Can you recapture a lost love?
34 years ago, young Nate Boltz fell in love with Emily Sutherland. They worked together for three magical months at a resort in Michigan in the town where Nate lived. Then they parted after a tumultuous summer of love, danger, and mystery.
Now Nate is the Police Chief in town when a skeleton is uncovered at the resort. It’s identified as a girl who went missing when the resort closed after the summer Emily and Nate spent together.
Nate reaches out to Emily and others from that summer and she eagerly responds to join him as he tries to untangle old clues and half-forgotten rumors. Will they rekindle their romance and find a way to stay together this time?
Or does the murderer have his own plans for the two kids from that magical summer of love?
Buy it today!
I looked at the clock again. It was ten minutes later than the last time I looked. Three o’clock. Emily would be here any time. If I had a bigger office, I’d pace. But there was barely room for my desk and chair, a file cabinet, two guest chairs and me and at six-five and two-hundred-twenty pounds, I took up some space.
I shuffled papers around then gave up, pushing away from the desk and standing. I jammed my fists into my jeans pockets and stared unseeing through the window at the parking lot behind the station. I was fifty-five years old and fidgeting like a boy on his first date. It’s just Emily, I told myself. She’s an old friend. It’s all we have left from our summer. We’re just friends.
Yeah? Then why did my stomach clench when I thought her name? Why was I jumpy? I sat back down. It was always about Emily. No matter who I was with, no matter what I did. She was always in the back of my mind, a little memory I pulled out occasionally, like I pulled out the photo of us sitting on Mike’s car, our arms around each other. Both of us so young, so tanned, and so carefree.
There had been other women in my life. I lived with Sylvie for almost three years before we gave it up. And Janet and I tried, off and on, for almost six years. There were others, too, when I played pro ball. But it always came back to Emily.
And now she was coming here because of poor Peggy. I shook my head, my fingers buried in my hair. I didn’t know if I could stand to see Emily again. I had thought I’d go to my grave and never see her again. “Damn it, Emily,” I muttered.
“Now what did I do?”
The husky, teasing voice made me jerk upright. I stared at the doorway. Emily was standing there, smiling at me.
She was still beautiful. Her faded jeans were just tight enough to show me her hourglass figure and her brightly patterned blouse under the denim jacket was tucked in, showing off her breasts. I swallowed hard. I remembered those breasts with an awful lot of fondness. Her dark brown hair was tousled and windblown and she was smiling, her green eyes snapping with merriment. It was then I realized I was lying to myself for more than thirty years.
I was still in love.
“Emily.” My voice came out really low, probably because I almost had heart failure and was still recovering. I shot to my feet and came around the desk in a couple of seconds, flat.
“Nate.” She raised her face to mine and it was the most natural thing in the world to put my arms around her and kiss her gently.
“Emily.” I lifted her off her feet and she laughed, her giggly, low laugh that always made me grin. I released her but kept a hand on her shoulder to steady her. Then I jerked my hand away when I realized I was trembling.
About the author
I was born in a small town in Iowa, and have traveled extensively, living in several different regions of the U.S. and briefly overseas. I’ve been writing most of my life and seriously writing, trying to be published, since 2004. Now I have 25 books out and will have 1 more out this year, with contracts for more mysteries and maybe a paranormal romance or two (or three). Stay tuned for more from me!
Also by J.L. Wilson
Brownies, Bodies, and Breaking the Code
Candy, Corpses and Classified Ads
If Not For You
Nowhere to Run
Shadow of Doubt
Lie to Me
Autographs, Abductions, and A-List Authors
Sun, Surf, and Sandy Strangulation
Mayhem, Marriage, and Murderous Mystery Manuscripts
Homicide, Hostages, and Hot Rod Restorations
PhDs, Pornography, and Premeditated Murder
Ex-wives, Extortion, and Erotic First Editions
Lilacs, Litigation, and Lethal Love Affair
Foxgloves, Fancy Fungus, and Fatal Family Feuds
Daisies, Deadly Force, and Disastrous Divorce Disputes
Back list (Paranormal/Time Travel)
Back list (Paranormal/Other Planet)
Leap of Faith
Interview with Holly Hewson
HH: J.L., thank you for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Resorts, Regrets, and Returning to Love. What can you tell us about your latest suspense-filled work?
JL: This is one of the first books I wrote, but believe me, I had to rewrite it quite a bit to make it ready for publication because it was one of the first books I wrote, before I knew what I was doing.
It started out as two books, one based in the past and one in the current day. I originally wrote the book in third person (not the “I” point of view), but I didn’t like that. So then I tried having the “past” book from Emily’s point of view and the “current” one from Nate’s point of view. I sort of liked that, but I wasn’t sure that was the way to go.
Then I did a draft when I tried interleaving the two stories within each chapter, maintaining the different points of view. That was too confusing, so I did another draft where I interleaved chapters of the two stories, all from Nate’s point of view. That meant I had to do a lot of rewriting, because some of the things I had originally shown in Emily’s story no longer showed up in Nate’s.
So I managed to rearrange some of the plot points, but I had a lot of editing to do because it was, after all, two books and it was way too long. I examined every word, every scene, every subplot, and finally honed it down to what I thought was a manageable size. I submitted to my editor and to my relief, she went to the editorial board at The Wild Rose Press, and presented it to them. They normally don’t take books of this length (more than 100,000 words), but they thought the book worked so–
Here we are!
HH: What do you like best about Emily and why will readers identify with her?
JL: Emily is a very commonsense, down-to-earth person who has built a life for herself and isn’t about to take crap from anybody. She has a good sense of her own self-worth and isn’t dependent on a man to make her happy. When she rediscovers Nate, she’s smart enough to know that she may be leaning toward him because of the happy memories she has of their shared past. She’s also smart enough to know that men like him don’t come around too often, and she would be lucky to have him in her life — if a murderer doesn’t get her first, that is.
HH: What do you like best about Nate and why will readers love him?
JL: Nate is, quite simply, a sweetheart. He’s not an alpha male, but he’s all male. He has a sensitive side and he is happy living in a small town, taking care of his parents and the town (he’s the Law, you know). Nate is the one person Porter, the town Crazy Guy, will talk to because Nate takes the time to listen to him and try to help. Nate’s always there when people need him. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
Nate always had a spot in his heart for Emily, whom he loved so passionately years ago, but he figured she had her own life and didn’t need to hear from an ex-football player cop. But when a legitimate chance comes up to contact her, he decides to take a chance on having his heart broken one more time.
HH: You’ve traveled extensively. How have your travels factored into your writing?
JL: I’ve lived overseas, in several different U.S. states, and traveled to quite a few other ones. Resorts is set in a town I lived one summer, when I worked at a resort while I was in college. Several of my previous books are set in spots where I lived (Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota), and often feature towns and homes where I lived.
HH: How do you come up with the titles of your stories?
JL: That’s a tough one. I’ve gone two different directions for my titles. My Wild Rose books all have multi-word titles (Candy, Corpses & Classified Ads, Lilacs, Litigation, & Lethal Love Affairs). It started long ago with my first title with them, and it identifies me with the readers. I always try to find words that tell something about the book. In Candy, for example, the heroine sorts her M&Ms by color, a pig dug up a corpse in her garden, and her ex-love is putting anonymous classified ads in the newspaper which are clearly meant for her.
For many of my other books, I’ve gone in the opposite direction. Mist, Righter, Twistered, and Gilt are all plays on words. Mist is about a woman who was missed — she was kidnapped. Righter is about a man who’s an author and he sets out to right an old wrong. Twistered is about Dorothy, in Kansas, and Gilt is about a woman who feels guilty because she thinks she caused her husband’s death.
Opposite ends of the spectrum, you can say.
HH: What else do you have come up for lucky readers?
JL: I’m re-releasing my first book, which came out as Your Saving Grace. I’ve done some substantial rewriting, changed the cover, and I’ll be publishing it under the title Tried, because it’s about a trial and what happened afterward.
I have three more romantic mysteries ready to submit to my editor, and I’m currently working on a fourth one. So I’m always busy!
HH: What is your writing schedule like?
JL: I work full-time at a day job (as a technical writer), so I’m busy there from 6 a.m. to about 4 p.m. I take time to exercise every day, either walking or aerobics, or swimming, so that may keep me busy until 6 p.m. Then I can sit down and do some writing or editing. I work for about 3 hours then I stop for the night. I’m a very efficient writer and seldom have to do a lot of rewriting.
I try to write a book in 6-8 weeks, then I let it sit for a month or so while I work on another book. Then I return to that first book, so some editing, then I ship it off to my beta reader for her reading.
I always let it sit for another month or two when I get it back, so it may be 7 or 8 months before I revisit it. By then I’ve pretty much forgotten everything I wrote, so it makes it easy to do very objective editing. I make one or two more edit passes, then it’s off to my editor!
I’m also a Master Gardener and I do a lot of volunteer work in the community, so my weekends are often filled with that, or spending time with family and friends. But during the week, I’m a writer, all day, every day.
HH: Where do you mostly draw inspiration for your writing?
JL: I often have a set of characters in mind for a story and I try to visualize a setting for them. That often leads me to an idea for a plot, or I’ll see a story in the newspaper and I’ll think, “I bet there’s some more to that than what I’m reading.” I’ll dig a bit and get an idea, and before you know it, I’m writing.
HH: What do you enjoy reading personally?
JL: I tend to read non-fiction, some biographies, and I’m currently re-reading some old favorites like the Dernyi series from Katherine Kurtz and old Mary Stewart titles. Daphne du Maurier is a favorite, too, and I learn so much from reading those “old” classics.
HH: Where can readers find you online?
JL: I don’t use Twitter much anymore because it can such a time-grabber, but I’m there at @JLwriter. I’m on Facebook at JL Wilson (jayellwilson) or you can keep track of what’s going on at my web site (jayellwilson.com). I have a couple of blogs I post to monthly as well, and the links are on my web site. And of course, email: email@example.com. If you have any good ideas for books, drop me a line!