where they first see each other. Granny has taken a fall, and he comes to the hospital to see her:

A man cleared his throat in the doorway, then rapped on the door. “Granny?”

She’d know that voice anywhere. Had she really thought she could prepare for this moment?

She was afraid to turn around. Afraid of the hurt that might still show on her face even after so many years.

Lindsay pasted a half-smile on her face, then swiveled around to see him.

Oh, my. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She absolutely could not believe this was Bill Wellington. Tall, skinny, nerdy, bookworm Bill had been transformed during his years away.
Tall. Yes, he was still tall. But that’s where the similarities ended. He had filled out. And had turned into an attractive man. How could that have happened?

He hurried to his granny’s side, then hugged her. “How are you feeling?” He was so careful, so concerned, that it gave Lindsay’s heartstrings a big, ol’ yank.

“I’m fine, son.”

He looked up from Granny Bea and smiled in Lindsay’s direction. “Hi, Lindsay.”

After several seconds of staring at this near stranger, she realized she hadn’t acknowledged his greeting. “Oh, hi. Good to see you again. Wow. You’re all grown-up.” Way to go, Lindsay. Stating the obvious.

“Yes, fifteen years have a way of doing that. But you look exactly the same. I would have recognized you anywhere.”

And she couldn’t have picked him out of a police lineup if her life depended on it. His dark brown, shaggy hair was now short and layered and looked as if it had lightened in the sun. His gaunt, pale face was now tanned, angular, masculine. And his beanpole body was now muscle-bound.

“Broken wrist, huh?” He touched Granny Bea’s cast. Then he craned his neck, trying to read the signatures. Once he completed reading the circle of permanent marker, he smiled at Lindsay.
Her traitorous heart galloped underneath her rib cage. Stop it! I will not let my heart race over this man. This supposed friend.

“Lindsay, I appreciate you bringing her to the hospital. I’m sure you’re worn out. I’ll stay with her tonight.”

She bristled. He’d marched in and was going to try to take over Granny Bea’s care.
He’s her grandson. He has every right to.

Still, it made her mad that he lived his life way up there in Boston and barely ever spent time with his granny.

“I can stay,” she said. “I imagine you’re tired from traveling.”

“I dozed a little on the flight. Go on home. I’ll call you if she needs anything.”

“He’s right, dear. You’ve been here all day.”

What could she do? “Okay. I’ll come back tomorrow morning with some fresh clothes for her.”

“Thanks.” He started to hold out a hand, as if he were going to shake her hand, but then the gesture ended up as a little wave. A somewhat dorky wave, more like the Bill she remembered.
She was comforted by the fact that he was still Bill. Yet that little wave reminded her of the friend she’d lost.

Bill wasn’t sure he’d be able to catch his breath until Lindsay was gone. He had to get a grip or she might think she needed to rush him down to the E.R.

Her eyes were still as violet-blue, her hair as deep red, thick and smooth as it had been when she was eighteen.

He was a complete sap. A thirty-three-year-old acting like a lovesick teenager.

He walked to the other side of Granny’s bed, putting distance between him and Lindsay. She’s only a woman like any other. Nothing special. Just happens to have been blessed with gorgeous eyes and hair. And just happens to be the girl I fell in love with ages ago.

“Well, Granny Bea, I’ll see you bright and early.” Lindsay kissed Granny’s head. “Make Bill take good care of you.”

“Thanks for everything, dear. Get some rest, and we’ll see you tomorrow.”

Lindsay smiled fondly at Granny, which didn’t help his composure a bit. She stepped toward the door. “Good night.” She made brief eye contact with Bill, but then turned and left.

What about the writing process do you most or least enjoy?

I love writing the first draft! I love the freshness and discovery. I do plan ahead and plot, but it’s still a joy to find out what’s going to happen. And I love it when themes come together or when ideas come during the writing that I know have to be God-given. I feel so blessed to be able to work at something that I enjoy so much!

Have you become heavily involved with marketing and promotion?

With Steeple Hill (as with all Harlequin lines), there’s a built-in readership from the book club. You can’t get better marketing than that! But I do have a website, hold contests, do a blog tour, and do signings if they’re convenient. I also enjoy doing workshops and speaking, and I think that helps to promote. The hardest part for me is promoting myself at other times—like to people I know or people here in town! But I’m trying to learn to hand out book marks and talk about my books more in one-on-one settings.

What’s next for you?

I have another LI coming out in November, A Forever Christmas. It’s a story about Lindsay’s single brother with the two little boys. I LOVE the cover on this book! I keep going to CBD to stare at it! LOL Here’s a link:.
Be sure to click to enlarge it! 🙂

Thanks so much for having me, Banditas!! And thanks, Nancy, for the great interview. I’ll be giving away a copy of His Forever Love today from among those who comment. You can email me at missytippens [at] aol.com to enter. Just put Romance Bandits in the subject line.

Missy, I enjoyed having you!

What about everyone else–do you have an old friend who “might have been?” What do you like about stories where the hero and heroine have a past? What’s your favorite one?

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